Malaysian International Yoga Competition 2011
The 9th and 10th July 2011 witnessed the gathering of 431 yoga enthusiasts (aged 4 years to 80 years) from far and wide at a fully sponsored venue in 1-Utama Shopping Centre, Selangor for the first Malaysian International Yoga Competition (MIYC)organised by Malaysian Yoga Society (MYS) with the support of Malaysian Association of Yoga Instructors (MAYI). They were from various parts of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India and Iran. Previously the yoga competitions organised by MYS were only on a national level.
Those who are familiar with yoga may find yoga competition incongruous as it is often spoken that there should be no competition in the practice of yoga. However the fact remains that competition does exist everywhere in life and it is also mentioned in historical texts of yoga. The Latin root of the word competition is competere meaning “to strive together”. This goes well with the objective of MIYC to bring together yoga practitioners of all ages, from all over the world to strive towards improvement of personal best, to create awareness and to raise funds for welfare projects by Malaysian Yoga Society.
The opening ceremony of the event was graced by MYS President, G. Manisekaran and celebrity guests, TV personality Angie Soow, a new and upcoming Malaysian Actress &Chui Ling, TV Personality and a regular yoga practitioner.
On the first day of the event, 4 adult age categories of participants comprised of 157 yoga practitioners went on stage to perform to their best ability before a panel of qualified judges, their 5 favourite yoga postures. While on the second day, another 4 children age categories of participants comprised of 300 young yogis had their turn. The second day of the event rose to a climax as it ended with all the winners from each age category returning on stage to compete for the placement of overall champion. They were scored based on going in and coming out of the yoga posture, steadiness and alignment, flexibility, degree of difficulty and facial demeanour.
Teachers were seen coaching their students and participants worked hard at limbering while waiting for their numbers to be announced, amidst the cheering crowd of family and friends who came to support the participants.
More life was added to the atmosphere as crowds of shoppers also joined in to observe the excitement from the tiers above the shopping concourse where the event was staged. This created a stadium like effect for the whole competition. A children’s activity corner was set up to keep children participants occupied while waiting for the results of each category. There were games, story-telling, face painting and henna tattoo art.
“We have participated in several yoga competitions in India as it is a tradition there but the whole atmosphere of Malaysian International Yoga Competition is so different,” remarked one of the several participants who had travelled all the way from India for this occasion. “It has been a most warm and welcoming experience for us. Very exciting too! We look forward to coming back next year and bringing more friends from India to participate.”
Thai yogi, Kanisorn Namchai Swadwong ,who seized the 1st place winner title for the 30’s age group category, is a yoga champion in his own homeland, also promised to return for next year’s event with more participation from his fellow countrymen.
Youngest winner was 6 years old Yelil Perumal , while the most senior winner was 62 years old Mr. Rakmaji Lende from India. The overall champion trophy of all categories was awarded to Majhi age 24 years, who took home USD$2000.
The main sponsors of this event were 1-Utama and Jen Studio. Other major corporations were also very enthusiastic in sponsoring our event such as Kawan Group, Sinma Group, Pixio Printing and Imaging, Crocs, Aviva Apparels and other organic and health related businesses. Some of the winners decided to donate their cash prizes back to MYS for the funding of their welfare projects.
Julie Hoh, a Malaysian participant in her 40’s shared, “I was not nervous at all to perform my 5 favourite yoga poses on stage, as I had decided to join the competition for the enjoyment of the experience, not so much as to win the prize. Practising yoga over the years has improved my health a lot and participating in this competition is an excellent way to show to the public that everyone and anyone can practice yoga to their best ability.”
Young Gunachandran Rajan who is 15 this year enthused, “Last year when I participated in the competition I felt disappointed that I did not win any prize as I had worked hard to prepare myself. This year I practiced just as hard and I still feel happy even though I did not win. In fact I felt a lot calmer when I was on stage and it was fun. I look forward to joining again next year and to continue improving myself.”