Nepalese Student Association hosts Yogathon to raise money for earthquake victims


Pooja Shrivastava and volunteer Aditya Jindal, members of The Art of Living Foundation, lead participants in meditation exercises at the Yogathon on the fourth floor of the library on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

Jessa Schroeder

The Nepalese Student Association at Kent State University (Kent-NSA) partnered with the Overseas Volunteer for a Better India (OVBI) to host a Yogathon Sunday in honor of International Day of Yoga.

Participants were also encouraged to donate to victims of the April earthquake in Nepal.

The event was led by Pooja Shrivastava and Aditya Jindal from The Art of Living Foundation, a non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization operating in 152 countries. It was founded in 1981 by philanthropist and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and emphasizes a “stress-free mind and a violence-free society,” according to its website.

Kent-NSA secretary and chemistry graduate student Sunil Badal said the idea for the event came about after some friends from The Art of Living Foundation approached the group about the idea to host a yoga event, and the members decided it would be a good way to raise money for the earthquake victims.

Souptik Mukherjee, a team organizer for OVBI, began the event with information on the background and tradition of yoga. He said yoga originated in northern India between  5,000 and 10,000 years ago.

“Yoga is a union, and we want to unite the society,” Mukherjee said. “We wanted to put this event together as a way to reflect on the devastation in Nepal. We need people who care about the cause.”

Dipendra Thapaliya, president of Kent-NSA and a researcher in the College of Public Health, spoke about the purpose of International Day of Yoga.

“This is really the first celebration of International Yoga Day on June 21st, since this past December the proposal was approved by the United Nations General Assembly,” he said. “The practice of yoga is a preventative method for several health problems ranging from mental health, spiritual health and physical health.”

Thapaliya said the group wanted the yoga event to offer peace to the earthquake victims.

“Yoga is relative to the devastation happening in Nepal, as people are suffering and going through such a devastation,” Thapaliya said. “As the Nepalese Student Association at Kent State, we want to promote peace and tranquility for our country and those affected.”

Kharel Prakash, the immediate past president of Kent-NSA and a coordinator of the fundraiser program for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal, said the group wanted to be a part of the world’s first International Day of Yoga, which was created in part by the United Nations.

“We were planning to organize social events that can benefit society and also help spread our message about the devastation in Nepal due to the earthquake,” Prakash said. “Since June 21st is the first-ever International Yoga Day, we thought that organizing a yoga event (on) our university premises would really help people in the local community understand the benefits of yoga, and in doing so, we would be able to be a part of a bigger U.N. motive.”

The event concluded with the participants gathering together to share their thoughts and experience from the meditative exercises. The leaders and participants bowed their heads in a moment of silence to remember those whose lives were lost in the earthquake.

Voluntary donations to aid victims and the Nepalese community were accepted after the event.

Due to weather, the event was moved to the fourth floor of the library instead of the student green.

Contact Jessa Schroeder at [email protected].