"Yoga in Daily Life" was the theme of the three day AHYMSIN-Asia retreat held August 23rd - 25th. The retreat was organized by The Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. It was led by Joseph Wong with guidance from Datuk Hiew Thien Choi, the President of AHYMSIN-Asia.
Sixty participants met at Kota Kinabalu and took a 2+ hours bus ride up to Kundasang, the closest village to Mount Kinabalu and the resort has a magnificent panoramic view of the mountain with cold refreshing climate. The beauty of the nature is most conducive for the purpose of sharing knowledge on yoga from our inspiring teachers.
The 60 participants comprised of 32 from Sabah (28 are from Kota Kinabalu and 4 from Keningau), 14 from Peninsula Malaysia (12 from Penang and 2 from Kuala Lumpur) and 14 foreign participants (11 from Taiwan, 2 from Japan and 1 from Singapore).
Pandit Vishnu Panigrahi from SRSG, Rishikesh, India, shared his knowledge of the practice of yoga in daily life and emotional purification. Other inspiring teachers were Datin Judy Rajah, Datuk Rajah Indran, Judy Chin, Wong Yoong Khiang, Fuku Iida, Joseph Wong and Datuk Hiew. All shared spiritual teachings of the Himalayan Tradition to the eager and attentive participants.
The retreat began with heartwarming welcoming and introduction speech by Datuk Hiew in both English and Mandarin. During the retreat, the teachings of the Tradition were organized to provide an introduction of Yoga and its principles, its practical practices in our daily lives, variety of asanas in Hatha Yoga and joints and glands exercises, guided meditation, prayers, and relaxation methods. As we had diverse cultures in the retreat, most of the lectures were conducted in both English and Mandarin.
Participants responded well to the practical teachings of Yoga in Daily Life. The lectures and heart-felt chanting of Pandit Vishnu stirred many emotions and helped many to gain insights into spiritual aspects of Self as well as motivate them to incorporate regular personal practice of yoga meditation in their daily lives.
Datuk Rajah conducted 2 sessions on the Teachers Training Program and garnered numerous interests from participants. He described the course, explained what it takes to be a teacher and invited participants to consider being a teacher. One of the barriers identified is lack of materials in other languages, particularly Mandarin.
There was a wonderful selection of books written by Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati from the ashram for the benefit of the participants. Sharing of knowledge and thoughts occur not just during the lectures but also informally among all participants as well as teachers.
Pandit Vishnu initiated the practice of silence during mealtimes. However, participants really enjoy each other’s company and find it hard to restrain themselves! On the last dinner, a final requested was made by Panditji to be silent and enjoy every taste and texture of our food. He sat with the Taiwanese group and had the most silent table in the retreat.
We have obtained positive feedback from the participants with more than 80% of the retreat program being met and exceeding participants’ expectations. Some have commented that they would prefer more Hatha Yoga sessions to facilitate meditation. Some of the participants would like to return to the next retreat in Sabah.
“Life is a long journey and in that journey of life, so many good and unpleasant events happen. The pleasant events inspire us. My journey to Malaysia was inspiring. It encouraged me to walk deeper in the knowledge, meditation and daily life. I hope to see everyone again and would like to invite you to the ashram in Rishikesh for Guru Purnima and Khumba Mela in February 2010 and the Children’s Youth Camp in 2011.“ - From Pandit Vishnu
AHYMSIN-Asia would like to extend many thanks to the organizing committee from Kota Kinabalu’s center. Due to their commendable effort, it was a successful retreat to unite people from Asia in the path of spirituality. The next AHYMSIN-Asia retreat has yet to be confirmed but there is a good possibility of holding it in Japan.
OM May we surrender and offer the benefits gained from this retreat to Brahman.