Houston: Hundreds of American yoga enthusiasts rolled out their colourful mats and performed various asanas to mark the International Day of Yoga here.
An event was organised in partnership with the Consulate General of India in Houston, various yoga studios, and Indian organisations yesterday. The fourth International Day of Yoga at Houston's Midtown Park on June 21 and in Woodlands on June 23 beat all the expectations, yoga enthusiast Vijay Pallod said.
Non-Indians clearly outnumbered Indian-Americans in the record turnout, proving that yoga has hit mainstream America, he said.
"It is our pleasure to bring together a large number of mainstream Texans, veterans, first responders, Indian Americans and institutions for celebrating the International Day of Yoga in a befitting manner," Anupam Ray, Consul General of India, told PTI.
"Being a Yoga practitioner myself, I encourage all Texans to perform Yoga, which is India's biggest and best to date export. The beauty of it that its origin is from India, but its application is universal. "That gives scope for people to adopt and adapt and we do not export hatred or say that my religion is better than yours... what we say is that yoga is good for all," he said.
Woodlands event, attended by over 700 enthusiasts, was led by Ray and Dilip Sarkar, a retired vascular surgeon turned certified yoga therapist. Yoga coordinator for Houston Sharad Amin said that yoga, which is India's gift to the world, demonstrates universal oneness.
Inviting Houston's top yoga teachers to help "awaken the sleeping giants within us", Shekhar Agarwal, founder and president of Patanjali Yogpeeth USA told the crowd "to breathe in with love and gratitude for this life and breathe out and let go of whatever you no longer wish to hold".
A concluding prayer was organised to "channel energies in the right direction" after which participants broke out in a lively exchange of powdered colours.
Earlier, Deputy Consul General of India Surendra Adhana kicked off the event in San Antonio for wounded warriors on June 9 and on June 16 in Austin in the sprawling lawns of the majestic and stately Capitol, a beautiful 19th-century renaissance revival style building in red "sunset" granite.
The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial of North Texas, in partnership with the Consulate General of India in Houston, organised IDY June 17 at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza in Irving where nearly 400 participants gathered.
Among those who attended were chief guests Irving City Mayor Pro Tem Allan E Meagher and Consul General Ashok Kumar as well as Karthik Nemmani, winner of the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee along with runner-up Naysa Modi and Abhijay Kodali.