Padmashri Kailash Kher joins us at Parmarth Niketan for Day 2 of the International Yoga Festival (IYF) at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh with a special Sufic Musical Performance and Concert

Ministry of Culture’s North Central Zone Cultural Centre, Prayagraj perform a special Uttarakhand Rangostav giving a Himalayan Welcome to IYF Delegates from across the world 

Special Satsang by Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Director of International Yoga Festival encourages participants and presenters to dive deep into the truth of Sanatana Dharma and spirituality to heal and transform themselves such that as they leave they leave transformed, touched and deeply inspired

IYF is organised by Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh with the support of Incredible India, Ministry of Tourism, in association with Ministry of Culture and Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, inspired by HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji welcomed home Yoga Presenters and Participants from nearly 90 nations in a special G20 themed Festival.

RISHIKESH: After a vibrant first day of International Yoga festival at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, which – coinciding with Holi — saw approximately 1500 participants from nearly 90 countries across the globe dive into the teaching, touch and transformation of yoga as well as an ecstatic celebration of colors, flowers and special late evening drumming concert by world-renowned percussionist A. Sivamani ji with his wife Soulful Singer & Artist Runa Rizviji,

Day 2 of the International Yoga Festival began today, March 9, with equal vigor and enthusiasm.

Participants gathered early morning at Brahma Muhurta at 4am for the Morning Kundalini Sadhana class with Gurushabd Singh Khalsa of USA, followed by classes in Dark Goddess Flow by Rohini Manohar, founder of Chennai Yoga Studio, Chikitsa Vinayasa Therapeutic Flow Yoga by Dr. Eden Goldman of Loyola Marymount University, USA, Mastery of Pranayama with Mohan Bhandari, co-founder and director of Yogic Yoga (China) and Sensei Sandeep Desai’s hugely-popular Chen Style T’ai Chi at the Yoga Ghat as well as Naad Yoga with Ganga Nandini, Senior Yogacharya of Parmarth Niketan.

Following breakfast in Parmarth Niketan’s beautiful gardens, participants experienced a wide variety of intensive asana classes including Heart Lotus by Kia Miller originally from England and now based in Los Angeles, On the Yoga Ghat, while the sun began to shine on the waters of Mother Ganga, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa based in the US and in Mexico took participants through a class on “The Beaming Power of Thunder Love!” which was a fusion of power, grace, energy and celebration. Anand Mehrotra taught class on “Enlivening Shakti for Full Value Living” taught participants how meditation can help us get in touch with the Universal Life Force. Power Vinayasa-I Find Power In My Roots: Chakra 1 & 7 Balancing by Katie B. Happy from San Diego, a  “Lila Yoga Vinayasa: Uniting with Calm Clarity” by Erica Kaufman from Pennsylvania, USA, Founder of the Sattva Yoga Retreat,

The Spiritual Plenary Series today was a special satsang by HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji. Beginning with the chanting of devotional stuti and song to Mother Ganga, sacred vedic mantras and meditation led by Pujya Sadhviji, Pujya Swamiji and Sadhviji answered questions by the participants on topics ranging from life to health to yoga. The main query from participants and the resounding theme of the questions were participants expressing their love and connection to Rishikesh and asking about how they can really take this touch and this divine feeling back with them. 

Pujya Sadhviji led a beautiful guided meditation inspiring people to let go and to go deep within, encouraging them to allow the sacredness of the Himalayas and Maa Ganga within themselves such that when they go back they are changed and different. Answering a question on how to maintain balance in our lives, she shared, “ No matter how powerful your spiritual experience is, it’s  not usually one time and you’re done with the situation. You have to be actively engaged in continuing to reconnect yourself. This is called sadhana and that is very important. Working on the patterns of the mind is the key, no matter where your body is. You play your role but never lose sight of who you are, of what your truth is. Set an anchor that says “hey, come back”! And then spiritual community is important. So stay connected to your roots and in your truth.”

Pujya Swamiji beautifully said, “Mind games are amazing, it keeps you up and down. To keep our balance we need to practice every day. Mindful and heartful practices, meditation, introspection, reflection, all of that really helps you. The small baby steps will help you to walk on the path, and  keep you anchored and grounded.”

During the Q/A One of the participants beautifully asked “Is there a correct posture for meditation?” To which Pujya Swamiji replied by saying “Sthira Sukham Asanam. That posture that allows you to be stable and comfortable is the right posture for the state of meditation to happen. The best posture is the presence, awareness and connection with the divine.”

Lunch was followed by a series of talks and discourses on inclusive, integrative health and wellness along with mesmerizing folk dances. During a session on “Escape from Modern Illnesses: Solutions from Ayurveda & Yoga”, Dr. Raghavan Ramankutty, world-renowned and eminent Ayurvedacharya, founder of Dathathreya Ayurveda, and Mrs. Sharada Raghavan, talked about how Ayurveda is a healing system that combines physical, psychological, and spiritual health.

