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Mental Health Association Brings Westchester Together With Yoga

MHA of Westchester Mega Yoga Event 2014 Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Matthew Sanford instructs the third-annual Mega Yoga Event in Hartsdale. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
MHA of Westchester Mega Yoga Event 2014
MHA of Westchester Mega Yoga Event 2014 Video Credit: whiteplainsdv

HARTSDALE, N.Y. – The 2014 Outdoor Mega Yoga Event was driven indoors with the threat of thunderstorms Wednesday, but hundreds still turned out to the Woodlands High School gym in Hartsdale.

The third annual event was scheduled to be held on Court Street in White Plains, where it has been held for the last two years. Like the last two years, the around 500 people registered, but a small number didn't make it to the venue.

The change in venue was not much of an inconvenience for Kathy Ray, who works in White Plains and lives in Peekskill.

Ray, who has attended each of the last two Mega Yoga Events, said she practices Bikram yoga in Yorktown and likes the heat.

This year’s instructor, Matthew Sanford, is paralyzed from the chest down due to a car accident. However, he says yoga has awakened his mind and body and he has taught it for nearly 20 years.

“Everyone’s got a story and sometimes it tips you over,” he said, surrounded by yoga mats in the high school gym. “And when it tips you over you want the Mental Health Association of Westchester. That’s what you want. That’s why you’re here.”

Sanford stressed the need to take care of and connect with your body because it is deeply connected with the mind.

“Your body is the best home your mind will ever have," he said.

The event benefited the Mental Health Association of Westchester, which offers treatment and support services that promote recovery and wellness.

"Each of you contributed so much to the feeling of community created in a high school gym of all places," Audrey Brooks, senior communications and development associate at MHA, said in an email to those who attended. "It just goes to show, community, sharing, deep work can happen anywhere and everywhere. Watching as everyone reached their arms up into the air in yoga, relaxed into savasana and sang together at the end was incomparable."

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