International Yoga Festival, March 1-7, 2020, Day 4
On the 4th Day of the International Yoga Festival organised by Parmarth Niketan, in association with Incredible India, hundreds of yoga practitioners trekked to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji – Beatles Ashram for a beautiful two-hour session featuring Kirtan, Meditation and Asana practice on the historic grounds and amidst the art and architecture of the ashram that lured the Beatles to Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji’s blessed home for enlightenment and, in so doing, forever cemented Rishikesh in the minds of yoga and meditation lovers of the world over.
Pujya Sadhviji led the enthralled gathering to a beautifully guided meditation that offered empowerment and manifestation. She intoned, “In this sacred place, where the Beatles came as musicians and wrote beautiful music that touched the world, allow yourself to also be a vehicle in whatever way the life force wants to use you – whether it’s music, or art, or education, or science, or technology, or leadership or on the ground sacred seva, whatever way that sacred energy wants to use you, open yourself to it.”
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatijii offered a magical interpretation of the powerful Vedic mantras lending his beautiful voice to the sacredness of the hall.
The day’s very special guest, Dr. Michael Beckwith of Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, led the gathering in a magnificent prayer, sharing “All the love, all the joy, all the beauty, all the wisdom it’s all here and right here, right now, and we recognize this. At this moment we feel a deep feeling of unity of a lifetime which is the light of God. This consciousness of unity in one! We are all one, we are not separate, we all come from the one source of light which is God – this is Yoga.”
Providing an inspiring feature-length-documentary-look into the musical and social phenomenon of chant and response meditation, Georgia Wyss’ film, Mantra – Sounds Into Silence provided both illumination and respite from the full-spate of activities on another beautiful day of Festival programming. The award-winning film features interviews and music by Rishikesh and IYF favorites Deva Premal & Miten with Manose, Krishna Das, Snatam KaurandJai Uttal.
Returning back to Parmarth Niketan after a visit to the Beatles Ashram participants re-took part in the range of afternoon classes and workshops.
The evening was celebrated with a very special performance by America’s The Bluegrass Journeymen – a collective of accomplished musicians presenting traditional American Bluegrass Music – a special addition to the nfestival this year in collaboration with the US Embassy. Members of the band included Patrick Fitzsimons, Coleman Smith, Shaun Nicklin, Jean-Luc Davis, William CArdine, Summers Baker, Andrew Conley, Kolkata’s Nabinta Sarkar and Elliot Joseph.
Finally, after the Sacred Havan and Divine Ganga Aarti on the holy banks of Mother Ganga, internationally acclaimed percussionist and incredibly talented Padma Shri Sivamani – a master of instruments including drums, octoban, darbuka, udukai, ghatam and kanjira – captivated the gathering magnificently with his live concert Ecstatic Rhythm and Soul.
Highlights of the day
Early morning classes, courses and workshops with Gurushabd Singh Khalsa’s Kundalini Sadhana
Traditional Hatha Yogasana with Dr. Indu Sharma,
Soul Sweat session with Dana Flynn
Qigong and T’ai Chi with Sensei Sandeep Desai
Discourse on How to Face Your Fears by Jai Hari Singh,
Tips to Embody Shiva by Anand Mehrotra
Insight into The Siva Principle: Mystical Mantras for Meditation by Swami Uttamananda
Reiki Level 1 class with Maa Gyaan Suveera
Special workshop The Honeymoon Effect – A Fireside Chat with Dr. Bruce Lipton
How to Detox Your Body and Relaxation Therapy guidance by Dr. G.S. Gupta
Yoga class with Paula Tapia and a special musical performance, the Mantra Lullaby by The Love Keys
Inversion Workshop by Katie B. Happyy
Rasa Yoga presentation to foster emotional intimacy with Sianna Sherman
“Back” to the Basics class with Dr. Eden Goldman
Mert Güler’s Sufi Love Meditation
Inner Reprogramming with Yogrishi Vishvketu
Living Sounds of Sanskrit: Restorative Healing Session with Anandra George