The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) and Nanban celebrated the 3-day Dallas Yoga Fest from June 16 to 18, 2023. The two organizations host events to give back to the community due to their strong belief in philanthropy. Nanban joined hands with the Temple and JKYog to offer the gift of health, harmony, eco-friendliness and sustainability, as an integral part of its mission to serve the community. The immensely successful event was characterized by diverse themes, ensuring that there was something for everyone – across all ages and ability levels.
Devotees at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas were eagerly waiting to welcome Swami Mukundananda back to Dallas. Swamiji was escorted into the Prayer Hall by Nanban Gopala Krishnan to the welcoming chants of a lovely Naam-Sankirtan, drumbeats and claps of devotees. Little Gopis dressed up in traditional outfits lined up to sprinkle beautiful rose petals on Swamiji’s divine feet as he walked down the red carpet all the way toward the altar of Shree Radha-Krishna. Swamiji and Nanban GK jointly performed the ceremonial ribbon cutting to commemorate the inauguration of Dallas Yoga Fest 2023. They were then joined by other dignitaries who participated in the traditional Diya lighting followed by the Temple Aartis.
All the dignitaries stepped down the exquisite marble stairway into the courtyard filled with the festive beats of Tasha Dhol and a band of vibrant dancers. They lifted the spirits as high as the welcoming balloons. In another ribbon cutting by Swamiji and Nanban GK, hundreds of balloons found their way into the bright summer sky.
To mark the opening of the Yoga Festival, practitioners and members of JKYog’s Prem Yoga Wellness Community, presented a dance-cum-demonstration to highlight the spirit of yoga through a variety of poses. Their performance reflected how far each participant had progressed, highlighting the power of practice. They also demonstrated how yoga helped to fight the inner war to conquer the lower nature and embrace the higher nature. They showed how the discipline of yoga helped to control the mind, acknowledging and dedicating all outcomes to the Almighty. They ended with a demonstration of specific yoga poses and related benefits to inspire the community.
Given that this was a Yoga Festival, there were numerous themed yoga sessions including ones focused on building strength, stamina, balance, flexibility, focus and concentration. There were a variety of options in location (e.g., outdoor yoga at sunrise and 108 Surya Namaskar at the crack of dawn), and in the type of yoga session, for example, Vinyasa flow, chair yoga, face yoga and laughter. There was even a special session for children with special needs and their parents.
There were sessions that were in the form of a workshop, for example, Science of Yoga, and a specific seminar on the Anatomy of Yoga. Additionally, there was a variety in the type of Pranayama and breathing techniques, for example, Ayurveda breathing, Ashtanga pranayama and meditation, and the art and science of breathing. Some sessions of Yoga, Pranayam and Meditation were open to individuals of all ages.
Swami Mukundananda’s Keynote Address was a much-awaited event. The huge CICE Hall was jam-packed with people really interested in the topic, “Yoga Beyond the Mat: Harmonizing the Mind, Body, and Soul.” Swamiji described the source of miseries – from one’s own body and mind, and from external sources including other living creatures and natural calamities. He also talked about the spiritual perspective on the source of miseries including how we have forgotten our true identity as a soul and how this false belief compounds into many other problems. Swamiji ended by presenting ways to satisfy the soul through true yog.
Doctors representing different areas of expertise conducted the Holistic Health Workshops.
The Dallas community had an incredible opportunity to partake in the special Health Fair that was an integral part of Dallas Yoga Fest. It was attended by approximately 200 people in a span of merely three hours. People from all ages and backgrounds benefitted from the free screening and professional consultations available on-site. The Health Fair was a generous offering by the qualified physicians of the Texas Indo-American Physicians Society, The Northeast Chapter (TIPS NEC). Twenty-six of their medical experts offered to serve the community through consultations in different specialties including Internal Medicine, Rheumatology, Endocrinology, Ophthalmology, Urology, Ob/Gyn, Geriatrics, Diet/Nutrition, Neurology, Gastroenterology, and Dentistry. They offered screening and tests to assess vitals, blood glucose testing along with HbA1C, oral dental screening, vision exams, and registration for bone marrow and low-cost mammograms.
