Held annually by the non-profit organization Rhythm of Change Belize (ROC), the Belize International Yoga Fest (BIYF) is designed to bring together yoga and meditation practitioners, aspirants, and curious world citizens to enjoy soulful moments of wellness, healing, relaxation, and reflection in our very own Belize City. The ROC’s vision and mission has been using yoga as an integrative technique to bring mindfulness, peace, and equality to all corners of the country – namely, disengaged communities. And while yoga may seem intimidating to us who can’t touch their toes, the ROC has worked hard to bring forth individual, social, and environmental changes in Belize through meditation, stress-relieving stretches, and gratitude practice that shows yoga’s effects are diversely positive, and not just physical.
To name a few, ROC provides yoga to Female Section of the Kolbe Foundation in Belize Central Prison, offers free children’s and senior’s yoga classes in Placencia, and even provides scholarship opportunities to attend the SVYASA Yoga Research University in Bangalore, India and receive their Yoga Teacher training.
About the International Yoga Festival
Being the first of its kind in Belize and the region, the Belize International Yoga Festival is a non-alcoholic, family-friendly affair modeled as ROC’s signature fundraising event. Held on the Harbour View Greens of historic Fort Street, Belize City, 2019’s BIYF saw over 30 presentations, classes, and holistic workshops by both local and international facilitators under multiple tents; agenda items included Children’s Yoga, Ayurveda Workshop, and even a Belizean twist – Yoga & Kriol Drumming.
Celebrated speaker, wellness expert, and author Quentin Vennie delivered the keynote address which touched on his personal story of mindfulness pushed him towards wellness, turning trauma into triumph. Simultaneously, various vendors showcased artisan Belizean crafts, yoga ‘swag’ like shirts and mats, healing handmade aromatherapy, plus delicious vegan and vegetarian treats using locally-sourced ingredients from neighboring Martha’s Cafe and other patrons within the community. Before the day was over, smooth sounds from musical guests serenaded the crowd, including the local-favorites, Kadence.
Fear not, aspirational yogis, the Belize International Yoga Fest has a practice for all ages and walks of life that’s designed to leave you with a positive mark. Whether you’re interested in a motivating talk, holistic workshop, or sharpening your practice on or off the mat, Belize’s yoga community continues to grow with open arms. If you’re interested in balancing mind, body, and soul, the Belize International Yoga Fest is held on December 1st of every year for an average of $10 BZD per adult (Festival Day Pass) with children under 12 years entering free.
Written by Carolee Chanona. All photos courtesy of Mickey Mercury.