Hafla Music Concert Performance Prepares Festival-goers for Tonight’s Musical Extravaganza with Kailasa

Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Sadhviji Welcome Famous Singer Padmashri Kailash Kher & His Band Home to Parmarth Niketan

6 MARCH 2020 RISHIKESH INDIA: As an amazing lead-in to the highly-anticipated Kailash Kher & his soulful band Kailasa’s Live Concert this evening closing the sixth day of the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, last night’s incredible Hafla Music concert with Gil Ron Sharma and Soul’s Diet became a beautiful expression of interfaith harmony and oneness. With spiritually-inspiring songs from the Hindu, Sikh and Islamic traditions and sacred intonations of the masters and culture of all spiritual traditions blending together, performers and participants alike experienced a beautiful coming-together of Yoga and inspired upliftment for the world.

The divine World Peace Concert offered the mantra of “We are one heart. We are one source-Waking up. Om Shalom Salaam Amen!” as participants and presenters alike joined their hands waving to the rhythm of the music as the symbol of their collective intention of being agents of love and peace in the world.

Surprising the performers and the audience percussionist extraordinaire Sivamani and his wife, classical and Sufi singer Runa Rizvi Sivamani, joined to add their own divine energy to the Concert- changing their flights to stay another evening. The Concert also saw the guest appearance of Padma Shri Kailash Kher, who arrived early to prepare for tonight’s concert.

Kailashji shared a few words with the Festival participants, “These seven days of the International Yoga Festival are not just filed with classes, workshops and lectures on yoga, ayurveda and wellness but the entire event is an experience and an invitation to be one with God.” He added, “I see myself as nothing but Pujya Swamiji’s own sweat – a proud part of the Parmarth Family. Coming to Parmarth is like coming home. Just like my breath is natural to me and unconditionally flowing so is my intention and commitment to be at the International Yoga Festival year after year.”

The expanded ensemble of so many types of instruments and vocal styles played to the delight of the crowded performance tent well into the night, adding a spectacular finish to an even more sensational Day 5 of the International Yoga Festival.

Sivamani and Runa departed early this morning, with Pujya Sadhviji taking the time to bid farewell and to personally thank them for, once again, making the Festival such a memorable experience for everyone. Pujya Sadhviji also blessed the couple’s beautiful baby girl, Milana, to whom she presented a sacred Rudraksha mala and some flowers.


Supercharged and filled with divine inspiration thanks to last night’s stellar concert, hundreds of yoga practitioners at Parmarth Niketan for the 31st Annual International Yoga Festival awoke to rainy morning on the banks of Mother Ganga, but still took to their mats for a full-range of activities. Asanas were the order of the day, with Katie B. Happyy’s Vinyasa class and Ganga Nandini’s Yoga for All – Mantras, Asanas and Meditation, continuing through Dr. Indu Sharma’s Traditional Hatha Yogasana and Sensei Sandeep Desai’s Mysore-Style Ashtanga Yoga practice to Mohan Bhandari’s Flow of Yogi – Improving & Expanding and Anandra George’s hugely-popular Sunrise Nada Yoga on the Ghat, postures and poses and practice created health and happiness for all the participants.

The offerings after a light breakfast were just as empowering, as trauma was healed through yoga, thanks to Beth Shaw, all Asanas were led to Tadasana by HS Arun, Kundalini was awakened by Kia Miller and accessed by Anand Mehrotra, poisonous Dvesa and Avhiniveshah was presented in a modern context by Stewart Gilchrist and the spine became harmonic, thanks to the efforts of Joseph Schmidlin.

Stewart Gilchrist is famous for his boot-camp style classes in London, and he shared that “the style in which I teach is a reflection of who I am and where I came from as a person. I came from a very working-class background in Scotland, and I came from a very rough, violent upbringing, and I came from a world of addiction, of crime, of violence…and, to come here, and to teach here and to teach how I teach now that I’ve been teaching for over 20 years is a reflection of who I am. It’s all given me a style of teaching which is one of selfless service, where the physical dynamic of the class, the physical tapas of the class, the austerities and the discipline of the class, results in people who are in-service, and never need to be looked after….always strong in body, strong in mind, fit in body, fit in mind, so that they can be of service to the rest of the community, so that they can be in a place of giving and not of taking.”

