In honor of International Day of Yoga, Ormond Beach residents practiced laughing yoga on The Casements' north lawn.
This past Tuesday, dozens of people gathered to clear their minds, cleanse their bodies and gain perspective through one small act most of us hopefully do every single day: laugh.
According to Madhu Parikh, who coordinated the International Day of Yoga event with his wife, Hansa Parikh, laughing exhales carbon dioxide and inhales oxygen which can clean your lungs and your brain.
"You forget everything," he said. "You can make a small thing nothing and a big thing small — if you keep
The event consisted of three yoga sessions, starting at 6 a.m. with Ormond Strong who helped create a poster honoring the 49 victims of the Orlando Shooting. The class practiced traditional, physical yoga with instructor Jo Marine, mediation and laughing yoga. In between sessions, traditional Indian music was played, and Mayor Ed Kelley stopped by to speak.
"It's great to see this establishment used for this kind of event," he said. "It's a blending of the old and the new. We all know the body and the mind are one. Well, they're supposed to be. Sometimes I tell my body to do something and it says 'I'm not going to listen to you.'"
"Keep your mind involved in what you're doing. If you're involved, then you're doing yoga. If not, then you're just exercising."
Jo Marine, yoga instructor
International Day of Yoga was declared by the United Nations in 2014 with 175 nations participating. Madhu Parikh said it's a step in the direction of world peace.
"If you have inner peace, then you can have peace in the world," he said. "In this day of violence, that is the cure."
Madhu Parikh has personally used this method to find inner peace in his own life after he was accused of permanently disfiguring the faces of five patients and performing liposuction surgery that may have led to another patient's death during his time as a plastic surgeon in 1997. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, he stopped practicing and was fined $10,000 and ordered to repay $11,554 in investigative costs to the state.
This experience led Parikh to develop a respect and understanding for the importance of yoga, laughter and positivity.
"It changes life," he said. "You take life in a different perspective. You have to be positive in life. Let go and move forward. Laughing yoga really helps you do that."