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International Festival of Yoga 2022 Key Takeaways

Program Updates / October 21, 2022

JKYog International Festival of Yoga has touched and inspired thousands of hearts in an unprecedented way since its inception 8 years ago. From Jun 15-21, 2022, worldwide Yoga and wellness enthusiasts were fortunate to once again from benefit from inspiring talks by world renowned spiritual leaders, doctors, alternative/integrative medicine, yoga, and wellness experts.

JKYog was honored to welcome esteemed spiritual luminaries, Pujya Swami Chidanananda Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan, Swami Sarvapriyananda of Ramakrishna Mission, Pujya Bhaishri Shri Rameshbhai Oza of Sandipani Vidyaniketan and JKYog founder Swami Mukundananda to deliver profoundly uplifting messages for the world yoga community.

Welcome, Diya Lighting, and Release of Balloons

The beautiful ceremonial lighting of the lamp by JKYog Founder and Global Spiritual Icon, Swami Mukundananda, symbolized the bestowing of eternal knowledge and purity. Swamiji also paid tribute to Jagadguru Shree Kripalu ji Maharaj and to Shree Radha-Krishna.


All the guests including Texas state officials, visitors and devotees joined Swamiji in releasing hundreds of balloons to celebrate the spirit of unity in recognition of the 2022 theme of the International Day of Yoga, which is Yoga for Humanity.


As the balloons floated away representing the promise of Yoga and JKYog’s mission for humanity’s holistic health, worldwide attendees were filled with a thrilling sense of inner joy and freedom, and eager anticipation for the biggest celebration of Yoga in the world.

Inaugural Keynote Address by Swami Mukundananda

Swamiji started off by describing the natural beauty of creation across the various regions of the US including forests, mountains, lakes, etc. However, the most beautiful of all creation is the human form. Even though the soul is divine, it is enmeshed by the material elements or sheaths that mask the divinity. He talked about how personality traits are related to diseases of the body like arthritis to establish the mind-body connection.

In talking about the five sheaths, he described the physical body comprising the organs, bones, muscle tissue, and skin or the Annamaya kosha. Subtler than this is the life-force energy called Pranamaya kosha. It is the energy behind every atom, cell, organ, and body systems. Even subtler is the Manomaya kosha which comprises the mind (thoughts), emotions (feelings), and the nervous system (sensations). The next and subtler layer is the Vigynamaya kosha associated with intelligence or wisdom that influences our consciousness. The deepest and the most subtle layer called the Anandamaya kosha or that which is the source of bliss. This sheath constitutes the true nature of the soul. Various yoga poses enhance different types of koshas including Surya Namaskar and various forms of Pranayam or deep breathing.

The events of Day 1 ended with the Mayor of Allen, Mr. Kenneth M Fulk, sharing a vote of thanks to Swamiji for the Keynote Address. He read the Proclamation that applauded the Radha Krishna Temple for hosting the JKYog International Festival of Yoga 2022. He declared it to be a valuable opportunity that united the local and global communities, fostered increased health awareness, united all individuals with a common goal, and promoted peace and harmony.

The beautiful program ended with lovely dance performances by artists from the Sampradaya School of Dance and Sai Nritya Academy.

Highlighted Talks

Swami Mukundananda: Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Swamiji discussed the importance of Yog or the ability to control the workings of the mind. He emphasized the importance of detachment and practice which is integral for sadhana (i.e., the practice of devotion). Practice or abhyas is the steady effort to control the thoughts of the mind. Proficiency in any endeavor is the outcome of repeated practice sustained with faith and positivity for enough time.

Within this framework, Swamiji presented several keys to enhance learning based on Verse 14 from the Patanjali Yog Sutras. These include the use of mental representations which make it easier to access information; repetition of new tasks that fire and wire the neurons together due to the neuroplasticity of the brain; effort needed for deliberate practice to convert actions into a habit to the point of automaticity; and the discipline needed to exert the will power to bear the pain of hardship to become proficient in an endeavor. He particularly emphasized the importance of deliberate practice – the cognitive ability to identify weaknesses and evaluate what needs to be done to improve performance. The final take-away was the role of repeated practice that leads to a steady state until automaticity is achieved. In other words, people transition from conscious incompetence to conscious competence to unconscious competence.