With courses and discourses complete for the morning, Rev Dr Michael Bernard Beckwith, Dr. Alejandro Junger, MD, Founder of the Clean Programme, New York Times bestselling Author of Clean, James Maskell, Founder of Functional Forum, the world's largest integrative medicine conference, Dr. Smita Naram, founder of Ayushakti and renowned ayurveda expert has helped more than 1 million people from 108 countries, Uplift Connect Founder Organic India Founder Bharat Mitra and Director of the International Yoga Festival Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawatiji took to the stage for the day’s Spiritual Lecture Series, entitled The Frontiers of Wellness Techniques with a focus on building resilience during this time of unprecedented systems collapse.

Their prescription for living in a troubled world included Dr. Smita Naram’s offerings based on her vast experience in Ayurveda medicine shared that “trauma is one of the main reasons for getting so many health issues. Ayurveda mentions that shock and fear plus anger combined together creates a major shutting down of the immune system and the digestive system. So, what you eat is not processed by the body, which leads to so many degenerative issues. For these reasons, it’s important to take care of your emotions on a daily basis. A simple marma point – Aponga marma – just applying ghee in circular motion to your temples, or rubbing your feet with ghee, can help so much in grounding you and your nervous system becomes stronger and more able to handle traumatic situations. It’s very simple, but it is so effective.”

And, Founder of Organic India’s Bharat Mitra offered his take on the current state of wellness in the world by sharing, ”Stress and loneliness are inevitable outcomes and symptoms of deep confusion. When we buy into the illusion that we are separate, when we are disconnected from reality, from the simple reality that we are all interconnected and that each and every one of us is a unique expression of the glorious mystery – God, divine consciousness, self-awareness, it has no name – and, yet, each and every one is dead right now. The source of our stress is our inner confusion, as if we’re victims of the world. And, it’s not about changing the world, it’s about changing ourselves.”

Following another delightful Sattvic lunch, participants were called back to Yoga Village by the melodies of Nrityavali’s Indian Classical Dance Workshop and Joanna Faso’s Joy of Sargam: A Beginner’s Vocal Playshop – two offerings that delighted all of the participants and stretched and defined those talents not confined to a yoga mat. But, those mats were well-used in Erica Kaufman’s Lila Yoga class, Rohini Manohar’s YINcredible offering and Dr. Eden Goldman’s Chikitsa Vinyasa Therapeutic Flow, while The Yoga of Business with Andrew Hewitt and Recognizing the Other Person is You by Tommy Rosen motivated more cerebral portions of attendee’s bodies.

Completing the afternoon’s offerings were Dr. Smita Naram’s recipe for living 100 years full of energy, vitality and health; Maa Gyaan Suveera’s blending of intelligence and faith, science & tradition; and, Sianna Sherman’s amazing combination of the physical practice of vinyasa flow and intelligent alignment with mantra chanting, myth, pranayama, tantra, mudras, rituals and meditation in her Rasa Yoga: Magic of Mudra class.

When sharing about her experience at the Festival, Sianna says, “Epic – Sublime – Ecstatic! The International Yoga Festival is a true sanctuary of yoga with an indefatigable spirit of welcoming,
inclusivity, and diversity. Every day is a celebration of life and together we co-create the resonant field of love. This grand gathering of yoga is one that recharges, renews, and re-calibrates the entire being. The atmosphere is charged with tremendous Blessing Energy and one can feel the living flame of love that permeates the entire festival. I Am Blessed. We Are Blessed.”

And, Rohini Manohar said “To come to Parmarth and teach is like coming home to divinity. Every face, every class , every word, every idol in the ashram is a signpost to something higher and I am eternally grateful to be here and share my love for yoga.”

Following a beautiful Water Blessing ceremony and group photos and another of the Festival’s popular Kirtan Family Hour, Day 6 of the International Yoga Festival revved-up before winding-down with a lively and energetic special Sufi music concert by award-winning and world-renowned Sufi Singer Kailash Kher, whose singular talents and charismatic personality charmed the audience and created beautiful memories for all of the audience members to take with them.

With Day 7, the final day of this memorable event, just a few hours away, the Festival’s inspired and energized yogis began thinking of returning home, filled with new insights and many memories of time well-spent on the holy banks of Mother Ganga.

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