Why You Should Attend The International Yoga Festival In India Happening March 2018
By Rachel Nichols
The Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India will be hosting its annual International Yoga Festival (IYF) on March 1-7, 2018. What is so unique about the International Yoga Festival, which the ashram has put on for 18 years, is its emphasis on all of the eight limbs of yoga as described by Patanjali, author of ancient text, The Yoga Sutras.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, director of the International Yoga Festival and renowned spiritual leader from Rishikesh, India who resides in the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, one of the largest interfaith institutions in India, said last year’s festival drew about 1,200 participants from 85 nations. “It’s just such a joy to see so many people of so many different countries, colors, cultures and creeds come together in the name of yoga in the birthplace of yoga in the Himalayas on the banks of Ganga, and to really engage not just in asana practice but actually in a full practice of so many different aspects of yoga during the week,” she said. Sadhvi's guru, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, is president and spiritual head of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram. The ashram is open to all, with no discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, religion, caste or creed.
Here are Three Reasons to Check Out the Festival
1. You’ve always wanted to visit India, but don’t know where to begin. The International Yoga Festival website makes it easy to work out your travel plans and has plenty of resources on the website to help you. The festival registration includes meals, classes, lectures and performances so all you have to do is book your flight, get to the ashram and enjoy! For more information or help with getting to the ashram, click here.
2. You want to learn more about the eight limbs of yoga and how you can apply them to your life. The International Yoga Festival explores the eight limbs of Yoga and how they apply to our lives whether we consider ourselves yoga students or not. “It’s not just asana, and it’s not even just asana and pranayama, but it’s everything from the Yamas and Niyamas—How do we live? What does a yogi’s life look like?—all the way up into meditation, whether through actual meditation classes or through meditation on the banks of Ganga in the Aarti,” Sadhvi said.
“We really emphasize the presence and the teachings of the spiritual masters in the program. We have a lot of spiritual masters coming from so many different lineages and traditions giving satsang, giving pravachan (discourses), giving dharma talks, teaching how to live yoga. Of course, since yoga ultimately means union of the self with the Divine, there’s really no more auspicious place for that than in the place where sages, and saints and rishis have been meditating and channeling yoga for so many thousands of years, the banks of the Ganges and lap of the Himalayas in Rishikesh.”
3. You always take the same vinyasa class at the same yoga studio and want to try something different. Practicing yoga in an ashram in India? Yes, please! The IYF is a perfect place to try a new type of yoga, hear about a new perspective from one of the presenters and expand your knowledge. The festival will feature more than 70 presenters, from 20 countries, teaching nearly 150 classes, including Ashtanga Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Bharat Yoga, Deep Yoga, Shintoh Yoga and Somatics Yoga and more. Check out the presenters here: internationalyogafestival.org/presenters.
Don't Forget Your Visa!
All U.S. citizens need a valid passport and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose. Most visitors, including those on official U.S. government business, must apply for visas at an Indian embassy or consulate abroad before entering the country. For other rules and regulations, click here.
About The International Yoga Festival
IYF has been taking place in Rishikesh since 1989, organized first by the Government of Uttar Pradesh, and then by the Government of Uttarakhand since 2001. Since 1999, Parmarth Niketan has been hosting this world renowned event, which has grown to international acclaim and which grows in size year after year. For more information or to register, visit: www.internationalyogafestival.org.
Click here for a website with information on traveling to India.