Q&A with Swami Mukundananda

Insightful QnA sessions of Swami Mukundananda with Allen City Mayor Ken Fulk and Amy Gnadt (President AISD Board of Trustees); with youth and with Bollywood Music director Harry Anand (on “The Power of Thoughts”) provided multifaceted viewpoints on Yoga, Bhakti, and wellness for all. They were highly anticipated and well attended.

Mayor Ken Fulk & Amy Gnadt with Swami Mukundananda

The Q/A session between Swamiji, Kenneth Fulk, Mayor of the City of Allen, and Amy Gnadt, President of Allen ISD Board of Trustees, is indescribable in words. There were various questions relating to the challenges commonly faced today, and on the importance and benefits of practicing yoga and meditation. Here is an abbreviated version of the excellent Q/A session.

How does yoga improve lack of concentration?

-        Controlled restriction of external distractions and routine engagement in meditation improves the ability and willpower required to focus better.

How to deal with negative thoughts during meditation?

-        Dilution, substitution, and sublimation of thoughts are approaches one can take to eliminate negative thoughts during meditation.

What are the top five benefits of yoga?

-        Keep the organs in use, tone the organs, move energy through the body, improve awareness of our physical well-being and see ourselves are more than just a combination of body parts.

What is the importance of charity?

-        We are indebted to other beings for what we are today. We need to return what we may have acquired impurely knowingly or unknowingly

How to control the mind?

-        The mind generates thoughts which result in action. Therefore, we need to be the gardener of our mind and ensure that that quality of thoughts is good. The mind is an important aspect of our personality.

Harry Anand Q&A with Swami Mukundananda – The Power of Thoughts

Music director Harry Anand expressed his deep appreciation for Swami Mukundananda’s latest book to hit the shelves – The Power of Thoughts. He posed many questions both from his personal experience and from the perspective of viewers about how to use thoughts to uplift and transform us and become more optimistic.

Watch a highlighted segment of the talk here, where Swamiji explains how to dissolve the negative energy of the mind in three simple steps.

Youth Q&A with Swami Mukundananda

Of all the excellent questions asked by Sidharth Bhat and Siddhi Patadia, two are selected to represent the depth of this Q/A session, providing a gist of Swamiji’s poignant responses.

Lot of news in the media (e.g., war) are unhappy events. Does God have a role in the occurrence of large-scale events that upset the world?

Whenever something happens, it could be because of the actions of people or the will of God. Some questions will always remain questions. It is possible that God may have a hand in impactful events like COVID. There may be macro events to push us out of our comfort zone to help us grow internally. Nevertheless, do not expose yourself to the news too much! There are many countries not at war, but the media focuses on the worst events. Rely on reliable sources to keep updated with the news, only once a week only.

God-realization is possible only through purification of the soul. If we believe in reincarnation, why the push for God-realization in this life?

To realize God is not an obligation, but an opportunity! He is our creator, and we want to know more about him. He is extremely kind and compassionate toward us. Wouldn’t we want to know our creator and protector? The urge to know God is natural – some realize it, others do not. There is no guarantee that we will have a human form or a healthy body in the next life. So, do not delay and use this life as a golden opportunity to do good for others. Even if we do not realize God, the effort itself will make us more lovable to others.

Spiritual Wellness Through the Four Yogas: Swami Sarvapriyananda

Swami Sarvapriyananda captivated and enchanted all who had the good fortune of attending his talk. Swami Mukundananda warmly welcomed Pujya Swami Sarvapriyananda and conveyed his feelings of brotherhood from one monk to another, expressing that the connection is “at a different level.” Swami Sarvapriyananda’s talk covered all aspects of Yoga for wellness from the Dualistic and Non dualistic perspectives as well as through the paths of Karma, Gyan and Bhakti. Swamiji stressed on oneness and unity in Seva - loving God from within while simultaneously loving, caring, and serving others seeing God in them. He addressed social media addiction and stated that the way out of it is to indulge in Bhakti, Gyan and Seva. His talk left the audience with overwhelming emotions of devotion and bliss.

Swami Chidananda Saraswati, Parmarth Niketan

Swami Chidananda Saraswati described Yoga as an ancient science which leads to health, peacefulness, joy, and liberation. It is for people of every race and religion anywhere in the world. He presented a beautiful concept that we are in Yog for 24 hours a day. A Yoga Center is where we learn yoga, but the world is where we have our exams. Are we calm, peaceful, loving, sharing, caring, and deeply connected to the Divine? Swamiji shared a healthy recipe for Yog with the Divine in the form of Stress-Busting Multivitamins:

Vitamin 1 – Meditation – plug into the Divine for daily energy recharge

Vitamin 2 – No Reaction – become unshakeable by not reacting to people or circumstances

Vitamin 3 – Introspection – read sacred scriptures, something inspiring daily

He reminded the audience of Patanjali’s moral restraints and codes of conduct, especially ahimsa which encompasses all beings and life. He discussed the importance of simple living. He ended with three keys: Surrender. Faith in God. Become Unshakeable.

