I suppose this doesn’t really address the question, but I thought I’d post up a bio I wrote for the International Day of Yoga. It didn’t get used, but maybe that’s a good thing.
ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO
“Each one of us has access to Divine Wisdom and Infinite Creativity. This is the basis from which I teach, and the ground upon which my students stand, as we begin every Kundalini class with this mantra. I believe that every human being has Knowledge of the Sacred rooted within their DNA. Consciousness is the fabric from which we are spun. All we need are the correct inputs to awaken that understanding. This is one aspect of the ancient practice of Yoga, a realization of self for all. The practice of Yoga is like inserting a key into a lock. It is what our bodies were designed for, the liberation of our consciousness.”
Raised by hippies in the wilds of Canada, Laine Hoogstraten is a self-realized healer and teacher practicing Hatha and Kundalini yoga at Chaya Garden Ashram in the Cayo District of Belize. She established the ashram in 2012 with her husband and partner, Evan Anderson, Co-Director of the ashram.
Laine was introduced to yoga as a child, and was immediately drawn to study the practice on her own through books and television. She began formal yoga classes in 1985 at the age of 18 while attending Emily Carr College of Art and Design in the city of Vancouver, Canada.
Moving to Winnipeg in 1997, Laine started volunteering at an Iyengar studio in return for classes. She studied the precise asanas of Iyengar practice under the teaching of Val Paape for the next five years, becoming an advanced student with an innate sense of alignment. At this time Bikram yoga was being introduced in Winnipeg. The heated studio, (110 degrees Fahrenheit), was very attractive as Winnipeg has temperatures below forty for many months of the long winter. A renegade studio had been set up by a private practitioner, as at the time there were no teachers available. People were doing the practice entirely from an audio tape of Bikram’s voice. Within the next few years, teachers were certified and an official Bikram studio opened. This is where Laine started an intensive daily practice in 2002.
“I felt the years of training in alignment with Iyengar yoga were a wonderful foundation for Bikram, who places greater emphasis on effort.”
Laine opened her home as a heated studio in 2007, doing a daily practice with friends and family. Moving to Belize in 2010, and discovering a perfect location near the village of Cristo Rey in the Cayo District, it seemed the most natural thing to open an ashram.
“I had been teaching hatha vinyassa classes in Bullet Tree to guests from the Parrot Nest, as well as doing healing massage. We were located at what is now known as Raw Spa. I began to paint the sign for Chaya Garden Ashram on a whim. Higher Wisdom was directing me.”
Chancing upon Kundalini yoga teacher Caroline Barnes, Evan and Laine began to study Kundalini yoga according to the teachings of Yogi Bhajan in 2011, and three months later arranged to study in residence with Caroline for the next five months.
“I had been hungering for mudra and mantra for many years before I found Kundalini Yoga. I didn’t know that was what I was looking for. Eventually it found me.”
Laine took to Kundalini yoga like a fish to water. Everything began to expand. The instinct for alignment combined with the strength built by years of Bikram yoga were a perfect preparation for Kundalini Yoga.
“Having played the didgeridoo for twenty years, the Breath of Fire was already natural to me. States of altered consciousness had been familiar ground since childhood, and had been flowing through the arts of healing, music and yoga consistently in my life.”
Early experiences with hallucinogenic metabolites opened pathways for psychedelic knowledge of the glands, what Laine calls “the Exploration of the Innerverse.”
Yogi Bhajan says,
“I am not here to teach students, I am here to teach teachers.”
Laine began to teach Kundalini yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, at the founding of Chaya Garden Ashram in 2012.
this is how I have fun
join us in this practice
Most of our current practices come from this awesome manual, which we acquired with a few others in a most random fashion, you might say an Act of God. This is an original from 1978. We are so thankful to have it.
ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO
Repeat it at least three times. It means and bestows Infinite Creativity and Divine Wisdom. This mantra also creates each one of us as our own teacher, our own guru. Through the chanting of this mantra we each are linked to the Golden Chain, becoming our own teachers in Divine Wisdom, that which comes from the higher self. In Kundalini Yoga, we are self-initiated, directly linked to Divine Wisdom without the need for a middle man.
This is not to say that the guidance of a teacher is not important, but to say that your yoga comes from you, so go ahead and give it a try. This mantra will protect and guide you on your journey.
