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Retreating into MURFEST

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An impetuous that began in one of her visits to the Bali Spirit Festival in Indonesia in the year 2010, Shobie Malani, the Founder of MURFEST, felt inspired to being the catalyst that might help improve the lives of many, by bringing different healing and wellness modalities to her own country, for the benefit of her people.

When Shobie returned from her trip, she immediately began on a working paper for the proposal of a similar event in Malaysia. Many of whom she had shown the paper to, did not feel that the event was going to be successful in our country. Declared pregnant months later, Shobie had completely shelved the idea of the urban retreat, until her daughter turned 2, where she launched the first MURFEST event in 2014 in Putrajaya with the support of the Ministry of Tourism & Culture and the Ministry of Youth & Sports.

Although graduating in Law, Shobie is a Certified Yoga Teacher; making her feel right at home, with the demands of the yoga community, wherever they may be.

Having endured so much strive in making her dream come true, Shobie was determined that she would see the light at the end of one of the darkest tunnels she had ever had to face. “It has been a tidal wave! We have had ups and downs, having to deal with some serious issues in 2014 with the political crisis and in 2015-2016, and the Asian economic crisis. Nevertheless, as a Festival, as an event showcasing some of the best presenters in this industry; I believe we have not only broken barriers and taboos but also brought many communities together,” says Shobie.

And the response has been quite rewarding, considering the fact that the hurdles were gargantuan. “We have seen a surge from 2014 to now, and we believe it’s all about educating the public on the offerings and what they can get out of attending such workshops,” declares Shobie.

In trying to keep to the concept of retreating away from the hustle and bustle of the city, MURFEST was first held in Putrajaya, to provide the ‘get-away’ feel to the participants and the attendees of the event. However, in the year 2015, MURFEST was brought back to the city, to make the event even more accessible to the many, who preferred the city feel.

Feeling overwhelmed with the response she has received from people with regard the event, Shobie is simply over the moon. “It’s been quite amazing. We see many foreigners who fly in just for this Festival, and many locals from out of town willing to travel to attend. People who have attended previous years always come back. They know what to expect and they love what they receive. Money can’t buy this experience and that’s what MURFEST is all about,” declares a gratified Shobie.
Even though Shobie has been having fun, taking her passion to heights that not many share, she admits, “I must say that 3 years has taken a toll on me- mentally, physically and emotionally. I would like to say I feel at peace and bliss doing this amazing Festival- but it’s been a lot of hard work and sacrifices. You ask yourself many times if such an endeavour is ever worth it. But when I sit down and think about this, and look over and see my daughter- I know it is. This is for her, and for her future generations; for they need such exposure to health and wellness awareness. So, deep down there is a huge sense of satisfaction, especially during MURFEST when people come up to you with tears and say one word- “thank you for doing this- you don’t know how it has helped me”. Then something just whispers in my ear and says- ‘You are on the right path’.”

Looking at things in retrospect, whilst gathering her success story, Shobie mentions that, “MURFEST isn’t for me. It’s for everyone. It’s for the man on the street, the woman who lost her husband, the child who is lost and for all seekers. There is much work to be done.”

Shobie believes that, “Big dreams start in small places. The key is to start. No one said life was going to be easy, but always try to be a better version of yourself every day. There were moments, I wanted to give up. There were times I was told to postpone the event to another year. The thing that kept me going were the people who needed to be there. The people who only could have 3 days a year to “escape” whatever madness their lives entailed. MURFEST was built on these principles. To facilitate shifts in people’s lives so they may live the best life the universe intended for them.” And with that in mind, Shobie continues to spur so many more on with the spirit of MURFEST


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