Yoga on the Hill by Congressional Yogi Association! - With the support of Embassy of India
With the support of Embassy of India, Washington D.C., the newly founded Congressional Yogi Association organized the first-ever â€œYoga on the Hillâ€ on May 1st, 2015. The event was organized to advocate better physical and mental health for US military veterans and worked as a curtain-raiser for the forthcoming First International Day of Yoga. Keith Mitchell, former NFL pro and a celebrity yogi, who suffered a paralyzing spinal injury and recovered through the practice of yoga, led the event. Prominent guests who participated were Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Brennan Mullaney (Team RWB- veteransâ€™ welfare organization) and Tom Voss (Iraq War veteran) besides senior Embassy officials. The event was well received and around 60 Congressional officials participated in the yoga and meditation session.
The yoga event was focused on practice of yoga as an effective tool for the physiological and physical healing of war veterans who get affected by mental illnesses upon returning from combat. It is estimated that since the start of the war in Afghanistan in 2001, more than 100,000 combat veterans have sought help for mental illness and yoga is considered to be a form of health care support in such cases of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) who performed yoga and meditation along with others said "The extremely high levels of stress Americans deal with on a daily basis is an important issue facing our countryâ€¦..I have found that mindfulness and the practice of yoga help to reduce stress, improve concentration, and increase feelings of well-being. I am happy to support the first annual Yoga on the Hill event and the Congressional Yogi Association in raising awareness for the many benefits a yoga practice can bring to individuals across the country." Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) said "As a Korean War Veteran, Yoga on the Hill's mission to promote wellness among the veteran community is close to my heart". Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Member of House Subcommittee on Veteran Affairs said â€œAs we begin Mental Health Awareness month, I hope that todayâ€™s event increases awareness about the benefits of practicing yoga, especially for our veterans. As a member of the subcommittee responsible for funding our veterans programs, I hope that we will continue expanding research and access to health alternatives like yoga that improve the quality of life for our brave veterans.â€
Counsellor Mohit Yadav from Indian Embassy said that the United Nations General Assembly has declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. He highlighted the words of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations: "Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change". On December 11, India introduced a draft resolution in the United Nations General Assembly. The draft Resolution received unprecedented broad support from 177 countries and was adopted unanimously.
The Embassy official informed the audience that the Government of India is planning to celebrate the International Day of Yoga in all the countries around the world, including United States. Embassy of India, Washington DC is organizing a series of events on Yoga which will culminate on the June 21, 2015.