14 photos of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading 35,000 people in yoga

We write a lot about the economic policies of India’s somewhat eccentric prime minister, Narendra Modi.

But maintaining a competitive rupee and a small current account deficit aren’t the only things keeping the prime minister busy in office.

He also invented International Yoga Day.

That’s right, all those people you saw practicing yoga in Times Square on Sunday? That was Modi’s idea.

He proposed it to the United Nations last year and offered June 21 as a suggested date because it was also summer solstice.

People joined in in France, China, Egypt, and Afghanistan. And, of course, in India.

Modi made a speech to the nearly 36,000 participants who gathered in Delhi on Sunday. Then he surprised the crowd by getting down on the ground and joining in with them for a 35-minute session.

But his yoga day did not come without criticism: activists contend that the prime minister, who had a reputation as a hardline Hindu nationalist when he was a state minister, is trying to force yoga on minorities, according to Reuters.

Other people reportedly said that they’re quite happy practicing yoga in their personal lives and don’t need the prime minister to tell them what to do.

Here are 14 photos of Modi doing yoga.

Here's Modi, joining in on International Yoga Day.

Modi told the crowd that just making a body flexible and turning it into shapes is not really Yoga. Otherwise, everyone in a circus would be a yogi.

The prime minister is reportedly a big fan of yoga and practices every day.

35,985 people gathered in Delhi for the event.

Modi proposed International Yoga Day to the United Nations in 2014.

He suggested June 21 as it's the longest day of the year.

People also joined in in France, China, Egypt, and Afghanistan.

An avid social media user, Modi tweeted and shared upwards of 120 tweets about yoga over the weekend.

'We must take forward the enthusiasm seen during #YogaDay & inspire people to make Yoga a key part of their daily lives,' Modi tweeted.

'I congratulate each & every person who practiced Yoga today & made the 1st #YogaDay a success,' the prime minister said in a tweet.

Modi made a speech to the nearly 36,000 participants who gathered in Delhi on Sunday.

Then he surprised the crowd by getting down on the ground and joining in with them for a 35-minute session.

But Yoga Day comes with some criticism: activists contend that the prime minister, who had a reputation as a hardline Hindu nationalist when he was a state minister, is trying to force yoga on minorities.

Other people reportedly said that they're quite happy practicing yoga in their personal lives and don't need the prime minister to tell them what to do.

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