By August 2013 The recently concluded residential Life Positive Expo was a fantastic blend of enriching workshops, profound discourses, music, and theatre set amidst magnificent nature, say 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. Day 1 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. Day ll 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
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