Positive Chronicles - Monsoon magic at Lonavla
by Shivi Verma and Punya Srivastava
The recently concluded Expo in Lonavla was all that it promised and much more. The enchanting campus of the Kaivalyadham Insititute charmed one and all with its low-lying buildings nestled among verdant greenery and ancient trees, including the Eucalyptus which scented the ambience with its characteristic aroma. Music played in all the parks and gardens, adding to the heavenly atmosphere. Nature gave unstintingly of her treasures and dazzled the participants with sudden sharp showers, bright sunlight, waterfalls, gurgling streams, bird song and glistening foliage. The hospitality of the Kaivalyadham staff, the satvik food which included brown rice and herbal tea, also contributed to the wellness of each visitor. The wide open spaces, fresh air and invigoratingly cool weather filled the participants with energy and vitality and set the stage for a perfect three days.
No wonder that those who attended voted it as one of the best Expos to have ever been held. Said Shraddha Gandhi from Mumbai, “It was a very hospitable, nicely planned and well executed Expo. Vijay Dhiman, the event manager, is a patient, hard working man who has become our friend over the years.”
Ashok Tiwari from Jaipur said, “It was a wonderful Expo. It addressed everybody’s needs and helped them to raise their spiritual aspirations.”
Yoga asana practice
The Expo started at six thirty am every day with an invigorating round of yoga by expert yogis, Vivek and Jyoti Tiwari. The sessions started with shantipath, followed by pranayama practice with kapal bhati. The group was then made to practice some stretching asanas like setu bandh asana, dhanur asana and trikona asana to stretch the muscles of the whole body. The other asanas included stretching abdominal muscles, inner thighs and hamstrings, emphasising the significance of good posture. “A straight back is the secret of an energetic body. When one sits with a straight spine, he inhales greater amount of oxygen, resulting in more energy generation,” explained Vivek Tiwari. Many of the exercises elucidated come handy in curing diseases like asthma (bhramari and anulom-vilom), thyroid (simhasana) and problems like cervical spondylitis (bhujangasana, pavanmukhtasana and makrasana). The third and the last day ended with a chant of ‘soham’ led by Jyoti Tiwari.
The Expo was inaugurated by Sri Subodh Tiwari, joint director, administration, Kaivalyadham. Discoursing on the classical and contemporary trends in yoga, Subodh Tiwari spoke about the groundbreaking work being carried out by Kaivalyadham in yogic research since its inception in 1924. When the founder, Swami Kuvalyanandaji, first proposed to form a yoga research centre, few agreed with him, deeming that yoga’s efficacy had been established thousands of years ago. But Swamiji wanted to give it a scientific authentication and certification to enable modern man to accept its validity. Swami Kuvalyananda was a Sanskrit scholar, who was initiated into yoga by Paramhansa Madhavdasji of Malsar. It was through his indefatigable enterprise that many myths about yoga got dispelled, and many unknown facts got rediscovered. Through a two-year long research, he scientifically established that the benefit of pranayam, especially kapal bhati, was not so much the increased intake of oxygen, but the retention of carbon dioxide in the blood. This helped yogis to survive extreme temperatures and adverse situations. Inspired by this finding, the Russian government sent a section of their soldiers to learn pranayam from Swami Kuvalyanandaji.
Commenting on the prevalence of contemporary trends in yoga with different nomenclatures such as Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Artistic yoga, Gravitational Yoga, and Aquatic Yoga, Subodh said that all of them were either about sculpting the body or maintaining the health. They were divorced from the real purpose of yoga which was to prepare the body for advanced spiritual experiences. The illuminating discourse not just re-established yoga's supremacy in the spiritual world, but also set the stage for more learnings through the workshops that were to follow.
