On June 21 on the occasion of International Yoga Day, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said yoga was not a part of any religion and it should be practiced with a free and secular mind.

“Some people have been trying to hijack yoga by reciting ‘suktas’ (hymns) and such attempts should be checked. Yoga was in existence even before these hymns,” he said after inaugurating the state-level observance of International Yoga Day at the Central Stadium.

He also said a comprehensive programme to teach yoga in state schools would be drawn up soon.

“Yoga is not a religious ritual. There should not be any misunderstanding that it is part of any religion. Yoga should be practiced with a free and secular mindset,” the CPI-M leader said.

The chief minister also said yoga should be seen as a set of exercises that can be practiced by anyone.

“There has been a conscious attempt to create misunderstanding about yoga. Any move to connect yoga with any particular religion should be checked,” Vijayan said.

Besides Vijayan, Kerala Social Justice Minister K K Shylaja, Congress MLA V S Sivakumar and Mayor V K Prashanth were among those present at the event.

Meanwhile, Kerala Governor Justice (retd) P Sathasivam led the yoga day celebrations at the Raj Bhavan here and Union minister Nirmala Sitaraman took part in an event in Palakkad.