Say Om for B1G

As part of our first homecoming in the Big 10 conference, UMD decided to go B1G and break a Guinness World Record.  

The idea? To create the world’s longest yoga chain!

Unfortunately, only 537 out of the 700 participants, who were needed, attended the event in Cole Field House.  

Although UMD will not be making the record books this year, the event drew a large crowd as participants began showing up an hour early to claim their spot on the field and practice their yoga moves for “Think B1G and Say OM,” which took place Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Campus Recreation Services coordinated the event when the Maryland Homecoming Committee approached them to organize an exciting fitness-related event to get students pumped for homecoming.

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to show off their Maryland pride, come together as a big group of Terps doing a healthy, wellness-related activity, and we thought it’d be really fun to try and break a world record,” Kate Maloney, Communications Coordinator at CRS, said.

From there, CRS searched for fitness-related world records and tried to find one that could be done in a facility on campus. They decided to attempt to break the world record for the longest yoga chain, which had 696 participants in January 2013 in the CK School of Practical Knowledge in Cuddalore, India, according to the Guinness World Records website.

This record, however, was broken with 808 participants on July 11 in Portland, Oregon, but it will take some time for Guinness to officially recognize it. So if Maryland had reached their goal of 700 yogis, they still would not have beaten the record.

Although the attempt was unsuccessful, Shelby Copeland, sophomore journalism and French double major, who attended the event to photograph it, was impressed with the turnout.

“I was surprised that so many people came, I was surprised that so many people covered it and it just really seemed like a fun experience. A lot of the Greek organizations even got involved, ” Copeland said.

Maloney said the event planning was divided into two: logistical preparations and recruiting. The fitness staff first began planning the event by looking up the rules, regulations and guidelines put forth by Guinness. They then began promoting it in September through social media, listservs, posting flyers everywhere they could and partnering up with Maryland Homecoming and Greek Life.

On event day, participants stood on marked lines on the floor to ensure that the attempt could be as successful as possible. The lines made out of tape snaked the length of the field, connecting the 537 participants from end to end.

CRS group fitness instructors led the participants through three different yoga poses: Warrior II, Triangle and Cobra. During each pose, all participants had to be touching one another for the duration of the time they held it, which was between one to two minutes. The final count of participants did not come until after the event occurred, but everyone still cheered when they heard the number. Roni Zelivinski, the instructor who directed participants throughout the event, told everyone she could not have been happier with the turnout. Her parents and grandmother, who was visiting from Russia, even came out to support her and participate.

“I wanted to be a part of something greater and big,” said Noga Raviv, a junior hearing and speech sciences major. “ I think it’s important for us all to come together as a community and do something greater together. Also, doing that in yoga poses and doing that in something that’s so spiritual is just magical to me,”