(As published in India Currents)
Billed as the “first yogathon,” Yogathon 2009 holds a wider objective than the usual health event. Presented by International Association of Human Values (IAHV) and its sister organization, the Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), the event supports IAHV’s Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!) program, a life skills workshop that aims to teach high school youth how to reduce stress in their lives, allowing them to reduce stress pitfalls such as violence and illegal drugs.
“When stress blocks children, they don’t shine,” says Rekha Kodialbail, IAHV national coordinator for youth programs. “We remove the stress from their lives by teaching them breathing techniques. They then learn how to control their emotions through these tools.” Kodialbail says the results are rather immediate and students soon learn how to approach their day-to-day problems with calmness.
YES! has been in taught in over 50 schools across U.S., including several in the Bay Area. According to Kodialbail, 20 local schools on the program’s waiting list but YES! is currently lacking the funds needed to bring their teachers to the campuses. The fundraiser Yogathon 2009 will benefit YES!’s work and allow the program to reach more campuses.
Yogathon will feature a yoga and health fair followed by a music concert by local artists and a fashion show showcasing sustainable and organic clothing. Serious yoga practitioners can make a beeline for the 60-minute Sun Salutation Challenge, where the goal is to perform as many (guided or not) sun salutations as they can. The rest can enjoy yoga aerobics, sunset yoga, take-home yoga, and yoga meditation. IAHV will conduct weekly workshops leading up to the event for those who would like to train for the yogathon.
Fundraising for youth will be only one aspect of the event. “We want people to have fun at the event as a community, to learn how to live well with higher values and adopt a healthy lifestyle by meeting those who have,” says event organizer Sunanda Gadagottu.
Around 2,000 people are expected to attend. Special guests include the mayors of Sunnyvale and Cupertino.
May 30, 1-8 p.m. Baylands Park, 999 E. Caribbean Drive, Sunnyvale. $25 fair; $200 in pledges for Yogathon. www.youthempowermentseminar.org.http://yogathon.iahv.org.