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Jun 20, 2019

Healthy Living: International Yoga Day

This Sunday at ten-thirty a.m., yoga enthusiasts from across the country will synchronize their practice in honour of International Yoga Day. Healthy Living has all the details about this annual event.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

For the past five years on the longest day of the year or the summer solstice, groups gather across the globe to celebrate the ancient practice of yoga.


Michelle Williams, Country Coordinator, International Yoga Day

“The International day of yoga was an initiative lobbied for by the Prime Minister of India in order to get recognition of the practice of yoga worldwide so he lobbied to the UN. So, he was granted the International Day of Yoga June twenty first every year.”


Every year since then, yoga enthusiasts and the curious in Belize have been joining in the celebration as well. Michelle Williams is a yoga instructor and this year’s coordinator for International Yoga Day. She says the first year almost 500 people gathered in one location to commemorate the day. By Belize’s standard that’s a pretty good turnout but as the organizer Williams says she is not surprised at all by the response.


Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

“I’m not surprised. I knew that there was some resistance in the beginning because people didn’t know really what it was about.   Over the years people realize that it doesn’t really interfere with anything you have in place.  There is yoga being practiced in villages in PG and there is yoga in the schools. For Belize, there’s yoga in schools in detentions centers in prisons. The youth department is incorporating yoga. There is children’s yoga; there is yoga for seniors, so I think that to say that I am surprised, I would really say no. If it wasn’t a practice that was so beneficial I think it would have died down a bit now but the more people experience it the more they share. The more people generally want to come involved.”


So, Belizeans have been deep breathing and stretching their bodies into asanas – or poses – across the country and just like the rest of the world locally yoga is growing in popularity. This Williams attributes to science.


Michelle Williams

“I think there has been a lot of scientific research that have shown that it is really beneficial not only for individual but when you talk about worldwide for people to get involved in a more intimate form of physical activity that incorporates mind body and spirit.  Just the other day I did a yoga class with some teachers from hold redeemer and the response from them was that they feel as though they just woken up and it was a new day and it was just four thirty in the afternoon. So that sort of response and then once they experience that threes a longing for more inevitably.”


The biggest misconception she hears is that you have to be flexible to practice, but she says after a first try, people start to realize it is not beyond their scope. The benefits that attract them are relaxation, mental clarity and physical benefits like strength, flexibility and even weight loss which is why everyone is invited to this year’s event on Sunday, June twenty third.


Michelle Williams

“It is for people that practice yoga, it is for people that have no idea about yoga it is for children, it is for the elderly for those that might have some limitations it is for everyone. This year we are trying to keep the speeches down so that everyone can experience it. All the yoga teachers from across the country will be involved and in Belize City there are so many so we wanted everybody to take part. We’ll be in San Pedro at Akbol; Belmopan at the Belmopan Comprehensive School; San Ignacio, we’ll be there also. We’ll be in Orange Walk at Banquitas and in Punta Gorda at a piece of ground and in Placencia at the community center.”


…and in Belize City, the event will be at the Radisson from ten-thirty to twelve-thirty – the event is free and you’re simply asked to bring a yoga mat or towel, some water and an open mind.

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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