PNA Yoga PNA Yoga PNA Yoga

6.30am..Yoga and Mantra walk. Swamiji, Gurmukh and delegates take a minute to take stock of the ashrams spiritually charged forest surroundings. A scene of peace and calm soon interrupted by heavy lorry traffic on the nearby road.

Bhavani Kalan [36] a teacher at the festival trained in different styles of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Discovered yoga after obtaining an MBA and law degree. Started her career in South African in public policy before going on to become a corporate lawyer with 'New York Bain and Company.'

Bhavani is a 4th generation Indian dividing her time between New York and PN ashram where she is currently Head Yoga Consultant and teacher trainer for Ananda Spa Institute. She currently spends 3-4 months of the year at PN.

She describes doing gymnastics as a child as setting her on the path to yoga. Formerly very skeptical of gurus when she attended the Ganga aarti [daily evening ceremony on the Ganges] at PNA she was immediately impressed by Swamiji and his emphasis on action - doing useful things for people and society that are probably thought through and well executed.

'Swamiji isn't the kind of person you go to for advice as such. He makes you believe in your own intuition, that the answers are all within us - thats what he's really taught me.'

During her attendance at the 8th International Yoga Festival Gurmukh Kaur Khasala co-founder and director of legendary LA Yoga studio Golden Bridge took time out to visit pupils of a local school and childrens home.

The school known as Ramana's Seva Samiti is situated in the small hamlet of Laxman Jula, about 1km up river from Rishikesh proper [ the hamlet is still counted as part of Rishikes] . SS was formed in 1994 by american Maggie O' Hara a one time Hollywood actor who now goes by her Indian name of Prabhavati Dwabha.

Gurmukh has been supporting the school for several years since discovering whilst attending the festival. She has donated a total of 20000 USD which has funded the building of a yoga studio at the school. The studio was only recently completed and this was Gurmukhs first visit. She marked the occasion by giving the children an impromptu Kundalini class to which Praba announced ' this may turn out to be the most important day of your lives'

The children are orphans or given by families who claim to be too poor to keep them , this inevitably means many are girls. According to Praba the yoga has had a wholly beneficial effect on the kids improving their ability to concentrate and behave themselves.

Info on school available from www.sayyesnow.org