A Northern Virginia yoga teacher was mourned Friday evening at a vigil at the Sterling yoga studio where he taught, hours after he was found dead in a ravine in Mexico near where he had gone hiking four days ago.
Searchers found the body of Hari Simran, 25, in a narrow gorge in the rugged Tepozteco Mountains in the colonial town of Tepoztlan, a Mexican civil defense official told the Associated Press. Simran and his wife, who live in Leesburg, Virginia, were attending a yoga retreat there.
Simran appeared to have fallen from a cliff, another official for Morelos State told the AP. His family said he appeared to have suffered a fatal injury to his head and died instantly.
"This journey has been a testament to the enormous amount of love and goodness he shared with us all during his time on earth," his family said on the site they had been using to find him. "His last picture said 'Looking down on you.' We know he is an angel in the heavens now looking down on all of us."
Missing Va. Yoga Teacher Found Dead in Mexico
Simran had sent his wife a photo of himself hiking in the Tepozteco Mountains around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, pointing to the yoga retreat in the distance.
Simran, who is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and his wife Emily Smith had been attending a four-day yoga retreat called Sat Nam Fest near Tepoztlan, about 30 miles south of Mexico City, when he went for a hike Monday.
Smith said her husband was an experienced hiker, and that day had gone out with only water, trail mix, a phone and a knife. She said he texted her the day he left for the hike, suggesting he was lost.
The hike was supposed to be short, and as the hours passed, Smith's worry grew. After contacting local authorities, she told News4 Washington she was concerned searchers hadn't consistently used a helicopter with infrared radar while looking for Simran.
Hundreds of members of the Sikh community gathered Friday evening for a prayer service and vigil at the worship center and yoga studio in Sterling where Simran taught. They said some of the money that was donated in the search for Simran will be donated to further the good he tried to spread in the world.
"If I could just be one-hundredth of him, I think I could be a much better human being," Simran's friend Prabhjit Singh said. "He literally came [to Virginia] to raise people's consciousness, that's what he did as a meditation and yoga teacher. He lifted people up."