Belize International Yoga Festival is the signature annual fundraising event for Rhythm of Change Belize - ROC - a Belize-based non-profit that shares yoga and mindfulness with local and international communities.
BIFY2020 will be hosted online as a GLOBAL Virtual Event, and this yearís theme is "Community Revolution - Yoga Evolution".
The event is open to everyone, and will be Live Streamed via Facebook. Throughout the day, in addition to the Live Stream, we will be releasing never-before-seen Yoga Class videos from participating yoga instructors and speakers from over 21 different countries!
Since our inception in 2016, BIYF has brought together yoga and meditation practitioners and aspirants with the general public from Belize and around the world to enjoy soulful moments of wellness, healing, relaxation and reflection.
Tune in, Sunday December 6th, 2020 for the Live Broadcast.
The gyms were set to reopen at the start of this month, but the recent spike in COVID cases led to an extension of the forced closures.† Many health instructors have transitioned to online spaces to work with their clients during the pandemic. The situation is the same with yoga studios and their instructors.† But, as the old saying goes, with obstacles come opportunities.† So is the case with this year’s International Yoga Festival.† We find out more in tonightís Healthy Living.†
Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
The Om Shanti Yoga studio is one of the city’s hubs for yogis to gather and practice different forms of yoga. But since the start of the pandemic, the studio is closed. And, true to form, the yoga enthusiasts have been going with the flow as instructors have turned to the virtual world to help their clients maintain their practice.
Michelle Williams, Founder Rhythm of Change Belize & International Yoga Festival
ďThatís what being in the state of yoga is. Itís being in the state where you can bend like a palm tree, and you can adapt as necessary.† Itís been a smooth transition. I think itís been, I mean, itís the way in which things are evolving in all aspects of life. Weíre going into a much more virtual arena now.† On a personal note, my membership base has grown internationally since I started virtual classes because of that. Yoga can really spread throughout the globe. It does have its benefit. The benefit is that all businesses, really, if you adjust to the mindset being different. There is always room for growth. There is always room for expansion and evolution.Ē
And with that mindset, the 5th Belize International Yoga Festival has evolved into an online celebration featuring and catering to yoga enthusiasts from Belize and other parts of the world.
ďIt was just a natural progression. That we have the technology to do it virtually, and it just blossomed. One of my board members when we were planning ďevery day it expands, and it expandsĒ because we started with thinking it’ll take just a few friends to now, it’s huge. We have Kenya, we have Romania, we have Italy, we have Australia, New Zealand, the U.S.A., Mexico. It really expanded into something quite beautiful.† Itís also a powerful opportunity for yoga teachers to read across the globe. Every yoga teacher has their own style, and students will gravitate to the style that they feel more comfortable with and the verbiage and the language thatís used.Ē
This year’s lineup includes mindfulness mediation, musical meditation, childrenís yoga, yoga for diabetes, and panel discussions. Michelle hopes that the event will attract first times to roll out their mats or towels at home and finally give the practice a try and reaps its benefits.
ďYouíre able to do it in the comfort of your own home, and also, thereís an aspect of rewinding and making sure that you’re doing it right. You always have that in the virtual world; that replay aspect. Thatís kind of nice.† The most simplest thing is to breathe. Learning to breathe properly. Learning to breathe so that youíre inhaling your expanding, your exhaling, and youíre bringing it in and using the breath to you slow down the heart rate, to also manage the thoughts, to bring yourself in the present moment, so you’re not worrying about the past, youíre not worrying about the future Ė so first and foremost breath.† The physical benefit, breath work, in particular as we now with COVID, we rely on our lungs. And so itís the breath work thatís involved in a lot of yogic practices helps to decoy detoxify the lungs, strengthen the lunch capacity, remove the mucus from the lungs so that the bacteria arenít attracted to it so that you really youíre immune system is strengthened and youíre lymphatic system is detoxed. Itís working on all those things – working on the lungs. The movement, the asana part, is relieving the tension in the physical body to help you sit more into a relaxed state. So that your physical body is not really a manifestation of any kind of anxiety or built-up tension.Ē
The festival will stream live on Facebook on Sunday, December sixth, from six a.m. to six p.m.† While it streams for free, donations are welcomed as the festival is a fundraising event.
ďItís actually a fundraiser for Rhythm of Change Belize. Ione of the things that we are doing is moving our programs virtually. So that we can support school children and teachers and healthcare workers and seniors and institutions that deal with at-risk youths. So we want to move Ė really because of COVID Ė not that virtual arena and platform.Ē
So whether itís for the love of yoga, to donate to the cause, or for some much-needed respite from the madness of 2020, the festival organizers hope to offer something for everyone.