Chicago/Naperville: Consulate General of India in Chicago, in collaboration with the City of Naperville, rolled out the third edition of International Yoga Day, on June 24th, 2017 at Naperville Yard, 1603 Legacy Circle, Naperville, IL 60563. The high-profile event was inaugurated by lighting of the lamp and singing of the National Anthems of Republic of India and United States of America. The purpose of the event was to create a broad-based awareness about the benefits of yoga for all sections of society, irrespective of their age group, and also to introduce the ancient mind-body practice to a generation of technology-loving kids and to reintroduce it to an older generation of high-strung adults. Video messages of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Mrs Sushma Swaraj, and Ayush Health Minister Shri Shripad were played during the official opening ceremony.
City of Naperville issued a Proclamation and declared June 24th 2017 as International Yoga Day in the City of Naperville. It was one of the mega events in Chicago in which about 100 community organizations and over 3000 Indian Americans and people belonging to other nationalities participated, along with their family and friends.
The event started at 10 am with Yoga demonstration by volunteers from the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago. After this, the event shifted to its main official opening ceremony which included lighting of the lamp which was followed by demonstration of common asanas (postures), breathing techniques and shanti mantra. There were breakout sessions of chair yoga for people who have mobility challenges, kids’ yoga, women’s yoga, and age-based yoga for different generational groups.
Ms. Neeta Bhushan, Consul General of India in Chicago extended warm welcome and greetings to everyone present on the occasion. In her remarks, she said; “June 21st was declared as day of International Yoga Day through UN resolution supported by a whopping 177 countries, a unique record in its own right”. She conveyed that yoga was a great way to connect to oneself and achieve a healthy balance between the mind and body. “People are losing their health consciousness, but yoga is one way to get it back”, Ms. Neeta Bhushan said and added that yoga helps people in attaining harmony within themselves as well with other members of the community. She also mentioned that Yoga helps people in maintaining balance among their thoughts, emotions, and feelings, and thereby improving their effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.
Ms. Neeta Bhushan expressed her gratitude to the city of Naperville, its India-friendly Mayor Steve Chirico, the dignitaries, participating organizations, media and community members for taking an active part in the celebration of the Third International Yoga Day. She thanked leaders of other communities such as the Muslim community who had come to participate in the Yoga day in large numbers despite Ramzan.
Mayor of Naperville Hon. Steve Chirico said that the contemporary world of work brings in its wake a highly stressful life for people. “Yoga is a great way to destress and relax, especially for those who are having tough jobs and juggle a lot of things”, said Mr. Steve Chirico and added that in the present-day busy life, everyone should take care of his health and well-being.
Congressman Mr. Peter Roskam and Mr. Gaur Gopal Das, and other eminent motivational speaker, also spoke on the occasion and underscored the multifarious health benefits of yoga. Other eminent persons who participated in the inaugural ceremony and other related events included Mayor of Oakbrook Hon. Gopal Lalmalani, Swami Vishwangji, Mr. William Sands, Dean of the College of Maharishi Vedic Science, etc.
Lectures on Yoga, Nutrition, and Weight Loss were delivered by Abhijit Joshi, Anu Malhotra, Kusum Patel, Hiral Vyas, Dr. Harpreet Singh, Prasad Palacharla, and experts representing such well-known organizations as Isha Foundation, Sri Venkateswara Swami Balaji Temple, Sewa International, Brahma Kumaris, Kriya Vedanta Gurukulam, Heartfulness, Science of Spirituality, Sahaja Yoga Meditation, etc.
Cultural Programs, Games, Family, and Kids’ Activities were presented by Prachi, Alokita Dhar, Sabrina, Maddy Singh, and artists representing such eminent organizations as Desi Junction, Soorya Dance School, SR International, Jhankaar Dance Group, SNM & UPA Teams, etc.
“The yoga event, featuring about 60 food booths, music, dance, and cultural entertainment made the day a pleasant, enriching, and memorable experience of our lifetime”, opined many a participant unanimously.
Jassi Parmar, Sanjeev Singh, and Mohan Rawat, who were the Emcees, conducted the program in a professional fashion and added great value to the event.
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