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Jun 7, 2018

Healthy Living Prepares for International Day of Yoga

The number of people that practice yoga is growing. For some it relieves stress, others used it for mediation purposes and many more use it as a way to stay fit. International Yoga Day is just around the corner as a global awareness day instituted by the United Nations since 2014.  It is celebrated on June twenty-first, but in Belize it will be commemorated on Sunday, June seventeenth. Tonight Healthy Living looks at the ancient practice.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

If you’ve never tried yoga, it may be easy to dismiss what you see for basic stretching and deep breathing. But, the ancient practice has been proven by medical scientists to offer numerous health benefits. And these days yoga seems to be everywhere – in the schools, communities and even in prisons – right here in Belize. To find out more about the growing interest, we spoke to one yoga instructor who’s operated her own studio in Belize for the past five years.

 

Ashanti Garcia

Ashanti Garcia, Owner, Airbender Yoga Studio

“There are a lot more teachers that are able to promote yoga throughout Belize so that’s definitely one reason. You also see it more in the media and more on Facebook and so those platforms allow people to be more aware of yoga and give them the incentive to try it out.

 

Marleni Cuellar

“What’s your experience as to why people seek to try yoga?”

 

Ashanti Garcia

“Some people just want to do something different like most people are familiar with gyms and they know the gyms may make them tight but yoga is a holistic system that gives them not only the strength but also the flexibility. It has a variety of health benefits.  I like to classify the benefits in three. So you have physical benefits, mental benefits and spiritual benefits as you mention previously. So physically you get a lot of fitness benefits: increased strength, increased flexibility, increased health, increased coordination and body awareness is pretty huge. For mental benefits, it helps you to calm down. A lot of people suffer from anxiety and this helps to lower their anxiety and spiritual benefits include allowing them to connect with something deeper and that could be whatever the person wants to connect with for some people its God for others their Lord. So yoga has that spiritual benefit.

 

According to Garcia, people who practice yoga – also called yogis – are a diverse bunch.

 

Ashanti Garcia

“Most people who try yoga at least in my experience when they do it they want to come again so most people do get hooked by the first class.  I am seeing Belizeans from all walks of life which is really what my studio aims to do to make it as assemble as possible. I teach kids as young as three years of age both boys and girls and I’ve had the oldest client be seventy-six years young. So it’s a wide range of people – people of all income brackets. You have people who do classes for free if that is all they can afford and you have people who pay for classes so it’s reaching across all realms. Men are a little behind with getting up to the yoga craze that is slowly building in Belize but it’s a good sign that we do have – I see an increase in men participating and doing yoga classes. Not only in my studio but even at Maya Mountain where I teach free yoga on Saturdays at five pm. Actually last week we had way more men like double the men than women in that class.

 

In December 2014, The United Nations recognized the universal appeal of the practice and designated June twenty-first as the International Day of Yoga. And for the third year in Belize, staying true to the name of the practice – “yoga” which derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite – yogis across the country unite to share their practice with all.

 

Ashanti Garcia

“It’s celebrated so that we can know about the history and benefits of yoga and also give people an opportunity free of cost.  It represents a day where we come together as one like no matter where – if we have separate studios or different clients we all come together as one and celebrate the unity and the harmony that yoga brings.  Michelle Williams she is the owner of Om Shanti Belize here in Belize City and she is the coordinator for the event. So she always put all the teachers in a group to see who’s willing to do what and where and so thats what we have been doing to make this a reality in Belize and definitely we are super happy that across the entire  country so every district – which I think may be the first year in Belize – we will be having the celebrations for International day of Yoga.

 

The main event will be at the Radisson on Sunday, June seventeenth starting at nine a.m. The event is free. No prior experience is required and you’re asked to bring along a towel and wear comfortable clothing. Other events are scheduled across the country as well.

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