Governor of Maharasthra Shri Bhagat Singh Koshiyariji and Pujya Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji visit the 2nd Day of the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh

The flow of Yoga unfolds on Day 2 of the 31st Annual International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, with multicultural classes and workshops, teachings, prayers, and performances!

2 MARCH 2020 RISHIKESH INDIA: Building on the extraordinary momentum of the event’s opening day, the 31st Annual International Yoga Festival continued to offer perfect 2020 Vision of a world at peace and a people in harmony, with a full schedule of energizing classes and dynamic opportunities for participants to embrace the divine power of Yoga and reconnect with their true Selves, each other and all of Creation.

The Festival officially welcomed over 950 participants from over 60 countries last night at a beautiful Inauguration ceremony with Chief Guest Shri Prahlad Singhji, Hon’ble Minister of State for Culture and Tourism from the Government of India, and Shri Prem Chand Aggarwalji, Hon’ble Speaker of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly.
The second day of the festival at Parmarth Niketan was blessed by the presence of Pujya Shri Shri Ravi Shankarji, who addressed the crowd of International Yoga Festival participants and shared so beautifully about Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the World is One Family, something that was so evident in looking at all of the people who had joined the Parmarth family for this incredible international yoga celebration!

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shared his love for Pujya Swamiji and Parmarth Niketan saying, “The Ganga Aarti here is something that is very dear to almost everyone in this country and to the world. Everyone who knows about it loves the Ganga Aarti, the sweet pravachan (spiritual discourse) that happens here at Parmarth, and this Yoga Festival which has been happening for the last 31 years!”

He added, “Through yoga we are able to be connected with everyone on the planet, cutting across race, religion and gender. Through yoga we are able to relieve ourselves of the past and be satisfied fully in the present, live happily and spread happiness.”

The day was also graced by the presence of the Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra and former CM of Uttarakhand, Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyariji, who was so overjoyed to see all of the participants and join them for lunch in the dining hall. He personally encouraged and thanked them for their participation in this global event, welcoming them to his homeland of Uttarakhand. He shared to participants that even as a Governor he practices complete surrender to the path of spirituality and is a mere vessel and instrument in the hands of the divine.

Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji thanked both of them for gracing the Festival participants who were coming from across the world and added, “Life is not to have more but to be more. It’s not about hoarding and having but it’s really about giving and sharing. The real Art of Living is in learning to give, give and give like Mother Ganga, Mother Nature and the Sun with no hesitation, no expectation, no vacation and no discrimination and that is what you see here by the visit of both the Hon’ble Koshiyariji and Pujya Sri Sriji that no matter who you are the path of Yoga unites and connects us.”

Prior to lunch, participants gathered for our second Spiritual Lecture Series on ‘Yoga in the Marketplace’, a panel giving insight and guidance on how to take the teachings of yoga ‘Off the Mat’.

The panel featured Gaur Gopal Dasji as the keynote speaker, a renowned monk of the ISKCON tradition who emphasised that yoga is not just exercise but a philosophy, a system of beliefs and values that impacts and informs our actions and choices in life. He highlighted that yoga is the answer to physical, spiritual and mental wellness. The spiritual lecture series panel included Andrew Hewitt, Bharat Mitra, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati. The session provided the perfect opportunity for both new and longtime practitioners to focus on ways that the power and unifying force of Yoga can become an integral part of everyday life.

Gaur Gopal Dasji explained, “The very word yoga comes from the word yuj which is to connect, a connection of course with ourselves, but with someone or something beyond us. When you connect, your heart lights up, and when your heart lights up, you light up the world. The world needs light and love today in the situation we are in, but we are not lit up. So, how do you light up the world? The third dimension of yoga is our connection which gives us spiritual wellness. There is social wellness, mental wellness and spiritual wellness, which is more than physical exercise. First there is the philosophy which gives us the values and lifestyle choices, second the ability to step back and watch, and third is to adopt some kind of spiritual practice whether it is meditation, chanting, prayer, whatever it may be for you, and feel a deep connect, a deep love within ourselves so we can share it with the world.”

Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawatiji thanked and summarised the incredible festival’s second day by saying, “This is truly why Yoga on the banks of Mother Ganga, in the lap of the Himalayas, in the yoga capital of the world is so special and so sacred – its not only the teachings but the touch and the transformation of saints, sages, rishis, yogis and sincere seekers for many decades that make this land so potent for catalysing our own awakening.”


