Join us for service + yoga in Belize with Lisa Simpson, certified yoga instructor, and GSP!
Join us on our signature adventure to engage in international service and yoga in a beautiful setting. Participants grow in their yoga journey, explore the rich culture and beauty of Belize, and be of service to a rural primary school teaching English.
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We will bring you to a deeper awareness of your inner purpose by uncovering your authentic self. Much like the ancient Mayan city structures in the jungle … some remain partially hidden by Earth’s overgrowth, yet some portions are seen. Those temples are like each of us, as we also have to discover what is beneath the surface of our own roles and learned ways of being to reach our inner true self.
Yoga and its ancient teachings have much to inform us in that process. As we practice daily in this beautiful setting with sacred ritual morning and evening we will reset our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Breathwork, meditation, and movement immerses us closer to those hidden places of our essential essence … divinely unique and strong!
ITINERARY: Every day will open and close with gentle yoga sessions led by Lisa. Please click here for a pdf of the itinerary.
Day 1 // ARRIVE + UNWIND
A warm welcome awaits you as you arrive to the Belize City International Airport where your trip leaders, Lisa Simpson and Kelli Soll, meet you with open arms. After bags are collected and everyone is set to go, we’ll venture to our beautiful eco-lodge, the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society (T.R.E.E.S.). Upon arrival at T.R.E.E.S., we get settled into our cabanas and take time to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. We enjoy a delicious welcome dinner and set intentions for the week ahead.
Day 2 // CULTURE OVERLOAD
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast before heading out to the majestic Cayo District. We begin our morning with a phenomenal Maya family to learn about the process of making chocolate and its deep role in the Maya history. Take pods of cocoa and turn them into delicious chocolate! Take a walk through the local Saturday Market and shop alongside locals for produce (mmmmm fresh coconut!), arts, etc. After a delicious local lunch in town, we will adventure to the Mayan world’s most popular temple – Xunantunich. Climb to the top of the Stone Lady for the best view of the surrounding Belize River Valley, and partake in yoga while at the Maya site. Return to our home base later in the day to relax before dinner with Emily Martinez who will lead a discussion on the diverse culture, rich history and education system of Belize. Emily has been an educator for 35 years, runs her own Literacy Center in the capitol center of Belmopan, a lead in establishing Girl Guides programs across the country and has served on the Red Cross. She is a dynamo!
Day 3 // ACTUN TUNICHIL MUKNAL (ATM) CAVE
Enjoy another relaxing breakfast and yoga session before we head to one of the top ten caves in the world (as noted by National Geographic), the Actun Tunichnil Muknal (ATM Cave). Hands down, this truly is one of the most amazing excursions you will ever experience and one of the most unique ways to learn about the Maya culture. After our full day excursion, we’ll return to TREES to enjoy dinner and sit down with Dr. Minerva Alvarez, PhD, our partner in education to learn about the curriculum and service plans for the week. A discussion and gentle yoga flow closes our day before we begin a wonderful week ahead.
Day 4, 5, 6 & 7 // SERVICE TO SELF + OTHERS
Wake up every morning to a gentle yoga session with views of the Maya Mountains. After enjoying breakfast, we head off to our partner school for full days of service in the classroom. Work as a team to implement lessons that meet the needs of the classroom and the targeted learning goals set by Belizean teachers. Additionally, encourage youth via lessons and activities in leadership and empowerment. You’ll gain a first-hand understanding of how the Maya, Garifuna, Creole, Mestizo, and Mennonite cultures blend to make Belize so extraordinary – even in the classroom.
Service background: Belize has a unique history and as a result, is comprised of a melting pot of cultures. With nearly ten cultures (and languages!) living in harmony in this beautiful country, English is the national language of this small, exceptionally diverse country, yet often the second, third, or fourth spoken language for most Belizeans. The country has established goals in the development and continuation of the English language among primary-aged youth in Belize. We will support and partner with local educators in the facilitation of English language lessons.
We make the most of our time! Spend the afternoons after service engaging in local workshops:
Garifuna and Creole Dance Workshop: We join Dixie and Sherett, two dynamic Garifuna dance leaders, to learn more about the beats and rhythms of the unique cultures. Learn more about the history as we learn the various dances of the culture and flow to their unique beats!
Maya History + Art Workshop: Mrs. Annelita Garcia, an extraordinary Maya woman and educator, joins us as she shares her Maya history, her role in education, women’s empowerment, and guides us as we create our own Maya art to take home.
The Belize Zoo: Enjoy an educational and awe-inspiring tour and learn more about nearly all of the 170 animals, representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. The Zoo keeps animals that were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, or sent to The Belize Zoo as donations from other zoological institutions. It definitely stands up to it’s “Best Little Zoo in the World!” name.
Day 7 // SERVICE + BACK TO SEA LEVEL
We enjoy our final session of morning yoga with views of the beautiful jungle and mountains. We pack our bags, savour our final breakfast, and head to the school to wrap up our work. We bid our goodbyes to the students and the teachers and put the finishing touches on our projects. In the afternoon, we’ll pack up and head out for our final adventure to a tropical caye off the coast of Belize. Along the way to Belize City, make a stop at the Belize Zoo. We’ll then head to the port to take a water taxi to the palm-lined Caye Caulker where we will be based for the next two nights. We unwind at our hotel, enjoy yoga on the beach, take a dip in the sea, and enjoy dinner together in the evening.
