Today was the 3rd Day of the 28th annual world famous International Yoga Festival. Since 1999, Parmarth Niketan has been hosting this world renowned event which was started by UP Tourism in 1989 and has grown to international acclaim and which grows in size year after year. Yogacharyas, teachers, students and seekers come from every corner of the globe to participate in this program. This year there are more than 1000 participants from nearly 80 countries. There are classes from 4:00 am until 9:30 pm with more than 70 revered saints, yogacharyas, presenters and experts.

The morning began with Kundalini Sadhana with Sukhmandir Singh Khalsa in which he explained, “Happiness is a natural state of consciousness. Everything else is disease. Everything else is imbalance. Happiness is who we are, what we are. This is our birthright.” Highlights of the morning classes included Indea Yoga Foundation: Coordinating
Body, Breath & Mind through asana by Bharath Shetty of Mysore, Pranayama with Yogiraj Vishwapal Jayant and Traditional Hatha Yoga with Sadhvi Abha Saraswati. The morning intensive classes included Jivamukti Yoga by Jules Febre of New York, USA, Iyengar Yoga twists with H.S. Arun, Vinyasa Yoga by Krishnamurthy Mohan Raj of China, Deep Yoga by Laura Plumb of San Diego, USA, Kundalini Yoga by Gloria Latham of Vancouver, Canada, Traditional Hatha Yoga by Kia Miller of Los Angeles, USA and Odaka Yoga by Roberto Milletti of Italy. Kia Miller explained that: “Creating intelligence in the body leads to an intelligent approach to life. This class will take you on an exploration into your own innate power to create. Our work with the breath through pranayama helps us to dissolve the veil that covers our True self. Therefore, in the end, you will see that we are only uncovering that which is already there. That is the true state of Yoga.” H.S. Arun, renowned Iyengar Yoga teacher from Bangalore explained: “Yoga is not a workout, it is working in. Yoga is not about burning calories, it is to preserve energy by stopping the seeping energy’

After lunch, yoga classes resumed and included Kundalini Yoga by Gurushabd Kaur Khalsa of Los Angeles, USA, Aromatherapy, Wellness and Healthy Living by Dr. Anjana Bhagat of India and meditation by Maa Gyan Suveera. The Kirtaniyas of California, USA well known for their fusion of traditional Indian style vocal music with multi instruments and classical Bharatnatyam dance gave an inspiring class in Bhakti Yoga. This was followed in the afternoon by a beautiful and uplifting satsang with renowned spiritual leader Shri Prem Baba from Brazil, who spoke about Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion and the importance of love in our life. Participants also had the opportunity to ask questions that were so beautifully answered.

In the evening, after the divine Ganga Aarti, the participants were treated to a special sound and mantra chanting program with Anandra George of Hawaii, USA combined with devotional songs by Sangeeta Levin of Chile, South America. This was followed by an enthralling dance performance by the rishikumars of the Parmarth Gurukul. By the end of the night all the participants were dancing joyously on the stage with our Rishikumars.

Quotations from participants:

Zhang Jiatuan, China: I LOVE yoga. “It’s my first time in India. I’m so happy with everything. The facilities are so much nicer than I expected.”

Sandra Perlow – New York, USA: “I’m a yoga teacher from New York, this is a life changing experience which I will take home and share. I have had lots of deep personal insight. I’ll be back!”

Yael Arbel & Karen Geiger Israel: “It’s my 3rd time in India but the first time in Rishikesh and at the International Yoga Festival, it’s incredible, incredible, unbelievable, like a dream.”

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