Acharya Ashish Gilhotra, founder of Pressure Yoga, a seasoned Naturopathic Acharya, highlighted how natural therapies can help overcome Fat Loss and Back Pain. Traditional folk dances are a beautiful expression of India’s historic art and culture. Nrityavali’s demonstration of “Marwadi Nritya”, showcased the culture of Rajasthani clothing and dance forms. Dr. Nishi Bhatt, one of the leading healers in the emerging field of holistic & neurological treatments dived deep into the subject of NAADIYOGA as an alternative healing method by enhancing the body’s capabilities which does not rely on medicine for treatment. Za Rah Kumara, a Zero-Point Healer and Sacred Music artist, along with Shanti Manpreet of Germany, a Sacred sound and Healing artist conducted a session titled “Crystal Sounding Heart” to help connect people with the divine through sound at the Sacred Sound Stage. Dr. Smita Pankaj Naram, Co-Founder of Ayushakti, which has helped more than 1.5 million people across the world and transformed their lives, shared how to unlock 3 Secrets to Vibrant Health and Blissful Happiness.

In the afternoon asana sessions, Sri H.S Arun, internationally renowned Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher from Bangalore, taught numerous twists enabling one to ‘Live at Present’ in his session called “Untwist the Twist”. Swami Svatmananda returned with a session on Vedanta: The Ultimate Pursuit of Man”. He explained how Vedanta, an ancient Hindu Sadhana, is the pursuit of knowledge into the Brahman and the Ātman. Participants had the unique opportunity to understand how one can awaken their consciousness through practice in a session by Jai Hari Singh, Chairman and CEO of the Yogasomostodos Foundation. The session on “Heart Chakra Balancing” was conducted by the world-renowned Yogrishi Vishvketu, founder of Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram. The final session of the afternoon called “Voicing the Sounds of Your Chakra ” was conducted in the Sacred Sound Stage by Gumi and Hiroko of Japan.

After tea and snacks, at sunset, participants headed to Parmarth Niketan’s Ganga Aarti Ghat to attend the sacred Ganga Havan. In the evening, the Sacred Ganga Aarti was followed by a Special Performance of Uttarakhand Rangostav, organized in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. It was a demonstration of the traditional, artistic and cultural values of Uttarakhand folk.

Following dinner, a Kīrtan Family Hour with Za Rah Kumara & Shanti Manpreet allowed participants to chant their hearts open with Sacred music practitioners. Finally, to conclude the proceedings of Day 2 of the International Yoga Festival 2023, a special Sufi Music Performance by Padmashri Kailash Kher, captivated the participants and guests with divine music.


Quotes from Participants


Kailash Kher said, “Today is an auspicious day because it is a religion, which is being performed by the entire Parmarth family under the guidance of our respected Swamiji. It will continue like this for ages and its name is International Yoga Festival. Traditions have been carried out here for ages, and even the deities in Devlok are happy to see them.  My mind wanders restlessly day and night, mind sometimes says that you leave the house and become a penance, mind sometimes says that the post of the President would have been ours, sometimes the mind says that you will get all the wealth of the world, this is the mind, the mind. The losers are the losers, the hearts are the winners. Maa Ganga is the embodiment of purity, in order to imbibe that purity, we have to move away from our mind. If we keep alive the divine within us, the Ganga is with us forever and will remain with us, flowing within us for the rest of our lives. Never be sad, live openly as long as you live.”

Dr. Raghavan Ramankutty, world-renowned and eminent Ayurvedacharya, founder of Dathathreya Ayurveda, “We must remember that we have the potential of the universe within us. We must break out of our identification as the body and the mind, we are the soul and that same soul pervades all of creation. With that awareness we can move around in the world addressing the challenges with ease and not dis-ease. This is the key to good health. Remember to witness and work to release identification with the ego and false-identification and for this regular, dedicated spiritual practice and sadhana is key.”


Sonia from Delhi excitedly Said“ I love coming to Parmarth and Rishikesh but for the IYF, this is my first time. And I am glad that I came. This has been so transforming for the past 48 hours… I checked in the day before… I mean the space and trainers, I attended Kundalini and Vinyasa yoga classes and they were majestic. One place, all at once, unified, total… GO FOR IT.! It’s been only 48 hours and I am already thinking I need to book for next year’s IYF. It’s totally enlightening for my soul. Dhanyawad.”

Sandra from Argentina said “For me this is the fifth year I’ve attended and in just one day I have made so many connections. It’s like the three year gap from covid has made people more open to ask and to tell how they are.”

Emily from Malwai said “I am a student and I came to participate in Yoga Festival 2023 and it’s been so nice. This is my first experience in IYF and I’ve learnt a lot. I like Indian culture and I made a lot of friends. The food is good and the staff are good and the room is so nice too. I had a nice time so I am happy and I am thankful. Thank you.”

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