Hinduism Awareness Week hosts educational yoga-related activities for students

Sylvia Butanda

Members of the Hindu Student Association hope the next time people hear the word “yoga,” they will think of its relation to Hinduism rather than its contemporary status as a relaxing, pose-making workout.

The key focus of the sixth annual Hinduism Awareness Week, hosted by the Hindu Students Association, aims to clear up common misconceptions about Hinduism through yoga with interactive activities for students throughout the week. Yoga-themed activities were the center of Awareness Week on Tuesday Wednesday, with Tuesday’s activity featuring a guest speaker from the Austin-based temple, Radha Madhav Dham. The speaker talked about yoga in Hinduism and answered general questions related to the religion for attendees.

“It educated students to a deeper level about yoga,” said nutrition sophomore Sirisha Pokala, the organization’s co-chair of Hindu Awareness Week.

“Most people just know about yoga as a path of fitness and meditation, but there’s much more to that, and Hinduism Awareness Week really delves into this topic,”

Wednesday’s featured event was a free yoga lesson with instructor Ayesha Venkatrao-Holcombe, who taught various poses in addition to speaking about yoga’s purpose in Hinduism, said biochemistry junior Karthik Bande, chair for Hinduism Awareness Week.

Bande said today’s event will feature games in the West Mall focusing on some general misconceptions of Hinduism and some history behind some Hindu traditions.

“Non-Hindu students will be able to learn how Hinduism may apply in their lives and how they may be practicing some aspects of it without even realizing it,” said biology senior and spokesman for the Hindu Students Association, Lakshay Jain. “Awareness week also brings to light the universality of Hinduism, and the fact that one does not necessarily have to subscribe to one set of gods or beliefs to be able to take away something from Hinduism.”

The final activity of the week will showcase Milan, a classical arts performance that will feature a variety of traditional dance and music by student performers on Saturday.

“We host a week of awareness to educate the UT community about Hinduism in the hopes of allowing a better understanding and appreciation of Hinduism, in addition to hopefully cultivating new cross-cultural dialogue that would not have been possible before the week,” Jain said.

Printed on Friday, February 17, 2012 as: Hindu students host events to raise cultural awareness