Day 3 Updates
The enchanting notes of Raaga Yaman filled the air as participants arrived on third and final day of the Chennai Isha Yoga program with Sadhguru. Before they began their practices, Sounds of Isha performed upbeat morning bhajans, which got the whole crowd dancing and clapping to the folksy tunes. So far they had learned the Isha Kriya and the individual aspects of Shambhavi Mahamudra, but had not yet experienced the initiation, which would soon make it a live process.
Sadhguru climbed onto the dias and the class commenced. A brief yet emotionally charged discourse further prepared everyone for the initiation into Shambhavi Mahamudra. The Guru pooja was performed as both participants and volunteers paid their gratitude to the great masters of the past who, out of their compassion, brought the priceless gift of yoga to humanity.
During the initiation, participants were swept into new dimensions of experience. Sadhguru, Sounds of Isha, the volunteers and organizers, all setting the necessary atmosphere for this process to happen in the most powerful way possible. One could only be taken back by the sheer presence of thousands of people young and old, taking a step towards their ultimate wellbeing.
An Isha yoga teacher shares her experience during the initiation: “The atmosphere was charged to the peak. It seemed like the whole tent was radiating energy. As I sat down for meditation, I found it was so effortless. I was overwhelmed by a deep stillness inside of me.”
For a crowd of such varied multitude, the organizing went on with surprisingly few hiccups… However the Chennai weather was determined to lend a hand in stirring things up, when the freshly prepared afternoon meal became spoiled due to the heat and humidity. Faced with the daunting task of preparing food for over 15,000 people within a short span of time, the volunteers hurriedly put together food packets for the participants in just a few hours.
Following a break, Samskriti children displayed hand-to-hand combat in Kalari, and demonstrated their acrobatic abilities. In one impressive move, a running high jump kick broke a clay plot, showering the dias with flower petals.
The closing came too soon as hundreds of volunteers excitedly rushed into the program tent. In the last two days of intense activity, many of them never even got the chance to see the inside of the tent. Now they took front row seats, as Sadhguru bowed down to them for their unfailing dedication.
A volunteer described his experience of the day: “It passed off so joyfully. It was so easy to be the loving and caring person I always wanted to be. I couldn’t stop smiling. I know it’s only because of Sadhguru’s presence. I hope this feeling lasts even after this program.”
The ending was nothing short of an explosion as 16,000 people jumped and danced in ecstasy. Sadhguru extracted a promise from the participants that they must teach the Isha Kriya to at least 10 other people. So it can only be a matter of time before all of Chennai joins in this celebration.
Let’s make it happen!
Day 2 Updates
Seven o’clock on Saturday morning the second day of Sadhguru’s Chennai Isha yoga program began. As the thousands of participants trickled in, Sounds of Isha set the ambience with lively instrumental music.
Once everyone was settled, Sadhguru entered and the session began. The tight schedule ensured that all the sessions in the day were filled to the brim and precisely timed. Not a single minute was lost. During the practice sessions, participants learned the mechanics of the powerful Shambhavi Mahamudra kriya, while volunteers guided them.
One volunteer shared, “I was staggered to see an endless sea of faces, eyes closed, sitting without a movement, absolutely still and focused on the practice.”
Discourses and interactive sessions as Sadhguru walked on the ramp in the center of the hall, where he was engulfed by the audience on all sides. Provoking questions and razor sharp logic helped participants to break mental barriers, and paved the way to inner freedom.
As a prelude to Sadhguru’s talks, the Samskriti children won the hearts of everyone with their Kalaripayattu performances. This ancient Indian martial art form is native to Kerala, and is said to have been developed by the sage Agastya. The children exhibited their impressive flexibility, endurance and strength, and above all, their graceful humility.
Meanwhile, outside the program tent, thousands of tireless volunteers were working around the clock. From 4:30 to 11:00am hundreds of volunteers packed the breakfast and lunch boxes for 16,000 people. Dedicated volunteers cleaned the numerous mobile toilets that were set up. Some of their major challenges included arranging parking and supplying drinking water for the participants. Because of insufficient space, it was difficult to find easy parking. And in the scorching weather, the drinking water, which was supposed to last for the full 3 days of the program, was finished on the first day.
But in spite of all the hiccups in organizing, the day ended in celebration. While flowers blessed by Sadhguru were distributed to all, the booming drums of Sounds of Isha drew everyone to their feet. The exuberant crowd danced and danced, unwilling to leave, but looking forward to Sunday.
Day 1 Updates
Outside, the Chennai heat blazed as over 14,000 participants sat within the massive tent hosting Sadhguru’s first Tamil program in the city after 13 years.
This was the third of a series of Isha Yoga programs with Sadhguru, after Madurai and Trichy. Sadhguru opened his discourse by narrating an incident that occurred at the Trichy program. It seems a police officer there, who was impressed by how smoothly the program went, asked him how he would handle the Chennai crowd next week, because they wouldn’t be so easy to manage. Tonight Sadhguru asked the Chennai participants, “Shall we prove him wrong?” to be met with enthusiastic applause.
But actually, the Chennai people had already proven him wrong. An astonished volunteer shared, “I’ve never seen such a sight in Chennai before! Thousands of people just waited patiently in the queues, standing in such a disciplined way, not even one person jumping the line to enter the venue. If only this could happen to all of the city!”
If the crowd was well-behaved, it was surely because of the dedication of the volunteers. Yesterday, over 2,000 volunteers came together in a meeting to show their commitment to making the event happen.
A resident at the Isha Yoga Center who had come to witness the program, was amazed at how meticulous the volunteers were about every aspect of the program – from the setting of the stage to the flower decoration of the dais. From laying chairs to drawing kolams. From arranging the extensive dining to creating the nametags of each participant.
As the badged participants signed in (with the help of barcode scanners), Sounds of Isha music welcomed them as they took their seats. And when Sadhguru arrived, the night began with melodious chanting by the Samskriti children of the Isha Yoga Center.
Sadhguru’s talk was anything but a lecture. A generous sprinkling of stories and jokes drew peals of laughter from the responsive crowd. As the lively session drew to a close, the participants learned a simple and powerful meditation from Sadhguru and went home, eagerly awaiting the next day.