International Yoga Festival 2017
The yearly International Yoga Festival is conducted by Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, which is a sacred and heavenly place in the state of Uttarakhand. Rishikesh is also known as the birthplace of Yoga. The International Yoga Festival is organised jointly by Ministry of Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), The Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board, GMVN and Parmarth Niketan Ashram. The International Yoga Festival was first organised by the Government of Utter Pradesh in the year 1989 and then by the Government of Uttarakhand since year 2001. The Parmarth Niketan Ashram has been hoisting this event since year 1999 which has become a world renowned event and growing in size every year.
Teachers, students, Yogacharya and seekers from every parts of the world come over to join this international event. Rishikesh being the Yoga capital of the world, hosted the International Yoga Festival 2017, from the 1st March 2017 to 7th March 2017. This festival was led by well-known and internationally famous Yoga teachers, Spiritual leaders and modern day Saints. Persons like Pujya Swami Ramdeojee, H. H. Pujya Mooji, Srila B.A. Permadvaiti Swamiji, Gurumukh Kaur Khalsa, H.S. Arun, Deepika Mehta, and Bharat Shetty Featured in this year's programme. The festival conducted over 700 hours of asana classes of various traditional Indian and International style of Yoga like Ashtanga Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Bharat Yoga, Deep Yoga, Shintoh Yoga and Somatic Yoga. Over 60 different programmes were offered such as classes in Sanskrit, Chanting, Reiki, Indian Philosophy, Meditation and Mantras. There were also spiritual discourses and lectures by renowned spiritual leaders and philosophers.
The daily programmes started at 4:00 A.M. with classes on yoga followed by breakfast and ended at 09:30 P.M. with dinner followed by Satsang, Cultural songs and dance events. Yoga practitioners and tourists from over 60 countries participated in the festival this year. Yoga is not for our bodies only. It is also for our mind, soul and hearts. The literal meaning of Yoga is "union". The meaning of Yoga is union of body with breath, union of muscles with mind and the highly significant union of self with the celestial. Yoga does not require you to believe in a particular religion or God or chanting specific mantras. There is an ancient science involved in it leading to joyful heart, peaceful mind, healthy body, and emancipation of the soul.
The International Yoga Festival hosts some of the greatest Yoga Masters from eastern and western lineages of Yoga. These great individuals have defined and influenced yoga in the 21st century. In such an International event people get the rare opportunity to learn first-hand from the India's leading spiritual leaders like H.H. Pujya Shankaracharya Swami Divyananda Teerathji, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidananda Saraswatiji and H.H. Pujya Swami Mooji. Further you get an opportunity to practice Yoga with some of the world's leading and most renowned teachers such as Swami Ramdeo, Gurumukh Kaur Khalsa and others well known in their countries.
For Parmarth Niketan Ashram it was a moment of great joy to welcome so many revered Saints and respected Yogacharyas on the bank of Mother Ganga. During the weeklong festival all the participants received the gift of their wonderful teachings as well as git of their divine touch through which all were transformed.
During the weeklong festival the participants had the opportunity to participate in over 70 hours of Yoga classes from world class Yoga Teachers practicing multiple styles of Yoga which included Kundalini Yoga, Power Vinyasa Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Kriya Yoga. The participants were blessed with the presence, Satsang and divine words of revered saints and spiritual masters from within India. Each day the class offerings vary, the daily general programme of IYF includedthe classes beginning at 04:00 A.M. At 06:30 A.M. one hour yoga class was hold followed by a simple breakfast. At 08:30 A.M. you could join any of the several two hour yoga session. At 11:00 A. M., people could experience divine and inspiring lectures from reverend saints and Yogacharyas on a variety of uplifting and inspiring subjects. A traditional Indian lunch was served from 12:30 to 01:30 P.M. the afternoon session started shortly after lunch with instructional classes followed by three yogasana classes from 03:00P.M. to 05:00 P.M. From 06:00P.M., a special light ceremony "Aarti" was organised on the bank of the river Ganga. Dinner was served at 07:00 P.M. followed by special evening programmes of Satsang with our spiritual leaders, cultural songs and dance events, camp fire and more, finishing by 09:30 P.M.