The one day monthly Yoga Camp, held at the Sivananda International Cultural Centre, is attended by 300-400 participants, from pre-school children to senior citizens. The camp session commences at 06:00 and terminates at about 12:00pm on a Sunday.
The Yoga Camp has two main aims: Firstly, to impart to all participants the most inspiring and practical teachings of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. The second aim is to teach and encourage participants to do spiritual practices daily, not just once a week or once a month.
For this purpose the Society devised a simple spiritual diary in which the Spiritual Darlings record their daily practice of Japa, Pranayama, Asanas and Likhit Japa, as well as Smaran (remembrance of God during the day).
Spiritual Darlings from pre-school age to University students are trained to keep the spiritual diary. Some senior boys and girls spend even up to one and a half hours daily in their morning prayer and Japa.
The spiritual diaries are scrutinised at the Yoga Camp and colourful stamps are awarded to the children. The group that produces the highest percentage of diaries is awarded a floating trophy.
Participants at the Yoga Camp are divided into the following groups:
Pre-School Group: This group has to memorise the simple sentences from a delightful book especially prepared for them, called God is My Friend. It is beautifully illustrated with multi-colour pictures of Hindu Deities, birds, flowers, animals, etc. Lord Krishna's stunningly beautiful picture adorns the cover.
Grade 1-3: Divine Life for Children is the textbook for this group. It contains useful moral lessons and life-stories of our great saints and Rishis. Spiritual Darlings of this group are given tests based on their textbook, which is also illustrated with multi-colour pictures. All the matter contained in the book is from the writings of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda.
Grade 4-6: Yoga Lessons for Children, containing 53 lessons must be studied by this group. The lessons are given in 9 glorious volumes, containing more than 1400 multi-colour pictures.
Grade 7 â€“ Post Matric: The senior Spiritual Darlings must also study Yoga Lessons for Children and answer questions based on them.
Adults: The adults study the Science of Yoga series in 8 volumes, containing 24 topics, all from our Master's writings. The lessons are very practical and informative and give one an overview of Hindu philosophy.
Senior Citizens: The Divine Life Society takes care of the senior citizens also. They are given some useful tasks to keep themselves occupied. Their birthdays are lovingly remembered.
In keeping with the ideals of our Divine Master, the Society pays great attention to physical education. During his youth, the Master took part in sports and games and was very enthusiastic in his gymnastic practices. In later life, when he renounced the world and became a monk at Rishikesh, India, he never missed his daily Yoga Asanas. Sometimes he did a little jogging also and swam in the Ganges.
At the Sivananda International Cultural Centre we have well equipped playparks for our Spiritual Darlings. Swings, roundabouts, slides, etc. are great attractions. In the beginning some of them appear a little nervous in using the equipment, but soon they get over it. The playpark teaches the little ones concentration also and develops in them self-confidence.
Soccer, volleyball, cricket, swimming, athletics and other games are organised for the senior Spiritual Darlings. The mass drill displays for all age groups enables them to develop concentration, co-ordination, obedience and how to interact with others-qualities which will certainly prove invaluable to them later in life. Drill practice is an important item at the Yoga Camp. About 100 participants, both male and female, young and old, participate together in the gymnastic mass drill display performed to the most melodious Ram Siya Pati Ram Bhajan. It captivates the hearts of all.