International Day of Yoga celebrated in Texas


HOUSTON: Thousands of Texans across the state came together to celebrate the Fifth International Day of Yoga (IDY) in partnership with the Consulate General of India in Houston and local organizations.Yoga teachers at Houston IYD 2019


Despite the scorching sun, about 1,200 yoga practitioners took over the lawns at Midtown Park June 21 to celebrate IDY. Organized by the Indian Consulate of Houston, the event saw a record turnout and was proof that yoga awareness is growing exponentially and helping millions of people around the world lead healthier lives.

Prior to the main program, Austin Dunn, Marion Hall, Samuel Parmer and Wayne Campbell displayed some of the most mind-boggling postures in yoga to demonstrate what our bodies are capable of if we put our mind to it.

Emcee and renowned yoga teacher from Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, USA, Shekhar Agrawal, welcomed the participants and described yoga as “a balanced study of the body, mind and intellect”. An invocation dance to Adiyogi or the first yogi Shiva set the mood for the evening.

A practising yogi himself, Consul General Anupam Ray’s cheerful greeting showed that he was equally eager to hit the yoga mat. In a brief address, he noted that what began as one event in Houston three years ago is today being celebrated in 200 places in Texas.

The formal yoga session began with the chanting of a Sanskrit prayer by Swami Vishvang “to channel our energies” after which six of the city’s top yoga instructors led the common yoga protocol prescribed by the Indian government. The session included standing, sitting and lying postures, Shravasana (corpse posture), Pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation practice.

Calming music during the relaxation session was provided by the co-founder of YOUniverSoul Saumil Manek, a spiritual entrepreneur whose efforts are aimed at “bringing oneness in the community and changing the world with actions and beliefs”.

Yoga teachers at Houston IYD 2019

That you are not too old for yoga was proved by Ratanlal Jaju, a 97-year-old yoga teacher who was invited on stage with the lead teachers and did the postures with ease. Ratanlal Jaju runs a free yoga studio in Hyderabad, India, and has made teaching yoga his service to humanity.

IYD group picture with flags in the back pic by Ravikanth SirigaddeCombining the traditions of yoga, acrobatics and dance, Tanya Arriaga, Matt Bench, Zack Durr and Gayle Wetz displayed a perfect sense of coordination, strength, steadiness and flexibility in an awe-inspiring acro-yoga performance that drew several rounds of applause.

The program concluded with a prayer that sought enlightenment and the playful smearing of eco- friendly colors or Holi.

IDY at The Woodlands saw 300 people show up early at the Town Green Park June 22 to kick start their morning with a robust session of yoga. Twenty yoga teachers, 50 volunteers and the Hindu Temple Woodlands team ensured that the event was executed smoothly.

Austin, Dallas and San Antonio

IDY was also celebrated at Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. mIn Austin, about 1,100 yoga enthusiasts gathered in front of the iconic state Capitol to practice yoga. The Dallas IDY was organized at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza and was attended by 250 participants. The chief guest of the event was Mayor of Irving Rick Stopfer. San Antonio organized about 125 events spread across the city. The main event was organized June 21 at the Riverwalk Mall and was attended by 250 people including the Mayor of San Antonio Ron Nirenberg.

Indian vegetarian food festivals were also organized at certain places to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

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