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Second VPS Yogathon 2005

Barely three months after the immensely successful first VPS Yogathon of 2005, the members of the Vrindavana Preservation Society produced a sequel Yogathon that was equally spectacular.It was held on the 21st of May. The free event featured a variety of Hatha Yoga instructors, some ‘neo’ Yoga practitioners, a slide show on VPS Tsunami relief efforts in South India. It ended with a session of chanting. Over 200 people attended the event.

Rajiv Ramaratnam opened the program with a brief introduction on
VPS and the Yogathon. He also presented a brief eulogy and held a moment of silence for the late Chitra Parayath of Lokvani, his friend and mentor. The morning session of the event featured a deluge of Yoga practitioners.

Jay Gupta led a session on Sukshama yoga and Hatha yoga kriyas that he learned at the Vishwayatan Yogashram in India. Following this, John Calabria presented a Vinyasa yoga session of asanas. Next, Lauren Toolin led a session on Pranayama and Mudra, with assistance from Ann Ramsey and Amy Yanover.Santosha then led an asana session of subtle body postures with internal focus.

After the attendees were energized by the numerous sessions of Hatha yoga, it was time for the neo or non-traditional forms of Yoga. These included a session of ‘Laughter Yoga’ and ‘Dance Yoga’. The power of laughter to boost the immune system and cure diseases is well known. Thomas Varkai of Laughter For Life conducted a session where the participants experienced the benefits of laughter, first hand. This event was a blast! Next the creative presented a program ‘Kripalu Danskinetics and 100 Breaths of Joy!’ which was a combination of aerobics, dance, breathing and fun. Participants were led through a session of graceful dance that was excellently choreographed, extremely empowering and very relaxing.

The participants then took a late lunch break and reconvened for a touching slide presentation presented by Nick Cavallo on Tsunami relief efforts by VPS members in South India. Keshav Shukla, Nick Cavallo and Cheta Guru, all members of VPS made a trip to South India earlier in the year to South India,. The focused on a village, Oyali Kuppam. This was a village neglected by the government and by bigger organizations but as badly devastated as any other. During the time the members visited, they did all they could to transform grief and despair into hope and faith. Working with Chennai resident and VPS member Venkat Dayanandan, and the Hope foundation, they organized a day with a free meal and presented sarees to women of the village. They also organized Kabaddi(an Indian game) for the male villagers and musical chairs for the women in an attempt to restore happiness. The villagers also witnessed a play performed by a nomadic group of actors, thanks to arrangements made by VPS members. VPS has spent almost $20000 on restoration efforts of Olayi Kuppam , its schools and medical facilities. The proceeds of this Yogathon will go towards more relief efforts.

The event ended with a session of Bhakti Yoga that included traditional Vaisnava Song and Dance. Hats off to VPS for pulling off yet another successful event. In the wake of this event comes the third VPS Cricket Tournament, which will be held from the 18th of June through the 25th of July. For more information on VPS and VPS events, please visit www.vps-international.org.

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