Celebrations of the First International Day of Yoga in Chicagoland & the US Mid-west


Chicago IL: The Consulate General of India in Chicago in collaboration with nearly two dozen participating organizations celebrated the First International Day of Yoga (IDY) on Sunday, June 21st 2015 at the Odeum Expo Center, 1033 Villa Avenue, North Park, IL from 10:00 AM to 05:00PM.

Dr. Najma Heptulla, Hon’ble Union Minister of Minority Affairs inaugurated the event by lighting of the lamp in a traditional Indian manner. Swami Ishatmanandji, President of Vivekanand Vedanta Society was the keynote speaker on the occasion. State Senator Michael Noland, Illinois State Representative Mrs. Christine Winger, Mayor of Burr Ridge Village Mr. Mickey Straub, Mayor of Oakbrook Village Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, the Democrat Congressional candidate for Illinois’s 8th District Mr. Raja Krishnamoorthy, Cook county Board of Commissioner and Chairman Mr. Tim Schneider and Trustee of Schaumburg Township, Mr. Nimish Jani participated in the inaugural ceremony of the First International Day of Yoga, along with Mr. Matthew Abbott, outreach coordinator of Senator Mark Kirk and Mr. Dennis Jung, Outreach coordinator of Governor Bruce Rauner.

The Consul General, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, extended warm welcome and greetings to all the participants on the occasion of the First International Yoga Day celebrations in Chicagoland. In his remarks the Consul General traced the history of Yoga and gave a background of the adoption of an India-led Resolution by the United National General Assembly (UNGA) on December 11, 2014 declaring June 21 as the “International Day of Yoga”. The Consul General described Yoga is an invaluable gift of India to the world and said that Yoga pre-dates any religion in the forms as we know today.

Hon’ble Minister, Dr. Najma Heptulla thanked all the dignitaries, participating organizations, the Consulate & the people of Chicago for celebrating the First International Day of Yoga in Chicago for peace & harmony.

State Senator Michael Noland appreciated the effort made by India in declaring 21st June as International Day of Yoga for peace & harmony. Hon’ble Mayor of Village of Oakbrook, Dr. Gopal Lalmalani and Mayor of Village of Burr Ridge, Mr. Mickey Straub underlined the importance of yoga in day to days life & appreciated the Government of India for leading the issue at international level. Mr. Nimish Jani, Trustee of Schaumburg Township and Outreach coordinator of Governor’s office, Mr. Dennis Jung, jointly read out the Proclamation wherein Hon’ble Bruce Rauner, Governor of the State of Illinois, proclaimed June 21, 2015 as INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY in Illinois, for the cultural significance of yoga and to raise awareness of the health benefits of yoga. Mrs. Beena Patel read out the message of the Cook County Clerk Mrs Dorothy Brown in which she congratulated the Indian-American community for the IYD celebrations. To support yoga, the Cook County Clerk’s office started conducting classes on Yoga from “Akhu Ausar” for health benefits of their employees since May, 2015.

Hon’ble Minister, Dr. Najma Heptulla, all the dignitaries and representatives of the participating organizations also released the commemorative souvenir on the occasion. Thereafter, the dignitaries inaugurated the special Book and Photo exhibitions on yoga organized by the Consulate at the Odeum Expo center. All the dignitaries took a round of the booths of participating organizations & all venues wherein parallel yoga related activities were organized.

Besides Chicago, the First International Day of Yoga was celebrated in Carmel in Indiana and Madison in Wisconsin.

The details of the event organized under the jurisdiction of the Consulate are as follows:
[I] Chicago [Illinois]:
[a] Main event in Chicago : The main event in Chicago was held at ODEUM Expo Center, 1033 North Vila Avenue, Villa Park from 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM under the umbrella of the Consulate in collaboration with the following participating organizations:

[i] Art of living Foundation
[ii] Gayathri Gyan Mandir
[iii] Isha Foundation
[iv] Patanjali Yogpeeth
[v] Brahma Kumaris Meditation Centers
[vi] SEWA International
[vii] Science of Spirituality
[viii] Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh
[ix] Yog Sadhan Ashram of Chicago
[x] Akhu Ausar
[xi] Kriya Vedanta Gurukulam
[xii] Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation
[xiii] Metropolitan Asian Family Services [MAFS]
[xiv] Bharatiya Senior Citizens
[xv] American Association of Retired Asians

Activities held: The programme started with PM’s special message on the occasion. The Art of Living Foundation performed Common Yoga Protocol / demonstrated Common Asanas. More than 2000 people actively participated in Common Yoga Protocol which is a historic record in Chicagoland. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Swami Ishatmanandaji, President, Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago on “Prabuddha Dhyanam” (‘Enlightened Meditation’). The following other activities were also organized:

[i]Common Yoga Protocol / demonstration of Common Asanas by The Art of Living Foundation.
[ii] Book Exhibition: A special book exhibition on Yoga by the Consulate.
[ii] Photo exhibition: Selected photographs on Yoga by Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga [MDNIY] and by Raja Choudhury by the Consulate
[iii] Screening of the documentary films “History of Yoga: the path of my Ancestors” directed by Deepika and Ramji and “Yoga: Harmony with Nature” directed by National Film Award Winner Raja Choudhury.
[vi] Guided Meditation Workshop by the Brahm Kumaris Meditation Center
[vii] Surya Namaskar Demonstration by the Hindu Swayam Sevak Sangh
[viii] Talk on benefits of Yoga & Hath Yoga posture & Cleansing demonstration by the Yog Sadhan Ashram
[ix] Surat Shabd: ‘Yoga An Ageless Technique’ by The Science of Spirituality
[xi] Cyclic Meditation Workshop (Stop Diabetic Movement) by SEWA International
[xii] Workshop on Yoga Therapy by Akhu Ausar
[xiii] Yoga and Pranayama for Seniors by Patanjali Yogpeeth (USA) Trust, Chicago
[xiv] Chair Yoga demonstration for seniors by American Association of Retired Asians (AARA)
(xv) Laughing Yoga for seniors – by Metropolitan Asian Family Services
(xv) Workshop for Children – by Overseas Volunteer for a Better India and by Brahma Kumaris Meditation

All the Leading participating organization set up their own booths especially, the Art of Living Foundation, Gayathri Gyan Mandir, Isha Foundation, Brahma Kumaris Meditation Centers, SEWA International, the Science of Spirituality and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and organized parallel activities. There were special rooms for carrying out yoga sessions for the seniors and workshops for the children.
The main event at the Odeum Expo Center concluded at 05:00 PM. Mr. O.P.Meena, Consul, gave the vote of thanks. He thanked all the participants, participating organizations, Media partners, Individuals for their tireless work to make IYD celebrations successful in Chicago.
[b] Parallel Events at other venues in Chicago:
[i] The ‘Eye on India’ celebrated the First IYD by organizing yoga sessions during sunrise and sunset at two different locations in Chicago. The morning session took place at 63rd Street Beach, Lake Shore and evening session took place at Mozart Park. On the following Day, 22nd June, ‘Eye on India’ also organized demonstration of Yoga and a panel discussion on Health Benefits of Yoga at the Daley Plaza.
[ii] The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, IL also celebrated the first International Day of Yoga on June 21, 2015. In the afternoon small groups practiced different breathing exercises or Pranayama. During the evening assembly, a lecture on the health benefits of Yoga was delivered by Dr. Manish Brahmbhatt, preceded by a two minute video of PM Modi’s speech at the UNGA to an assembly of over 1,200 guests.

Source: Asian Media USA