This stretch, usually done with the toes pointing toward the face, was totally different and really refreshing with the toes pointed away from the body. People in class commented that it was a completely different feeling than the usual sciatic stretch. It’s effect was quite profound in terms of movement of energy within the body.
Bow Pose with Breath of Fire This one was tough for me. I just moved in and out of the pose as I reached my maximum. Give it your best, and come back to it as you can, resting when needed. It makes for a long two minutes. Breath of Fire is a breath in and out through the nose, activated at the navel point by pumping the navel with each breath rapidly. To get the hang of it, you could start by breathing through your mouth, and “pant like a dog” with your tongue stuck out.
Hope you enjoyed the practice! Join us at the ashram by making a donation to our Indiegogo campaign, you can share just by clicking the share button under the video, it’s so easy and we really need to expand our outreach. Give your friends the opportunity to support an excellent cause, the continuation of the ashram under a dry roof, and the unlimited sharing of yoga at a price all can afford.
If you share or make a donation or both, you will receive a video of the Long Time Sunshine Song, which is the formal end of the practice.
thanks for joining us
Laine and Evan, Directors, Chaya Garden Ashram
“For us, spiritual fractility is the utmost facility.”
This is the projected cost of replacing the 45 ft wide thatch over our heads, and an outline of the scope of the project:
total leaf cost = $10 000 usd
total leaf transport = 10 loads at average of $500/ load = 5000 bz = $2500 usd
leaf transport permits = $1000 usd
total cost of leaves = $13 500 usd
5 men on site and poles:
taking down thatch 2 days
assessment of structure 1 day
remove rotten poles 2 days
source and harvest and transport of up to 50 poles, 8 days
harvesting lathe 2 days
rebuilding structure with new poles, skinned 7 days
total days= 22 days x 5 men x $55/day = approximately $6000
total labour $3000 usd
contractor/foreman on site x 22 days x $150= 3300 bz =
total project cost $18 150 usd
remainder $1850 usd re: unforseen expenses
which are generally inimical to construction and renovation projects
Our objective is to be adequately funded in this project to ensure it’s completion at the highest standard possible. To secure the thatch is to ensure the continued survival of other elements of the building which it overshelters.
Existing are 56 roof poles, 28 supporting poles, and 14 poles supporting the circumference, there being 98 poles in total in the roof structure.
about the poles:
14 roof poles are about 40 feet long continuous length
14 roof poles are about 32 ft long continuous length
28 roof poles are about 20 ft continuous length
14 supporting poles are supporting the upper circumference at about 6 ft length
14 supporting poles on the lower circumference at about 12 ft length
Each pole must be sourced out of the jungle, and only certain types of wood are suitable. The very long poles are difficult and time consuming to procure. The right tree species, the right length and the optimal straightness that it must have to be suitable for the structure are all traits which must be adhered to. The tree must be of a specific width at top and bottom as well. At this time we have no idea how many poles must be replaced. At a guess, according to the proximity to bad leaks, and judging by the growth of fungus and lichen, and the visible presence of insect damage, (indicated by holes in the poles drilled by boring wasps) it seems reasonable to estimate that up to half of the poles will need replacement.
The poles, as well as the leaves and the lathe material, which comprises 21 concentric circles graduating in size from the center pole down, must all be collected within 5 days before and 5 days after the full moon. If this is done without fault, these materials will last up to 20 years, and the poles may last 30 or more years, according to the old timers and thatch contractors I have consulted in my research. The specific reason for this is not folklore, but plant knowledge. It is at the full moon that the sap rises in the trees, and out to the tips of the leaves. It is the resin loaded leaves and poles which are resistant to insects, mildew, and rot. As well, when the leaves are good, the poles stay dry, and the whole structure should last a very long time.
Leaves, you say, why not just rake them up from the lawn?
The most durable leaves available in Belize which are suitable for a round conical structure, being themselves a roundish fan shape, are leaves of the Bay Leaf Palm. The leaves must be graduated in size from the top of the center post down, starting with leaves about 2 1/2 feet long and 3 feet wide, to the leaves which finish the outside edge and are 5 to 6 feet long and about 4 to 5 feet wide.
Once again, these leaves come from a specific palm, are harvested from the jungle at a specific time of the month as outlined above, and are cut by hand and hauled out of the jungle in bundles of 50 by foot and on the backs of the men who harvest them. The leaves must be in prime condition. This means they must be sourced from dense jungle where the growth is most healthy. These leaves cannot be found by the side of the road.
