New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) Stressing on yoga's secular nature, Baba Ramdev, who led about 35,000 people in a rehearsal ahead of the International Yoga Day at the Rajpath on Sunday, said yoga was not a religious but a spiritual practice and did not make a practitioner lose his religious identity.
Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu also participated in the rehearsal.
"Practicing yoga is not a religious practice. It's spiritual and secular practice. Doing 'Surya Namaskar' does not convert a Muslim into a Hindu," Ramdev said while leading a rehearsal for the second International Yoga Day on June 21.
The event began after Baba Ramdev paid homage to martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate.
Singer Kailash Kher, who promoted the event, sang his famous numbers while Ramdev performed yoga matching the beat, as Naidu called him a 'true sage'.
"In today's world of Liberalization, privatisation and globalisation, spirituality, peace and self-control is possible through yoga. Guru ji (Ramdev) is doing a pious work. He is a saint," Naidu said.
Jaitley also praised Baba Ramdev and said that yoga is India's gift to the world.
"India is respected for sharing its Vedic knowledge in form of yoga with the world. Baba Ramdev is taking care of people's health by spreading it across the world," he said.
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for getting global respect for yoga, Ramdev said the International Yoga Day had become a festival like the Independence Day or Diwali.
BJP MPs Meenakshi Lekhi, Babul Supriyo and Manoj Tiwari were also present.