Knowledge and Fun-filled -Harmony Fest 2018

It feels immense pleasure in writing about Harmony Fest which I witnessed last week to be my first blog of #2019.

India’s Biggest Wellness Festival, celebrating 100 years of The Yoga Institute was held in Mumbai on 28-29 Dec, 12 noon-9 pm, at MMRDA Ground, BKC. Almost 50,000 people attended the event.

The opening ceremony started with President Ram Nath Kovind paying glowing tribute to the world’s oldest Yoga Institute. He said that “Yoga is the soft power of the world, which can unite people, communities and nations. Yoga is the most valuable gift that India has given to humanity and the world. ”

The event was attended by a galaxy of dignitaries like Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Minister of State for Ayush Shripad Y Naik came forward to grace the ceremony.

Governor released the book, ‘Yoga For All’, written by Smt. Hansajiji J Yogendra which has been 3 years in the writing, and is based on a hundred years of research by The Yoga Institute.

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis said, “Harmony is a big strength of Yoga, which cleanses the body, mind and soul, and brings an individual closer to nature. I congratulate The Yoga Institute on completing 100 years and celebrating it with the Harmony Fest.” He said his government would always support the laudable initiatives of The Yoga Institute.

Other luminaries who graced the occasion included Shri Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, Hon’ble Mayor of Mumbai; Padma Shri Swami Bharat Bhushan, Founder, Mokshayatan International Yogashram; Padma Shri Dr. D R Karthikeyan, Former CBI Director; Swami Chidanand Saraswati, President Parmarth Niketan, and Shri Gaur Gopal Das of ISKCON. Star actor and presenter, Kabir Bedi anchored the ceremony.

The ceremony was chaired by Dr. Smt. Hansaji J Yogendra, Director of The Yoga Institute. She said, “We are humbled and grateful that The Yoga Institute has completed 100 years of service to Householder Yoga, and has touched millions of lives in India and across the world. I am indeed grateful to the Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind and the First Lady and the other distinguished guests for having graced our big day with their august presence.”

The free and open-to-all Harmony Fest offered a banquet of health and wellness for thought, mind, body and soul. Two days were totally fun and filled with entertainment all around the place.

Let me give you the highlights of what all happened there-

I witnessed A Good Food Festival with celebrities like Chef Ranveer Brar, Chef Pankaj Bhadouria.

There were food trucks, stalls and a Marketplace selling offering many amazing things. I got some herbal skin care products too.

Next was the Expert guidance from Rujuta Diwekar who is India’s leading sports science and nutrition expert and amongst the world’s most followed Nutritionists. Her session was so good.

Talks and Panel discussions on Yoga with celebrated experts like Gaur Gopal Das, Chidanand ji Saraswati, Dr D R Kartikeyan, Dr Lokesh Muni, Dr Chinmaya Pandya, Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswati, a YogTalk by Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, and others.

Ther were in total 4 Yoga workshops with the purpose to help spread the word about Yoga for Householders: Bhavas Workshop, Asana Workshop, Women’s Health Workshop, and Couples’ Workshop

I found there these little Meditation pods to relax and unwind. They were really cute and I did give it a try.

The most entertaining was the Harmony Stage which featured performances by Symphony Stage & Musical bands, with illustrious names like Shankar Mahadevan, Rekha Bhardwaj and musical acts like Dharavi Reloaded, Indian Ocean, Prem Joshua, Flamenco Kathaa and Kabir Café.

So like you see it was a full power pack two days of the wonderful fest.

In the midst of all this, I was honoured to interview Maa Hansaji and ask her few questions to which she answered beautifully as usual.

Interview with Maa Hansaji

  1. What is the definition of Yoga?

“If you could think before doing any action is Yoga. If you are working with excellence that is yoga. Complete mastery over mind is called Yoga. E.g- ‘No water No water’ – some farmers keep crying and end up sitting at home(totally a wrong approach, non-yogic approach). They don’t think if there is no water do something else. Find some another business. I am responsible for my business and my state of mind. If that thing is clear in mind -That’s yoga”

2. What are the less known benefits of Yoga?

“Yoga really helps to strengthen internal organs. Stamina Improves. The body becomes flexible of course but also the energy level improves. Memory gets better, the mind becomes more stable. You become more focused. Start thinking before doing any action. Depression, anxiety, stress, sleep disorders are cured. To a level that even treated schizophrenia patients with a combination of Medicine and Yoga. Cardiac problems- enlarged heart, arterial blockages, arrhythmia can be successfully treated with the right approach. And they become not just a person free from diseases but become a better person. Humble, Caring and total change in approach towards life with Yoga”

3. Any particular case you remember which medicine could not help much and the person was very affected but with Yoga, you could achieve some miraculous results in a patient?

She immediately remembered this case- “A lady came crying to us with uterine cancer. She was told medically nothing can be done as it had already spread a lot. Explained to her that Cancer is in your body, don’t let it come to your mind. Understand your symptoms, Have natural food, sleep early, we helped her in scheduling her ADLS (Activities of Daily Living). Taught her philosophy of life-  Ahar Vihar Achar Vichar (AVAV). Disease and death have no link. Everyone has a fixed time to go. Disease come because we are doing wrong so find that out and correct that. Body knows how to handle its affair but mind needs to be trained. After 6 months she tested again and there was no cancer. Doctors were surprised, she was surprised. Came to us so happy and now she is all good”

4.  So now TYI completed glorious 100 years and has done so much good work for the society. Where do you see TYI next or the what is the mission next 10 years?

“There is so much of work to do in the world. If the Government cooperates with us, then we would like to reach out to more people. Open more centres for spreading the correct sense of Yoga to a larger population. The basic thing would be to start teaching from the level of children. And to teach children we need to teach principle and teachers. So would like to get involved more in education areas, training centres, corporate centres to spread the knowledge. People need to know the science of living”.

With this great knowledge shared by Maa. Hansaji at Harmony fest, ending this blog post 🙂

Love and Health,

Sejal