Iowa State Yogathon expresses love, compassion and peace

Lindsey Settle

Completing 5,000 sun salutations, students ended a two week event leading up to the annual Yogathon event in collaboration with two Iowa State yoga clubs and Recreation Services.

The event was put together by three Iowa State organizations: Hindu YUVA, the ISU Yoga Club and Recreations Services. The event completed a two week build up of the Health for Humanity Campaign by Hindu YUVA to practice yoga everyday. The Yogathon aimed to keep yoga postures and breathing techniques simple for beginners.

“This event is a boost to someone who wants to start yoga,” said Hindu YUVA President Lalitha Dhulipala.

Prior to Yogathon, Hindu YUVA put together the Health for Humanity Campaign where yoga was taught everyday for one hour, including yoga practice and a short discussion on the deeper meaning of yoga. Their hope was to teach that yoga is about bringing balance to the mind and body. In collaboration with Nora Hudson, director of Recreation Services, the Health for Humanity Campaign introduced students to a holistic way of practicing yoga.

Leaders from Hindu YUVA, Recreation Services and the Yoga Club were present on stage during the event. Tasha Bourassa from Recreation Services led around 75 participants in a warm-up preceding a series of sun salutations led by Pranav Sharma, yoga coordinator of Hindu YUVA. Vice President of the Iowa State Yoga Club Brooklyn Snyder worked through sun salutations on stage throughout the Yogathon as a guide for participants.

Surya Namaskar, a sun salutation sequence of poses, was chosen for the sun salutations, because they are a holistic exercise which will give benefits, such as restored balance. Poses included lunges, planks, earth prayers and upward dogs. 

After completing 10 sun salutation sequences participants took a break and listened to Dhulipala explain the holistic benefits of yoga practice. Dhulipala described yoga as a practice which takes a leap in time and as a guide for inner transition.

The word “yoga” derives from the sanskrit word “yuj” which means to unite or integrate. The literal meaning of “yoga” is to bring together, so the event’s goal was to achieve harmony between oneself and the universe.

“Yoga is the union, the union of your body and your soul,” Dhulipala said. 

Mindfulness of breathing was also taught throughout the Yogathon. According to Sharma, “if you regulate your breath, you can regulate your mind.”

Prayer also controls the mindfulness of yoga. Participants were taught to say “om shanti shanti shanti.” This practice connects one with all that is around them. It is repeated three times to reflect peace within oneself, peace around you and peace in universe.

A segment of the event called “yoga off the mat” explained some of the qualities yoga recommends for a good lifestyle. There are eight limbs, or qualities, of yoga and the event covered three: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth) and aparigraha (non-attachment). These qualities extend yoga practice further by forming the union of the body and soul.