Appreciation and Testimonials: Both participants and doctors deeply appreciated the wonderful initiative organized as part of the Dallas Yoga Fest in collaboration with TIPS. The Fair was also graced by the presence of Swami Mukundananda (founder of JKYog and Radha Krishna Temple).
The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen), Nanban and TIPS hope to make this collaboration an annual event for the benefit of the community.
Nanban Sakthi Palani Gounder beautifully articulated the purpose of the Panel Discussion to kick off the Sustainability Summit. Many relevant points were noted with regard to the need to focus on sources of renewable energy, reduce landfill waste, empower farmers in India, the Mothers-For-Mothers project to ensure biodiversity, and the initiatives that lead to Nanban NSG Solutions to introduce sustainable projects around the world. He also described the Odisha project in collaboration with Jagadguru Kripalu University which encouraged farmers to transition from chemical to organic farming.
The Panel Discussion on Sustainable Lifestyle was moderated by Nanban Preetha Prabhakar with panelists including Swami Mukundananda, Dr. Raghavan Ramanan, and Dr. Meghana Tare. Each panelist and the moderator were accomplished scientists, well-versed in the issues that challenge a sustainable lifestyle. Between all the experts, some of the highlights included:
The Healthy Cooking Contest for adults was extremely popular with thirty participants from the DFW community. There were very creative recipes including a variety of salads, desserts, and snacks that represented eco-friendly cooking techniques. Prizes for the winners of the People's Choice Awards for Healthy Cooking were awarded to four contestants: The first prize was tied between Purnima Potturi (for Multigrain Vegetable Oats Pancake) and Shweta Shah (for Pistachio Nankhatai and Granola Bars). Other winners included Preeti Malhotra (2nd prize) and Durgha Nattamai (3rd prize).
The Sustainability Contest was for school-age students. The Winners included Suhani Johri (11 years) who won the 1st prize on a water conservation project. The 2nd prize was bagged by Suhas Thirukonda (10 years), who created a project on Waste Reduction.
All the contestants received a certificate for their participation.
Community vendors participated in showcasing a variety of products related to holistic health. These included nutrition, sustainability, chiropractic and eco-friendly products as well as those related to meditation. They appreciated the opportunity to discuss with attendees.
Lots of kids participated in a variety of challenging games and fun activities during the day. The most popular activities were guided by the professional entertainer. There were different competition games for kids managed by the entertainer, who was very enthusiastic as he managed many kids at the same time. The other very popular activity was face painting and video games.
The musical concert was a feast for the senses. The highly skilled maestros, Shantanu Bhattacharya and Matt, both disciples of the legend Ustad Tari Khan, showcased their tabla (percussion) and guitar performances which touched the hearts of the audience. The performance was interspersed with some solo vocal performances.
The 3-day program ended with a very special Father’s Day Satsang with Swamiji. The event was filled with bliss and devotion as Swamiji’s rendition of a beautiful kirtan reverberated in the Prayer Hall as devotees and visitors drowned in the heart-warming lyrics, tune and sentiments.
Swamiji’s lecture on the significance of Father’s Day – the need for souls to recognize and attach their minds to the eternal fathers (i.e., God and Guru), was deeply moving and helped to connect with the purpose of life. Swamiji described how spiritual aspirants need to implement the six aspects of intellectual surrender to God to accomplish the goal of God-realization.
Finally, the rain shower of little treats and candies by Swamiji left everyone in the highest of spirits! Like little kids, adults too reveled in the delight upon receiving “prasad” from Swamiji.
The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) & Nanban would like to thank all the Yoga instructors, medical practitioners, volunteers, and above all, the participants of the Dallas Yoga Festival, who made this event a resounding success.
We are especially grateful to our annual sponsors Priya Living, Discount Power, DuPriest Pop, Radio Caravan, India Bazaar, and Patel Brothers, Dallas Yoga Fest Sponsors Nanban ESG Solution and Yellow Chillis, and Health Fair Sponsor TIPS for their sponsorship. We also thank our community partners, IANT, HSS, Sewa International, USICoC, MKANT, Rotary Club, and Gujarati Samaj for their support.
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