Houston meditation event at Wortham Theatre draws thousands

Houston meditation event at Wortham Theatre draws thousands

Vibrations in Houston’s Brown Theatre at Wortham Center soared to the ceiling Aug. 1, when 2,000 people joined yoga master Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the first “Om” of his meditation event. 

Gurudev, founder of the Art of Living Foundation, described his take on reality, saying without spiritual wisdom, it’s impossible to perceive what exists beyond the five known senses.

“When you’re hearing good music, or when you’re immersed in any one sense, it takes you to another dimension,” said Gurudev, who has 5.5 million Facebook followers and 2 million Instagram followers. “We don’t do that, we eat while watching TV or talking.”

Wearing robes of gleaming white and a benign smile, the guru knew how to work the room. The event was a part of Gurudev’s Sixth Sense tour, as he travels through 24 U.S. cities from July to August. His last visit to Houston was 15 years ago. 

The sounds of attendees’ meditation turned the venue into a great red velvet singing bowl. “It was an amazing sensation because his voice is like nothing else I’ve heard before,” said Vedha Kotta 12, a student at Willowood Junior High in Tomball ISD.

“This was my first Art of Living experience and I really enjoyed– it was a good introductory event for people who haven’t done Art of Living,” said Pankti Patel, who lives in the Heights. “I was a little curious about it, because I have a friend who talks about it a lot.”

Emphasizing the significance of meditation for a focused mind, mental well-being and fostering a violence-free society, Gurudev urged his audience to take up the practice.

“We think meditation is for people who are retired and have nothing to do. (Ages) 80-plus can sit and meditate, we think,” he said.

Operating in 180 countries, the nonprofit, educational organization Art of Living Foundation was founded in 1981.There are 3.5 million Art of Living practitioners today worldwide, and close of 5000 in Houston, according to the website.

“This was my first Art of Living experience and I really enjoyed– it was a good introductory event for people who haven’t done Art of Living,” said Pankti Patel, who lives in the Heights. “I was a little curious about it, because I have a friend who talks about it a lot.”

Gov. Greg Abbott declared July 29, 2023 as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Day, in honor of the visit. 

The Art of Living foundation’s World Culture Festival will take place at the National mall in Washington, D.C. this fall. In addition to yoga, this free event will feature 17,000 artists from cultural traditions from around the globe.