Turkish citizens detox body and mind with yoga
Citizens from all walks of life had gathered to celebrate the International Day of Yoga at an event organized by the Indian embassy.
This ancient art of meditation which was once only practiced by Hindu monks has now become part of the global pop culture.
The UN marked June 21 as a day to celebrate this form of meditation in 2015 following a proposal by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"It [the motion] was co-sponsored by 177 countries, including Turkey," Indian Ambassador to Turkey Sanjay Bhattacharya told a cheering audience.
In a pre-recorded message by Modi played at the event, the Indian premier called for a mass movement to spread yoga.
Among the participants were UN Resident Coordinator in Turkey Irena Vojackova-Sollorano and a senior municipality council member Lale Bektaş.
Vojackova-Sollorano said: "[Yoga] is very important… not only for our physical health but it is important for mental health [too]."
She added that yoga has officially been recognized by many countries "actually as an official healing way especially in countries that were war-torn".
"After the wars, they have seen that yoga is a way to bring peace to the mind and peace to society," she said, adding that she practiced this form of meditation regularly.
In her address to participants, Bektaş said yoga means unity and participation.
"It gives us an idea of history of yoga… it is a body-mind exercise which dates back to a thousand years… it is an activity which relaxes your spirit," Bektaş said.
"I believe that such events will help relations between Turkey and the home of yoga -- India -- to improve," she added.
The embassy is also hosting concurrent events in three other provinces of Mersin, Istanbul and Izmir.
A similar event was held in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya on Friday.