Camp Moomba Yogathon
Vancouver yogis joined in a yogathon to raise money for children affected by HIV …
At 5:30 pm on Saturday, July 12th, 2008, nearly 1,400 yoga enthusiasts gathered at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver Canada for the 6th annual Camp Moomba Yogathon. Though the attendance was well short of the 2,000 projected, this year the Yogathon raised $116,000 in support of Camp Moomba, a specialized summer camp program for kids age six to seventeen who are impacted by HIV/AIDS.
At first glance, the Indian yogi might have found the sight of a sea of trendily clad urbanites lined up on rubber yoga mats, performing 108 minutes of sun salutations in unison to be a tad peculiar.
Why? Because the sun salutation, or surya namaskar as it is known in Sanskrit, is a yogic practice derived from the early morning ablutions of the Hindu Brahman, and is traditionally practiced in the face of the rising morning sun.
We do things differently here in the Western yoga world though. As is often the case, ‘yoga happenings’ here are usually accompanied by familiar indulgences: food, pop music and commercial enterprise.
The Vancouver Yogathon was no exception. Participants did some shopping in the ‘Blissfest Marketplace and Food Fair’, a showcase of local consumer products, services and delicacies, caught a glimpse of the latest trends in an ‘eco-fashion show’, and grooved to special live musical performances.
The occasion was certainly festive, but in some respects one cannot help but wonder if the entire point of yoga is somehow being missed with events such as this. Merely substituting mainstream materialism with a more environmentally friendly form of consumerism, in the end, really is not reflective of the yogic attitude toward life, nor is it sending the right message to people of what yoga is really all about.
Nonetheless, it was all done in the name of a good cause. One hundred and twelve children attended Camp Moomba last year, and the money raised in this year’s event will go a long way towards helping to bring some love, hope and support into the lives of many more children faced with a difficult challenge in life.
That is, in the end, the selfless spirit of yoga, and truly a good thing.