With the aim of promoting an active lifestyle and physical and emotional wellbeing, Sewa International volunteers in Atlanta, Houston, and the Bay Area in California welcomed the new year by walking five miles and resolving to stay fit and healthy.

Organized as part of Sewa’s “Know Your Healthy Self” initiative, this event encouraged participants to walk, run, or practice Yoga wherever they were with no restriction on time or location. Over 150 people took part in the event on Saturday, January 2.

Encouraging Sewa families to embrace a positive attitude and work continuously for their and others’ health by motivating each other to exercise, Sewa International President Arun Kankani sought to draw the curtain on 2020 — a year that was challenging and stressful.

Four Elements of SELF

Participating in the walkathon in a park near Sewa’s office in Houston, Kankani emphasized the four elements of Sewa’s SELF program – SleepExerciseLiving in the present, and Food and diet. About 50 people participated in the event at the venue and 20 people joined it virtually.

In the Bay Area, the walk went virtual given the COVID-19 situation and 50 people participated. They walked in their neighborhoods over two weekends and reported their status online. Sewa Bay Area Chapter coordinator Guruprasad said the first 50 registrants of the event would get Sewa T-shirts in the mail.

In the Atlanta program held at Rock Mill Park, Alpharetta, GA, Dr. Prasad Garimella, a Pulmonary and Critical Care expert explained how Sleep, Exercise, Living in the Present, and Food (S.E.L.F) help fine-tune our body and mind for longevity. Through a “car and brake” analogy, he explained how these elements are the four pillars of a healthy lifestyle. 

More than 50 people took part in the Atlanta event which started with Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations), a popular set of yoga postures that provide well-rounded exercise to the body. Later they all enjoyed a five-mile walk on a sunny afternoon.  

Sewa International’s Atlanta chapter started the SELF program in November last year by organizing a webinar titled “Find your newSELF: The Transformative Power of Exercise” by the Triathlon Coach and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Harvey Gayer.


Sewa International, a leading Hindu faith-based, Indian American nonprofit organization, has extensive experience in disaster rescue, relief, and rehabilitation operations having responded to 24 disasters in the US and abroad. In 2017, after Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area, Sewa volunteers helped in the rescue of nearly 700 people, and have served thousands of affected families since then through their case management service. Sewa raised over $3 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery, Sewa continues to rebuild houses and greenhouses that serve as a means of livelihood. Sewa International has also rendered relief in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2018 and Hurricane Imelda in 2019. Sewa teams in the San Francisco Bay Area continue to build and donate tiny homes for those rendered homeless in the California Camp Fire of November 2018. 

Among its other accolades, Sewa International has been recognized by Charity Navigator – the premier nonprofit rating agency – as the number five among the “10 Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions.” Sewa has for the last three years continuously scored the topmost-rated 4-star from Charity Navigator and has earned perfect scores for its Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency

For more information on Sewa International and its activities, please visit http://www.sewausa.org. For more information on Sewa International’s efforts to support communities nationwide during the COVID-19 crisis, please visit https://sewausa.org/covid-19.

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