News Deseret News, October, 2003

World Yoga Expo in Los Angeles India Post News Service

LOS ANGELES: The first-ever World Yoga Expo premiered on September 24 at the Los Angeles Convention Center with a star-studded gala opening and VIP/press reception featuring the Consul General of India, Deepak Chopra, Amrit Desai, Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury, Self-Realization Fellowship head Vishwananda, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bappi Lahiri and Gulshan Grover. The event was held to benefit Karma for Kids, a non-profit organization that sponsors children with cancer, and Your Kids, which teaches inner-city children through culture, arts, dance and yoga to stay off the streets, away from drugs and out of gangs. The entertainment for the evening included Shanti Shanti, the world's only Sanskrit rock band, Yoga Angels, a dance group representing the Your Kids Organization, and DJ BabaG. Nearly one thousand people attended the opening, representing many countries within the international yoga community.

Yoga Expo has been created as a joyous world-class event featuring over 230 speakers, teachers and masters offering 400 classes, lectures and workshops over the course of four days. More than 350 exhibitors are displaying their unique selections of lifestyle-enhancing products and services, supported by a global array of stars, fashion, music, entertainment and great food. Daily fashion shows showcase the finest apparel from over 60 clothing companies, and musical performances are provided continuously throughout the event. Major sponsors include Toyota, Whole Foods Market, Yogi Times, KFWB, Natural Health, and the Yoga College of India.

The conference program features renowned speakers such as Deepak Chopra, John Gray PhD, Mariel Hemingway, Marilu Henner, Alan Arkin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bikram Choudhury, Amrit Desai, Yuan Miao, and many others. Many leading medical doctors, health experts, authors, teachers, inspirational speakers and fitness gurus will offer seminars and workshops on such topics as yoga, meditation, stress relief and Ayurvedic medicine.

The mission of Yoga Expo, as communicated by Executive Producer of the event and Founder/President of the Yoga College of India Bikram Choudhury, is to generate greater public awareness of yoga by appealing to the widest possible audience. Its goal is to help all people better understand and experience the profound healing benefits that this ancient, yet very modern form of health and fitness can impart to every aspect of human life. This is the first major gathering of its kind, joining the yoga and fitness communities with all other forms of health, healing and well being for the unification of body, mind and spirit.

A major feature of the Yoga Expo are the finals of the International Yoga Asana Championships. Qualified finalists from all around the globe will meet in Los Angeles to create more public awareness of the beauty inherent in the human form and to decide the recipient of the Bishnu Ghosh Cup. The format of the championship will be based on the national competition held in India, with the official committee of the Indian competition to serve as judges. The final round of the championship will be held on the main stage of the exhibit floor on the last day of the event.
Yoga Expo is dedicated to the memory of Bishnu Charan Ghosh on his 100th birth anniversary. His devoted disciple and student Bikram Choudhury declared, "As one of the most influential physical culturists of all time and an untiring leader in the field of human potential development, my Guru devoted his entire existence in body, mind and spirit to helping countless people save their own lives. I have been truly blessed to witness the lasting impact of his life's work on his students, his country and this world. He is the reason I am here today. It is my greatest dream that the whole world experience the healing and self-realization that the practice of yoga offers, so that we may all come together to shape the promise of a brighter tomorrow for those who would see its dawn-our children.”

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