by Kristen Ku
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Tues. May 16, 2023
Two Belizean girls have brought home gold medals after participating in the 1st International Yoga Championship that was held in Dubai from May 8th to 12th.
Eleven-year-old Riahna Narayanasamy and 7-year-old Hashini Natarajan Narayanasamy, of Corozal District, spoke with Amandala on Tuesday of this week, after winning first-place gold medals in both their categories.
“I feel really good. I want to go to more competitions and win,” said Riahna, who gave credit to her mother for being her and her sister’s constant motivation.
The girls participated in the competition alongside representatives of India, the United States, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Germany, Japan, France, England, and many more.
The yoga championship included a number of categories, from sub-junior (8 years and below) to super senior (60 years and above). There were also different asanas, which are postures in yoga, ranging from Mayur Asana, Thiruvikram Asana, Sirasasana, and Purana Salabasanam asanas.
Both Riahna and Hashini have since been well-received and congratulated by their teachers and classmates at St. Francis Xavier Primary School, who are proud of how far they traveled to be able to represent Belize.
Notably, due to limited availability of yoga classes in Belize, the two girls are currently enrolled in online yoga classes, through which they have accessed training from instructors such as Mrs. Madanika from Nanakani Yoga.
The girls have indicated their fervent wish that a yoga program be introduced into schools within Belize, and have even called on the prime minister in hopes that he would consider their idea.
“I would like to request the Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Education Minister to give an hour of yoga classes to every school per week in schools in our country. Yoga is good for your mind, body, and soul. It will keep you healthy. Yoga is not just an exercise, but it’s a self-discovery. It supports stress management, mental health, and mindfulness,” stated Riahna.
For now, preparations for the next competition later in June have already begun, this time in Chicago, Illinois, in celebration of Yoga Day. Again, both girls are hoping to attend along with their mother, Lavanya Narayanasamy, and father, Narayanasamy Natarajan.