International Yoga Festival attracts wider ethnicities

Venkat Raman

The Annual International Yoga Festival held last week at the Kawai Purapura Yoga Resort in Albany, Auckland brought together thousands of people of varied ethnicities to learn about this ancient contribution of India to physical, mental, moral and emotional fitness.

More than 75 international and local presenters across multiple Yoga styles (including Aerial and Stand Up Paddle) along with over 100 workshops, numerous musicians, concerts and dance formed a part of the four-day Festival held from February 22 to February 25, 2018.

The event also featured many stalls offering natural foods, health products and services.

Significance of Number 7

Festival organisers have explained the significance of Number 7 as the event is the Seventh in an annual series at Kawai Purapura Yoga Resort.

“Number 7 in Numerology is not just a Lucky Member. Its meaning is Spiritual, Intelligent, Analytical, Focused, Introspective, Studious, Intuitive, Knowledgeable, Contemplative, Serious, Preserving, Refined and Gracious. It displays much Inner Wisdom.”

Ganesh Sthapana

The Festival was inaugurated on Thursday, February 22 with Ganesha Sthapana conducted by Priest Parameswaran Chandru (Chief Priest at the Papakura Ganesha Temple in Auckland), attended by young and the old.

As the Media Partner, Indian Newslink provided live coverage on Social Media and later in its print and web editions.

The Presenters

Among the presenters were Yoga specialists including Andrea Graham, a health professional, and therapist in private practice; Alistair Sweeney a former Army Officer of the New Zealand Defence Force; Chris Henderson, who spent 10 years living the yogic lifestyle and teaching yoga, meditation and chanting at Anahata Yoga Retreat; and Nichola Jones, a trained yoga teacher, mother of two and filmmaker.

Workshops & Discussions

The Festival Workshops and discussions included such topics as ‘Discover the Master Within;’ Personal Growth and Empowerment; Parents, Families and Couples; Technique & Advancement of Yoga Practice; and Exploring Traditional Asanas and Contemporary Styles.

Music, Dance and Meditation were also held at the Festival.

Festival Theme

The theme and focus of Festival was ‘Embrace Your Inner Mastery’ and the organisers aimed to stay true to the authenticity and integrity of every aspect of Yoga and the growing space of spirituality surrounding it.

Participants were given more time for a deeper immersion of practices and transformations with the guidance of international presenters.

“This is where our uplifting local and international world-class teachers played their part in coaching us through various workshops and activities that opened our hearts to sing loudly with bliss.”

UN Chief enticed

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described Yoga as “An ancient discipline from a traditional setting that has grown in popularity to be enjoyed by practitioners in every region.

“Yoga offers a simple, accessible and inclusive means to promote physical and spiritual health and well-being. It promotes respect for one’s fellow human beings and for the planet we share. Yoga does not discriminate; to varying degrees, all people can practice, regardless of their relative strength, age or ability,” he said in a statement.

Mr Ban Ki-moon said that he discovered the value of Yoga while doing his first asana, a tree pose suited to beginners.

“It took a moment for me to gain my balance but once I did, I appreciated the simple sense of satisfaction that yoga can bring. On this first-ever International Day of Yoga, let us see the benefits of this practice in terms of individual well-being as well as our collective efforts to improve public health, promote peaceful relations and usher in a life of dignity for all,” he said.

A more detailed report with more pictures will appear in our next issue.

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