Last week I was invited to celebrate the 8th Annual 2022 international Yoga Day at Zen Belize on Sea Star Street. The event was made possible and supported by the following businesses: Balance Yoga and Wellness, Bowen & Bowen, High 5 Yoga, Nando’s Wholesale, Pretty Baked by Marisela Marin, and last but not least the Treetop Yoga Studio at Zen Belize.
There was a baker’s dozen of us (teachers included) and I am just going to come right out and say it! Acquiring a bodacious bubble butt, as you can see on the two teachers in front – is definitely a reason to practice yoga in San Pedro. And truthfully, it was the straight back posture I admired first. That’s because my body has a slight tendency toward rounded shoulders, and as a kid, my mom used to remind me to straighten them. I am willing to bet unlimited tv access was part of the issue – we did have a pool so I was not short on movement.
History Of International Yoga Day
The session started with one of the teachers, Tara, reading a bit from the literature sent out to all participating classes globally.
According to the Government of India Common Yoga Protocol PDF, on December 11, 2014, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), approved the proposal by consensus with a record 177 countries co-sponsoring a resolution to establish 21 June as “International Day of Yoga”. In its resolution, the UNGA recognized that Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being and wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practicing Yoga for the health of the world population. Yoga also brings harmony to all walks of life and thus, is known for disease prevention, health promotion, and management of many lifestyle-related disorders.
Benefits of Yoga
Although yoga is technically an exercise, it is so much more. It unites the body and mind through the motion and the stillness of being in a pose.
Yoga is an uplifting, meditative, holistic approach to maintaining good health and well-being – dating back to 2700 BC.
Consistently practicing yoga will help you free both your body and mind. It will help bring your body back to its natural upright posture and increase ease of movement. For your mind, it is a meditative practice leading you deep within yourself and expanding your connection to the world around you. As your body grows more flexible as a result of yoga, your mind will follow.
As for our modern-day yoga teachers, Shannon Reeder (front left), Nathalie Gajos (front right), and Tara Darrall (back center) – they are all long-time practitioners with a genuine desire to share wellness. The event was all levels and that was reflected in their teaching style and placement in the room, so the whole class was easily seen. As they visually and vocally walked us through the poses, we were often given alternatives so those of us who were not as well versed at the moves had an easier option.
Even still, I was happy to get up occasionally to snap pictures of the class – doing the cobra pose below.
After what felt like a gazillion downward dogs, Nathalie closed the International Yoga Day celebration with meditation and breath work. She led us through sheetali / sheetkari the straw / smile breath, and brahmari bee breath. This left us feeling centered and grounded, and for me, it was also a good reminder of how profoundly practicing simple breathing exercises benefit our bodies.
The picture of after class socializing below was right before the short heavy rain storm (shown in my upper page featured image). The rain was a gift, not only were we blessed by mother earth, but we were also guided to the dryest area around the table and blessed again. Only this time it was by nutrition.
While staying dry, we enjoyed a variety of delicious treats from Pretty Baked by Marisela Marin. And I mean full-on treat, as Marisela even brought a 2 slice toaster, so not only did we enjoy the fresh vegan and regular multigrain bread, we got the scent, too. Our delightful Yogis made sure we did not go thirsty and provided 3 kinds of delicious iced tea. Bowen also kept us hydrated with Crystal water.
As mentioned in my title, I am not a pretzel, so my write-up/review is purely based on my observations in regards to the quality of teaching. Honestly, spilling the tea, yoga is just not my cup of tea. I totally understand why people resonate with it, and the benefits are clear – hello, did you not see those bubble butts above and the back straightness in the lunge pose? Plus I am always happy to show support to the yoga community in Belize since so many of my friends belong, as both teachers and students.
If you would like to get in touch with any of the San Pedro yoga teachers from this event, and get a current class schedule or book an Ayurvedic consultation you can easily facebook message them by name. I am also including links to their websites for more information:
High Five Yoga Health and Healing – Nathalie Gajos offers a free wellness discovery consultation, personalized or group coaching, one-on-one & semi-private yoga classes, Ayurveda & yoga workshops, and transformational destination retreats – highfive.yoga
Zen Belize – Tara Darell offers multi-level and styles of yoga for the experienced yogi or beginner. At Zen’s treetop yoga studio, you will find a welcoming and diverse yoga community of locals, seasonal islanders and travelers – zenbelize.com
I will leave you with a funny lagoon side picture of a yoga cat who is definitely a pretzel in the making …