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HEALTH FOR HUMANITY YOGATHON AIMS TO REACH 250,000 SURYA NAMASKARS IN NZ

Health for Humanity Yogathon aims to reach 250,000 Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) this year. It will be held from 12 June to 26 June 2021 in several cities encouraging all New Zealanders to learn, participate and incorporate yoga in their daily lives. International Day of Yoga will also be celebrated during this period. In addition to surya namaskars, there will be yoga, meditation, mantra, bhakti, music, and talks from experts from all parts of New Zealand.

Organised annually over two weeks, the Health for Humanity Yogathon which started in 2011 has already competed 10 years of promoting Yoga on a mass scale in New Zealand. Yoga, with roots in ancient Hindu philosophy, is slowly and steadily growing in New Zealand.

Yogathon New Zealand team is reaching out to all yoga schools, yoga retreats, gyms, and community organisations to acknowledge and appreciate their contribution in teaching, practising and promoting yoga in New Zealand. We are also reaching out to all volunteers and yoga teachers who have helped Health for Humanity Yogathon to grow in the past 10 years to join in this year’s special event.

“We aim to distribute Special Certificates to all such volunteers and teachers. Their contribution will be acknowledged, respected, recognised, and make known to the community at large,” Dr Guna Magesan, who initiated Health for Humanity Yogathon in New Zealand.

It is important to share the history of Yogathon in New Zealand. In 2008, Hindu Council of New Zealand organised its second New Zealand national conference with the theme “Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation” and the conference was inaugurated by Maori King, His Highness Te Arikinui King Tuheitia. Dr Guna Magesan was the coordinator of the conference. One of the conference outcomes was to form AROGYA (Aotearoa Research Organisation for Generic Yoga & Ayurveda). In 2010, Hindu Council of New Zealand announced that the Health for Humanity Yogathon will be launched in New Zealand in 2011. Since then, it became an annual event and each year the number of participants and number of Surya Namaskars have been increasing steadily.

“It is important to note that we have been promoting Yoga nationwide in New Zealand much before International Day of Yoga was announced in 2015,” Dr Guna Magesan said.

“Over the last 10 years, we have seen the changes in the attitude and acceptance of Yoga by the New Zealand public resulting in increased participation,” he added.

With the blessings of Maori and Hindu Elders, the Hindu Council of New Zealand, the parent body of AROGYA which runs Yogathon New Zealand, successfully organised the inaugural event of Silver Jubilee Celebrations at the Apumoana Marae, Rotorua on Saturday, 15 May 2021 after serving and strengthening the community for the past 25 years in New Zealand.

During that time, it was discussed with the Maori Elders that we would be happy to share the health benefits of Yoga, and willing to extend Yogathon to various Marae in New Zealand, if they are interested. Free workshops on Surya Namaskars can be conducted if Marae is interested in knowing the health benefits of Yoga.

In 2020, due to covid-19, Health for Humanity Yogathon was organised online, sometimes 3-4 daily classes. For the first time, entire yoga sessions were hosted online in Te Reo Maori. The integration of the ancient philosophy of yoga with our local community in New Zealand was heart-warming. In spite of online Yogathon, a record number of yoga enthusiasts participated in the two week-long event last year.

Yogathon 2020 completed 134,000+ sun salutations over the two weeks of the national challenge. Yogathon 2021 is aiming at 250,000. To make it happen, two national coordinators Ajay Agrahari and Komal Shah are working with national joint coordinators Mangalagowri H (Northern Region), Kiran Thakrar (Central Region) and Pavithra Ravi (South Island), and several city coordinators.

We are expecting many schools, childcare centres, community organisations, youth groups, yoga schools, individuals will be enthusiastically participating in Yogathon 2021. If yoga schools, organisations, community groups, teachers or volunteers want to be involved with this initiative, please get in touch with us.

Venues, timings, and contacts of city and centre coordinators will be announced soon.

For more information, please contact:

National coordinators:

Ajay Agrahari (022 341 9447) and Komal Shah (021 035 3591)

National joint coordinators:

Mangalagowri. H (027 244 1665), Kiran Thakrar (021 164 0832) & Pavithra Ravi (022 469 9089)

(IWK Bureau)

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