Hello all! A warm welcome from The Belize Ashram! We are always so proud of everyone who comes to the ashram and shows a large degree of growth. It’s not everyday that someone new is willing to dedicate their time and energy to a spiritual practice, but here at the ashram we have done ground breaking work with many people.

The fact is most people are not using their vacations to jump start improvements in their daily and spiritual lives. We have had several cancellations recently, but we are undaunted. We keep getting good reviews from visitors, you can read some at our facebook and our new tripadvisor page! We have met some top notch people who have turned into OUR TEACHERS! Many people we continue to see operating in a new paradigm through our ongoing relationships.

Someone reading this might be SCARED to try something new, AFRAID of the changes that could be initiated in their lives. The change is often so dramatic, it happens before our eyes! This is the result of a dedicated spiritual practice! And just of glimpse of this can change your life!

Yoga is a WAY OF LIFE and at our spiritual retreat center you WILL experience fresh new energy moving you to your highest purpose. I think it’s important at this juncture to point out that you get MORE from yoga at our ashram than you would at a small studio, where people are practicing yoga as a fitness exercize, or where the TEACHER IS AFRAID of opening the gates of this spiritual experience.

There have been big changes at the ashram, and we’re changing our image to reflect this. Chaya Garden Ashram is the HOME of Yoga and Healing Arts in Belize. It’s worth the TRIP OUT!

Prayer of Abundance for the Ashram

Prayer of Abundance for the Ashram

Ashram is Open

IMG_0840.jpgWe are blessed to have your continued interest and support, stay tuned!

The ashram is open and accepting students for any length of time.

Chaya Garden Ashram Yoga Retreat Center, Belize

Chaya Garden Ashram Yoga Retreat Center, Belize

Chaya Garden Ashram Yoga Retreat Center, Belize

Welcome the Chaya Garden Ashram. Here you will find the gentle teachings of yoga, and two devoted yoga teachers and practitioners, Laine and Evan; making the teachings natural and easy for you. We welcome all levels and abilities, from master to beginner. We are happy to share our practices alongside you in our humble and spacious ashram.
The practices we do come from a variety of sources. We don’t subscribe to a specific belief or practice. We welcome all beliefs, believers, and non-believers. (You don’t have to believe in yoga, you just have to try it! It works!)
An ashram is a place where spiritual growth is nurtured. We are happy to create a quiet, peaceful atmosphere for your healing and self study. Likewise, we are equally happy engaging in the work that keeps the ashram vibrant; doing healing work with new partners; getting to know new friends and hearing what is meaningful in their lives; and sharing our stories and our recipes for successful living.

Ashram Digest

Time to write another post and let you know how we are doing. We just did an 11 day meditation retreat with Kundalini Research Institute and chanted ECK ONG CAR SAT NAM SIRI WA HEY GURU; half an hour each day and two and half hours on the 25th. We love when these world wide meditations occur because we feel connected to a broader community. I liked finding more about (SORRY links aren’t working)http://www.harisingh.com/ekongkarsatnamsiriwhaheguru.htm Ek Ong Car: The mantra with Eight Powers because I have been attracted to the number 8 for some time, always referring to the eight gunnas (the eight forces present in creation; Absolute Time, Absolute Space, Om Sound, Om Light, Fire, Air, Water, Earth) and the Eightfold path of Yoga (Ashtang yoga; Ashtang meaning eight!)
These 11 day international meditations (we have done 3 of them) have brought us incredible experiences before. This meditation brought us Master of the Tibetan Bowls Taunya Rivera to practice with us on our first night of chanting which was also on the night of our weekly , so it really made it special!

 Taunya Rivera Wah-wahs on our Singing bowl to reverberate healing frequencies from the ashram to the jungle


Taunya Rivera Wah-wahs on our Singing bowl to reverberate healing frequencies from the ashram to the jungle

Healing sounds of the jungle meets healing sounds of the bowls.

