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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today performed yoga with over 50,000 enthusiasts at the Forest Research Institute (FRI) campus here, and said the ancient Indian discipline has emerged as a "powerful unifying force" in a strife-torn world.

Modi inaugurated the "YO1 Nature Cure Center" in the Catskills area of NY through a video link on the occasion of 4th International Day of Yoga.

"From Tokyo to Toronto, from Stockholm to Sao Paulo, Yoga has become a positive influence in the lives of millions", Modi told participants on the lush green lawns. "The gems of India's unique heritage, such as yoga, will be respected by the world at large only when we ourselves respect our culture and traditions, and take part in our legacy and heritage", the PM said. People across the country celebrated the day with mass yoga performances. Many Union ministers will join similar events across the country on Thursday.

"As the Sun is for all, the Moon is for all, rivers are for all, in the same way yoga is for all", he said.

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Yoga includes stretching and bending of body besides doing breathing exercises aimed at transforming body and mind. Nor is Yoga only what you practice in the morning. "I hope that Yoga can become binding force for the world", he said.

In his message, the prime minister said: "Yoga is a set of equilibrium and equanimity".

"Designed to help individuals build self-realisation, ease any suffering they may be experiencing and allow for a state of liberation, (yoga) is practised by the young and old without discriminating against gender, class or religion", UNESCO added in a tweet. Revati also said that he often practices yoga postures and he does feel more relaxed and comfortable immediately.

"Yoga should be a 365-day affair and should be practiced for a healthy living", stated Sudhansu Adhikari, Odisha chief of the Patanjali Yoga Samiti. Noor Rahman Sheikh addressed the gathering in which he highlighted the Indian origin of Yoga, its benefits and appealed the participants to continue their enthusiasm towards Yoga and develop it in their daily exercise.