To commemorate the United Nations observed International Day of Yoga and good health, people gathered at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Los Angeles, CA to practice Yoga together while adhering to local, state and federal COVID-19 regulations. Guided and modeled by instructors, over 60 participants practiced various poses such as Bhujangasana and Marjariasana and breathing techniques like Kapalabhati Pranayam and Bhastrika Pranayama amidst the Mandir's peaceful ambience and breathtaking architecture.

Recognizing the important role of yoga, this year's commemoration of the International Day of Yoga focuses on "Yoga for well-being" - how the practice of yoga can promote the holistic health of every individual.

Mayur Yadav, a local pharmacist, was present for the event. "Beyond the spiritual benefits I find from doing yoga, there are immense health benefits. Especially at a time where mental health is key, yoga has been the best resource for my family and me."

Beyond its immediate impact on physical health, the COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated psychological suffering and mental health challenges, including depression and anxiety, as pandemic-related restrictions continue in various forms in many countries. This has highlighted the urgent need to address the mental health dimension of the pandemic and the physical health aspects.

The message of yoga in promoting humanity's physical and mental well-being has never been more relevant. A growing trend of people worldwide embracing yoga to stay healthy and rejuvenated and to fight social isolation and depression has been witnessed during the pandemic.

Seva Patel, a local nurse and essential worker shared her experience. "After moving to the United States, I finally realized how mainstream yoga is here. The fact that I got to participate in an authentic form of yoga in such a spiritual place is just what I needed."

The session concluded with the participants joining together to offer special prayers for all those lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their grieving family and friends, and the countries and communities still facing high rates of infections and deaths throughout the world.


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