Can Meditation Overwrite the Genetic Code: Dr. Indranil Basu Ray

Dr. Indranil Basu-Ray spoke about the mind, body, and disease connection and how the genesis of disease starts in the mind. He also spoke about harnessing the power of mind through meditation to improve health and build resilience to diseases of the heart, cancer, COVID, etc. There was a fascinating discussion on the role of genetics and whether the practice of meditation could alter the genes. Meditation changes in the brain enough to overwrite genetic programming. Therefore, we need to remember to practice yoga and meditation scientifically to achieve maximum benefit. His latest book, “Principle and Practice of Yoga in Cardiovascular Medicine” addresses these concepts in detail.

Are our Kids Hurting? Talk by Dr. Aniruddh Behere

Other sessions included an eye-opening talk by child psychologist Dr. Aniruddh Behere. noted how mental health problems in children have drastically increased in recent years due to various circumstances such as the pandemic, dysfunctional families, divorce, violence, war, reliance on media etc. He presented a biopsychosocial model of mental health and noted how disorders need to be treated like any other medical disorder – with mindfulness and awareness. He emphasized the role of family in keeping children and teens healthy and reiterated the importance of yoga and meditation in maintaining good mental health. He also highlighted the enormous impact on children when one of the parents, especially the mother, struggles with depression or anxiety.

Finally, he talked about how parents need to watch out for signs of anxiety, depression, and trauma to assist their children to overcome and acquire the necessary tools to help them to be more resilient, including reaching out to professionals if necessary.

Special Event Highlights


Day after day was an opportunity to bathe in the wisdom of the holy scriptures, by renowned saints from all Yogic traditions and to practice and implement gems of wisdom through the Daily Gems segments conducted by experienced, inspiring volunteers.

Children, adults, and seniors all benefited from the various styles of Yoga. A special session, Meditation with Masters, featured elevating guided meditations by Trudy Goodman, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, and Swami Mukundananda. Youth and adults took enthusiastic part in the vigorous 108 Surya namaskar sessions to celebrate International Yoga Day.

Renowned doctors and experts offered practical tips for holistic health and much needed tips to address chronic lifestyle diseases and conditions like diabetes and sleep disorders, which uplifted and inspired people.

A FREE Health Fair was organized to provide preventative care such as medical screening for the community. DFW’s best physicians of various specialties including endocrinology, gastroenterology, cardiology, etc. were present to provide individualized and specialized care to each one of the attendees. Free screenings for heart disease and diabetes were provided to attendees, and vitals were also taken. The turnout for this event was amazing!

A fun carnival with various games activities to stimulate creativity, joy and confidence in children provided a thoroughly enjoyable experience for the whole family.

Evening Bhakti Concerts

Each day of the Festival of Yoga featured melodious kirtans by various Kirtan groups including the Art of Living and Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas. The blissful, devotional chants featured beautiful fusion music that delighted the hearts of music lovers and Bhakti yogis alike.

Harry Anand’s scintillating Bhakti Fest concert catapulted the joy and energy of the attendees, culminating in a spontaneous live performance with Swami Mukundananda himself singing the hit JKYog Music track Ore More Mann along with Harry.

For the first time ever the Sound Healing Concert by Suren Sreshtha was a unique offering that provided much needed inner wellness and calm.

People felt deeply relaxed and blissful after this special session and Swami Mukundananda praised Suren Sreshtha and his team’s efforts.

The touching Father’s Day celebration with Swami Mukundananda melted the hearts of attendees - Swamiji stressed the importance of gratitude to God and Guru as the divine parents who truly care for us. The kirtans he sang: “Anath Dinanatham Kripalu mei Smarami” and “Mere Thakur Govind Thakurani ending in Haribol chants left everyone in tears.

Attendees worldwide marveled at the quality of the sessions conducted and eagerly looked forward to International Festival of Yoga 2023.

Share with us in comments your key takeaways from this year's Yoga Festival!