Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday attended a yoga event in Thiruvananthapuram on the occasion of the 5th International Day of Yoga where he urged people to practice the ancient Indian exercise irrespective of caste and religion.

“Lifestyle diseases are affecting us. Yoga is providing us all kind of exercises for our body. Anyone can practice yoga; everyone irrespective of religion and caste should practice this,” Vijayan, who a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), said.

He also criticised those spreading misinformation about yoga by linking it to a specific religion.

“Some people are deliberately trying to mislead others regarding yoga, as if this is something religious. Some people have even made such remarks. In fact, none of the postures being performed as part of yoga have any connection with any religion,” he added.

Thousands across India participated in the International Yoga Day celebrations across the country today.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a Yoga Day event at Prabhat Tara ground in Jharkhand’s Ranchi.

The PM said that he chose Ranchi because Jharkhand is very close to nature.

Also, Ranchi and health have gone down in history when on 3 September last year, the government launched the world’s largest healthcare scheme — Ayushman Bharat, he added.

Announcing the theme for the year — “Yoga for Heart Care” — PM Modi said heart care has become a challenge all over the world.

Over 30,000 yoga enthusiasts took part in PM Modi’s event amid tight security.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and various other ministers were present in the event.

Read More: ‘Yoga for peace, harmony, progress’: PM Modi leads International Yoga Day celebrations

Celebrations also panned across the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

President Ram Nath Kovind led the International Yoga Day celebrations at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh led the celebrations in Delhi’s Rajpath while Home Minister Amit Shah participated in an event in Haryana’s Rohtak.