New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Union Minister Shripad Yasso Naik on Wednesday said that yoga should be kept out of politics as he launched the new website of the AYUSH ministry and web portal for International Day of Yoga (IDY) here.
"My request to all the people is to keep yoga out of politics. Do yoga and stay healthy," Naik said on the controversy surrounding the International Day of Yoga over 'Surya Namaskar' and the chanting of 'Om' while doing yoga.
"Surya Namaskar and chanting Om are not part of the protocol for yoga day. It is people's choice whether they want to chant Om or not," Naik said.
"The event would be the same as last year. If nobody was forced to chant Om last year, then why this controversy this time around?" the minister for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) added.
He said that close to 200 countries would be participating in this year's Yoga Day event on June 21. The main function would be held at Chandigarh in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also set to participate.
Last year, 192 countries participated in the event.
Naik said this time around four new 'asanas' (postures) have been included and the protocol has been extended by 15 minutes as compared to the last year and would now be of 45-minute duration.
"We are introducing four new 'asanas' and extending the event by 15 minutes as compared to last year," he said.
On the newly-launched website and Yoga Day portal, Naik said that it has been developed as part of Digital India programme, using content management framework (CMF) approach.
The new portal for IDY has a provision for news to provide all the updated and relevant information relating to International Day of Yoga 2016, the minister said.
"It has a social wall where all the social media interactive platform shall be available for the visitors to keep track on the discussions and participate in them," he added.