The Malaysian Yoga Society (MYS) National Yoga Camp 2017 initiated the Boys Camp which was held from 10th to 16th Dec 2017 and the Girls Camp which was held from 17th to 23rd Dec 2017. Soon after the MYS Yoga Clinic program drew to a close, the versatile and composed group of volunteers spearheaded the overall camp work and oversaw the preliminary tasks till the completion of the program. The program was mooted by MYS founder and president, Master Manisekaran 12 years ago and has been since fully supported by MYS instructors and volunteers. There were 173 participants for the Boys Camp and 127 participants for the Girls Camp, totaling it to a whopping 300 participants in total! 50% of the overall participants are from the underprivileged category, and all of them are sponsored.
The camp has its earned wit and with the above diversity, this dynamic devout leader, Ravin.S, definitely has something to tell. “One of the main purposes of National Yoga Camp is to introduce the ancient technology of yoga to everyone especially to those who have no prior knowledge in yoga. In this process, challenges may occur, it could even shatter the minds of our volunteers, but this is the time for us to practice our Sadhana in sustaining perseverance and righteousness while handling every unexpected situation. The best possible program content and facility must be made available throughout the camp.”
It was a task to shortlist the venue as high expectations and criteria have to be met. Ravin and a team of volunteers filtered close to 28 schools and finalised Sekolah Menengah Teknik Kuala Lumpur as the camp’s official venue. The school has an indoor hall with a stage and is spacious enough to accommodate the camp participants. There was dormitory accommodation for each participant, along with sufficient bathrooms. The school is surrounded by nature and lush greeneries providing fresh air and a retreat feel.
Although promotional aspects were strategized, the path took a twist as this hardworking and dynamic team kept seeing a slow turnaround of participants registering for the camp through word of mouth. With the help of RTM Minnal, Astro, THR Raga, and Facebook, etc, inquiries began to pour in from all around the country as an outcome of the decision. Through this effort alone, 90% of the targeted participant’s number was achieved.
Applications and inquiries soon piled up. Demand rose as the public realised the vision and mission of the National Yoga Camp, which were directly aimed at restructuring the society to form young future leaders with quality moral values through the teachings of yoga. Each call was attended with reverence, conviction, and assurance on the transformation of their children. To which, they promptly agreed to enroll their children into the camp without hesitation.
The decoration of the school hall and compound was also prioritised. The team took charge of setting up and preparing the hall decoration along with other new volunteers. The hall was filled with yogic philosophies, and characters from Mahabaratha and Ramayana. It felt surreal that the characters were alive in the eyes of the participants who absorbed every story, during the camp as a bee surplus in nectar, engraving the message deep into their consciousness.
Alongside the preparatory challenges, the team also faced a shortage of volunteers (a group of volunteers were away and were only available to assist from the fourth day of the camp onward). Lectures on the ‘Eight Limbs of Yoga’, especially on the ‘Yamas and Niyamas’ (moral segments and character-building components) to ensure a good flow of knowledge was relayed to the young minds. On top of it, the streams of Yoga; Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Jnana Yoga were explained in detail. This was the highlight of the year, as the messages were addressed from new dimensions, depicted from ancient divine histories, merged with scientific proofs, and connected to the current era on how to manage our life. The lectures were delivered with impactful modulation, yet understood by every participant though there are various age differences.
Few special topics that gave a huge positive impact on the participants were Ravin’s talk on ‘The Language of Intelligent Field’ which inspired and uplifted the participants, that all are pervaded with the power to translate the possibilities of our mind into reality of the world. Participants were deeply seeded with scientifically proven truth, that there are no challenges that can’t be overcome. Other impactful talks are ‘Shatkarmas’ by Dr. Chandramalar and Ms. Nithya, ‘Yoga Values From The Perspective Of A Medical Practitioner’ by Dr.Rathimalar ‘Utilising Yoga To Excel In Studies and Its Method’ by Mr. Arutchelvan, ‘Sadhana – Discipline Undertaken In The Pursuit Of Goal’ by Ms. Anuradha, ‘Ayurveda – Way of Life’ by Ms. Saandhi, ‘Plant Your Legacy Project’ by Ms. Kavi Amutha and Ms. Kavi Vitya whereby participants were taught about each herbal plant, its uses in health management and how to care for them, ‘Yoga Asana’ talk accompanied by guidance on advance poses by Mr. Durai, ‘Achievers Pathway’ whereby Ravin revealed the secrets which made his student achieve the record-breaking 15 A1’s in SPM, and an ‘Inspiring Talk’ by Dr. Mahaletchumy Arujanan, a famous Malaysian Scientist. Lastly, a special talk and Q&A session were conducted by Master Manisekaran.
Hatha Yoga sessions were conducted by 3 instructors, Ms. Kavi Vitya, Ms. Anuradha, and Ms. Saandhi, for the main camp, and the yoga instructor course was conducted by Mr. Durai (for the boys) and Ms. Saandhi (for the girls) to prepare them to become yoga teachers. This gave participants in-depth knowledge of asana techniques, breathings, contraindications, and modifications. On the final day, the instructor course students taught yoga poses to their fellow main camp participants and received grand applause for their skills learned.
Participants were required to rise from sleep at 5 am daily for Shatkarmas activities (yogic detox). Initially, it was a bitter pill for the participants. But with constant motivation and support from the instructors, the participants adapted well. They willingly started to take showers in the morning, did their best in yoga sessions, were attentive during the lectures and able to grasped the knowledge, and ate sattvic vegetarian meals which were specifically prepared for the camp to ensure the right supply of nutrients for the participants. Participants who were homesick were given opportunities to speak to their parents at night, but eventually, they were all able to evolve, learning to divert their minds into camp activities productively.
In the evening, there would be a Kirtan session (devotional singing) and followed by the practice of Trataka. Ms. Puguneswari taught and sang the devotional songs with divine ecstasy and brought the participants to a musical euphoria. The rhythmic claps and beats brought forth the true essence of Bhakti Yoga through kirtan.
On the 6th day of both the boys and girls camp, there was a segment called ‘Creativity in Yoga’ where participants were given a task to create a new yoga pose and to perform on stage. It was amazing to witness the participants’ enthusiasm in mastering even the advanced variations of asanas, under the guidance of experienced yoga instructors. On the final day, the closing was truly spectacular in its own way. Participants were presented with a T-Shirt each, and they wore it for the graduation ceremony. The quote printed on the T-Shirt, ‘YOGAS CHITTHA VRITTHI NIRODHA’ acted as a reminder to the participants that yoga is the mastery of the fluctuation of the mind.
The Hatha Yoga session looked unified with all participants wearing the camp T-Shirt. Then, there was an experience-sharing session by participants. Everyone was touched by the heartfelt statements made by the participants. Contentment can be seen in the eyes of each participant and their parents. Where the participants were so grateful to be part of this life-changing yoga camp and promised to continue their sadhana at home. Certificates, Yoga Handbook, and medals were given in appreciation to participants.
All volunteers and instructors are grateful to Master Manisekaran for the opportunity given to serve the community and to increase the quality of life.
It’s all about Karma Yoga….
– Alvin Stanley