Houstonians celebrate International Yoga Day with Sun salutation, breathing exercises

Houston, Jun 22: Rolling out colourful mats to bend and twist their bodies in complex postures, performing deep breathing exercises and saluting Sun amidst a humid but cloudy evening, thousands of yoga enthusiasts in Texas and adjoining US states of Arkansas, Kansas and Colorado celebrated the 7th International Yoga Day, both indoors and outdoors.
The week-long free events, which started last week with webinars, had everything for yoga lovers from interactive sessions, live demonstrations to collective yoga sessions for harmony and peace consisting of asanas (yoga postures), relaxation techniques, pranayama (practice of breath regulation) as well as meditation.
Yoga enthusiasts were excited to perform yoga at the beautiful waterfront backdrop in San Antonio on June 19, in the lush green lawn of Houston’s Bayou Park on Sunday and at India House lawns on Monday.
For many it was their first post Covid restriction yoga session outdoors. “I wanted to attend this yoga session as it is one-of-its-kind. We missed it last year due to Covid restrictions,” said Ishya K, a college student who drove over two hours to be at the event.
Consulate General of India, Houston, in partnership with Patanjali Yogpeeth (USA) and several communities and supporting organisations made this year’s yoga-related events possible, after an online event last year due to Covid restrictions.
“It is our pleasure to bring together a large number of diverse Houstonians and institutions for celebrating the 7th International Day of Yoga in a befitting manner,” Aseem Mahajan, Consul General of India, Houston, told PTI.
“The theme for this year’s International Day of Yoga is ‘Yoga for Wellness’. The current global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health,” he said.
“Being a Yoga practitioner myself, I encourage Texans and other states that we serve, like Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, to practice yoga, as it helps in boosting the respiratory and immune systems, dealing with lifestyle related diseases, stress and for leading a healthy and balanced life,” Mahajan added.
Dr Lorenzo Cohen, Director of Integrative Medicine programme at MD Anderson Cancer Centre, in a message wished everyone a wonderful experience on International Yoga Day.
“If more people were living a yogic way of life, we would certainly have less disease in the world, we would be able to recover from illness better, and we would have less war and more peace,” Cohen said.
MD Anderson has been providing cancer patients, survivors and loved ones, yoga therapy for a decade now. It is part of clinical practice guidelines that is recommended for helping patients to manage fatigue, to manage their nausea to improve their cognitive functioning, to improve their overall quality of life and well-being.
David Frawley, a Padma Bhushan awardee and an eminent yoga, ayurveda and astrology expert, in a webinar titled ‘Relevance of Yoga and Ayurveda in Everyday Life’, said, “Yoga provides the key to right living on all levels of body, mind and consciousness.”
“Yoga promotes wellness, peace, longevity and self-realisation. We should all learn to access the power of Pranayama for healing the body and purifying the mind, along with its Ayurvedic support practices,” said Frawley, who is also the Director of the American Institute of Vedic studies, at the webinar organised by CGI Houston on June 17.
Dr Subhash Kak, a Padma Shri awardee and an expert on Indian vedic studies, in another webinar titled ‘Yoga and Science’ on June 16 suggested that yoga groups in India should take the leadership in forming alliances so as to lobby for insurance support for yoga therapy.
“It would be easier to get government support after that,” he said.
June 21, the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day, is celebrated as the International Yoga Day worldwide after the United Nations General Assembly adopted in 2014 a proposal mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)