We were lucky enough to get Taunya’s full attention on a few occasions, sharing with her our food, transportation, and mantras. She was nice enough to share with us some special tips on healing with sound, and what she does with her bowls! All told I heard her play five times that weekend. It’s all about sharing!

So here’s a few things I’d like to share with you. The first is a link to a beautiful MANTRA http://www.sikhnet.com/gurbani/audio/long-ek-ong-kars-0 . Upon meditating for 2.5 hours on this mantra, I found I could HEAR the cosmos! And that’s the purpose of mantra meditation, really! We weren’t using a background, but my memory of this mantra came up. Maybe you don’t need to chant 2.5 hours straight, just listen to this recording, because it’s so beautiful, you can feel the cosmos vibrating through it. A wonderful track!

We also found http://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/singingBowlsDroneGenerator.php to be lovely and useful tone generator. Click the reviews below the generator once it’s loaded, and you can hear the ‘animations’ of the people who use the generator to get more realistic animations of what the singing bowls sound like, and you can listen to it for hours!

Teacher Laine Hoogstraten gives the guests of Ka ana a complimentary yoga session, and they get to try our kombucha afterwards!

We have been doing two regular yoga practices a week with guests to the Ka’ana resort. Please shoot us a line if you’ve ever stayed at the lovely Ka’ana! Ka’ana also buys our delicious Kombucha, and we often hear back that it’s the best kombucha they’ve ever tried!

It was marvelous to have my Mother and Step-Father finally visit us. There were some great conversations, great meals, and some great yoga. It was great to see my Mom doing yoga so gracefully, after two knee replacement surguries just over a year ago. Way to go Mom. And thank you Farley for the great books on Philosophy!

The ashram is always requiring constant yard work and repairs. Laine has become a plumber! It’s not her favorite job but it’s one she’s getting good at! We have just planted a dozen pineapples and a lychee tree on a terrace we started up the hill. Also a dozen coconut trees are planted there. There’s no rain, so we have to water just about every day. But we love being in the garden! It gives us a chance to have our feet on the earth. And we get to see the parrots and tucans better!

We welcome you with great love and respect, whoever you are! Drop us a line or come and see us! We are always open for yoga, massage, or vegan cuisine.
Namaste!

Welcome Mom!

We are excited to welcome my mother Lois and her husband Farley to the ashram for their first visit to Belize!
They are used to pretty glamorous traveling, the arctic, the islands, the mid-west; and it’s with great joy that we welcome them to our humble abode. The wonderful thing is they are letting go- and letting God; they will be enjoying the humble but hearty benefits of ashram life for the next two weeks.
It’s a good thing they will be here to help us eat our bountiful crop of avocados this year.
We have an exciting vegan bar B Q planned for the second weekend in July. Bar B Q’s are a common protocol of family togetherness in Belize, but this will only be the FIRST vegan Bar B Q we’ve planned in the 5 years we’ve been here. Lots of good dishes will be coming, with Mary and Sparkle providing some, Jamal from Roots Wraps and Smoothies providing some, and we’ll provide some as well!
Roasting potatoes with garlic and onions, wrapped in foil in the fire, pineapple skewers, grilled egg plant, casava salad and more!IMG_0108

Chaya Garden Ashram

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Welcome everyone! Please use the tabs to see what we offer. Feel free to ask us any question under the Contact Us tab. The Ashram is available for private, group, and guest teacher retreats.

We are pleased to be participating in the International Day of Yoga in Belize City on the 21st of June.

Water Fasting = Life Extension

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I just finished a 5 day water fast and I’m planning a 7-10 day water fast in August! Water fasting is an incredibly simple and easy thing to practice. I recommend getting a book by Paul Bragg or by Arnold Ehret. Paul Bragg’s most direct advice on how to handle a water fast is “Just Grin and Bear”.

I actually started my retreat on Sunday and ended it on Thursday. On Saturday, I made a long drive to the Belize’s capitol, Belmopan. I suffered a bit of heat exhaustion that day, and decided to only rest on Sunday. On Sunday some neighbors called on me to drive them to their family’s residence in Succotz, and I couldn’t say no. So, when I arrived home, exhausted as ever, and trying to fight off a nasty infection, I started my fast.

