Holi Played with Yogis from Over 100 Nations & Renowned Percussionist Sivamani on Second Day of International Yoga Festival

RISHIKESH- The colours of Parmarth Niketan Ashram today became brighter as participants from over 100 nations enjoyed a special Holi. Joining the festivities were HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan and internationally-renowned percussionist, Sivamani.

The festivities, which took place during Parmarth Niketan’s annual world-famous International Yoga Festival, used organic colours in order to send a message to the world that celebration and environmental conservation should go hand-in-hand.

Organized under the guidance and inspiration of HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President, Parmarth Niketan and Founder, Ganga Action Parivar, the globally-renowned annual International Yoga Festival is being attended by nearly two thousand people, who are coming from across the world to take part in inspiring lectures and courses by over 80 revered saints, yogacharyas, presenters and experts who are teaching nearly 200 offerings throughout the week.

Said HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan and Founder, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance India, “Today, people from across the world enjoyed the colours of Holi in a way that will protect our environment and our health. Let this serve as an example for everyone, everywhere, so that all festivals may become green festivals. It is also a beautiful example of the deep and universal meaning of Indian holidays. They teach us how to make our holidays into holy days!”

Said Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Director, International Yoga Festival, “Today’s beautiful celebrations brought the world together in song, dance, joy and colours. We celebrated Holi because we want everyone to return to their 100 nations with their hearts coloured in the colour of yoga, the colour of union, the colour of oneness and peace. The colours on our faces will wash right off, but the colour on our hearts is what everyone will take home with them and be true ambassadors of yoga, of peace and of environmental protection.”

Activities Held Throughout the Second Day of the International Yoga Festival

Before the Holi Celebrations, participants in the second day of the International Yoga Festival took part in early morning classes which included a 4am Morning Sadhana class with Sukhmandir Singh of USA, followed by classes in Bhakti Yoga with Daphne Tse of Texas and Hawaii, Traditional Hatha Yoga with Sadhvi Abha Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan, Pranayama with H.S. Arun of Bangalore, Sufi Meditation with Mert Guler of Turkey, and Forrest Yoga with Ana Forrest & Jose Calarco of Australia. There was also a Dhrupad Morning Raga Concert with Astha and Pradeep Chopra on the special Sacred Sound Stage.

Following breakfast, classes in asana continued with Jivamukti Yoga with Jules Febre of New York, Iyengar Yoga with H.S. Arun, Kundalini Yoga with Kia Miller of the UK, Sattva Yoga with Anand Mehrotra, and a special joint class of Mantra Vinyasa with Akira Watamoto of Japan and Anandra George of USA. Cheryl Friedman of USA led a Sanskrit Mantra Workshop, focusing on the Savitri Gayatri mantra.

Following the Holi celebrations and lunch, divine talks and meditations were led, including a talk on karma and dharma with Laura Plumb of California, Aura Healing with Maa Gyaan Suveera, Yoga Nidra with Sadhvi Abha Saraswati, Inner Yoga Therapy through Chakras with Satya Kalra, and Gong Healing with Sanj Hall.

There was also a special screening of the film “PGS – Intuition is Your Personal Guidance System” by Australian producer/director Bill Bennett, a 90-minute movie detailing one man’s search for a voice that saved his life. The search took Bill Bennett to some of the most remote and sacred places on the planet, to talk to holy men and mystics, including IYF’s Founder Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and IYF Director Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, sadhus and saints, research scientists and quantum physicists and psychiatrists. The film has already opened to sold out audiences in several cities across the world including Hollywood.

Said Bill Bennett about the film: “It’s a great honour to be screening my film at this year’s festival, in no small part because HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji were amongst the first people I interviewed during the three years of filming I conducted all over the world. They not only gave me wonderful interviews, but they helped me personally with my spiritual growth, which I needed in order to make the film…Parmarth Niketan plays an important role in the making of my film. I made the film on intuition intuitively – and my intuition led me to Parmarth where I met Swamiji and Sadhviji. They welcomed me as though I was family returning home, and subsequently agreed to be interviewed – and those interviews feature prominently in the film. They provide great wisdom and insight to the film, and have personally helped me enormously on my own spiritual journey.”

In the afternoon sessions, Mert Guler of Turkey led a meditation on Rumi and Love, Erica Kaufman of USA led an introduction to Lila Yoga class, Francesca Cassia of Italy led Odaka Yoga, Ana Forrest & Jose Calarco of Australia led Forrest Yoga, and Katie Fisher of USA led a class on Bio-Acoustic Medicine with Tuning Forks, Mudra and Marma.

Yuva Dayalan of Hong Kong led a class in Yuvaa Yoga. Yuva Dayalan, a former international badminton player (ranked 2nd in India) who was forced to stop playing due to an attack of pneumonia, took up yoga seriously as a therapy to cure himself. Since then, after years of intense study, he has won many national titles and International yoga competitions. In Hong Kong, he has founded Yuvaa Yoga and conducts teacher training courses & workshops through the Yuvaa School Of Yoga, as well as organizing international yoga championships.

During the Divine Ganga Aarti in the evening, IYF Yogacharya Laura Plumb’s new book “Ayurvedic Cooking for Beginners” was launched and blessed by Pujya Swamiji. Laura is dedicated in the field of Mind-Body Medicine. She is founder of Ganga Yoga, in which she was inspired by Pujya Swamiji to develop a new form of yoga that will connect people all over the world to Ganga.

Following the divine Ganga Aarti and dinner, Daphne Tse of Texas and Hawaii, USA led sacred chanting and music with guest musicians Setsuo Miyashita, Gumi, Keigo Tanaka, Ryohei Kishimoto, and Momoko Nagano. All hailing from Japan, all the musicians have extensively studied classical Indian music, including mantra and instruments like the santoor.

Quotations from Presenters and Participants

Daphne Tse: “International Yoga Festival is an extraordinary global yoga gathering…bringing together holy saints and yogis from around the world. It is a One of a Kind experience that connects people of all walks of life and unites us all on the banks of Ma Ganga to experience the true meaning of yoga, service and pure love for one another.”

Jules Febre: The International Yoga Festival provides one of the greatest opportunities to create a meaningful and lasting satsang with like minded yogis!