Day 5 of IYF 2016

On the 5th Day of the 28th annual world famous International Yoga Festival, the 4:00 am Kundalini Sadhana was led by Sukhmandir Singh Khalsa, an American Sikh and disciple of Yogi Bhajan, and the focus was Love & Service, pranayamas and use of sound (naad).

The early morning, pre-breakfast classes included Lily Surya Namaskar Sequence with Erica Kauffman of Philadelphia, USA, Tuning to the Frequency of the Divine with Tommy Rosen, Bandhas & Locks with Akira Watamoto of Japan, and Kundalini Namaskaram flow with Bhavini Kalan of South Africa. There was also sacred chanting and Nada yoga at sunrise on the banks of Ganga with Anandra George of Hawaii, USA.

After breakfast, the intensive classes included Devi Sadhana, Ganga Yoga with Asana, Pranayama and Mantra by Laura Plumb of San Diego, USA, H.S. Arun led the Iyengar Yoga class on Inversions to Balance, Passion, Emotions & the Ego, and Bharat Shetty taught Indea Vinyasa Yoga. A Kundalini yoga class on “Caliber of Life – Understanding your goodness” was taught with world famous Kundalini Yoga teacher Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, and Saul David Raye from California, USA taught Earth Prayer.

In the Ganga Yoga, founded and taught by Laura Plumb under Pujya Swamiji’s inspiration and blessing, Laura said: “Go with the Flow. Let Go & Let Ganga. Surrender to divine will. Open your heart and recognize its natural generosity. Let yourself be a river of love. Be the compassion we all seek in the world. Give and Forgive. Pujya Swamiji always says, “Ganga gives and she forgives.” Ask yourself, by Ganga’s example, what are you ready to forgive? How can forgiveness open the rivers of compassion in your own life? Ganga teaches us generosity of heart. She purifies our past, refreshes our soul, and carries us to the ocean of the heart. Through Ganga, we learn to be a river of love for the world.”

These intense classes were followed by a beautiful bhakti-filled discourse on the “Yoga of Love” by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati and Buddhist Meditation with Buddhist Lama, Bhikkhu Sangasenaji of Ladakh. Sadhviji explained that “When we deeply love, whether that love is focused on our child, our parents, our husband, wife or a friend, if the love is true and deep, we are loving God. God, divinity, is the essence, the core of all of us. If we only love the form or the body, that is called lust. If we love the essence of the person, then we are loving God. So, what is most important is that we should just LOVE.”

After a beautiful lunch, the participants had numerous offerings including a talk on Ayurveda by Vaidya Balendu Prakash, Kundalini yoga with Bijay Anand, a Rumi love meditation with Mert Guler, melodious, divine mantra chanting with Anandra George and Ganga Flow meditation with Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati. Anand Mehotra, of Rishikesh India taught a dynamic class entitled Opening the Ecstatic Gates to the Heart: Practice of Asana, Pranayama, Kriya, Mudra & Meditation, and Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa taught Kundalini Yoga class entitled Magnificent Grace. The students were, as always, enthralled by the depth and breadth of the teachings offered.

Pujya Radhanath Swamiji gave a beautiful program on the Yoga of Love and Bhakti in which he shared divine stories from the life of Bhagawan Shri Krishna and stanzas from the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatum which emphasize that the practice of devotion, full, complete, surrendered love for the Divine, is the highest and most complete path of Yoga.

Anand Mehotra explained that, “The goal of the Sattva Practice is to grow and evolve as human beings to our fullest capacity. Through our practice we transcend all limitations based on ideological differences. We heal and the planet heals with us.”

In the evening, all participants gathered together to take part in the sacred and divine Ganga Aarti ceremony. Everyone joined for a sacred and divine campfire in honor of the holiday of Holi, which included a special Swaha, “letting go ceremony” in which the participants opened up their hearts, let go, and made space for new beginnings during this divine season. They put supari seeds into the fire as a symbol of any grudges, pain, anger or obstacles in life.

Quotations from Participants:

Elvaira Grimid – Italy: “My friend came here before to the Festival and she had such a great time I wanted to come also. I am so glad I have the opportunity to be here. I’m loving it and I’m so happy to be here.”

Toni Greene, Philadelphia, USA: “The festival is amazing. This year is my ninth time. – It’s addicting! I’m a teacher. I believe in teaching what you learn, and then you can also keep learning what you teach. This time I brought my students to the Festival with me and we continue to learn together.”

Sara Ellaithy – Egypt: “This is my first time in India. I’ve been stuck for a long time — physically, mentally and spiritually. This Festival and this whole experience here at Parmarth has rekindled my light, the path of enlightenment.”

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