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Thousands Participated in HSS International Yoga Day Celebrations Print E-mail
 

 
 

JUNE 21, 2015 -- To mark the first-ever International Day of Yoga, more than 100 centers of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, USA (HSS) organized yoga festivals in 30 cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Jose, San Francisco Bay Area, Irvine, Milwaukee, Houston, Bloomington, Morrisville, Tampa, Orlando, and Phoenix. The events attracted thousands of participants around the country. Activities included guided yoga poses, meditation techniques, and scientific presentations on the benefits of yoga, live music, and demonstrations by expert yoga practitioners.

“International Day of Yoga was a resounding success and indeed recognized the universality of this invaluable gift that India has given the world,” said Dr. Ved Nanda, president of HSS. “It was exciting and inspiring to see thousands of people commit to living healthy, harmonious lives through the practice of yoga.”


JUNE 21, 2015 -- To mark the first-ever International Day of Yoga, more than 100 centers of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, USA (HSS) organized yoga festivals in 30 cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Jose, San Francisco Bay Area, Irvine, Milwaukee, Houston, Bloomington, Morrisville, Tampa, Orlando, and Phoenix. The events attracted thousands of participants around the country. Activities included guided yoga poses, meditation techniques, and scientific presentations on the benefits of yoga, live music, and demonstrations by expert yoga practitioners.

“International Day of Yoga was a resounding success and indeed recognized the universality of this invaluable gift that India has given the world,” said Dr. Ved Nanda, president of HSS. “It was exciting and inspiring to see thousands of people commit to living healthy, harmonious lives through the practice of yoga.”

Yoga is an ancient Hindu practice that aims to harmonize the body with the mind through breathing techniques, postures, and meditation. The goal of International Day of Yoga was to raise awareness about yoga and its benefits for holistic physical, mental, and spiritual health.

HSS decided to organize these celebrations last December when the United Nations declared June 21, which coincides with the summer solstice, as the “International Day of Yoga.” The announcement followed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal in his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly. Co-sponsoring Modi’s resolution were 175 nations, the highest number on any resolution of this kind.

In several states, including Massachusetts, Ohio, and Illinois, governors and mayors also recognized June 21 as “Yoga Day” within their jurisdictions. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren appreciated the organizers’ outstanding work in promoting friendship, mutual understanding, health and well-being among diverse members of the community. 

Khyati Vaidya, who participated in the Houston event, called the event “historic and unforgettable.”  “In this day and age, with healthcare costs skyrocketing out of control and diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and emotional disorders becoming tragically common, yoga and preventive care are more important than ever,” Vaidya said. “International Yoga Day was a fantastic way to raise awareness about yoga and show people how simple it is to practice yoga in their daily lives.”

At the Boston event, held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus, over 500 yoga enthusiasts as well as novices attended the event in spite of heavy rain all day. Highlights of the Boston event included a talk by Lama Migmar Tseten, Harvard University’s Buddhist chaplain on universalism of Yoga philosophy. Mallakhamb, or performing yogic postures and exercise on a wooden pole by a group from New Jersey, received huge applause.

Yoga Day participants came from diverse backgrounds and ranged from 3 to 90 years old. In many cities, including Atlanta and Piscataway, New Jersey, activities included “Chair Yoga” lessons designed specifically for senior citizens. The New Jersey event also featured a popular “Laughter Yoga” session in which participants learned different self-induced laughing techniques that have been shown to strengthen the immune system, reduce stress, and enhance oxygen flow to the body.  San Francisco Bay area volunteers organized Yoga Day events at seven locations.

Other popular sessions included presentations by eminent doctors and researchers on the benefits of yoga. At the Orlando event, Dr. Diane Robinson spoke on the significance of yoga for preventing and treating cancer. The Orlando event also featured a presentation on Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine based on achieving balance in the body through natural herbs, foods, and breathing techniques.  At San Francisco Bay area event Finance Minister of India Mr. Arun Jaitely was the chief guest.

In most cities, HSS collaborated with several other organizations to conduct the Yoga Day celebrations. Partner organizations included Art of Living, Chinmaya Mission, Sewa International, Vedanta Society, Gayatri Parivar, Patanjali Yogpeeth, local temples, yoga classes and universities.  Indian consulate general at Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, also supported and appreciated local Yoga Day events. 

 
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