Drinking nothing but water and consuming nothing seems like a recipe for disaster to anyone who enjoys the Standard American Diet (SAD). But the truth is the opposite! Nothing so extends your life as fasting. The reason fasting is feared is because so much emphasis is put on eating everyday. Most people enjoy large meals, eating at least 3 times a day, and stuffing anything into their face they can get their hands on. If you’ve never fasted before, you might fear the confusion of your mind, because of the cessation of this automatic activity. In truth, fasting will put you into direct communication with your body.

I really enjoyed the first day of my fast. Laine went alone to a picnic, with our Belize Pro-Organic food group to the fabulous Blancaneux Lodge, to tour their organic garden and have a potluck with the members of the group. Even though I missed out the lovely gathering and splendid food, my peace of mind quickly returned to me in the silence of the ashram, and the steady rhythm of bird song, the trickling waterfall and the noise of the crickets.

Day two is the day when I REALLY wanted nothing to do at all. I went to yoga with Laine at the class she teaches at Ka-anna resort first thing in the morning. I felt great, but then my body was giving me instructions to CHILL OUT. My resolve was weak, but I made it through the day without breaking the fast. Laine was by my side giving me encouragement as to how brave I was.

On day three, I noticed that I had stopped playing loud music, stopped drinking tea, and I wasn’t interested in the computer at all. I was getting regular rest, getting to bed at an appropriate hour, and drinking plenty of water. I got approximately half of the chores done that I normally do, but I was still mentally alert.

On day four, I felt fantastic! I woke up with the Sun, and hit the hammock and read more and more about the benefits of fasting. I directed my consciousness, WILLED my body to work and accomplished a great number of tasks!

Day 5 I was feeling just as able, and the possibility of prolonging the fast lingered within my reach! We did a restorative set of yoga from our Kundalini manual, and upon rising from Shivasana, I felt such youth and radiance in my skin, it was hard to stop from smiling! But because the fast was a spontaneous decision, I thought it best to break it now. Laine had prepared a salad so beautiful, I swear I have never in my life seen such a wonderful salad. Lettuce, mint, sprouts, onions, mangoes, bell apples (a small local apple which has the resemblance to rose quartz), and dressed with lime juice. Laine and her friend were enjoying this salad when I came down from checking the email, and I immediately asked her for a small plate. I sat for the rest of lunch, contemplating, teasing myself, enjoying the scent, colors, and texture of the salad, until both ladies were finished lunch. Then I decided, I would break my fast now, but plan a longer fast in August.

I had the bite of salad, but I knew it would not be enough to move my bowels, which is important after a fast; and I boiled up a dish of tomatoes, lightly seasoned with tumeric, anatto, and salt. Although it’s important, it isn’t life or death to have a BM following a fast. I had to wait for the following day.

So that was my first 5 day fast and it was everything I imagined it would be. Visions of food danced in head, recalling in detail flavors, textures, recipes! I was weak; but I was soon full of vitality. Thanks to my yoga practice I have a fair bit of endurance, so physically the fast was not hard. I feel, that if you have adequate rest for the first three days; meaning FULL rest (and this is where a fast supervisor comes in handy; to handle the odd jobs and save you running around when you’re low on energy) then you to should be able to fast for 5 days on water, or longer!

Yielding Results

We are loving the growth we’re experiencing right now. I have personally felt like this is a time of growth and transformation for some time. And I feel like we’ll see our efforts paying off sooner than later! Now this is evident as we prepare to erect our new roof. Right now we can look through the structure of our roof and see the stars, and it’s so beautiful to see! We really feel like we are protected even though we don’t have a roof over our heads, we did the work in preparation and now we watch as we yield our results. It’s fantastic! It’s an interesting place to be at in our Sadhana (spiritual practice). In some ways we can’t wait for it to get back to normal. But it’s interesting putting energy here and there while the bulk of our yoga and healing space is being used up in construction!
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