In light of this, we will have to source leaves from diverse locations in different districts of Belize, adding the cost of transport to our total budget. A one ton truckload of leaf can cost up to $700 to transport from one district to another. The reason for the high cost of transport within Belize is the generally terrible condition of the roads. Even though the country of Belize is only 170 miles long, and at it’s widest, 68 miles wide, it takes 5 hours to drive just half the length over bad narrow highways, and mountainous twists and turns.
I hope this “brukdown” (as they say in Belize) of costs helps give you a rough idea of the scope of the project, the skilled labour involved, and the associated costs like transports and permits. Truly, a thatch roof is definitely not the cheapest way to go, but it does demonstrate and preserve traditional knowledge, employ local skilled tradesmen, provides the best shade and insulation from the intensity of sun and heat in the dry season, and when well done, is watertight and lasts for many years.
According to the teachings of Vastu, sacred architecture, the aura is unlimited when a person is surrounded by natural materials. For us, spiritual fractility is the utmost facility. Hope you can come to Chaya Garden Ashram and experience it for yourself.
How many games the ego plays. It’s a deep game with many layers. Pride as a mask for fear. Fear and pride are recognized as the domain of the ego. Two sides of the same coin.
Because I’m better than you, I want to help you. Why do I feel this sense of superiority? I think I have more experience, better ways of doing things. I put out extra because in my superiority I can afford to be generous to those who are lesser. I believe for a moment that I can live out my fantasy of bossing everyone around so that things can be done right.
Is this just a knee-jerk reaction to my own failings in the past?Why am I so invested in someone else’s affairs? Is it really ego that demands recognition via commercial success? Can’t you feel that controlling vibe overtaking you until it devours you completely?
Remember what it feels like. Like Anger, like hatred. It sounds like the belittling of others. Sentiments which should never be uttered. The ego is crying out for attention for its drama. The drama of fear covered by the drama of fear of not having enough. The ego grabbing for what it sees before it, like a bratty little child. The child who knows that it is always provided for, and that it does not experience lack.
So why the fear? Why the lashing out? Why the hatred? Taking it personally? Getting hurt feelings?
What the fuck for?
And then a cycle of behavior that serves no one. The ego goes away “hurt”, The pocket goes away empty, and a mishap is tripled by acting out through the ego. Relationships are endangered or destroyed.
So while ego is walking me down the street, my arms full of pride, so much pride that I can’t see over, a hole opens before me and down I go, head over heals, muffin over teakettle, and everyone saw my panties. My muffins were ruined, I did pass go, but I lost both face, and my twenty dollars. Plus another 14 I owed, bringing my grand loss up to $34, causing fear of lack of abundance to also make me lose my cool and act exactly the movie role I always speak out in regards to another asshole who I have now emulated.
And this ultimately incalculable loss in social damage is simply about being insecure. Hitching my value as a person to what I do, what I produce. Forgetting in that moment that my Value is inherent. I would be equally valuable in this universe if I produced nothing, did nothing. Why am I always trying so hard to make everything into my personal vision of perfect?
Everyone must live out their own karma. It is not possible to do it for them. It is not desirable to do it for them, and it is an illusion that you can place yourself above them, as though you could reach down and pull them up with your will.
Ego could come back with the excuse, “This is the curse of being more intelligent/sensitive than everybody else, but is this really true?”
I told the children, your greatest challenge in this world will be patience and compassion for those who are less gifted than you.
So where are we now? Suffering from delusions of greatness fuelled by insecurity? By an inability to accommodate failure as being as meaningless as success? Failure is the reflection of success, and both are an illusion, because all that is comes from God, not from me.
Get ego out of the way and make room for god. God and me, me and God are one.
Is human not also a creator? Certainly to some degree we make our bed and lie in it.
Maybe God/Universe is the random x-factor? The unforseen force which causes adversity or blessing, at times regardless of what human says and does?
I don’t want to know this anymore. I am tired of this lesson, why must I learn it over again? I could contextualize my whole life through this… I want to be free.
Freedom comes through the Yoke. In yoga we can be free.
Is God perfect? Am I perfect in God, as God? God and me, me and God are one.
Today’s yoga practice revealed the rest of the Circle. Creator/Destroyer, two aspects in one Force. The Supreme Being is perfection, and this perfection encompasses all that is. Is the world perfect? Are humans perfect?
