The Third Open Yoga Day Cyprus is coming up on the 8th October, hosted this time in Larnaca, under the theme of Satya, truthfulness. To learn more about this free & open for all event I sat down with two of the organisers, Mayka Sabova and Marilena Shyama Shakti, for a chat.
This is the third year this event is being held in Cyprus. Where did the initial idea for the Open Yoga Day Cyprus come from and who are the people behind it?
Inspired by similar events around the world, the Open Yoga Day Cyprus was founded by Marilena in 2015. There are many community events in other countries that offer various kinds of free services to citizens. The main principle of these types of events is to find enthusiastic and like-minded people who are willing to offer selflessly to others, without expecting a tangible reward in exchange.
These days it can be rare to find people who have the ability to offer selflessly, people who are committed, loyal and driven to dedicate their free time and energy for creating something for others. Yet these are the qualities of the people behind the OYDC. We share passion for yoga and we aim at bringing it to as many people as possible. Alongside our founder, we are a small group of volunteers (mostly yoga teachers and practitioners), who share the common vision and are willing to walk an extra mile for the benefits of others. We operate with the support of local municipalities and every year we have few private sponsors and supporters who offer financial or other assistance.
In addition to fostering a community spirit and sharing the passion for yoga, what is the main message you wish to promote with the Open Yoga Day Cyprus?
Our vision is to promote wellbeing through yoga, while contributing in building healthy communities. The more people practice yoga, the better our society can become. We want to offer an opportunity to everyone, regardless their level of physical fitness, age or familiarity with the practice, to try yoga, enjoy the outdoor group practice and cultivate the sense of belonging and unity. The world has become more and more selfish with people focused strictly on their own lives without considering the others. With this even we want to encourage people to interact. In this sense, we use yoga as a tool for social interaction, while spreading the message of selfless giving, togetherness, sharing, love and unity.
These are also the reasons why the event is organized every year in a different location across the island. This way, the people already familiar with the event mix with newcomers and the message can reach more people.
This is the third time the Open Yoga Day Cyprus is taking place. Have you noticed any changes in the yoga community in Cyprus during this time, and has that influenced how you are setting up the event this year?
We noticed that more and more people have started practicing yoga over the recent years, and more and more of them have become yoga instructors too. This has not influenced the way we planned our 3rd edition, but it will influence the future events to come. For instance, we would like to bring new instructors closer to the more experienced ones, as well as the new approaches of teaching yoga with traditional ones. In yoga we learn to go with the flow so we try to go with the flow of changes, the evolution of the yogi community and most importantly, with the flow of people so we can all open up, learn, feel and grow further.
How did you choose Satya, truthfulness, as the theme for this year?
Every edition of the event has a set intention. The power of collective intention is immense and when we do things, whatever they are, with an intention, we deepen the purpose of any activity. This year our intention is Satya, truthfulness. Satya was chosen by the founder of OYDC, Marilena Shyama Shakti, as the theme of this year’s event after she went through the gift of being pregnant and giving birth. For her, the experience of giving birth to a new life was so true and real and, of course, deeply personal, with truthfulness present in every moment. Whether it was the eye contact, reactions or the sounds of the baby, all of these profoundly impressed Marilena, as it made her realize that human beings are born so pure and it is our duty to preserve the ability to stay innocent and true to ourselves.
I don’t want to get ahead of things as this years’ event is still ahead of us, taking place on the 8th October, but can you already talk a little bit about your future plans?
We wish to bring yoga community in Cyprus closer together by encouraging those who share our values to offer their services and contribute in any way they can. For this purpose we would like to boost our reputation as a non-profit initiative through the annual event, and perhaps with even more events in the near future. We promote yoga, which indirectly benefits all yoga teachers across the island as we create potential audience for them. Therefore, we would like yoga teachers and instructors to bond and cooperate through our events in order to create an effective and efficient yoga hub.
We are also collecting data about yoga instructors and centres across the island, with a vision to create a central online yoga platform with directories and many other features. Everyone who wishes to give something back to the community and is ready to offer selflessly can reach out to us and contribute with their talent, skill or service.
Thank you very much for your time Marilena and Mayka – I am sure this years event in Larnaca will be even bigger than the events of the past two years. I’ll see you in Larnaca on the 8th October!
Click here for the Open Yoga Day Cyprus’s Facebook page and check out the programme of the below. The event is open and free for everybody but you are requested to bring your own mat and something to drink.