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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Event 7 USA houston team











A Successful Invocation Toward Oneness
By Jennifer Buergermeister, MA © 2015

The Consul General (CG) of India Harish Parvathaneni,in partnership with PatanjaliYogpeeth (USA) and other supporting organizations, launched this past Sunday withgreat enthusiasmthe very first International Day of Yoga at the George R Brown Convention Center.It was a full day with 3000 participants who joined together to recognize yoga as a practice toward peace and harmony.

An opening ceremony beautifullyhonored India, The United States and 12 community leaders who have demonstrated extraordinary service to communities in the promotion of yoga:  Robert Boustany, Jennifer Buergermeister, Dr. Harish Chandra, Alejandro Chaoul, Lorenzo Cohen, Billie Gollnick, Ann Klein, Charles McInerney,Beth Reese, ShriramSarvotham, Daksha Shah, and Kay Westcott.

The honoring ceremony wasfollowed by a morning yoga session withShriramSarvothamwho began with an invocation followed by a few lightexercises. Billie Gollnick, the “mother” of yoga in Southeast Texas and her student Robert Boustanycontinued by conductinga session of Yoga Asanas (postures).  Billie Gollnick was one of the first yoga teachers in the Houston area. In 1959, Gollnick read in a newspaper that the world-renowned yoga instructor and Sanskrit teacher Ernest Wood was moving to Houston. Shedecided to take advantage of thegreat opportunity and spent the next six years studying with him.Boustany, a local celebrity teacher, is said to have instructed a large number of yoga teachers in the Houston area and travels the world teaching Pralaya, a trademark of his teaching style.

ShekharAgrawalfollowed withPranayama (breathing exercises), and the morning sessions ended with a meditation led by Dr. Harish Chandra.

The afternoon began with an amazing 30-minute yoga demonstration by “The Masters” - Robert Boustany, Catherine Allen, Ann Hyde and KabirSamlal- whose beautiful practices thrilled the whole audience with awe.

Afterthe lunch break, 30 children from Hindu SwayamsevakSangh demonstrated yoga. Beth Reese and her group ledYoginos: Yoga for YouthÒandenergized the crowd with a spectacular and fun-filled class for kids and families.

The afternoon ended with a workshop on thetherapeutics of yoga, a session moderated by Robert Boustanyand three panelists - Charles Maclnerney, Sat SiriSumler, and Smitha Mallaiah. Attendees were able to ask many open-ended questions and discuss considerations in a therapeutic yoga practice.

A beautiful performance called “Upa Yoga” was presentedlater in the afternoon by Ravi Bommu and VasanthBalasubramani of ISHA Yoga. The performance attracted a large afternoon crowd. Afterwards, the attendees fully appreciated the YogNidra session led by Robert Boustany to relax and restore.  A Patanjali Yoga Meditation with Dr. Harish Chandrathen finalized the day and left the crowd fully rejuvenated.

“It was a unique experience to organize the first International Day of Yoga celebrations in Houston on 21 June. Houston is not only a diverse, inclusive and welcoming city but also has a rich "Yoga ecosystem" spanning different schools, practices and lineages. The fact that Houston is the only city where all branches of the 'Yoga tree' got together to celebrate is testimony to the overall message of Yoga of unity and harmony - between East and West, man and nature, mind and body, thought and action,” said CG Parvathaneni, “This is the first year of such an annual get together and celebration, and I am confident that with the dedication and contribution of so many aspirants, practitioners and gurus of yoga, the International Day of Yoga will find its rightful place in Houston's calendar.”

Houston has become a mecca for yogic practices and the overall vision for humanity. The event was congratulated and supported by state officials and diplomats, and alsoby theChancellor and President of the University of Houston RenuKhator.

Khator said, "I do yoga every day."  She has been a long time advocate of yoga since her youth living in India. Shepracticed yoga up front on the second row near the Consul General of India and his lovely wife.

Organizer and Honoree Shekhar Agrawal said, “It was a proud moment in Houston as East met the West and thousands of Houstonians came together under one roof for a united purpose of harmony and peace by doing yoga. We joined together yesterday in a real sense…just as it should be.”

The world is seemingly ready for an integration of mind/body/planet health like never before. We have reached a new age where wellness is recognized as more than just exercise and diet. Health is a complete system that combines the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and planetary components of being. We have reached the tipping point where our conscious actions are crucial, and every aspect influences a world of concerns from climate and environmental contamination to human faction and war. It’s time to remember oneness for all.

“Yoga is a great Indian gift to the world,” said Latafath Husain, president of the Association of Indian Muslims in Greater Houstonand one of the sponsors of the event. He said, “We wanted to help spread the word and show the world how proud we are of our heritage.”

If we adopt yoga in our daily life, the worldmaybe filled with harmony and peace. This is an invitation from the International Day of Yoga to join us again each year and help us beat our record of 3600 registrants.

“It is an honor to be a volunteer at the ‘International Yoga Day’ – because we feel that we made an effective contribution to serve humanity and promote peace on earth, said volunteer BhagwanBhutada.


Namaste’