The Monday of IYF 2020 began with a full-range of uplifting and inspiring classes, ranging from Kundalini Sadhana with Gurushabd Singh Khalsa and Chikitsa Vinyasa Therapeutic Flow with Dr. Eden Goldman, a Yoga, Mindfulness and Wellness lifestyle expert from Los Angeles, to YogiYoga Hips and Shoulders with Mohan Bhandari and Sensei Sandeep Desai’s hugely-popular Chen Style T’ai Chi. The morning was capped with the return of both Dana Flynn’s Soul Sweat and Anandra George’s Sunrise Nada Yoga under the divine gaze of Lord Shiva on the Parmarth Ganga Ghat.
Anandra, who studies Hindustani classical music at the feet of master teacher Pandit Baldev Raj Verma and is a frequent visitor to Rishikesh, Parmarth Niketan and the International Yoga Festival, said of her return for this year’s Festival: “Being back at IYF and Parmarth always feels like home. It feels great. The people, the energy, the presenters, the participants…it’s an extraordinary experience.”

Following a nourishing morning meal, Tommy Rosen and Janet Attwood returned to the mat with The Kundalini Express and Yoga of the Mind – the Passion Test, respectively. Said Tommy, founder of the online program, Recovery 2.0, which uses the values and energy of Yoga to help those struggling with addiction: “Everything is vibration and operates frequency. The job we have as human beings is to raise our vibration and frequency, and we do through the practice, principles and ethics of yoga. It’s not just a practice to stretch your muscles or strengthen even the body, although it does those things. The point is to change your mind-body system into a magnet that attracts the Divine and beautiful circumstances and environments into your life. If you do this work and you follow the path of Yoga, you become a magnet for the things that serve your heart and soul. You will also plug into the world in a way where you can serve in an authentic way to others.”

Joining Tommy and Janet in the mid-morning classes were Jai Hari Singh, with a beautiful How to Face Your Fears workshop; Yogrishi Vishvketu with an intensive Pranic Boost practice; and, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, leading an incredible discourse entitled Cleansing the Window of Perception: 5 Spiritual Laws to Set You Free! Immediately afterward, Karen Neumann gathered aspiring crooners in the Sacred Sound Stage for the highly-entertaining Singing the Blues: A Beginner’s Vocal Playshop.

Lunch was followed by an array of courses, classes and discourses that combined the wisdom and healing powers of Yoga and Eastern philosophy with Western practicality. Reiki with Maa Gyaan Suveera; Detoxification with Dr. Alejandro Junger; Laughing Yoga: Face Reflexology with Dr. G S Gupta; Where Art Meets Science with Dr. Bruce Lipton and Prince Ea; Yoga Nidra with Dr. Indu Sharma; Restorative Yoga and Sound with Astrid Slegten; Restorative Yoga with Paula Tapia; Klesha! Avidya in Modern Context with Stewart Gilchrist; Living as a Visionary with Anand Mehrotra; and, a divine Satsang & Ganga Flow Meditation entitled Let Go, Expand and Connect in the Presence of Truth with Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati filled the afternoon with meditation and movement, and the melodious mantras of Voicing the Sounds of Your Chakras with Gumi completed the expansive schedule of enlightening events.

Prince Ea was effusive as he offered his feelings about being back at Parmarth and the International Yoga Festival, saying “This is one of the highlights in my life to be completely honest with you. It’s a special place to be. I feel happy to be surrounded by people that want to uplift consciousness. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m super stoked to see what unfolds.”

Dr Alejandro Junger, meanwhile, shared about his detoxification program, stating, “In this water we drink, in this air we breathe, the medicine we take, the cosmetics we apply, the cleaning products that we clean our house with, but mostly the foods that we eat, there are chemicals that can cause all sorts of problems leading to symptoms and chronic diseases. The good news is that our body has a detoxification system that if we learn how to support and optimize then we can escape the doom of toxicity.”

The close of Day 2 featured a sacred Havan and a beautiful divine Ganga Aarti, as participants joined Pujya Swamiji, Sadhviji and our brothers and sisters from across India and around the world to offer their thanks to Mother Ganga for their extraordinary experiences in Her loving arms. To see the joy radiating in so many faces, it was obvious that the attendees were flooded with Ganga’s divine essence flowing through their minds and hearts and in their breath and bodies, thanks to the wonders of the International Yoga Festival and the day’s final event – an elevating Ecstatic Kirtan with kirtan extraordinaires, The Love Keys!