New Delhi, March 2: While addressing the International Yoga festival in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand through video conferencing Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said there should be peace among nations and yoga helps create harmony and peace within individuals, society, nation and all across the world.
Referring to the terrorism, PM Modi said the world is threatened by the twin challenges of terrorism and climate change, but one can overcome from this due to Yoga. He further said by practicing yoga, a spirit of oneness of mind, body, and intellect is created.
Saying that yoga makes a person better, PM Modi stressed that it is unfair to see yoga only as a set of physical exercises that keep the body fit. He said there is ample evidence that practicing Yoga helps fight stress and life-style related diseases.
The Prime Minister also said that the people come to India whenever there is a quest to know about self. He quoted Swami Vivekananda saying the expansion is life and contraction are death. He further appreciated the work being done by Parmarth Niketan in bringing Yoga closer to people across the world.
He said there is no better place than Rishikesh to hold a yoga festival. He said, “Yoga expands our limited sense of self to see our families, societies and mankind & extension of our own self.” He further said, “Yoga makes an individual a better person in thought, action, knowledge & devotion.”
During his address, the Prime Minister congratulated India’s defence and space scientists for their achievements. PM talked about cleanliness campaign as well and said, “Through Swachh Bharat we are establishing a link between community hygiene & personal health.”
Notably, the International Yoga Festival is jointly organized by AYUSH, the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board, GMVN and Parmarth Niketan Ashram. 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.
Yogacharyas, teachers, students and seekers come from every corner of the globe to participate in this program. This year there are more than 70 presenters, from 20 countries, giving nearly 150 classes, from 4:00 am until 9:30 pm. Ashtanga Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Bharat Yoga, Deep Yoga, Shintoh Yoga and Somatics Yoga are just a few of the more than 60 different offerings throughout the week. There are also classes in meditation, mudras, Sanskrit chanting, reiki, Indian philosophy and much more. Further, spiritual discourses will be held by revered spiritual leaders from India and abroad.
Background: Every year International Yoga Festival is organized in Rishikesh since 1999. Generally, it is organized from 01st March to 07th March. International Yoga Festival provides an opportunity to attend yoga classes with world famous yoga teachers. Each yoga teacher is expert in some particular type of yoga such as Kundlini Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Naad Yoga, Ashtang Vinyasa Yoga, Hath Yoga, Power Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga and Raj Yoga.
Apart from yoga, there are also some classes on meditation. Since 1999 every year the visitors are increased. Now the International Yoga Festival is famous in all over the world. During International Yoga Festival Rishikesh is full of various people from all over the world. People from various countries and religions make this festival not only related to yoga but it also feels like a cultural festival. Rishikesh is naturally blessed with scenic beauty. People love to learn yoga in Rishikesh than anywhere else in the world.
That make Rishikesh best place for the International Yoga Festival. Most of the people believe that yoga is physical exercise but yoga is far beyond that. Yoga in not only for the body but it is also for our mind and soul. Yoga means Union. Union of breath with the body, mind with muscles and also the union of self with the divine. Yoga is not related to any religion. For Yoga you don't need to worship some god or follow some particular religion or even chant some mantras. Yoga is a science which is used for better health, peaceful life and stresses less mind since ancient time.
History of International Yoga Festival
The International Yoga Festival was started in 1999 in Rishikesh by Uttar Pradesh Tourism, Rishikesh was still part of UP (Uttar Pradesh) in 1999. The festival was visited by only a few participants. Uttar Pradesh Government contacted Parmarth Niketan Ashram to host the International Yoga Festival at the ashram in 1999. Participants would stay in any hotel in Rishikesh but there Yoga classes and Satsang programs were organized at Parmarth. The discourse and meditations were inspired by Pujya Shri Swami Veda Bharati Ji and Yoga Asanas by Yogacharya Shri Bharat Bhushan Ji and his team. The first International Yoga Festival was led by Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department officers Shri Ravindra Singh (Director General Tourism), B.M. Vohra (Commissioner Garhwal) and R.C. Pandey (Assistant Director Tourism).Uttar Pradesh government was received the best review from last year participants.
The contributors liked the ashram environment in 1999. So Uttar Pradesh Tourism offered an Ashram International Yoga Festival Package (Stay, Yoga, Satsang and Meditation) in the Millennial year 2000. Now all participants were staying at the ashram instead of the hotels. All participants understood that Ashram environment is the best environment for yoga festival instead of Hotel. Dr. Karan Singh Ji came as the Chief Guest in 2000. In 2000 Uttar Pradesh state was divided in two State Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Then Rishikesh came under Uttranchal (Uttarakhand) state. Uttaranchal Tourism also organized International Yoga Festival 2001 with Parmarth Niketan. The participant was increased in 2002 International Yoga Festival in the same Masters Leadership of 2001.
According to participants, 2003 was the best year for International Yoga Festival instead of 2002. This year 130 participants participated in International Yoga Festival. Then the classes were also increased by Parmarth Niketan in 2003. In 2004 there was Ardh Kumbh Mela in Haridwar so the atmosphere was very energetic and divine. More than 150 participants were here from more 20 countries across the world. The other great saints and yoga acharyas were invited with Pujya Shri Shankaracharya, Swami Divyanand Tirth Ji in International Yoga Festival 2004. N.N. Prasad (Principal Secretary of Tourism and Culture) was also invited by Uttarakhand Tourism. Sudarshan Agarwal (Honorable Governor of Uttarakhand) was also present in International Yoga Festival 2004.
International Yoga Festival 2005 was inaugurated by Sudarshan Agarwal (Honorable Governor of Uttarakhand), TPS Rawat (Uttaranchal government Minister of tourism) and Vivek Oberoi (Bollywood Actor) and his father Suresh Oberoi. This year more than 250 participants participated in International Yoga Festival across the world.
In 2006 more than 16 worlds famous Yogacharya and 300 delegates from 28 countries all over the world was invited to International Yoga Festival. In 2007 more than 350 participants came here for International Yoga Festival from 38 countries across the world. This year festival was also led same masters as last years.
In 2008 International Yoga Festival was participated by more than 500 people from 32 countries across the world. Since every Year International Yoga Festival was growing up, in 2009 more classes was added in International Yoga Festival. The year 2010 was one of the biggest years for International Yoga Festival. In 2010 Maha Kumbh Mela was in Haridwar. People enjoyed both festivals together. The Maha Kumbh Mela comes after every 12 years.
In 2011 and 2012 International Yoga Festival introduced some more classes such as Satsang, Lifestyle and Healing. Participants learned techniques for balance in lifestyle, Yoga Asana, Mantras/Kirtan and Music Therapy. Now During the March 1 - 7 many places organize yoga weeks. Uttarakhand Tourism is now not organizing the event with anyone.