Lost in Belize IV: Balancing Your Mind-Body-Spirit

Belize, Cabins & Camping, Couples Travel, Dispatches from the Road, Fitness & Workouts, Hotels & Resorts, Spa & Beauty, Spiritual Travel — By on March 9, 2010 at 2:00 am
Ambergris Caye

source: goambergriscaye.com

Scuba diving. Kayaking. Parasailing. There are plenty of adventures to be had in Ambergris Caye, but the island’s idyllic scenery and the locals’ slower pace make it a natural setting for letting go of stress. Here are some spots that’ll help get you back in balance.

The Sol Spa, located inside the Phoenix Resort, offers traditional Mayan treatments. Run by Utah-born sisters Carrie and Charlene Tengler, they both traveled to the mountains of western Belize to get trained in Mayan Abdominal Massage from the technique’s founder, Dr. Rosita Arvigo. The only massage I’ve ever had where a therapist spent time touching my stomach was lomi lomi in Hawaii, but no other bodywork has made me feel as centered as the Mayan Abdominal Massage. When done regularly, it’s supposed to help with irregular periods, infertility, digestive problems such as acid reflex and irritable bowel syndrome, and more.

Another treatment to try at Sol Spa is the organic cocoa and masa (a.k.a. cornmeal) glo. It smells delicious, and both ingredients are staples in the traditional Mayan diet. The cocoa is grown right in Belize and comes from one of only 10 companies in the world that makes it from cocoa bean to chocolate bar. When mixed with salt, your therapist massages the mixture into your skin to buff your body.

Sol Spa goes beyond beauty to also offer Mayan healing ceremonies. Mike and I had a couples healing ritual performed by therapist Jennifer Ingvoldstad, also trained by Dr. Rosita Arvigo. She performed the ceremony in the privacy of our room, saying prayers based on our faith (Christian), giving us a herbal bath with the flowers that she picked for spiritual “cleansing,” and lighting Copal incense to help “re-balance our energy” so we can attract positivity and repel that which does not serve us. If you’re not very spiritual, come with an open mind.

If moving your body is what really helps you to relax your mind, the best way that I found to do this was with a yoga class on the wooden platform built right over the ocean at Ak’bol.  Owner Kirsten teaches classes each morning, and there’s nothing like gazing at the sea and breathing fresh saltwater air as you’re practicing your postures.

Afterwards, try the dirty banana shake (fresh bananas blended with chocolate sauce and coconut milk) from the bar/restaurant at the end of the dock. If you’re looking to stay in one of Ak’bol’s rustic cabanas with outdoor showers or in the yoga barracks with shared baths, just know that the management isn’t very organized. Getting your room keys or food order might take awhile, but there’s no hurry when you’re on island time.

Photo credit: Mike Bristol; flowers from http://arvigomassage.com

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