Yogathon 2019 exceeds target of 108,000 Sun Salutations as a Nation

 (Closing ceremony in Auckland with participants, volunteers and event coordinators with invited guests)
Yogathon 2019, is pleased to announce that New Zealanders have collectively done ~ 137,000 sun salutations over the two weeks of the national challenge. This success belongs to every participant, every person in New Zealand who decided to try a sun salutation and submitted their number to contribute to the target that was set. 

Yogathon - Health for Humanity was a two week event across New Zealand, encouraging all New Zealanders to learn, participate and incorporate yoga in their daily lives. Participants registered online, individually or as groups and did Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) at their own pace and in their own time. They counted the number of times they did the cycle, a combination of 12 asanas and submitted their total count to the organising team. 
 Volunteers performing Surya Namaskar Nritya at closing ceremony
“Yogathon will keep working towards the objective of making yoga more integrated in people’s lives. This year we did Surya Namaskar Yagna. Which was mainly focused to teach Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and practicing it,” said Ajay Agrahari, National Yogathon Coordinator. 

“Our journey doesn’t stop here. In the future Yogathon will bring all elements of yoga. Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and others. For now we were focussing our target of 108,000 Surya Namsakars and it is heartwarming to see us exceed this target.” he added. 

The challenge was launched on 15th June. The closing ceremony took place on Saturday 29th in Auckland and Wellington.Closing ceremony of Yogathon 2019 was organised to acknowledge, participants, yoga schools, studios, gyms, school, community organisations, teachers and volunteers who made Yogathon 2019 a success.  
Participants doing Surya Namaskar at Anahata Retreat, Golden Bay.
Yogathon - Health for Humanity, is a division of HIndu Council of New Zealand. In its 8th year of operation, this is the first time the target has not only been reached, but exceeded. The organisers are positive of the future prospect the event holds. 

Members of Parliament Hon Kanwaljeet Bakshi, Hon Parmjeet Parmar were also present at the closing ceremony. They congratulated the participants, volunteers, teachers and community organisations that made the effort in participating and continuing with the age old practice of yoga. 

Invited guests Members of Parliament Hon Kanwaljeet Bakshi, Renowned yogini Sannyasi PragyadharaRanjna Patel Board Member of Mental Health Foundation NZ  and Members of Parliament Hon Parmjeet Parmar at Closing Ceremony in Auckland (Right to Left)
“Yoga is more than physical well being. It plays a crucial role in mental well being and contributes to holistic living,” said Mrs Ranjna Patel, guest speaker and Board Member of Mental Health Foundation NZ. “Meditation and mindfulness are a part of yoga. These techniques help us to cope with stress in our lives.”  

Renowned yogini Sannyasi Pragyadhara was also a guest speaker for the closing ceremony. She highlighted the benefits of yoga and how it brings a lot of order to ones life. She emphasised how practicing yoga and doing the asanas teach us the values of Dharma, sustainability and life.  She highlighted that surya namaskar is a package which includes the mantra (sound vibrations), asana (body postures), pranayama (breathing exercises) and dhyana (meditation).

“Achieving the target would not have been possible without the support of all participants. We are grateful and thankful  to all the yoga studios around all these cities for opening their doors for free yoga classes during the past two weeks to support Yogathon and raise awareness of the importance of yoga to our health. The overwhelming support for this event makes us delighted that yoga is indeed mainstream in New Zealand. Thank you once again.” added Ajay Agrahari at his welcome speech. 
Yogathon at  Yoga in Daily life Wellington.
Schools, childcare centres, community organisations, youth groups (bal vikas), temples, yoga schools, individuals, everyone collaborated with Yogathon offering yoga to young and old, regardless of ethnicity and background. Each of these helped immensely in ensuring accessibility to yoga was not limited due to ability. 

Volunteers at Kawai Purapura, Albany
“It is with pleasure I share with you that this year, we had participation from more cities than ever including Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Wellington, Palmerston North, Coromandel, Rotorua, Nelson and also the oldest gold town of New Zealand, Westport.” said Ajay Agrahari. 

Yogathon at work Place, Participants at IQVIA Yoga Club.
“This year, Yogathon was organised to coincide with the International Day of Yoga. This made it much easier for everyone to participate, join in and talk about yoga in our lives. “ Ajay Agrahari National Coordinator. 

A number of community organisations and yoga schools registered as a group in this years challenge. This brought in a slight competitive element to see who was doing the highest number as an organisation and individually. 
Art of Living contributed a count of 8,700 repetitions, Hindu Swamyasevak Sangha ~11,000 repetitions, Yogi Divine Society 12,000 repetitions whilst Dr Pooja’s Yoga & Integrated Mind Body Therapies contributed a whopping ~46,200 repetitions of surya namaskar. 
Participants at Dr Pooja’s Yoga & Integrated Mind Body Therapies 
In the individual category, Mrs. Kavitha Magesan of Rotorua did 108 surya namaskars everyday for the 14 days. Winning in the highest individual category. The national event is gaining more traction and awareness all of New Zealand. At this Year’s International Yoga  day on 21st June; Yoga Education in Prisons Trust with collaboration with Yoga in Daily Life Wellington and Yogathon did Surya Namaskar(Sun Salutation) in Wellington to fundraise for Yoga and meditation classes for prisoners. 
Wellington Coordinators with Yoga Education in Prison Trust.
If yoga schools, organisations, community groups, teachers or volunteers want to be involved with this initiative, please get in touch with us. 
Watch this space for more events and next years challenge information. 

Ajay Agrahari                                       Komal Shah                                   Nidhi Bhargava
National Coordinator                        Joint Coordinator                          Wellington Coordinator
Yogathon NZ 2019                         Yogathon NZ 2019                             Yogathon NZ 2019
Phone:  022 341 9447              Phone: 021 035 3591                 Phone:  021 0274 4489

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