Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi posts video of morning exercise routine

(CNN)Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made no secret of his passion for yoga, routinely promoting the health benefits of the ancient Indian practice.

But on Wednesday, the 67-year-old fitness fanatic took things a step further, sharing a video online inviting Indians to follow along with his “refreshing and rejuvenating” morning exercise routine.

The 1.48 minute video shows a barefooted Modi in an outdoor setting, flexing over a boulder and walking backwards. He later walks on along a circular track inspired by the “five elements of nature,” while wielding a wooden staff.

Here are moments from my morning exercises. Apart from Yoga, I walk on a track inspired by the Panchtatvas or 5 elements of nature – Prithvi, Jal, Agni, Vayu, Aakash. This is extremely refreshing and rejuvenating. I also practice
breathing exercises. #HumFitTohIndiaFitpic.twitter.com/km3345GuV2

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 13, 2018

The Prime Minister is the latest high-profile Indian celebrity to take up the #FitnessChallenge craze sweeping the country, in which people post homemade motivational fitness videos online, and challenge others to do the same.

Modi was initially challenged by Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli on Twitter in May.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 24, 2018

The challenge is a part of a larger campaign, #HumFitTohIndiaFit (“India’s fit if we are fit”) started by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a former Olympic silver medalist and current Indian Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Other Indian celebrities, such as Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone, have responded to the challenge, resulting in the #FitnessChallenge becoming a trending topic on Twitter in India.

— Deepika Padukone (@deepikapadukone) May 25, 2018

Modi himself challenged Karnataka’s Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Indian table tennis player Manika Batra and the entire Indian Police Service.

— Shesh Paul Vaid (@spvaid) June 13, 2018

But not everyone was impressed by Modi’s video.

Although Chief Minister Kumaraswamy thanked Modi for the challenge on Twitter, he also stated that he was more concerned with the “development fitness” of his state Karnataka.

Dear @narendramodi ji
I am honoured& thankU very much for d concern about my health
I believe physical fitness is imptnt for all&support d cause. Yoga-treadmill r part of my daily workout regime.
Yet, I am more concerned about devlpment fitness of my state&seek ur support for it.

— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) June 13, 2018

Congress leader Pramod Tiwari was more critical still, telling Indian reporters that it was “very unfortunate that when soldiers are dying on the border, Prime Minister is busy giving himself a fitness certificate.” He added that Modi “should have expressed his condolences, instead he has insulted them by doing so.”

But many others have responded positively to Modi’s video, calling him a rockstar.

The popularity of the video has seen it quickly transformed into a meme, with people inserting images of Modi exercising into famous photo ops and scenes from history.

— 🇮🇳 Sanjay dutt 🍺 (@sanju__baba_) June 14, 2018

News Reporter