Thousands of yoga enthusiasts and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar followers waited eagerly to welcome their teacher and Art of Living founder at the Parade Ground on Thursday evening.
Sri Sri was in Chandigarh for the opening of the four-day yoga festival, a curtain raiser for the International Yoga Day to be held at Capitol Complex on June 21.
During the festival, a series of national and international events on yoga, its history, importance and evolution will be held.
Punjab and Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and MP Kirron Kher welcomed Sri Sri amid a , as standing ovation from the crowd. Large LED screens gave a clear view of his address to the audience. Dressed in his trademark white, Sri Sri talked about how yoga was perceived and considered to be for a select few and not for the common people 35 years ago.
“When we began Art of Living, we introduced people to the benefits of yoga, making it simple for them and changed their perspective, reaching out to every corner of the country and now the world, sharing our ancient knowledge and spreading it far and wide. I greet you all on this opening day of the festival and hope yoga becomes an integral part of your life,” said Sri Sri.
Quoting from the Mahabharata and other ancient texts, Sri Sri talked about how yoga is not limited to asanas, but has the power to shape the world and help one develop a deep connection with oneself.
He added that regular practice and dedication help to ignite the inner fire within each of us and also help us reach out to others in need across the world.
“The sun never sets on yoga. The world is now looking at us to take this ancient science to spaces where there is strife, sorrow, conflict, pain and heal. It has changed many lives and we have the power to transform ourselves.”
Sri Sri talked at length about the importance of breath (pranayam) and meditation (dhyan) in yoga.
“The emotions and the heart become softer, and you find a freedom of expression. Not only a flexible body, you will experience freedom from addictions, sorrows and a new life,” said
For the next 20 minutes, Sri Sri guided the large gathering through a seris of simple and effective asanas to heal day-to-day stress, stimulate the nerves, ease pains and calm the mind.
“We keep building imaginary walls around us and hurt so many people. We need to break these walls and live freely. Take a deep breath and learn how to strike to balance in life, you have to strive for it and want it badly,” Sri Sri said.
The festival is a medium to invigorate interest among masses for yoga and encourage them to participate in huge numbers for the International Yoga Day.
A three-day academic conclave, Yoga for Good Life, and some dance and music programmes associated with yoga will be organised till June 12.