About Yoga Camp
The idea of Yoga Camp first came to me in 2001 while at an event called “Gathering of the Spiritual Elders”, which was held on the banks of the Murray River near Swan Hill, Victoria.
Dreams of YogaCamp swam around inside my head until 2005, when I asked two close friends what they thought of me holding a special gathering based on yoga. Leanne’s response was “Great idea: I’m in!” Leanne’s partner Wayne responded with “Great idea: I’m not in, but I’ll support where I can”. That was January 2005.
In April 2005 Yoga Camp had its very first event at the Charlie Morland Camp Reserve, Sunshine Coast Hinterlands QLD (near Maleney). It was a huge success, and even got a write-up in the local newspaper. A total of 4 Yoga Camps were held at this original site.
In 2008 Mark relocated back to Victoria. In 2009, Yoga Camp had its first Victorian event on the the Labour Day long weekend at Moria Park Scout Camp, near Shepparton. A total of 8 Yoga Camps were held at Moria Park, one of which (2012) Yoga Camp had its largest attendance: a total of 480 people, 80 which were kids under the age of 14. And all fully catered for over the whole long weekend by Sun Hyland of New Earth Catering.
In March 2014, Yoga Camp was held on the property of Yin Barum Station near Benalla, owned by Mark’s close friends: the Foletta family. This property is also the home of Happy Wounder.
In December 2014, Yoga Camp moved to its current home, Shambhola (which means “hidden utopia” in Sanskit). This property is surrounded by native bush, is at the altitude of 777 meters, and the air is free from pollution. The March 2019 Yoga Camp will be our 19th event.
The Yoga Camp Management Team:
While Yoga Camp relies on the incredible support of many volunteers and facilitators to make the event happen, there have been a small number of management crew who have dedicated a great deal of their time, love, tears and passion to the event. They have worked tirelessly – and sometimes under a lot of stress – to bring this worthwhile event to our community.
Together, we are a group of spiritually-minded individuals that bring our unique strengths and insights together to create Yoga Camp. We have all shared a common trait: a passion for yoga and the health of community.
The current Yoga Camp Management Team are pictured below (left to right): Wendy Jenkins, Tina Akers-Blyss, Sun Hyland and Mark Blyss.
Wendy’s interest in yoga began at a young age, she has been studying and exploring different forms of yoga and meditation for over 25 years. A deep interest in spiritual life and eastern philosophy lead her to India where she spends time each year taking part in yoga and meditation retreats, furthering her knowledge and fulfilling her curiosities. Wanting to formalise her years of yoga studies, Wendy recently completed her 200Hr Ashtanga Teacher Training in Rishikesh.
Tina Blyss Akers
Tina has been passionate about her yoga for over 20 years and participated in yoga camp for the past 10 years, including more recently as the Volunteers Coordinator. Tina has recently qualified and now practices as an instructor in Ashtanga Yoga, with emphasis on mind, body and spirit alignment and relaxation. Tina continues to expand her knowledge and experience in yoga of all disciplines, practicing with a range of yoga practitioners. A wife and mum to 2 young children and living in Melbourne’s Inner West, she is forever aspiring to maintain the balance, harmony and joy in all that encompasses her world. Forever chasing the Zen.
Sun Hyland (New Earth Catering) has been catering for Yoga Camp since 2010: that’s an impressive 13 events fully catered for! Sun also plays a role in management meetings and offering valuable suggestions and insights.
Mark Blyss first began his yoga journey in 1992, became a qualified yoga teacher in 1999, and founded Yoga Camp in 2005.
The Yoga Camp Community:
Yoga Camp has been very fortunate to have had Benjamin Mudge of INTERTWINED designing our new website, as well as offering some valuable business advice.
Previous valued management team members have been: Leanne Horell, Rebekah Hayden, Jacqui Slingo, Leharna Black, Kellie Curtis, Candice Morley and Roxanne Demason. Thank you so much for all you have offered!
Over the years there have been so many individuals who have helped out in so many various ways. There are (unfortunately) too many to mention. But please know that you have been very appreciated for playing your part. You know who you are… thank you!
A special mention does need to go to a few key individuals:
Dom McKay, I don’t think Dom has missed any of the 15 Victorian Yoga Camps! Dom has had so many different roles over the years, such as setup crew, packdown crew, hands on drawing the event, facilitator of workshops, MCing and the really real friendship tester of changing the poo bins. And of course the singing and playing his guitar of Bob Dylan songs. Thanks heaps Dom.
Also thanks to Sarah Balis and her partner Roger Pole (and now their 2 beautiful young boys) for all your volunteer work. I think Sarah hasn’t missed any of the Victorian Yoga Camps either.
A special mention also goes to Samantha “Sammy” Russell, Mark’s partner. Sammy helps out in an endless capacity. Thanks heaps Sammy.
In loving memory of Justin “Love” Timson: a very special sole, may you be at peace.
YogaCamp has been held at 4 different locations over its 14 years of existence. Yoga Camp fully acknowledges the traditional owners of these lands, we are very humbled to have had the opportunity to walk on these sacred lands. The March 2019 Yoga Camp will be held on Taungurong land.
Omshanti Shanti Shanti
Yoga Camp Founder & Director