A great part of Swami Vishnudevananda’s vision was spreading peace and understanding to be experienced by people of all cultures and all ages, including children. Swami Vishnu knew that if children are taught yoga from a young age, not only will they achieve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, but will grow in peace, love, tolerance, and compassion toward themselves, others, and all of creation. With this vision in mind, he began the Sivananda Yoga Kids Camp, which has been leading children toward healthy, peaceful, and happy lives for over 30 years. The camp combines the discipline of yoga and the fun of camp.
The program allows children to understand the principles of vegetarianism, respect for all religions, develop a love and respect for nature. Children are able to identify with the inner self within a group setting by practicing yoga.It is a truly unique camp that unites the summer camp experience with the practice of yoga. This program is aimed specifically for children ages 9-12. Established in 1972 by Swami Vishnudevananda, the Kids’ Camp combines activities of outdoor adventure, creativity, yoga and cooperation. The children learn and evolve through the practice of Swami Vishnudevananda’s five principles of yoga:
- Proper exercise
- Proper breathing
- Proper relaxation
- Proper diet
- Positive thinking and meditation
Parents can now enjoy a complete, inspiring and culturally rich Yoga Vacation while their children attend Kids Camp! More Information
Daily yoga and breathing exercises combined with the practice of meditation keep the body healthy and flexible and the mind focused. Following Swami Vishnudevananda’s teaching of “unity in diversity” and the idea of yoga as “union”, we encourage children to find themselves unified as a group. Kids Camp children come from many different backgrounds and cultures, and are encouraged to develop and live together as one completely integrated and cohesive group, like a family. Recognizing and respecting each camper’s unique differences be it in culture, religion, race, or social background, children grow to treat each other with dignity, respect, and compassion, and also apply yogic principles such as kindness, compassion, ahimsa (non-violence), and cooperation.
Morning and evening satsangs are adjusted for kids and consist of simple meditation practice,followed by singing and inspiring stories. The children also learn the value of karma yoga, or selfless service, as they help to maintain activity areas and participate in various projects. There is plenty of time for fun and games. Special activities outside the resort include horse riding, excursion tour etc. As children come from all over the world, with a variety of cultural backgrounds, they learn to appreciate and respect people of all religions while practising yoga.
Having lived and studied with Swami Vishnudevananda, Saraswati, a mother of two, is currently the co-director of the SYVC in Toronto. As a disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda, she lived and studied under his personal guidance for many years, and has over twenty years’ experience teaching yoga and meditation to yogis of all ages. She has also developed many family- and community-based programs, such as Family Yoga Weeks, Kids Yoga School, and Yogic Parenting, and has worked enthusiastically with individuals and groups on social issues such as anger management, conflict resolution, mental health, and substance abuse.
Counselors are very carefully chosen by the Director of the Camp. Firstly, all counsellors are graduates of the Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training Course, with a very strong connection to either Sivananda Ashrams and Centres. As specially trained yoga teachers who are living in accordance with the principles of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta organization, all counsellors have been recommended by senior members of the organization, and usually have assisted with Kids Camp before becoming full-fledged counselors. Counselors are empathetic, creative yogis who use the philosophy of yoga to help our children develop self-esteem, self-efficacy, and grow into their best possible selves while feeling loved, safe, and understood.
FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION
PhuChaisai resort is set in on a gradually sloping hill surrounded by ChaingRai’s untouched vegetation and has emerged as a leading eco-friendly accommodation, offering guests a much-needed break from the confines of city. The resort aims to be an environmentally-friendly and self-sufficient and has gone beyond the green concept starting from design, construction, and interior decor to even having a green lifestyle of cultivating a tea plantation, gardening, herbs and fruit farm for their own cuisine selection. Children share extremely comfy and cosy rooms—each with their own bathroom, that sleep 5-6 children. Children are grouped together by gender in their rooms, but spend their days together as a group.
Prepared with love and care according to yogic dietary principles, three lacto-vegetarian meals are served daily. Very special attention is placed on meeting children’s nutritional needs, as well as providing a diet that is both flavourful and conducive to a calm mind. Each meal is completely balanced, including plenty of protein sources! Whole grains, lentils, beans, legumes, tofu, seeds, nuts and nut butters (except for peanuts) supply most of the protein, with each meal balanced with carbohydrates and fresh produce as well. Meals range from Authentic Thai cooking to western food such as pasta and pizza from our wood-burning oven. Each meal is guaranteed to be balanced, nutritious, and delicious!
BENEFITS OF KIDS’ CAMP:
Here are some of the tools or experiences we hope the children will take home with them:
- A solid foundation in Hatha Yoga, including yoga postures, breathing exercises, and proper relaxation. Children will come home with great flexibility, balance/coordination, focus, and feeling very deeply relaxed. Children who continue with these practises will find themselves completely EQUIPPED to deal with the emotional and physical and mental demands of their school and daily lives.
- Experiences with a great variety of fun outdoor activities, including games, sports, hiking, swimming, character- and team-building activities.
- Valuable life skills from our yoga-based workshops, as well as life at Kids Camp in general. Such skills include self-awareness, positive non-violent communication and conflict resolution, and proper nutrition.
- Experiences with the various arts: visual arts and crafts to help children learn to express themselves creatively and non-verbally; and drama-based activities leading to a final dramatic performance toward the end of camp. These experiences can be especially enriching for more introverted children, who, through gentle encouragement, learn to express themselves more freely and openly.
- Learning to live in the spirit of karma yoga, or selfless service, through giving one hour of service each day to by helping to maintain common areas, their rooms, and/or cooking.
- Forming transformative, strong, life-long friendships. During the camp, children from many different traditions, backgrounds, and cultures not only develop strong friendships, but often powerful bonds and love that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
- 7:00 a.m. Wake-up
- 7:30 a.m. Breakfast
- 8:00 a.m. Satsang (meditation, singing, storytelling)
- 9:00 a.m. Morning asanas (yoga practice)
- 10:00 a.m. Room clean-up
- 10:45 a.m. Snack
- 11:00 to 1:00 p.m. Activities (yoga workshops, arts, drama, cooking, etc)
- 1:00 p.m. Lunch
- 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Activities (trekking, swimming, hilltribe dancing, etc)
- 4:00 p.m. Free time
- 5:00 pm. Showers
- 6:00 pm. Dinner
- 7:30 pm. Satsang
- 9:00 p.m. Lights out
WHAT TO BRING:
Children should bring the following items:
- yoga mat
- laundry bag (labelled with their name)
- walking shoes or sneakers
- hiking boots
- water bottle (labelled)
- flashlight and batteries
- sun hat
- 2 sweatshirts and 5 t-shirts
- 2-3 long pants and 2-3 short pants
- 2 long-sleeved t-shirts
- 8 pairs of underwear
- 8 pairs of socks
- warm jacket
- 2 bathing suits
- mosquito repellent
All clothing, shoes, and water bottles should be labelled. Though children can wear their personal clothing during the day, they will receive a uniform to wear to morning and evening satsangs.
KIDS’ CAMP VIDEO: Sivananda Yoga Childrens’ Camp Slideshow
Fees and Registration :
Fee inclusive of accommodation, food & beverage, in-house activities and laundry. Fee is not applicable for airfares, transportation and excursion.
For more information about Phu Chaisai resort visit: www.phu-chaisai.com