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Ayurvedic, Spiritual Experts offer insights into the ‘Power of Ayurveda to Heal’ at IYF



RISHIKESH, 11 Mar: Embarking on a transformative journey, Day 4 of the International Yoga Festival unfolded its petals to reveal the profound “Power of Ayurveda to Heal” in an enlightening Wisdom Talk, featuring luminaries such as Vaidya Dr Padma Nayani Raju, who has been trained in Ayurveda since childhood and holds a BAMS in Ayurveda from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka; Dr Smita Pankaj Naram, the Co-Founder of Ayushakti, one of the leading and most trusted ayurvedic health centres around the world; María Alejandra Avcharian, who studied in Uruguay, trained in India at PDI Prakash Institute and PVA Ayurvedic Hospital in Kerala, and did several postgraduate courses both in India and Argentina; and Anand Mehrotra, of Rishikesh, who along with founding Sattva Yoga, established the Sattva Yoga Academy. The wisdom talk was moderated by Paula Tapia, an international Yoga, mindfulness and wellness expert specialising in integrative health, self-care education and healthy lifestyle science.

Dr Smita shared “core principles that help people gain health and prevent illness and how, using your own kitchen, you can heal yourself”.

“Ayurveda itself is a spirit-based medicine; a conscious based medicine,” Anand said. “Most medical systems look at the body as a machine. Ayurveda instead looks at the body not as a machine but as a spiritual body. We can’t be healthy without having a deep spiritual foundation. When you start to engage with that field of life, all of your life becomes medicine.”

“Ayurveda is a classic knowledge system which our acharyas have given us,” said Dr Padma. Ayurveda teaches prevention. How to prevent diseases. If you prevent, you don’t need to think about the disease.”

“When we understand our nature, we can transform ourselves,” said María Alejandra Avcharian. “When our body hurts or our mind is disconnected, we can’t be concentrated in our spiritual path. We must align our body and our mind. That is the main law that Ayurveda encourages.”

At the break of dawn, the participants geared up for the Day 4 of the International Yoga Festival with a packed schedule of meditation, yoga and divine music.

The morning classes included the Open the Gates to the Ecstatic Heart, with Rishikesh born and raised Master Yogi Ananda Mehrotra. Kia Miller of the United States led students through a Kundalini class themed Law of Attraction. Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, the disciple of Yogi Bhajan who founded Yogi Bhajan’s first yoga centre in the United States, also led a Kundalini class later in the morning.

After brunch, the second series of sessions included a special Lila Shakti Dance Asanda class led by Erica Kaufman, the founder of Lila Yoga. She offered a traditional Hatha Yoga practice, with Raja (philosophical), and Bhakti (devotional) Yoga integrated together. Proving yoga truly is for all, Dr Eden Goldman, Director of the Yoga and Healing Sciences Program at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA, taught Yoga for Athletes while Mansi Gulati, International Yoga exponent, who has worked and actively campaigned for the novel concept of ‘Face Yoga’, led a class on Face Yoga for Wrinkles.

After lunch, the Nrityavali dance company taught international guests a lively workshop on the traditional folkdance styles of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

For the more meditative participants, Sadhvi Abha Saraswati led students in a deeply rejuvenating Yog Nidra.

Joseph Schmidlin, a classical osteopath physician, led students on a Sacred Sound Bath Journey. Schmidlin utilised sonic vibrational medicine and Nada yoga to make it seem like time itself slipped away.

Krishnaprya, a musician and the organiser of this year’s Sacred Sound Stage, shared a bit more on the flow of the musical performances throughout the day.

After a short tea and snacks break, the participants headed to the attend the sacred Ganga Aarti in the presence of Swami Chidanand Saraswati and Sadhvi Bhagawati.

As the sun set over the sacred grounds of Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, the day culminated with a Yoga demonstration and heartwarming performances by the Parmarth Gurukul Rishikumars and the from Divine Shakti Foundation’s schools.