Day 4 of the 31st Annual International Yoga Festival
Divine Meditation at the Beatles Ashram, Musical Offering by the Bluegrass Journeymen, in association with the US Embassy and Special Concert of Ecstatic Rhythm & Soul with World-famous Percussionist Sivamani Highlight Day 4 of the International Yoga Festival
4 MARCH 2020 RISHIKESH INDIA: On the 4th Day of the International Yoga Festival organised by Parmarth Niketan, in association with Incredible India, hundreds of yoga practitioners trekked to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji – Beatles Ashram for a beautiful two-hour session featuring Kirtan, Meditation and Asana practice on the historic grounds and amidst the art and architecture of the ashram that lured the Beatles to Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji’s blessed home for enlightenment and, in so doing, forever cemented Rishikesh in the minds of yoga and meditation lovers the world over. Led by HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Director of the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan the event is traditionally one of the most-popular on the roster of Yoga Festival activities, and this year was no exception.
A beautiful day at #Maharishi_Mahesh_Yogi_Ashram (Beatles Ashram) w/my beloved Guru @PujyaSwamiji & my dear friends @drmichaelbb & Bharat Mitra uplifting so many participants of #IYF2020 w/divine chanting, meditation & prayer as we came together to bask in Oneness, Unity & Love. pic.twitter.com/c7IMORdVdH
— Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati (@SadhviBhagawati) March 5, 2020
Yesterday we gathered at #Maharishi_Mahesh_Yogi (Beatles Ashram) with beloved @PujyaSwamiji @SadhviBhagawati @drmichaelbb & Bharat Mitra. Uplifting so many participants of #IYF2020 w/ divine chanting, meditation & prayer as we came together to bask in Oneness, Unity & Love.🥰 pic.twitter.com/u0Ifql5HSx
— Int’l Yoga Festival (@IntlYogaFest) March 5, 2020
Pujya Sadhviji led the enthralled gathering in a beautiful guided meditation that offered empowerment and manifestation. She entoned, “ In this sacred place, where the Beatles came as musicians and wrote beautiful music that touched the world, allow yourself to also be a vehicle in whatever way the life force wants to use you – whether it’s music, or art, or education, or science, or technology, or leadership or on the ground sacred seva, whatever way that sacred energy wants to use you, open yourself to it.”
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatijii then offered a magical interpretation of the powerful Vedic mantras lending his beautiful voice to the sacredness of the hall. As his words echoed back from the storied and historic walls, the energy in the room immediately elevated and transformed.
The day’s very special guest, Dr. Michael Beckwith of Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, then led the gathering in a magnificent prayer, sharing “All the love, all the joy, all the beauty, all the wisdom it’s all here and right here, right now, and we recognize this. At this moment we feel a deep feeling of unity of a lifetime which is the light of God. This consciousness of unity in one. We are all one, we are not separate, we all come from the one source of light which is God – this is Yoga.”
— Int’l Yoga Festival (@IntlYogaFest) March 4, 2020
The evening was celebrated with a very special performance by America’s The Bluegrass Journeymen – a collective of accomplished musicians presenting traditional American Bluegrass Music a special addition to the festival this year in collaboration with the US Embassy, whose representatives Ms Catherine Fischer, Public Diplomacy Officer, North India Office, and Mr Robin Bansal, Cultural Affairs Specialist, North India Office, Embassy of the USA. Members of the band included Patrick Fitzsimons, Coleman Smith, Shaun Nicklin, Jean-Luc Davis, William CArdine, Summers Baker, Andrew Conley, Kolkata’s Nabinta Sarkar and Elliot Joseph.
Finally, following our Sacred Havan and Divine Ganga Aarti on the holy banks of Mother Ganga, internationally-acclaimed percussionist the highly anticipated and incredibly talented Padma Shri Sivamani – a master of instruments including drums, octoban, darbuka, udukai, ghatam and kanjira – carried us magnificently and musically from Day 4 into Day 5 of the International Yoga Festival with his live concert Ecstatic Rhythm and Soul.
