Houstonians Salute Good Health with the Health for Humanity Yogathon


Photos: Bijay Dixit


By Vanshika Vipin Varma

SUGAR LAND: Believed to have originated several centuries ago, Surya Namaskars or Sun Salutations is a yoga warm up routine based on a sequence of gracefully linked asanas. Practicing sun salutations is one way to honor the sun and bring its power into your heart as it helps create a full body workout. It was therefore not surprising when over 350 yoga enthusiasts showed up last Sunday, on January 29, for the concluding day of the Tenth annual Health for Humanity Yogathon, conducted by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, Inc. (HSS), at the Sugar Land Town Square.

Lamp Lighting Ceremony

Lamp Lighting Ceremony

The cold weather could not deter the teens, the youth and the young at heart senior citizens from participating, and they were present in full enthusiasm at the venue by 10:00 am. The 16-day event, which was held from January 14 – 29 aimed to create awareness about Yoga and its advantages in achieving a healthy body, mind and spirit. As a part of this nationwide event, Surya Namaskar Yajna (SNY) marked the culmination of this annual Yogathon. Various dignitaries performed the inaugural lamp lighting ceremony. The ceremony was graced by Sugar Land Pro Tem Mayor Himesh Gandhi, India’s deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana, Sugar Land City Manager Allen Bogard, Jamie Pilloff from Awakening Yoga, HSS USA President Subhash Gupta, and Shekhar Agrawal.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh volunteer

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh volunteers

Several Yoga gurus participated and conducted various yoga and relaxation sessions. Daksha Shah of Om Yoga conducted the warm up session. Participants performed Salutations to the Sun, under the guidance of Madhukar Adi and Hashita Karthick, from Houston HSS. They highlighted the 10-step Surya Namaskar process that Hindu Swayamsevak Sang follows. The participants energized themselves and reached 9100 repetitions of the Surya Namaskar and this session lasted for one and a half hour. Savitri Maskeri of HSS conducted brief Pranayama session, while Maya of ‘Yoga by Maya’ and Robert Boustany of ‘Pralay Yoga’ conducted relaxation sessions.

Anant Samdhani

Anant Samdhani

Dr. Neeta Shukla, a practicing Anesthesiologist at Memorial Hermann of The Woodlands, shared her perspective of the benefits of the Sun Salutations to all the participants. She stated in a simple yet impactful manner that Surya Namaskar integrates simple Yoga postures in 10-steps that, along with easy breathing techniques, can provide immense health benefits to both the body and the mind for everyone. Dr. Karuna Posani, a practicing board certified Internal Medicine physician at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land presented key tips and guidance to the participants. One of her most appreciated tip was that everyone must know their body limit, respect it and ensure not to cross over that limit during yoga sessions.

HSS recognizing the Yoga teachers

HSS recognizing the Yoga teachers

Sugarland Pro Tem Mayor Himesh Gandhi mentioned, “The City of Sugar Land is very proud to support an active and healthy lifestyle. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh’s promotion and awareness is admirable and the City of Sugar Land enjoyed playing hosts to the hundreds of people in attendance”. Surendra Adhana described the event as an extraordinary experience and reminded the audience about the upcoming International Yoga Day on June 21, to be held at Discovery Green in Houston. Anant Samdhani, Houston HSS chapter public relation in charge and the coordinator of the event said that the event was also successful in terms of reaching out to the society as a whole, without any barrier of race, nationality or personal faith.


One of the key highlights of the event was the demonstration of sun salutation by three 75 plus year old senior citizens- Baru Goyal, Kishan Gupta and Dilip Mehta. These young at heart defied the odds and inspired many with their strength, determination and positivity. Participants could be later seen flocking to the free booths that were promoting Yoga and Healthy Lifestyle. With the success of this event, the organizers sincerely hope that participants will continue performing Surya Namaskar as part of their routine, thereby committing to staying healthy.



Warm up Session

Darshak Thacker from Krishna Sounds Production provided live sounds for the event with high end professional equipment.

What few participants had to say:
“It was cold but lots of fun doing Yoga at Town Square.  I have learnt the benefits of doing Suryanamaskar”. -Nata Polyushkevich of Expansion Wellness Center.

“Getting to participate in the public program for Suyra Namaskar at Sugar Land’s Town Square was a wonderful experience, despite the chilly weather. To have so many different people come together from all walks of life, to share a common practice, brought home how universal Yoga truly is.” -Brian Hood from Swashta Yoga Studio.
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS)

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, commonly known as Sangh, is a US based, non-profit, social and cultural organization. It aims to promote community spirit and ideals among Hindus residing in the United States. HSS initiated this health awareness project in 2006. Since its inception, participants from 40 states have participated and collectively performed over 4 million Surya Namaskars. The United States Congress has recognized these efforts and endorsed HSS this year.

For further information about participating in the Health for Humanity Yogathon including training resources and advertising aids visit www.hssus.org/sny or email at sny@hssus.org