Ahead of the first International Yoga Day on June 21 -– a move initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly -- a group of US lawmakers and hill staff have come together to form the first ever and one-of-its kind "Congressional Yogi Association".

The inaugural event at the historic Cannon House Office Building of the US Congress was attended by a number of top American lawmakers.

Prominent among them were Tim Ryan, Charles Rangel, and Barbara Lee.

Organised by the Congressional Yogi Association with support of the Indian Embassy here, the first-ever "Yoga on the Hill" on May 1 was attended by Brennan Mullaney (Team RWB- veterans' welfare organisation) and Tom Voss (Iraq War veteran).

Around 60 Congressional officials participated in the yoga and meditation session.

Congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio, who performed yoga and meditation along with others, said an important issue faced by Americans is extremely high levels of stress.

"I have found that mindfulness and the practice of yoga help to reduce stress, improve concentration, and increase feelings of well-being," he said.

"I am happy to support the first annual Yoga on the Hill event and the Congressional Yogi Association in raising awareness for the many benefits a yoga practice can bring to individuals across the country," Ryan said.

"As a Korean War Veteran, Yoga on the Hill's mission to promote wellness among the veteran community is close to my heart," said Congressman Charles B Rangel.

Congresswoman and Member of House Subcommittee on Veteran Affairs Barbara Lee said, "As we begin Mental Health Awareness month, I hope that today's event increases awareness about the benefits of practicing yoga, especially for our veterans."

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