Wednesday September 5, 2012
500 yoga practitioners take part in contest to show off flexibility
By VIJENTHI NAIR
Photos by ROHAIZAT DARUS
ABOUT 500 yoga practitioners displayed their flexibility in various postures when vying for the overall champion title at the Malaysian International Yoga Competition 2012.
Participants came from as far as India and Thailand, aged as young as four to as old as 68. They joined the competition that was held in SJK (T) Vivekananda in Brickfields.
Malaysian Yoga Society founder Maniseka–ran Ponnusamy, who is also the founder of Malaysia Association of Yoga Instructors (Mayi), said the main objective of the competition was to bring yoga practitioners of all ages from around the world, to strive towards personal improvements.
“Through the competition — with the large number of participants from different ages and body types — we can also generate awareness that yoga is for all.
“We want to help get people engaged in physical exercise. Many people give up on physical workouts because they fail to connect with the instructors or feel discouraged after comparing their progress with others too soon.
“Yoga should be practised according to one’s individual ability, even those with ailments and joint problems can modify the postures to suit themselves and progress further.
“Yoga is about steadiness and pleasure, it should not be painful, just like the good feeling we get after a good stretch in the morning and feel more energetic,” he said.
Manisekaran also explained about the frightening scene of commercialising yoga.
“Many people are roped into physical exercises in the name of yoga, thus not reaping the true benefits and contributing to misconceptions about this art.
“One of the signs of yoga done incorrectly is tiredness. One should actually feel more energised after a yoga session.
“Yoga also involves breathing, either breathing in, breathing out or holding the breath in every pose,” he said.
“Benefits of yoga are aplenty and it is easy to practise without the need for any special sporting or athletic skills. The integrated approach of yoga focusing on the body and mind makes one a calmer and happier person too,” he added.
The competition was sponsored by Yoga Franchise (YF). All winners received prizes in the form of cash vouchers for YF courses, together with trophies, certificates and other prizes.
Each participant was allocated four minutes to perform five of their favourite yoga postures. The participants were judged based on steadiness and alignment of the postures, flexibility and strength, degree of difficulty and facial expression by a panel of 12 judges comprising Malaysian yoga instructors.
The competition was divided into two main categories — adults and children, and sub-categories according to age groups.
The overall champion was Umang Dawn, 25. from India.
He walked away with RM5,000 worth of YF cash voucher. Other winners from the adult categories went home with RM3,000 worth of YF cash vouchers while the winners from the children’s categories went home with vouchers worth RM500.
The competition also had a carnival-like atmosphere with the many booths selling a variety of food, clothes, fashion jewellery and art pieces.
The annual competition is organised by MYS, in collaboration with Mayi for the fourth year running. Next year, the competition would be held at the same place on May 1.