Day 8 // SNORKEL + SAIL
Take in the sunrise with beach yoga alongside the Caribbean Sea. We’ll begin our journey after breakfast on a beautiful catamaran to the Belize Barrier Reef. Unmatched for snorkeling with an incredible diversity of corals and an abundance of tropical fish, we’ll explore the magic and beauty of this tropical marine wilderness. With stops in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (Shark Ray Alley, Coral Gardens, etc.), we’ll have opportunities to snorkel in the turquoise waters to spot turtles, colorful fish, corals and possibly manta rays. Relax on the boat and take in the beauty of this tropical environment. Later in the afternoon, return to the shore and explore this quaint island before a relaxing farewell dinner together.
Day 9 // DEPART + GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP
After our final session of yoga on the beach in sync with the sunrise, we have our final breakfast, and hop aboard the water taxi back to Belize City International Airport to bid our goodbyes and begin our individual journeys. [Return to the states and/or remain in country for personal travel].
Dates: May 26-June 2, 2019
All-inclusive cost (2 options):
Option 1: $2950 - airfare included [Early bird discount through February 15, 2019: $2800]
Option 2: $2100 - book your own airfare [Early bird discount through February 15, 2019: $1950]
Roundtrip airfare can be booked for you and included in costs, or please feel free to book your own. If you choose to book your own, please share your flight itinerary and plan for meeting at the Belize City International Airport on Friday, May 24th.
Payment plans available (very flexible)!
Payments completed by: April 25, 2019
Informational Spring Meeting for travelers: April 2019 (Date TBD)
A note from Lisa (read her bio):
Yoga and travel may be one of the most magical ways to nurture our true essence. During our time in Belize, we will have yoga practice each morning that will include mindfulness meditation, pranayama and asana (poses). Our morning ritual will cultivate our intention for the day. Each afternoon (or evening, depending on our day) will include a Yin and Yoga Nidra practice - deep stretches with guided meditation for relaxation.
This retreat is unique in that we will be able to live our yoga. For example, Karma yoga is giving to others – finding our connection with all that is living. Our heartfelt caring blooms as our offering to others, each of whom is an expression of the Divine. In the ancient texts of yoga, practices which seek to deepen virtues such as truthfulness, compassion, non-violence, humility, in our worldly relationships, allow for our lives to become more harmonious and happy.
INCLUDED FEATURES (Your all-inclusive adventure Includes):
(Optional): Round-trip international airfare from your home destination to Belize City International Airport
Guided yoga flow (2 sessions/day)
All overnight accommodations
Mainland accommodations: Toucan Ridge Ecology & Education Society
Caye accommodations: Tropical Paradise Hotel
All meals (3 healthy meals per day)
All trip transportation transfers: land and water
Guided cultural excursions: Local Maya chocolate making workshop, tour of historic Mayan temple (Xunantunich Maya Temple), Actun Tunichnil Muknal Cave, local market, Green Iguana Conservation Project, cultural dance workshop, Maya arts and crafts workshop, local cooking class (optional), Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce (optional), The Belize Zoo, sailing and snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef, etc.
All admissions fees and gear for excursions
Experienced, licensed local guides
Guided service experience: preparation, guidance, materials, supplies, and facilitation in local village school and classroom
Detailed travel and destination information to assist in your planning
It only takes a $250 deposit to reserve your spot on this unique yoga + service trip in Belize!
Congratulations on your decision to join our signature international yoga and service program in Belize, Central America! You are now on your way (and continuing your impactful journey) to global citizenship and personal growth.
In order to complete your program registration, simply click on the green registration button below. We kindly ask each participant to complete the brief form and submit the deposit of $250 to confirm your registration.
If you have questions about what is and what is not included with your trip or our refund policy please click the expanding links below.
+ What's Included...
Registration includes all in-country expenses including: round-trip international airfare, all service-learning materials, lodging with three healthy meals per day, all in-country transportation (land and water) with licensed guides, airport and water ferry transfers, country-expert presentations, professionally guided educational and cultural excursions with licensed guides, tips, and gear rental, traveler’s insurance, 24/7 professional full-time supervision and logistical support.
What’s NOT Included?
Your program has been designed for you to not worry about any expenses throughout the duration of your program. The only items not covered on your program are luggage fees, souvenirs, and incidentals.
+ Refund Policy...
The fee charged to participate in the Program is paid in installments. Participant understands and agrees that after Participant has applied for and confirmed participation in the Program, GSP will make arrangements for the Program based on Participant’s attendance (for example booking lodging and not accepting other Program participants for the slot taken by Participant). For this reason, in the event Participant cancels participation in the Program after making application and confirming participation, all monies paid on or before the notice of cancellation shall be retained by GSP in order to offset its loss of business and ninety days prior to the Program departure date, all monies paid shall be retained by GSP. Thus, if Participant withdraws from the Program within the ninety day period immediately preceding the Program departure date, no portion of the Program fee will be returned. All deposits are nonrefundable.