Interplay by Father Prashant Olelekar and Hazel Lobo
This amazingly participative workshop by Father Prashant and Hazel Lobo, strikingly underlined how far we have travelled from our natural, unadulterated self. As we danced to Father Prashant’s tunes and obeyed Hazel’s commands, our inhibitions and self-consciousness were cast away. Through a combination of voice, movement, contact and stillness, participants drew closer to their inner child and experienced spontaneity, gratitude, self-worth and flexibility. All of this was achieved by vigorous movement, walking randomly with eyes closed, contorting our faces in all possible manner, and experiencing utmost silence and stillness in the pauses between these activities, as the bell rang. Several times we were asked to pair up and develop a subliminal communion with our partners. Much of the coiled-up creativity and ingenuity of the participants was released when after all the shedding and offloading, they were asked to play with crayons. Some drew beautiful pictures, some wrote poetry and some simply wrote about the visions they saw or the insights they received. All in all, it was a deeply fulfilling and satiating experience for each and every participant.
Divine Feminine by Sukhvinder Sircar
The second workshop of the day was an invocation to the Divine Feminine. Facilitator Sukhvinder Sircar, with her passion to bring alive the Divine Feminine on the planet, had the participants enthralled with the power of feminine energy. The world has, till now, been run by the masculine energy, the patriarchy. With the dawning of the New Age, the time has come for the feminine energy to assert itself and restore the balance of the world. The best way to give free rein to the feminine forces is to ‘let go and allow life to flow’. Suggesting that the Divine Feminine embodies being and not doing, Sukhvinder asked participants to go through the dark night, to embrace negativity and dark emotions. “One needs to look out for the shadows within and cleanse the self. Unless we go within, we cannot go up,” she explained. She asked everyone to draw their lives in the form of a river, highlighting the ups and downs. At the end of the workshop, participants put together a beautiful collage, spontaneously made out of the gifts of nature, a mark of respect for the feminine energy within. The workshop concluded with invoking and embodying the divine energy in the sacred womb of our metaphysical body. “I found the workshop as well as the facilitator very powerful and dynamic. I also enjoyed the Expo very much and look forward to the forthcoming one in Rishikesh,” said Kuljeet Singh, Pune.
Musical evening by Shruti Rana
Shruti Rana enthralled the audience with renditions of Vedic and Upanishadic sutras and mantras in her deep mellifluous voice. An international educationist, musician, scholar, poet as well as a healer and wellness expert, she is known for using sonic systems and nada vibrionics for healing and curing various health conditions. She began her evening by invoking the power of Om. The chanting and singing were interspersed by poetry from Sri Aurobindo. She sang verses from the Isha Upanishads, Durga Saptshati, Shiva Hum, and a rare unknown composition from the diary of yesteryear’s famous actress, Nutan, which went as ‘Om main ban jaaoon.’ Tired but fulfilled at the end of a long day, the delegates went back with raised vibrations and with her voice lingering in their minds. “Shruti Rana’s music was marvellous. I am very happy to have heard her,” said A K Paul, a participant.
Alpha Mind Power by Dr Vijaylakshmi Panthiyan
People continued to rave about this workshop long after it was over. With her melodious voice, flawless English and tightly wrapped presentation, Dr Vijaylakshmi Panthiyan from Chennai gifted a package of power, knowledge, confidence and prosperity to people. Alpha Mind Meditation turned out to be a most powerful tool which people could use to attract anything to them.
According to Dr Vijayalakshmi, our brains normally function at the beta wavelength which is full of conflicting thoughts. It is generally at 14+ cycles per minute. If this wavelength can be brought down to 7+ cycles per minute it opens up the mind to receiving the gifts and bounties of universe uninterrupted.
It lowers the cacophony created by the left brain and pushes up the right brain functions which are all related to intuition, emotions, creativity and manifestation of goals. As she led the participants through Alpha Mind Meditation, an avalanche of positivity, peace, calm and bliss descended upon the delegates. People slipped into the alpha state effortlessly. Dr Vijaylakshmi shared, that by using this state to affirm, send positive intentions, and communicate non-verbally, one could gain all that one wanted from the universe. Her books and CDs sold like hot cakes at the Expo.
Said DN Chopra, a delegate from Ahmedabad, “I place her in the first division. She was simply superb.”
