NEW DELHI — Millions of yoga enthusiasts across the world bent and twisted their bodies in complex postures Sunday to mark International Yoga Day. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spread his mat among rows of people, including his Cabinet members and foreign diplomats, at New Delhi's main thoroughfare, which was transformed into a sprawling exercise ground. Thousands of people dressed in white sat on yellow mats under the Eiffel Tower, and similar events were held in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Beijing, Manila and other places. Modi had lobbied the U.N. to declare June 21 as the first International Yoga Day. advertisement Oliver Chamo, 33, a Spanish Yoga instructor, left, instructs an Acro yoga class during the first International Yoga Day, at Beirut Yoga Center, Lebanon, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Hussein Malla / AP "We are not only celebrating a day, but we are training the human mind to begin a new era of peace and harmony," Modi told participants. "This is a program for the benefit of mankind, for a tension-free world and to spread the message of harmony." Schoolchildren, bureaucrats, homemakers, soldiers and ordinary folk took part in the exercise, held in all Indian state capitals. In Modi's home state of Gujarat, yoga events were organized at nearly 30,000 places, state officials said. In Taipei, more than 2,000 participants rolled out mats and performed 108 rounds of the "sun salutation" — the sequence of poses often practiced at the beginning of a routine as the sun rises. "They give themselves a piece of time to observe their mind and their heart, which I think in the modern society we need a lot," said practitioner Angela Hsi. Fazel Shah, an Indian pilot working for a Middle Eastern airline, rushed from the airport on his stopover in Taiwan to join the event. "Isn't it awesome? I mean, just look at the number of people who are here, embracing it," he said. advertisement Indians perform yoga on Rajpath, in New Delhi, India, on June 21. Manish Swarup / AP He said yoga was probably born in India but belongs anywhere. "If you go up from where I am and look from the sky down, you don't see borders, you don't see religions, you don't see nationalities,