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H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji | | Successful Conclusion of the 7-Day International Yoga Festival (IYF) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram
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Successful Conclusion of the 7-Day International Yoga Festival (IYF) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram

Mar 15 2024

Successful Conclusion of the 7-Day International Yoga Festival (IYF) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram

Successful Conclusion of the 7-Day International Yoga Festival (IYF) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, that featured 1500 international guests from over 75 countries, Revered Saints, Spiritual Masters & Yogacharyas, and Internationally Acclaimed Musicians

The majestic town of Rishikesh, nestled in the lap of the Himalayas and on the banks of the sacred Ganges, witnessed the successful culmination of the 7-day International Yoga Festival (IYF) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Under the divine guidance of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Director of IYF, the festival brought together over 1500 participants representing over 75 countries, revered saints, spiritual masters, yogacharyas, artists, and musicians from across the globe.

“Today the world is suffering,” HH Pujya Chidanand Saraswati Ji said. “Eleven-year olds are stressed and depressed. At eleven years old? Yoga gives the answer. War is not the way. Peace is the way. Russia and Ukraine, there is fighting there, but we have participants from Russia and Ukraine and they are not fighting here. You want to be in peace, then you choose peace. The true cause of our land shortages, water shortages, or food shortages comes from a greater problem: We have a shortage of consciousness. In the land of yoga, where saints and rishis and sages of Rishikesh gave these sacred practices to the entire world, and sacred mantras, we can come back together. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: That is India’s message to the world. The World is one family. That is the message of yoga.”

Highlights from the Week:

  • Maha Shivratri Celebration: The festival commenced with a special eco-friendly, green, and yogic celebration of Maha Shivratri, offering participants a unique experience of India’s sacred festival dedicated to overcoming darkness.
  • Wellness Session by Luke Coutinho: The inaugural session witnessed the gracious presence of the Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand Lt Gen (Retd), followed by an inspiring plenary session by wellness expert Luke Coutinho, a key figure in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Fit India Movement.
  • Environmental Awareness: Throughout the festival, Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Sadhviji underscored the importance of environmental awareness and preservation. Their advocacy extended to conscious living practices, urging participants to avoid single-use plastics and adopt eco-friendly habits.
  • Living Yoga for Peace and Sustainability: The third day’s Spiritual Plenary Session delved into the theme of “Living Yoga for Peace and Sustainability.” Speakers like Pujya Maa Dr. Hansa Ji Yogendra, Shri Gauranga Das Ji, HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji shared insights on integrating yoga into daily life for global harmony.
  • Power of Ayurveda to Heal: The fourth day’s Wisdom Talk focused on the transformative power of Ayurveda. Esteemed speakers, including Vaidya Dr. Padma Nayani Raju, Dr. Smita Pankaj Naram, María Alejandra Avcharian, and Anand Mehotra, illuminated Ayurvedic principles for holistic well-being.
  • Bridging the Divide: On the fifth day, eminent global presenters and revered saints discussed the theme of “Bridging the Divide.” Dr. Chinmay Pandya, Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Seane Corn, and others explored paths to bring people together in a world marked by conflicts.
  • World Peace Day: visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram: The festival’s sixth day featured a special meditation and visit to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, also known as the Beatles Ashram. Participants immersed themselves in the ashram’s historic energy. Musicians from around the world including MC YOGI and Daphne Tse performed a special rendition of “Imagine” in the name of peace and love. The participants then planted a grove of Rudraksha trees.
  • Participants of the annual world famous International Yoga Festival celebrated a special, eco-friendly, green, YOGIC Holi with great enthusiasm and joy. They got a very special experience of India’s famous festival of colours filled dance, songs and inspiring messages on the significance of this sacred and ecstatic festival.
  • Participants enjoyed diverse styles of yoga by truly international Yogacharas, from Kundalini with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Yogi Bhajan’s disciple who brought the first Yogi Bhajan yoga center in the United States and Kia Miller, internationally celebrated yoga teacher and founder of Radiant Body Yoga; to Vinyasa with Seane Corn, the master teach who is s leading voice of Yoga; to “Yoga for Athletes,” taught by Dr. Eden Goldman, Director of the Yoga and Healing Sciences Program at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA, to ‘Face Yoga,’ shared by Mansi Gulati, International Yoga exponent. IYF this year even featured workshops on Traditional Folk Dance Style of Gujarat and Rajasthan and Original Chen style T’ai Chi Circles.
  • This year’s Sacred Sound Stage featured a gifted lineup of kirtan, mantra, and sound artists including huge international names like Sivamani, MC YOGI, Kailash Kher, and Daphne Tse.
  • And guests were dazzled with cultural performances, like the wonderful Nrityavali dance who gave a traditional folk dance styles of Gujarat and Rajasthan, and an expert yog demonstration by Parmarth Niketan’s beloved Rishikumars.

The International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan Ashram not only celebrated the ancient wisdom of yoga but also fostered unity, health, and inner peace on a global scale. The event was organized with the support of Incredible India, Ministry of Tourism, in association with Ministry of Culture and Ministry of AYUSH.

“Yoga is not about the teaching, it is about the touch and about the transformation,” said Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati Ji. “And what people are looking for is not just instructions, how to breathe, do the asanas and to be healthy in our bodies. Yes, it is critical as the body is our temple. We take care of our bodies and we realise that it’s the medium through which we experience consciousness. The body is the beginning not the end. It’s the tool, the instrument so we need it to be healthy. But where we’re really going is somewhere much deeper and for that we need the touch, the energetic experience of being in the presence of sacredness. The transformation happens when our heart finally expands and explodes out of who we thought we were.”

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