The Himalayan town of Rishikesh in northern India last week welcomed hundreds of foreign tourists for its annual yoga festival, with visitors keen to learn the ancient art by the sacred River Ganges. “Yoga doesn’t flow in our veins like it does in Indians so I came here,” said French yoga teacher Juliette Allard, 38, who lives in Barcelona and has been coming to the festival for the last three years.
Visitors from 36 countries have brought their yoga mats to learn about breathing, posture, chanting and nutrition from experts in all types of yoga. “It’s so inspiring to come here where yoga has its roots,” said Daniela Lobeira, a 41-year-old from Mexico who works in animal protection.
The festival is now in its 12th year The Beatles visited Rishikesh in 1968 to learn about transcendental meditation from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, helping to popularise ideas about Indian spirituality. One US yoga teacher wearing a turban and calling herself Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, attributed the presence of so many foreigners not just to yoga’s popularity abroad but also to “the absence of inner peace in the West”. “We get a good education, make a lot of money, we don’t find peace, we get sick,” said Khalsa.
The Camp at a glance
The camp started from March 1 and will end today evening.
The venue for this year’s camp is Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh.
The event also featured various events which aimed to raise money for the event’s partners such as - IHRF, Africa Yoga Project and 4oneworld.
Presenters at the camp included Swami Ramdev, Shiva Rea and Dr David Frawley.
All participants had to pay a common fee of R30,000 to participate in the camp.