Heart of living

YOGAFest brings inner joy to South Valley

DEEPEST COMPASSION YogaFEST 2017 comes to Gilroy on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 at Christmas Hill Park. Photo: Submitted
At a time when even the festival season is shrouded by disturbing events from around the country and the world, and people struggle to celebrate without feeling guilty or bogged down—the resilience of the human spirit could provide that unequivocal reason and cause for celebration.

That is yoga—a system of life that enriches the spirit within and cures it of negative unwanted tendencies. “The key to the peace, security, and happiness we yearn for is within our own consciousness,” says Ellen Grace O’Brian, spiritual director, Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. “The resources needed to make a difference in the world are hidden in our own hearts.”

This idea inspired Deepak Sridhar, a volunteer and instructor with the Art of Living Foundation, to create a festival based upon yoga—to bring about true celebration as an expression of authentic inner joy.

After being celebrated at Morgan Hill for two consecutive years the YOGAFest comes to Gilroy this weekend and expects more than 1,000 participants.
The festival endeavors to expose people to different schools of yoga, ace yoga teachers and introduce them to this very precious and ancient knowledge that could just be the salve for a world stifled by stress and strife.

With participation from established schools like the Mount Madonna Center to Beyond Yoga studio and celebrated authors and yoga teachers including Darren Main, Pradeep Teotia and Mariko Hirakawa, one could expect to find a pathway that resonates with them.

The festival aims to dispel myths about yoga being just about contorted postures or for adherents of a certain religious philosophy.
Yoga is a comprehensive science of the human mind to attain its highest potential, says happiness coach Sunanda Gadagottu. “Yoga is such a journey where you are expressing the uniqueness of who you are. It cannot be in conflict with any religion.”

Gadagottu will be informing people of the wellness techniques of breathing and meditation taught by the Art of Living Foundation that has been a stalwart in improving the lives of millions around the world through its effective and precise mind-body wellness practices and knowledge.

This year’s festival is themed One World Family. “Oneness is at the heart of yoga,” says Sridhar. “How better to highlight that than by celebrating our differences.”

The festival will showcase an exhilarating array of cultural performances, which blend spirituality and music to create a transformative experience for listeners including African drums, Breath of Life Tribe musician Deepak Ramapriyan, and other artists from various traditions will be performing at the festival to drive home the unity among our diversities.

Taking the spirit of oneness further into serving the community, the organizers of the festival have pledged to support trauma relief efforts for Sonoma. According to Deepak, physical relief is not enough, we’ve got to relieve the emotional trauma suffered by the victims of the fires.

Art of Living Foundation presents YogaFEST 2017 on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, 9am-5pm at Christmas Hill Park, 7050 Miller Ave, Gilroy. For tickets, visit bit.ly/2xbcP43.

Akanksha Bhalla
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About Akanksha Bhalla
Akanksha Bhalla is an independent writer in the South Valley.