SPREAD YOUR LOVE becomes anthem and message of the 30th International Yoga Festival as Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand, Smt. Baby Rani Maurya blesses and wishes farewell to over 1500 participants from 80 nations.
Participants journey to the Maharishi (Beatles) Ashram for meditation, song, and dance; Closing ceremony is blessed by Smt. Baby Rani Maurya, Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand.
RISHIKESH- On Day 7, the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, being held in association with Incredible India, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, celebrated its final day on and off the mat. At 5:30 pm, the closing ceremony was graced by Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand, Smt. Baby Rani Maurya and Dr. HR Nagendra, PhD, chancellor of SVYASA Yoga University. The ceremony featured inspiring words from Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand, Smt. Baby Rani Mauryaji: “The worldwide renowned International Yoga Festival celebrated in Rishikesh at Parmarth Niketan on banks of mother Ganga every year is attended by yogis from all around the world. Yoga is the only answer for our well-being and solution to modern day life, where we need to connect with everyone and also connect to our soul”.
Earlier in the day, in a joyous procession along the Ganga, yogis made their way to the Maharishi Mahesh Ashram, most famously known as the Beatles Ashram, where the group lived and wrote many songs. In the magical ruins of the ashram, filled with sunlight and an abundance of overgrown nature, hundreds of participants laid out their yoga mats for a group meditation introduced by Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, and led by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Director of the International Yoga Festival.
Pujya Swamiji, before chanting beautiful mantras, said: “This is the place where Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji, one of the leading saints, in the 1960s, brought transcendental meditation to the world. And this is the place, where the Beatles, when they were depressed and going through hard times in their lives—and everyone goes through hard times—came looking for peace, for connection, and followed a divine desire to come to Rishikesh. They came here and they found not only meditation, not only connection, but being here, they wrote 48 beautiful, divine songs. Not only did they write the songs, but the experience of the life was so beautiful, the power of meditation, the power of connection was so beautiful, that when they went back to their country, they felt different. When we are here today, after 7 days of yoga, we are now one step further in experiencing how to go deep down in our own hearts, connect ourselves to the Divine, in whatever name and form, or formless, in a way that appeals to ourselves”.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji encouraged the audience to close their eyes and become vessels for divine energy, saying: “The Beatles came here as musicians, but as they surrendered and let go out that identity, they became vehicles and vessels and channels of the Himalayas, of the light and of the truth of the Himalayas. The music that was written THROUGH them, not by them but through them, touched and awakened entire generations. Allow yourself to let go of your identity and become the vehicle for that light, that truth, that universal Shakti.”
When participants opened their eyes, filled with new energy, they were led in song by Karen Neumann, David Ma, and Gumi. David Ma then debuted his song “Spread Your Love, We’ve Been Waiting Long Enough”, which Sadhviji declared as the Official anthem of the International Yoga Festival. Dance, song, and joyous love were spread across the room as yogis embraced and joined hands in harmony and peace.
The final day of the 2019 International Yoga Festival began the same as the first day, with an early morning sweat among participants and friends in the Temescal Sweat Lodges.
In the pre-breakfast classes, participants could attend their last Hatha Yogasana class with Dr. Indu Sharma, or experience “Balancing Five Elements Through Yoga” with Dr. Radhika Nagrath. Some who had not yet had the chance to try “The Sound of Silence” were able to meditate and reflect in the Sacred Sound Stage for an hour. The sun greeted Day 7 participants in Anandra George’s Nāda Yoga Musical Meditation class along the Ganges.
A diverse schedule followed breakfast, with an offering of Shintou and Ibuki Kokyu yoga practices from teacher Hikaru Hashimoto, a dedicated champion of yoga across Japan. Jai Hari Singh led “Death & Me – La Muerte y Yo”, adding to the library of bilingual classes at IYF this year.
Later in the morning, participants and teachers alike travelled down the ghat to Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji Ashram—the “Beatles Ashram”—for a special meditation and concert in a historical and powerful place. David Ma, before sharing his song “Spread Your Love”, told the audience: “From up here on stage, you guys are the wonderful ocean of love that I’ve always dreamt of. This song has a message of peace, of love, and it’s call-and-response, so sing with open hearts and open minds.”
Following lunch, a relaxing Yoga Nidra class was led by Sadhvi Abha Saraswati, while spiritual guide Maa Gyaan Suveera led the third installment of Reiki Healing Initiation. HS Arun unpacked the body-mind connection so sacred to our practice in “Untwist the Twist to Unwind the Mind”. On the Yoga Ghat, Saul David Raye led “Prana Shakti: Soul Sadhana”, while those at the Sacred Sound Stage learned from Joseph Schmidlin about “The Homeopathics of Sound”.
The Aarti Ghat held participants for an emotional last Sacred Havan and Divine Ganga Aarti. After spending the week jumping from class to course, discussion to meditation, participants have been bonded by the healing power of yoga and chanted and swayed in unison while facing the rush of the Ganga. A final meal was shared in the garden, under the stars and silhouette of the Himalayas.
The evening concluded with a special Ecstatic Kirtan with The Love Keys on the banks of Ganga. Though the duo played for participants throughout the festival, their electric mantra energy blessed all present with the strength and love to say farewell to the 2019 International Yoga Festival.