40 States, 195 Cities
8846 participants and 944050 Surya Namaskars
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, Inc. (HSS) concluded its Fourth Annual Health for Humanity Yogathon on January 31, 2010. During the two-week Yogathon, over 9,000 participants completed nearly 950,000 repetitions of the yoga routine known as the Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar.
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, Inc. (HSS) concluded its Fourth Annual Health for Humanity Yogathon on January 31, 2010. During the two-week Yogathon, over 9,000 participants completed nearly 950,000 repetitions of the yoga routine known as the Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar
HSS launched the Health for Humanity Yogathon as an annual event in 2007 to create awareness about yoga and its advantages in achieving a healthy body, mind, and spirit. Participation has increased each year, putting the Yogathon in striking distance of its target of 10,000 participants completing 1 million repetitions of the Surya Namaskar yoga routine.
The Surya Namaskar yoga routine integrates simple postures of well-balanced movements in ten steps with an easy breathing technique to provide immense health benefits for everyone, from beginners to yoga enthusiasts.
The Yogathon’s growth this year included participants from nearly every State and involvement of more than fifty organizations, such as civic, cultural, and religious associations, schools, and yoga clubs.
Nearly 500 students at Ridgewood Elementary School, in Renton, Washington, participated in a Yogathon during their gym classes. Similar sessions occurred in schools in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Texas.
Several cities across the country also issued proclamations recognizing dates during the Yogathon as “Health for Humanity Day,” including Tampa, Florida; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Sunnyvale, California.
HSS also organized several 24-hour Yogathon sessions this year in California, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. These involved mostly high school and college students as well as young professionals completing several repetitions of the Surya Namaskar routine non-stop in a relay spanning 24 hours. Shashidhar Massireddy, a student in Pennsylvania, set this year’s record, completing 123 sets or 1,599 repetitions non-stop.
The HSS chapter in Houston organized several events as part of the Yogathon. An inaugural event on January 17 at George Bush Park included nearly 100 participants. The event attracted a Chinese tourist in the park, Mr. Guo Wen Jing, who commented that the harmonious atmosphere of the event deeply inspired him to learn Surya Namaskar for the first time. The closing event for the 24-hour Yogathon session on January 30 at Keshav Smruti featured U.S. Olympic medallist gymnast Raj Bhavsar, who spoke about how adding yoga to his training routine helped his performance in the 2008 Olympics. The same event also raised more than $6,000 for the Haitian earthquake relief effort sponsored by SewaUSA.
HSS Yogathon National Coordinator Piyush Satapathy was pleasantly surprised after tallying this year’s numbers. “We substantially exceeded last year’s numbers by all measures: participants, repetitions, locations, and supporting organizations. To maintain the challenge, we will have to increase all our targets for next year’s Yogathon.”