A Taste of Access Consciousness by Aditi Surti
Access consciousness is a cleansing process that enables you to get rid of conditionings, emotions and imprisonment of your finite self. It helps you to function from ‘allowance’ rather than from ‘judgment’. Aditi Surti’s workshop on this modality included a few tools to get started, like empowering access questions, clearing statements, an introduction to running the bars, and body processes like MTVSS (Molecular Terminal Valence Sloughing System) and DMMD (De-Molecular Manifestation and Molecular De-Manifestation). A sampling of the running bars process received tremendous appreciation from the participants as this helped in weeding out unwanted emotions and limitations, making space for positivity and a state of allowance. Mahesh, a delegate from Hyderabad, said he felt reborn as he released all the blocked energies from his physical body and made space for immense possibilities and choices. Bars are 32 points on the head, which when touched lightly, begin to release lifetimes of limitations, judgments, polarities, emotions, thoughts and feelings. MTVSS helped each person strengthen his/her immunity by giving a healing touch to thymus, third eye, spleen and kidneys. It is something that changes everything that is possible with one’s body while DMMD is all about removing unwanted stuff from the body i.e., getting rid of problems like cancer, arthritis and manifesting what one desires like abundance of lustrous hair. Participants worked in pairs to give a healing hand to each other.
Rashi Bunny’s theatre workshop
There is hardly a soul who has not harboured the desire to become an actor. This last workshop, by the award-winning theatre person, Rashi Bunny, was teeming with eager participants. And she extracted miniature skits and human art works from a crowd composed of people in all age brackets.
Through it s many exercises the intent of the workshop was to help participants shed inhibitions, and fearlessly perform on stage. The workshop began with participants standing in a circle. Each, in turn, took two steps into the ring and introduced themselves with a unique gesture. Others were asked to immediately imitate it, and as it proceeded there was laughter all around. One enthusiastic boy even somersaulted as he spoke his name, a gesture that not too many were capable of imitating! Later, participants were divided into teams of five. Moving briskly in a circle, they were brought to a halt each time Rashi called out a word – which they were supposed to embody. Very soon striking human tableux of rainfall, lotus, safety pin, rice, were on display as participants bent into different shapes to depict different images. Then the participants were taught the skill of speaking gibberish to communicate with each other. The hall burst into laughter and gabble with people trying to communicate with each other in a language nobody could understand. Finally, Raashi transported the participants to a world of stillness, beauty, freedom, and joy through a meditation. “It was exhilarating,” said Katrina, a participant from Russia.
Dada JP Vaswani’s discourse
He came and he conquered every heart with his captivating and radiant smile, his benign demeanour, his simplicity, his child-like enthusiasm or simply put, by his mere presence. “I’ll be born and reborn again and again for the service of those suffering,” he quoted his beloved master, Sadhu Vaswani, adding “Nothing belongs to us. All that is given to us, like our skills, talents, and resources is to help all those whose needs are greater than ours.” The subject matter of his discourse was ‘Change your attitude: Change your life'. He suggested five simple ways to bring a dynamic change in one’s attitude – taking care of your thoughts, counting your blessings instead of complaining about what you don’t have, developing faith in the goodness and caring power of God, learning to laugh, and to help others. He held every one captivated by his simple philosophy on serving the needy, all the while regaling listeners with his jokes and anecdotes. Each person present in the multipurpose hall of Kaivalyadham was exhilarated and positively charged by Dadaji’s mere presence.
The unbeatable Life Positive team, which spearheaded
the show People eagerly asked him questions on how to modify their lives, which he answered in his typical unassuming way. His face lit up on being asked the reason behind his youthful energy and evergreen smile. “I always feel that I am sitting on the lap of the Divine Mother. No worry or fear touches me then,” was his answer.
There could not have been a better close to the Expo than Dada’s profound and loving address. With joy in their hearts, participants returned to their homes and lives, full of praise for the organisers, the facilitators, the Kaivalyadham staff and campus.
Both they and we look forward to gathering once more on the banks of the Ganges at Rishikesh on September 20, 21, 22. You come too!
See more articles on Positive Chronicles : http://www.lifepositive.com/Articles/PositiveChronicles
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