The NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo is a mainstream event designed to attract the average health consumer and promotes all kinds of health including physical and financial health. With attendance figures routinely topping 75,000 and national television coverage, this was an event ideal for a Sahaja Yoga booth.
Over three years of attempts, many bandhans and shoe beats later, Sahaja Yoga International was granted booth M2 at the Expo, right next to AquaStep, a provider of glycerin-filled insoles.
Knowing that the average Expo attendee was actively seeking health, the DC Sahaja team got working to reproduce the collateral with a ‘healthy' tint to engage the attention of frenetic Washingtonians wanting to improve their health through jazzercise, kick-boxing and financial management. With hours and hours of effort and generous dollops of support from Yogis in different parts of the country, a new suite of collateral was developed and ready: business cards, general hand-outs, media kits, special display boards and a slide show designed to show how Sahaja Yoga is crucial to health.
Armed with reams and reams of program sheets, brochures and giant banners, the team reached the Washington Convention Center well in time on Friday afternoon to setup. The colossal halls B and C were buzzing with activity and the Sahajis soon had banners and displays ready and waiting for the weekend crowds. Given the size of the center it was felt that the existing display boards were not sufficient to excite interest and additional chakra charts were organized for late on Friday night. 8-member teams were formed to man the booth through the weekend although the whole family was invited to support the initiative.
Saturday morning the Sahajis arrived relaxed and early, expecting the going to be slow in the first session of the Expo. The scenario quickly changed as people started streaming to the tent to take realization and Sahajis had to resort to “2-minute” realization to accommodate the people wanting realization. It was the familiar sight of vibrations drawing people from all corners of the hall to examine what it was that made this modest booth so special. Giving realization to three and even four people each at a time, the Yogis could hardly bother to look at the time as lunch hour approached. This was what the Sahajis had been waiting for all these days- vibrations flowing, faces glowing and seekers finding their oasis. One amazed Bolivian remarked – “This is great- I will definitely join the classes!” and stood around the booth, enjoying the vibrations.
By lunch time, Yogis had arrived from Virginia Beach and the afternoon team jumped into the fray, eager to “Bathe in the Vibrations”. Few transitions are as smooth as Yogis taking over a Sahaja booth. The slide show, which never went on in the morning session, was whisked out and planted right at the front of the booth. Additional display boards were added and the Sahajis were in action, explaining, taking affirmations and raising Kundalini- Jai Shri Mata Ji!
A presentation titled “Sahaja Yoga: Are you Spiritually Fit?” was scheduled for Sunday afternoon and Dr Ashish Pradhan had arrived early with his wife to get ready for the presentation. In the evening on Saturday, all the Yogis gathered to celebrate Sankranti Puja and following the Puja, Dr Pradhan explained the design of the presentation and how he had broached the topic for this audience. It was decided that additional promotion would be necessary to draw people to the presentation and Sahajis got to work late on Saturday night to create a flyer and get prints ready for distribution on Sunday morning.
Sunday morning arrived and a fresh team was in place to greet new faces and new questions. The brochures flew and the Kundalini danced as hundreds took realization. While over 500 had taken realization on Saturday, it was hoped that many more would take realization on Sunday, with many more people expected to visit the Expo. The chairs were spread out further and Sahajis started giving realization on foot- there was no time! The presentation team was collaborating with the event managers to make sure that all the pieces were in place for the 3:30pm event and that it was visible to all the people around the Demonstration Stage. By 1pm, Sahajis were busily handing out fliers for the presentation and within two hours, over 2000 fliers were distributed!
Video From NBC6 Expo, please click here
The presentation started right after the “Got it Goin Girls” dance performance and Yogis were wondering some should put on an impromptu bhangra performance before the presentation. The NBC4 camera team was also informed and Dr Pradhan got about discussing why spiritual health was important. It was interesting to note that people started gathering around the demonstration stage and listening to something quite different from the rest of the exhibitors. In twenty minutes he had explained Sahaja Yoga and its relation to spiritual health and the audience was asked to ready for the self-realization exercise. The NBC4 production team watched in amazement as all the people participated in the presentation for the first time ever- most attendees raised their hand to acknowledge feeling the vibrations. Shri Mata Ji's photograph beamed over the Convention Center, speaking of good things to come… over a 1000 had taken their realization, nearly 4000 brochures were handed out and a number of organizations and health programs had invited DC Sahaja Yoga to host similar programs for their constituents. What a blessing early in the year.
Jai Shri Mata Ji!
Shamik from Washington DC