Ecstatic Rhythm & Soul: World Renowned Percussionist @drumssivamani & Soulful Singer @RunaRizvi LIVE @IntlYogaFest, @ParmarthNiketan #Rishikesh w/ spcl performance by The Bluegrass Journeymen & other artistshttps://t.co/kZCAXyaGlzhttps://t.co/KTnrfi4k4U#IYF2020 #IYFParmarth pic.twitter.com/Yla44NIGTK
— Parmarth Niketan (@ParmarthNiketan) March 5, 2020
Glad to welcome Ambassador of the Republic of Georgia @archilemb back home to @ParmarthNiketan for this year’s @IntlYogaFest! He also met with the Hon’ble @maha_governor @BSKoshyari did Yoga with @KiaMiller & spoke in the #GangaAarti.#iyf2020 pic.twitter.com/tSyj0Z3aED
— Pujya Swamiji (@PujyaSwamiji) March 4, 2020
Early-risers continued to benefit from the full range of classes, courses and workshops available as the sun peeked over the majestic Himalayas this morning, with Gurushabd Singh Khalsa’s Kundalini Sadhana leading a beautiful class to greet the dawn. This, coupled with a Traditional Hatha Yogasana with Dr. Indu Sharma, a dynamic Soul Sweat session with Dana Flynn and energizing Qigong and T’ai Chi with Sensei Sandeep Desai provided just the kick-start needed for the full day ahead.
Encapsulating the sunrise and the practice, Gurushabd Singh Khalsa shared “There are many places that we travel on this planet teaching, and there is no place like Rishikesh at the foothills of the Himalayas, where the Ganga comes out of the mountains into the flats of India. It’s a place where yoga is alive. It is alive from so many centuries and millennia of people meditating and doing yoga here.”
About his class, Sensei Sandeep Desai shared, “This morning we had the opportunity to practice tai chi breathing the clean, pristine air from the mountains with the spring water from Ganges flowing by the side. This experience is not possible in large cities because of the smog in the atmosphere. Being on the bank of Ganges practicing a highly evolved art such as tai chi is like a medicine for all our ills.”
Providing an inspiring feature-length-documentary-look into the musical and social phenomenon of chant and response meditation, Georgia Wyss’ film, Mantra – Sounds Into Silence provided both illumination and respite from the full-spate of activities on another beautiful day of Festival programming. The award-winning film features interviews and music by Rishikesh and IYF favorites Deva Premal & Miten with Manose, Krishna Das, Snatam Kaur and Jai Uttal.
The balance of the morning was spent in even deeper meditation and asana practice as Jai Hari Singh presented a discourse on How to Face Your Fears, Anand Mehrotra offered tips to Embody Shiva, and Swami Uttamananda offered insight into The Siva Principle: Mystical Mantras for Meditation.
Returning back to Parmarth Niketan after a visit to the Beatles Ashram for a nourishing and delicious sattvic meal, Festival-goers then re-immersed themselves in the range of afternoon offerings that included a Reiki Level 1 class with Maa Gyaan Suveera, a special workshop entitled the The Honeymoon Effect – A Fireside Chat with Dr. Bruce Lipton, How to Detox Your Body and Relaxation Therapy guidance by Dr. G.S. Gupta, a beautiful Restorative Yoga class with Paula Tapia and a special musical performance, the Mantra Lullaby, by crowd-favorites The Love Keys.
Late afternoon classes included an Inversion Workshop by Katie B. Happyy, a Rasa Yoga presentation to foster emotional intimacy with Sianna Sherman, a “Back” to the Basics class with Dr. Eden Goldman, Mert Güler’s Sufi Love Meditation, Inner Reprogramming with Yogrishi Vishvketu, the Living Sounds of Sanskrit: Restorative Healing Session with Anandra George.