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Dec 28, 2016

Belize Hosts First Yoga International Festival

The first Belize International Yoga Festival takes place this weekend on New Year’s Eve near the Harbor View Greens in Belize City from six a.m. to midnight. Titled, “Breathe – In Stillness All Conflict Must End,” the festival will feature multiple local and international yoga instructors and culminates with a concert by MC Yogi, a U.S. hip-hop artist who has been practicing the art for over twenty years. But leading up to the festival, the team over at Rhythm of Change Om Shanti, Belize is taking the yoga experience to different parts of the country.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Michelle Williams, Owner, ROC Om Shanti Belize

“There’s no limits to yoga, who can do yoga. The old, the young, the people that have illnesses, people that are healthy; it don’t matter your religion, your faith – it is beyond that. It is a practice; it is a way of life. economic background, it doesn’t matter…anybody—once you know that it is for everybody, it can heal in many different respects.”


Duane Moody, Reporting

Yoga, which is the art of breath control, meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is quickly seeping into the Belizean culture as part of a healthy lifestyle. The practice that can be enjoyed by many is defined as a group of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines that when done effectively can help with wellness, healing, relaxation and reflection. On December thirty-first, the first ever Belize International Yoga Festival, the brainchild of a group of friends, will impart the varying types and techniques of yoga that can provide a happy, healthy and productive lifestyle.


Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

“I’m looking to really allow yoga to spread to mainstream Belize so that everybody can understand that it can really benefit them. The festival is going to be on December thirty-first at the Harbour View Greens—it’s next door to the BELIZE sign, up at the fort—and it is an all day event. We have yoga instructors coming in from around the world to teach alongside our Belizean yoga instructors. It is going to be a day of wellness…we have some very inspirational talks on being healthy and some vendors who are going to be spreading really healthy food. MC Yogi will be doing a class with his wife from six to seven-thirty and then at ten to midnight, he’s doing a concert and it is going to be full-fledged, lots of light and it is going to be like nothing you’ve ever seen before in Belize. And it is family…children under twelve come free and it is just a family event that is going to propel you into 2017 with a positive light.”


Yoga has no boundaries as to who can practice the art and Nicholas “MC Yogi” Giacomini and his wife Amanda are yoga’s modern day ambassadors in the U.S. who will be featured in the upcoming international yoga festival.  A well-known hip-hop artist, MC Yogi, who has been practicing yoga for over twenty years, is on a mission to introduce the art to the mainstream audience.


Amanda Giacomini

Amanda Giacomini, Yoga Instructor, U.S.A.

“In yoga, there is this concept of mindfulness and when you slow down, you are able to take a deep breath, you calm the mind and it gives you like a little pause between reacting and just making a clear decision. And this is to me, when you make a series of good decisions, then your life is amazing…you are successful, you are healthy, you have good relationships. When you are reactive, you can make a series of bad decisions and it becomes a negative spiral. The more bad decisions, it’s like they attract more bad decisions.”


Nicholas “MC Yogi” Giacomini, Yoga Instructor, U.S.A.

“Our destiny is created by our decisions and sometimes we think that little decisions don’t matter, but in fact that’s all that matters. The tiny little decisions; how am I going to react.”


Currently in Belize, through the Rhythm of Change Om Shanti Belize, mindfulness meditation courses and workshops as well as yoga teacher trainings are carried out year-round. At risk youths affected by gang violence across the city, as well as resident minors at youth hostel and inmates at the Belize Central Prison participate in yoga. MC Yogi says that his experience growing up was no different from those at the youth hostel.


Nicholas “MC Yogi” Giacomini

Nicholas “MC Yogi” Giacomini

“The session was great; the kids were amazing. And basically our message is simple: just helping people to just slow down and take a deep breath and just breathe deep and relax a little bit because there are so much stress in life. We all need to just chill out a little bit and reconnect with what’s important.”


Duane Moody

“Do you think that this yoga can save their lives?”


Nicholas “MC Yogi” Giacomini

“I think yoga saved my life so I know that it works for me. So even if it just helps one other person then I feel like I’ve done something good.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


The festival starts at six a.m. on Saturday with different yoga session and continues through to ten p.m.  Thereafter, an MC Yogi concert near the Baron Bliss Lighthouse closes off the day and that musical presentation goes into the New Year.  During the day, there will also be performances from Larubeya Band as well as Jankunu dancing.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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