Seven yoga poses from India’s Hindu holy men

Millions across the globe twisted their bodies on Sunday to mark the world’s first International Yoga Day.

“We are not only celebrating a day, but we are training the human mind to begin a new era of peace and harmony,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said from his yoga mat in New Delhi. “This is a program for the benefit of mankind, for a tension-free world and to spread the message of harmony.”

[Photos: Scenes of serenity on International Yoga Day]

One thousand miles east from New Delhi, in Himalayan foothills of Assam, Hindu holy men joined tens of thousands of other devotees for the upcoming Ambubachi festival. For Hindu holy men, yoga is a daily ritual to “soothe their bodies and their minds,” Associated Press photographer, Anupam Nathwrote.

A couple of weeks ago, Nath photographed the Hindu holy Men in Gauhati, India as they illustrated various yoga poses.

Mahant Ranjitanand Giri Maharaj practices yoga almost everyday with the rising sun. The “Baddha Padmasana,” or “Locked Lotus” pose,  where one’s arms are twisted around the back, helps Mahara’s migraines but takes years of training. Maharaj told Nath that yoga is good for the body and mind, and that it “is the best way to find God.”

Sita Ram Baba, an Indian Hindu holy man, displays the yoga pose Vriksasana or Tree pose. (Anupam Nath/AP)