A Bright Surya Namaskar at Int’l Yoga Day in The Woodlands


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By Jawahar Malhotra

THE WOODLANDS: Following up on the successful debut of the mass yoga event last year, the organizers from this township 45 minutes north of Houston once again held the International Day of Yoga, two days after the Summer Solstice on Saturday, June 23, just in time for the Sun to rise and allow everyone to start with the Surya Namaskar pose.

Blessedly, the rains that dampened the event last year were replaced by clear blue skies and mild temperatures as an estimated 300 people took part in the toga exercises, down from the almost 450 who attended last year.

This was the second IDY event – the first being on Thursday in Midtown Park in Houston – arranged by the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands, in partnership with the Houston Consulate General of India, Most of the staff of the Consulate were on hand with their families to participate and enjoy the early morning rituals of yoga asanas (poses). The Woodlands community showed their interest in yoga’s promise of health and wellness and several booths from area businesses lined both sides of the venue.

Participants to the free even came with their rubber yoga rolls and spread them out in rows on the slight incline of Town Greene Park, in the shadow of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. By 8 am, the yoga mats covered the grassy lawn as the leotard and t-shirt clad yoga practitioners followed the calming, sonorous voice from the short, elevated stage at the colonnaded and bricked entrance urging them to find the quiet space in their minds and focus on their asanas.


    Participants in the International Day of Yoga held at the Woodlands on Saturday, June 23

The program opened with prayers and meditation by the Brahmakumaris, a worldwide spiritual movement, and The Art of Living Foundation of The Woodlands. Short yoga demonstrations followed – sun salutations, relaxation and pranayama – taught by several area yoga instructors, including some from HTW. Participants, ranging from small children to octogenarians, followed guided meditation and asnayas with rapt attention, and were transported into tranquility in the serene setting of Town Greene Park.

IYD WOODLANDS_IN3                       Staff from the Indian Consulate and their families attended the event
The festive event was a wholesome family outing with live music, chanting, yoga studio booths and sale of yoga books as well as stalls of local vendors of organic groceries, health foods and hand-made jewelry. An Indian breakfast of biryani and vegetables was provided by the Hyderabad House Biryani Place of The Woodlands. The local H-E-B, across the street from the park, generously donated water and bananas to everyone

IYD WOODLANDS_IN4                                       Organizers and volunteers after the event ended

The event was coordinated by Dr. Neeta Shukla and brought together by the tireless efforts of countless adult and youth volunteers of the HTW, some of whom were at the venue at 4 am to set-up and the rains did not dampen their spirit. They meticulously planned the safety, security, parking, audio, photography and overall logistics over several weeks.