| Varkala Helipad, Kerala | 23rd December, 2017 | 3 wee hours for 5 days |
Historic sensation at a historic heritage site!
On the 23rd of December, the enthralling sunrise at the scenic Varkala beach was witness to a historic phenomenon that graced the land of India for the first time ever! Over a thousand ‘early birds’ were all set to partake in the first-of-its-kind magnificent celebration of ‘Yogotsav’ – a Mega Sri Sri Yoga program! While I stood there on the huge stage keen to begin the program, for a moment, I was dazed out as all I saw was people and yoga mats as far as my eyes could stretch! With the rise and fall of the waves in the Arabian Sea, nature kept dancing its way into beauty and the footfalls kept stretching their way into Yoga.
The crowd unfathomable and their enthusiasm early in the morning indomitable, I began the warm up routine with a few stretches and rotations. Soon, the Varkala cliff was filled with college teens, working adults, bubbly aunties, curious uncles, brisk grandmothers, retired grandfathers and people from all walks of life jumping in joy to the tunes of the Sri Sri Yoga postures. And surprisingly, a lot of international tourists also got smitten by the ‘Yoga’ bug and swayed into the crowd with perfect postures and discipline. Every day, the sessions would start in chaos with the humongous crowd juggling around to get in and settle down; slowly flow into jumps, twists, cheers and breaths of joy and end with the bliss in stillness of Meditation!
As they went deeper into the body and mind day by day, people started finding themselves ‘happier for no reason’ is what many of them shared. It was a first in their life that they had experienced unconditional happiness that was so very evident in their inexplicable smiles.
“My energy levels always drooped in the evening with the kind of hectic schedule I have in the college. In the last 5 days, I noticed that my enthusiasm and energy are at an all-time high all through the day and night so much that I feel rested even with less hours of sleep!” opined Sunil, a second year medical student, who tried his hands at Yoga for the first time.
As the days passed by, breaking the shackles of the orthodox prejudice about Yoga, participants reeled in the ‘Cool’ factor, taking selfies/groupies in yogic postures, flaunting their yoga attire & accessories and tweeting/instagramming their new found vogue for ‘Yoga’ !
“I always wondered why I would need yoga for the kind of mundane life I lead. I would get my share of exercise for the body through my daily chores anyways. Now, I realized that yoga does much more than just flexible exercises can do to the body. I had acute knee pain for a long time which the medication was able to evade on and off with frequent and intense recurrences. But over the last week, my knee feels so light and painless that I do not even have to think twice before having to do something with it !” shared Kamala, a homemaker, bubbling with joy.
On the final day, as the curtains came down over this festive, merry Yogotsav, it was so awe-inspiring to listen to the experiences that people had in such a short span of 15 hours spanned over 5 days, making Yoga the most effective, natural quick healer.
“I was never interested in studies but this workshop helped me develop other skills. I have gained confidence in such a short time and have started participating in college activities. I have also developed the skill to be in the company of all kinds of people and yet maintain my dignity. The best was how after an exhausting day, I would come back, meditate and feel as though I’ve slept for 3-4 hours and get back to my studies.”, shares Jasraj Suthar, a budding Yoga enthusiast doing his graduation studies.
As the testimonials went on and on, it was amusing yet overwhelming that most of the people did not move an inch from the Varkala cliff even after hours of the official closure of the gala Yogotsav so much so that the organizers had to literally oblige with people on winding up the logistics later!
“For the first time ever in my life, I see such a glorious crowd for a single grand event of Yoga in an open space. It is so majestic with such diverse people, each having the same experience of joy and relief at the end of it. This is phenomenal! I am totally mesmerized and just wondering“, expressed an elated Mr Sreekumar, a long time Art of Living faculty, who inspected the whole event with such amazement.
Such a tremendous feat with such enormous inflow of crowd in thousands, culminating into a celebratory ‘Utsav’ in its literal sense, in much more zeal and zest than it began with, deprived of any slightest of the untoward incidents at all – all of it echoed my belief that this is humanly impossible and yet again showcased the unseen, ‘ever-so-filled-with-infinite-possibilities’ hand of my Guru pouring His grace and bliss all over the ocean of people here in the last few days.
The carnival was meant to be and would have happened anyways, but it is such a blessing and humbling feeling to envisage the fact that I was chosen to be a part of this splendid manifestation to witness the unique marvel, unfolding itself right in front of my eyes, every single moment as the bodies healed, breaths soothed, minds stilled, hearts melted and souls rejoiced the splendor of a spiritual sojourn in its glorious sense… What a blissed and blessed path of life it is, truly!
Simply inspires me to barge into it again and again, many more to come … Onward Ho!