The first day, the morning began at 4:00 am with Kundalini Sadhana, Exploring the Realms of Consciousness by Sukhmandir Singh Khalsa of California, USA and Osho Dynamic Meditation at 5:30 am by Chandanni Miglino and Chris Miglino of Los Angeles, USA. At 6:30 am, the offerings included: Traditional Hatha Yoga by Sadhvi Abha Saraswati, Contemporary Yoga Flow by Roberto Milletti, Meditation by Maa Gyaan Suveera. There was also a special sunrise over Ganga meditation led with soothing and melodious mantras chanted by Anandra Geroge of USA.
After a beautiful breakfast in the gardens, the morning asana special class included a 2-hour program of yoga taught by four different yogacharyas, for 30 minutes each, so all of the participants could sample a bit of the different offerings of the Festival. This special session of a “Union of Yoga” on the banks of Mother Ganga was led by: Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Tommy Rosen of California, USA, H.S. Arun of Bangalore and Sharon Gannon of New York, USA, the founder of Jivamukti Yoga.
Highlights of the afternoon sessions included Sufi Meditation by Mert Guler of Turkey, Jyotish by Komilla Sutton of USA and Deep Yoga by Laura Plumb of USA. There was also Somatic/Feldenkrias Movement by Brian Ingle of Ireland as well as a Lila Yoga by Erica Kauffman of Pennsylvania, USA.
In the evening, all participants gathered together to take part in the sacred and divine world famous Ganga Aarti ceremony at Parmarth Niketan.
After dinner, a vibrant kirtan was led by the Kirtaniyas from California, USA. The Kirtaniyas, well known for their fusion of traditional Indian style vocal music with multi instruments left the audience mesmerized. After the kirtan, the participants were treated to the beautiful traditional cultural dance and song of Garhwal by a group through the Tourism and Culture Department of the Government of Uttarakhand.
Participants are so enthusiastic and ecstatic to be in such a beautiful and sacred place and to have the opportunity to study with such revered masters.
Quotations from participants:
Chuck Lazaro Hipo, from the Philippines: “Yoga in the Philippines is mostly asana based and I’m here to learn and be with yogis from the source with a more spiritual view, and ask questions about how yoga can solve things like health, poverty, etc. I would like to experience their way of life.”
Carmen Hernandez from Cuba: “It has been amazing to be here. I was sick before I came here but now that I have come, I am healthy and well. Yoga is the reason I am happier and healthier. Yoga is the reason I am who I am.”
Zeynep Ocak from Turkey said: “This festival is so famous around the world. This is my first year here and I am so excited. It is magic to finally be here.”