The Himalayan town of Rishikesh in northern India is welcoming hundreds of foreign tourists for its annual yoga festival, with visitors keen to learn the ancient art by the sacred River Ganges. “Yoga doesn’t flow in our veins like it does in Indians so I came here to go back to basics,” said French yoga teacher Juliette Allard, 38, who lives in Barcelona and has been coming to the festival for the last three years. “Rishikesh is yoga paradise,” she told AFP.
Visitors from 36 countries have brought their yoga mats to learn about breathing, posture, chanting and nutrition from experts in all types of yoga in classes that start at 4:00 am and continue until sunset.
Alcohol and smoking are banned in cafes and restaurants throughout the town, as is meat, so as not to disturb the participants’ “chakras” — the seven major centres of spiritual energy in the body according to yoga philosophy. The festival, which began on Tuesday, is now in its 12th year with tourists paying $600 to attend. The Beatles visited Rishikesh in 1968 to learn about transcendental meditation from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, helping to popularise ideas about Indian spirituality.
I love Yoga and Transcendental Meditation! I also believe in eating healthy (mainly fruits and vegetables) and I recommend listening to Louise L. Hay!