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Yoga enthusiasts unite at Alexandria's City Park

Alexandria Town Talk

Dozens of yoga enthusiasts practiced in solidarity Sunday in Alexandria as part of International Yoga Day.

Yoga mats were unrolled in Alexandria’s City Park. Birds chirped in the backdrop of this 90-minute event that included poses and meditation.

Yoga instructor B. Hedrick was one of several people who led the practice. Hedrick teaches yoga to veterans through the Alexandria VA Medical Center. Even people with limited mobility can gain positive health effects from a yoga practice that helps to counter the body’s response to stress, according to Hedrick.

“For many of the chronic conditions that plague us in our society -- high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia -- lowering those cortisol levels on a regular basis from week to week can actually have a positive impact on either resolving those situations or helping to control them more easily,” Hedrick said.

Organizer Shonu Nangia is a volunteer with the Art of Living Foundation, a global humanitarian organization that consults with United Nations agencies on a variety of issues. Nangia hopes International Yoga Day inspires more people to work on their mental well-being.

“It gives us the skills to deal with our own mind and emotions. When you look around the world and see all the violence and all the stress, as humanity we need to do something to train people to eliminate stress and negativity from their system,” Nangia said.

The day, coinciding with the summer solstice, was celebrated worldwide in more than 3,000 cities, including 100 U.S. cities.