Auckland, July 7, 2019
New Zealanders collectively performed circa 137,000 Sun Salutations (known as Surya Namaskar) over the two weeks of the national challenge, held as a part of Yogathon, Health for Humanity 2019.
This success belongs all New Zealand participants who decided to try a Sun Salutation and submitted their number to contribute to the set target.
Yoga in daily life
Yogathon 2019 was a two-week event across the country, encouraging New Zealanders to learn, participate and incorporate Yoga into their daily lives.
Participants registered online, individually or as groups and performed Surya Namaskar at their own pace and in their own time. They counted the number of times they did the cycle, a combination of 12 asanas (postures) and submitted their total count to the organising team.
A division of the Hindu Council of New Zealand, Yogathon is in its Eighth year of operation and growing. Surpassing the ambitious target means that the organisers are positive over the future prospects of the event.
Yogathon will keep working towards the objective of making Yoga more integrated in people’s lives. This year we did a Surya Namaskar Yagna, which was focused on teaching the technique and practicing it.
The journey continues
Our journey doesn’t stop here. In future, Yogathon will incorporate all elements of Yoga, including Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and others.
This year, we focused on our target of 108,000 Surya Namaskar and it is heart-warming to see us exceed this target.
The challenge was launched June 15, 2019 across eight locations, with closing ceremonies held on Saturday, June 29, 2019 in Auckland and Wellington.
The closing ceremony acknowledged hundreds of participants, Yoga schools, studios, gyms, school, community organisations, teachers and volunteers who made Yogathon 2019 a success.
Members of Parliament Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Dr Parmjeet Parmar were present at the closing ceremony and congratulated participants, volunteers, teachers and community organisations for continuing with the age old practice of Yoga.
More than wellbeing
Mental Health Foundation New Zealand Board Member Ranjna Patel said, “Yoga is more than physical wellbeing. It plays a crucial role in mental wellbeing and contributes to holistic living. Meditation and mindfulness are a part of Yoga. These techniques help us to cope with stress in our lives.”
Renowned Yogini Sannyasi Pragyadhara highlighted the benefits of Yoga and how it brings order to one’s life.
“Practicing Yoga and doing the asanas teach us the values of Dharma, sustainability and life. Surya Namaskar is a package that includes Mantra (sound vibrations), Asana (body postures), Pranayama (breathing exercises) and Dhyana (meditation),” she said.
Achieving the target would not have been possible without the support of all participants. We are grateful to all the Yoga studios around all these cities for opening their doors for free yoga classes during Yogathon 2019.
International Day of Yoga
It was heartening to note that participation came from more cities including Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Wellington, Palmerston North, Coromandel, Rotorua, Nelson and also the oldest gold town of New Zealand, Westport.
This year, Yogathon was organised to coincide with the International Day of Yoga. This made it much easier for the public to participate, join in and talk about yoga in our lives.
Art of Living contributed a count of 8700 Surya Namaskar, Hindu Swamyasevak Sangh 11,000, Yogi Divine Society 12,000, Dr Pooja’s Yoga & Integrated Mind Body Therapies contributed a whopping 46,200.
In the individual category, Kavitha Magesan of Rotorua performed 108 Surya Namaskar every day for the 14 days, winning the category.
The national event is gaining more traction and awareness across New Zealand.
On this year’s International Day of Yoga (June 21), Yoga Education in Prisons Trust, in collaboration with Yoga in Daily Life Wellington and Yogathon, performed Surya Namaskar in Wellington to fundraise for Yoga and meditation classes for prisoners.