Truly there is no perfection but God, but by the nature of All God, we see around us and within us that God provides a lot of room for things to go to hell, for chaos and corruption to be included in the perfection of creation. God seems to have loosed the human race upon the universe, obviously a portion of the Whole is Destruction and Chaos.
As a reflection of the Macrocosm, each one of us is blessed with a portion of these traits also. We cling to order, setting ourselves against what we perceive as the darkness, and yet this battle is illusion, for it is one that can never be won, unless we accept the shadow, and become One.
We are alive/dead. We are full/empty. We are happy/sad. All that we know is polarized, and we internalize duality in the first second of self awareness, the moment when we compare ourselves to what we know around us. Within the same moment we are objectified by our own consciousness, and separated from our Self.
We begin in that moment to almost think of ourselves in the third person, to observe ourselves like a movie. We forget that the watcher and the observed are one entity. We begin to watch ourselves live our life.
The division of I into two parts is the source of all desire. What we really want is oneness. To be back within the guilessness of infancy. The baby does not think of itself as I. It exists in a Now Reality. Complete in breast, milk and the warmth of the mother, or helpless in the void of absence of mother. That is all.
We learn to hate our “imperfection”, to despise our weakness, to loathe our “failure”. But are these aspects not inherent within the human? We learn not to tolerate this pushed down “shadow self” within us. We simultaneously learn to hate it in others, and in the world around us. This is called Integrity.
I begin to see that true integrity encompasses all aspects. That to experience oneness, the judge must be relinquished, destruction, chaos, failure and weakness embraced in equal measure within as are strength, love, happiness, creation, and order.
Laying down judgement has been the pursuit of a lifetime so far. Only through yoga, the yoke, do I experience bliss, unity, Unconditional Love. The yoke is a discipline. In truth nothing else matters.
I must love myself as I fail, in equal measure to how I love myself when I succeed. These measures mean nothing.
Love is all that remains.
Gobinday Sustainer, Mukanday Liberator, Udaaray Illuminator, Apaaray Infinite, Hareeang Destroyer, Kareeang Creator, Nirnamay Without Name, Akaamay Without Desire
Things are fucked up, it’s okay. I have to learn to embrace it.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
…couldn’t wipe the smile off my face
After five days, I was just totally sick of being tired, floppy, and grumpy. I had considered trying to push through to a week, but feeling both terrible and ineffectual was wearing me thin. On the other hand, I was sleeping amazing, having interesting dreams, (and remembering quite a lot about them), and my asthma, constant throat clearing, and sinus weirdness had all disappeared almost as soon as I stopped eating.
I spent the last morning of fasting making dehydrated flax crackers and zucchini chips so I would have something to eat with the guacamole I so desired when I was ready. I had read that coming off the fast with grapefruit juice was best, that it awakened the digestive system from a state of dormancy, and prepared the system to accept some food. I made the juice by slicing the skin from grapefruit given to to me by a friend from her farm, blended it with water, and strained it through a mesh sieve. I admit to adding a dash of honey and some stevia. It seemed to me that adding my new friend water to my juice could only be good, make it less intense, and also blender friendly. Needless to say, it was the best glass of juice I have ever had in my life. The flavour was incredible. I sipped it slowly, letting the juice stay in my mouth as long as possible to keep the wonderful taste of it on my tongue as long as possible no matter how I wanted to chug it back and just keep on having more. I supplemented the “urge to chug” with a glass of water side-by-side with my juice of God. After drawing this out as long as possible, my juice was finished, and I decided to just let that settle in for an hour or more before trying anything else. It was amazing how quickly my acuity returned. The feeling of cramping in my gut instantly evaporated. It was amazing how quickly I felt better, like, within minutes! Almost with the first sip, the external world became brighter and more solid. Quite suddenly I could see outside myself again. The world around me was looking beautiful.
My special friend and companion since childhood, Inner Glutton, wanted to eat everything in site. Luckily, my other friend who I had been dating on and off for about thirty-five years, Conscious Mind, was in control. A few hours later, and keeping up with my water regime, I ate a few bites of dehydrated coconut-plantain treats I invented, and again, was blown away by the total deliciousness of the flavour, then some zucchini chips with about a half cup of guacamole. I let that settle for a few hours with no discomfort or ill effects. Now I could stand up without a head-rush, and go up and down stairs without having to get psyched up first. My body picked up on the nutrients so fast. It was like I had blood again. That night, bowels moved a bit.
