International Day of Yoga 2019 in Texas

Thousands of Texans across the state came together to celebrate the 5th International Day of Yoga in partnership with the Consulate General of Bharat in Houston and local organizations.

Houston

Despite the scorching sun, about 1200 yoga practitioners took over the lawns at Midtown Park  on June 21, 2019 to celebrate the 5th International Day of Yoga (IDY). Organized by the Indian Consulate of Houston, the event saw a record turnout and proof that Yoga awareness is growing exponentially and helping millions of people around the world lead healthier lives.

IDY in Texas by Ravikanth Sirigadde

Prior to the main program, Austin Dunn, Marion Hall, Samuel Parmer and Wayne Campbell displayed some of the most mind boggling poses 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 “yogis and yoginis” 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.  

Yoga teachers at Houston IYD 2019

A practicing yogi himself, Consul General Dr. 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 at 200 places in Texas and expected to be attended by 15000 people. 

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 Government of Bharat. The session included standing, sitting and lying asanas (postures), Shavasana (Corpse Pose), Pranayama (breathing exercises) and a meditation practice.

Calming music during the relaxation session was provided by 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.”  

‘You’re never too old for yoga’, this was proved by Ratanlal Jaju, a 97 year old yoga teacher who was invited on stage with the lead teachers and did the asanas with ease. Ratanlal Jaju runs a free yoga studio in Hyderabad, Bharat and has made teaching yoga his service to humanity.  

Combining 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 acroyoga performance that drew several rounds of applause.

An acroyoga performance in Houston

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

IDY at The Woodlands saw 300 people show up early at the Town Green Park on 22nd June 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. In Austin, about 1100 yoga enthusiasts gathered in front of the iconic state Capitol to practice yoga.

San Antonio IYD River walk by Kushal Sethi

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 on June 21, 2019 at the Riverwalk Mall and was attended by 250 people including the Mayor of San Antonio Ron Nirenberg. 

IYD Austin capital by Ravikanth Sirigadde

In the words of Trinabh Shukla, “It brings a sense of pride, gratitude, and a feeling that cannot be put in words that we have when we are able to give something to someone that can potentially transform their lives.”Yoga brings transformation from inside out, and the ‘I Do Yoga” team feels blessed to be able to share this gift with “our family “ that we call San Antonio.” 

A Bharatiya Vegetarian Food Festival was also organized at certain places to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.


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About the Author

Manu Shah
Manu Shah is a freelance writer for Indian-American publications. She lives in Houston, Texas.