Yoga joins Unesco world heritage list

People stretch while performing a yoga pose at Nehru Park in New Delhi, India, on Nov. 20, 2016.
People stretch while performing a yoga pose at Nehru Park in New Delhi, India, on Nov. 20, 2016.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Yoga, the mind-body discipline based on ancient Indian philosophy, has joined Unesco's list of intangible world heritage.

It was added to the prestigious list in recognition of its influence- from health and medicine to education and the arts- on Indian society, , the world heritage committee said in a statement.

"Yoga consists of a series of poses, meditation, controlled breathing, word chanting and other techniques designed to help individuals build self-realization, ease any suffering they may be experiencing and allow for a state of liberation.

"It is practised by the young and old without discriminating against gender, class or religion and has also become popular in other parts of the world," Unesco added in a tweet.

British newspaper The Guardian said the list of intangible cultural treasures was created 10 years ago, mainly to increase awareness about them, while Unesco also sometimes offers financial or technical support to countries struggling to protect them.

On Wednesday, the Paris-based UN body added Cuba's rumba dance and Belgium's beer culture to the list, which also includes the Mediterranean diet, Peking opera and the Peruvian scissors dance.

Unesco began compiling a list for cultural and natural world heritage - physical properties such as Cambodia's Angkor Wat or the Grand Canyon in the United States - in 1972.