Breath and Balance: Chicagoland’s largest International Yoga Day with Mindful Meditation Center and FIA Chicago


Asian Media USA ©

Chicago, IL: The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) Chicago, led by Founder Chairman Sunil Shah, and Mindful Meditation Yoga (MMY), led by Yoga Guru Anu Malhotra, celebrated International Yoga Day with great enthusiasm and a vibrant display of community spirit. The event, held at Naperville Yard Indoor Sports Complex, on Jun 23, 2024, attracted over 1000 participants from diverse backgrounds, all united in their love for yoga, health and harmony.


The morning began sharp on time, also called as Yoga Anushashan or Yoga Discipline, with a common yoga protocol session led by certified instructor International Yoga Day Champion and Lead Anu Malhotra. Anu Malhotra, known for her dedication to promoting yoga and mindfulness, played a pivotal role in organizing and leading the event with a team of 30+ Volunteers., who were divided into Welcome Committee, Décor, Seating, Communications. The overall event experience was led and managed by Falguni Sukhadia, Strategy and Planning Director and Chief of Staff IYD, under MMY and FIA Leadership.


A unique highlight of this year’s celebration was the inclusion of free, live music that reverberated through the Naperville Yard, led by Vipul Srivastava, a well-known Bhakti Yoga proponent in Americas.  Professionals and Yoga practitioners cum musicians performed uplifting and serene compositions, creating an atmosphere filled with positive vibrations. The music, described as both great and therapeutic, enhanced the overall experience, complementing the yoga and meditation sessions perfectly.


As with the wisdom and tradition from ancient India, on stage were invited dignitaries, starting with FIA Founder Chairman, Sunil Shah, who spoke about Yoga being a gift from India to the world, which embodies unity and harmony. Sunil Shah further highlighted the remarkable growth of the IYD, noting that participation has increased from 50 individuals five years ago to over 1,000 participants today. Vasavi Chakka representing GSA spoke about the how IYD is much awaited program of the year in Chicago when it comes to Yoda Day. Mayor of Naperville, Scott Wehrli, began his speech with a ‘Namastay’ and the hall broke into non-stop clapping and cheering. Consul Officer Sanjeev Pal, in his short speech spoke about how the Ministry of Ayush is supporting International Yoga Day and re-emphasized that this year the IYD theme is ‘Women Empowerment’. Shweta Baid, Alderwoman from Aurora, highlighted the global significance of International Yoga Day and praised Naperville for its enthusiastic participation. Other dignitaries present were Linda Davenport (Court Judge), Paul Leong (Councilman), Pratibha Jairath (President – FIA and Vidyajyoti), Vinita Gulabani (President Sindhi Association of Metropolitan Chicago and Indo American Cultural Association), Hitesh Gandhi (Past President -FIA), Kathy Thorat (Global Eye Media), Seeta Bala (American Multi Ethnic Coalition), Dr. Ajit Pant (Global Expo), Om Dhingra (United Punjabi Association), Shree Guruswamy (Community Activist) and others congratulated the IYD including Team Lead Bharat Malhotra for showing great enthusiasm and uniting so many partner organizations during the lamp lighting.


Here came the main highlight of the IYD: the exceptional opportunity to learn and experience yoga under the guidance of a Certified Yoga Teacher Anu Malhotra. This wasn’t just any yoga session; it was a transformative experience led by an expert who brought depth, insight, and passion to the practice. Participants were not only able to engage in physical postures but also immerse themselves in the mental and spiritual aspects of yoga. One of the participants, Krishna Chitturi, eloquently captured the essence of the experience, stating, “It is Unity in Serenity leading to a healthy mind and a healthy body.”


This was followed by Bhakti yoga, where the following singers and musicians; Navneet Malhotra, Prashant Kurdukar, Shreelekha Mohanty, Sanjiv Sarasvat, Bharat Malhotra, Sudarshan Iyengar, Anu Saraswat, Neel Sukhadia, Manjoo Srivastava, Reeta Hoskote, and Poonam Poddar. The melodious singing accompanied by guitar and keyboards against the stage décor done by Ramandeep Singh and Anu Saraswat was just too exhilarating. SEWA and HUM Volunteers and Hum volunteers during the 3 hours helped in distribution of water and at the last helped in clean-up of the area. They also helped in distribution of the Free ‘Satvik’ food.


The celebration was organized in collaboration with the Consulate General of India in Chicago, Somnath Ghosh and was supported by the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India. To make it a largest Yoga Day in Chicagoland, many organizations joined hands and partnered with IYD Celebrations namely, GSA Global Eye Magazine (Dr. Vijay Prabhakar), United Punjabis of America (Atul Wahi), Sant Nirankari Mission (Rosey Bhasin), Arya Samaj of Chicagoland (Ajay and Smita Gheria), Expert Pain Suggestion (Dr. Nitin Malhotra, Dr. Neel Malhotra). Media promotion and coverage was provided by A3E (Aparna Rai), Stellar Media (Richa Chand) and Outland Media (Harry Sidhu). Social Media efforts were managed and led by Sanskriti Sharma.


The celebration concluded with a vote of thanks to all participants, volunteers, and sponsors who made the event possible. International Yoga Day in Naperville was a resounding success, reflecting the city’s commitment to health, wellness, and cultural diversity. As FIA Chairman Sunil Shah and MMY Lead Anu Malhotra said ‘Plans are already underway for next year’s celebration, promising an even larger and more inclusive event’.


Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA


Suresh Bodiwala 

Asian Media USA

Cell: 847-420-4789