Paramaribo (Suriname), June 21 : Visiting President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday participated in the fourth International Yoga Day celebrations in Paramaribo along with his Suriname counterpart Desire Delano Bouterse, Vice President Michael Ashwin Adhin and other dignitaries.
Addressing the gathering, Kovind said yoga is an ancient Indian tradition, but it does not belong to India alone.
"It is part of humanity's intangible heritage. Millions across the world, in every continent and among all communities, have embraced yoga and interpreted yoga in their own way.
"The practice of yoga has had a beneficial impact on their bodies as well as their minds. Particularly in today's world of stresses and lifestyle diseases, yoga can help all of us," he said.
Kovind is in the Surinamese capital on the second leg of his three-nation tour.
In Paramaribo, Kovind said that yoga embodies the symbiotic relationship of mind and body; and of thought and action.
It promotes harmony between human beings and nature, a sentiment that is so much at home in the culture of Suriname, he added.
"It promotes a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. The benefits of yoga must also spur us, in different countries and cultures, to explore traditional wisdom and consider how this could be useful for the modern age - or simply repackaged for our times. Many societies, including Suriname and India, have a wealth of traditional knowledge to offer," a Press Information Bureau statement quoted Kovind as saying.
Yoga is the ultimate expression of Indian soft power and it has "won us love and affection" among yoga practitioners in all corners of the planet, including in Suriname, he said.
Later in the day, the President laid the foundation stone of an Indian Cultural Centre here which will be dedicated to the promotion of Hindustani music and culture.
The International Yoga Day was enthusiastically observed within India and abroad, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying yoga has emerged as a major unifying force in a world facing conflicts.