Bhopal: As many as 300,000 students, led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, took part in the 'surya namaskar' - a warm-up yoga exercise that begins with salutation to the sun as the primal source of energy - in government schools across the state as it unveiled a physical education policy here.
"The government was committed to creating awareness about yoga, which helps to keep the body and mind in good health," Chouhan said after performing surya namaskar.
The yoga policy, as it is called, envisages constitution of a council for practising yoga in the state, provision of facilities required for setting up yoga centres, selection and appointment of yoga teachers.
The policy has been attacked by minorities, particularly Muslims, who say their children will not do surya namaskar as it is a "Hindu practice".
But proponents of it say that though yoga had origin in the ancient Hindu texts, it had now a universal appeal and was followed by millions worldwide for holistic development of body and mind. Yoga literally means union or synthesis.
Chouhan announced that yoga had been included as physical education in the educational institutions across the state. Organisations committed to promote yoga and impart training would be awarded Rs.100,000 for outstanding work.
State ministers took part in the programme at all the district headquarters. Private organisations and educational institutions were invited to attend.