International Yoga Festival, March 1-7, 2020, Day 2

Building on the extraordinary momentum of the Day 1, the festival continued to offer perfect 2020 Vision of a world at peace and a people in harmony, with a full schedule of energizing classes and dynamic opportunities for  participants to embrace the divine power of Yoga and reconnect with their true Selves, each other and all of Creation. The flow of Yoga unfolded on Day 2 of the 31st Annual International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, with multicultural classes and workshops, teachings, prayers, and performances! The events included full-range of uplifting and inspiring classes, ranging from Kundalini Sadhana with Gurushabd Singh Khalsa and Chikitsa Vinyasa Therapeutic Flow with Dr. Eden Goldman, a Yoga, Mindfulness and Wellness lifestyle expert from Los Angeles, to YogiYoga Hips and Shoulders with Mohan Bhandari and Sensei Sandeep Desai’s hugely-popular Chen Style T’ai Chi.

The major attraction of Day two was the presence of the Governor of Maharasthra Shri Bhagat Singh Koshiyariji and Pujya Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji. Shri Ravi Shankarji, addressed the crowd of International Yoga Festival participants, meulogised on the beauty of Ganga Arati  and spiritual discourses that take place at Parmarth and shared about Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the ‘World is One Family’, something that was so evident in looking at all the people who had joined the Parmarth family for celebrating yoga.  He also spoke at length about the importance of yoga.

Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra and former CM of Uttarakhand, Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyariji was overjoyed to see all of the participants and joined them for lunch. He personally encouraged and thanked them for their participation in this global event, welcoming them to his homeland of Uttarakhand. He spoke about his deep involvement in the path of spirituality and said that humans are a mere vessel and instrument in the hands of the divine.

In his address, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji opined that life is not to have more but to be more. “It’s not about hoarding and having but it’s really about giving and sharing. The real Art of Living is in learning to give, give and give like Mother Ganga, Mother Nature and the Sun with no hesitation, no expectation, no vacation and no discrimination and that is what is seen here.  The visits of Hon’ble Koshiyariji and Pujya Sri Sriji reiterate that no matter who you are the path of Yoga unites and connects everyone,” he added.

 

The second Spiritual Lecture Series on ‘Yoga in the Marketplace’, a panel discussion on how to take the teachings of yoga ‘Off the Mat’ took place in the first half. The panel featured Gaur Gopal Dasji as the keynote speaker, a renowned monk of the ISKCON tradition who emphasised that yoga is not just exercise but a philosophy, a system of beliefs and values that impacts and informs our actions and choices in life. He highlighted that yoga is the answer to physical, spiritual and mental wellness. The spiritual lecture series panel included Andrew Hewitt, Bharat Mitra, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati. The session provided the perfect opportunity for both new and longtime practitioners to focus on ways that the power and unifying force of Yoga can become an integral part of everyday life.

Gaur Gopal Dasji explained, “The very word yoga comes from the word yuj which is to connect, a connection of course with ourselves, but also with someone or something beyond us. When we connect, our heart lights up, and when our heart lights up, we light up the world. The world needs light and love today in the situation we are in, but we are not lit up. So, how do you light up the world? The third dimension of yoga is our connection which gives us spiritual wellness. There is social wellness, mental wellness and spiritual wellness, which is more than physical exercise. First there is the philosophy which gives us the values and lifestyle choices, second the ability to step back and watch, and third is to adopt some kind of spiritual practice whether it is meditation, chanting, prayer, whatever it may be for you, and feel a deep connect, a deep love within ourselves so we can share it with the world.”

The day ended with Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawatiji address where she emphasised the deep significance of Rishikesh by saying, “This is truly why Yoga on the banks of Mother Ganga, in the lap of the Himalayas, in the yoga capital of the world is so special and so sacred – it’s not only the teachings but the touch and the transformation of saints, sages, rishis, yogis and sincere seekers for many decades that make this land so potent for catalysing our own awakening.”

Highlights of second day’s event –

  • The morning was capped with the return of both Dana Flynn’s Soul Sweat and
  • Anandra George’s Sunrise Nada Yoga under the divine gaze of Lord Shiva on the Parmarth Ganga Ghat.
  • The Kundalini Express and Yoga of the Mind – the Passion Test, by Tommy Rosen and Janet Attwood.
  • How to Face Your Fears workshop by Jai Hari Singh
  • Intensive Pranic Boost practice by Yogrishi Vishvketu
  • Discourse on Cleansing the Window of Perception: 5 Spiritual Laws to Set You Free by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa,
  • Singing the Blues: A Beginner’s Vocal Playshop by Karen Neumann
  • Lunch was followed by an array of courses, classes and discourses that combined the wisdom and healing powers of Yoga and Eastern philosophy with Western practicality.
  • Reiki with Maa Gyaan Suveera
  • Detoxification with Dr. Alejandro Junger
  • Laughing Yoga: Face Reflexology with Dr. G S Gupta
  • Where Art Meets Science with Dr. Bruce Lipton and Prince Ea
  • Yoga Nidra with Dr. Indu Sharma
  • Restorative Yoga and Sound with Astrid Slegten
  • Restorative Yoga with Paula Tapia
  • Klesha! Avidya in Modern Context with Stewart Gilchrist
  • Living as a Visionary with Anand Mehrotra
  • Satsang & Ganga Flow Meditation entitled Let Go, Expand and Connect in the Presence of Truth with Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati
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