I’m not recounting this experience as a promoter, but simply an explorer, so I’m willing to tell the whole truth. That night, I was coughing up mucous, and when I went to bed, the asthma kicked in. At that moment after getting some reflex points from Evan and doing a few myself, I thought, fuck it, and took some inhaler. I was pretty disappointed. I was thinking, wow, am I supposed to be some weakling breathairian or what? Subsequently, I had a great sleep, and woke up with joy in my heart. That hadn’t been happening for a few years since I had been dealing with these nagging health issues.
I got up, drank a cup of hot water, cleaned up the ashram with Evan, taught a fabulous vinyassa class for two hours in wild humidity, sweat my tail off with my class, and made an outstanding lunch for a couple from Texas who had come to the ashram for yoga and massage that morning.
Truly, I felt really great. I virtually couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I guided the class. I utterly enjoyed making lunch. We started with a cucumber salad dressed in yogurt with cumin, black pepper and garlic on a bed of shredded leaf lettuce. I served a plate of black bean and guacamole garnaches, (crispy corn tortillas), and then moved to the main course, a roasted vegetable medley with sweet potatoes, white potatoes, onions, broken garlic cloves, and red and green peppers tossed in olive oil, seasoned with Italian spices and a dash of soy sauce, and baked crispy golden. Served this with a bit more guacamole on the side, and a simple beet and grapefruit salad. I ate a small portion of this, heavy on the salad, which was wonderful and refreshing in the crazy humidity, but skipped the garnaches. Continued to feel really great.
I thought, maybe this fast was more about emotional detox than anything else. The joy was ongoing. But my body was feeling amazing too. Bowels were moving. Less output, more often. I felt that I had really knocked a lot of candida out of my system as the usual puffiness of my belly had gone away. I really noticed this in my yoga practice, and my reflection in the glass doors of my kitchen cabinets. Perhaps it is logical to say, or even maybe a well-known fact (?) that yeast and grumpiness are linked?
I continued to eat sparingly, focusing on raw foods. My flax crackers came out tasty and crunchy. I had a great sleep last night, and really deep, breathing easily all night, no mucous. I slept through Evan getting up to put out buckets and mop the upstairs palapa during a rainstorm, (our roof leaks pretty bad) which is almost a miracle as I have always been an extremely light sleeper, waking for hours over the slightest disturbance.
So, let’s see…felt weak, grumpy and basically awful for five days, with a weird looseness in the joints that made me feel like a floppy marionette. Now I feel consistently joyful, loving towards my husband,(as opposed to angry and irritated over usually not much), unswollen, clear-headed, uncongested, breathing easily, no urge to cough, body feels fluid, strong and fantastic, and I’m sleeping like never before. Was the waterfast worth it? Probably. Let’s see how it holds. (Most likely to do with what, how and when I choose to eat from here on, and keeping up with lots of water.)
Will I do it again? I guess if I slip back into the previous state of ill health, I will. But it was definitely not fun, and I absolutely needed Evan’s total support the whole time because I was basically feeble. What I have found is this: reach for water before anything else, eat only at meals, and don’t eat late at night, (nothing after about 7pm). It is usual for me to fast in the morning before my yoga practice, so I’ll keep that up, and we’ll see how it goes. For now I feel high and happy, and I’m gonna go with that.
Deeper into the journey. Going through some bumps and revelations. Just now it somewhat reminded me of the psychological purge of the second week of raw food, similar vibration, similar emotion. The exact same realization about the simple comfort of food.
Going to eat as a comfort zone, loving the feel of the comfort, the smell…but body is in charge. Body will not process this comfort. Comfort turns to stone in the bowel and cannot be moved. Comfort becomes discomfort, acidity and acid emotions of anger. The abdomen swelling with gas and candida. A terrible situation.
Yesterday was pretty challenging. Woke up tired and woozy after a great sleep. Almost went for a nap immediately. Pretty grumpy, angry with my body for not digesting anything I previously put in it. Fast prompted by intense years of constipation. Knowing that I was best as a raw foody, just too undisciplined to go there with any strength, which is also ridiculous as that was a goal for me upon relocating to Central America, Belize, home of fruit. Living in Canada, that was all I desired, but when I got here, I was taking it for granted after 18 months. Now body brings me back, throws it in my face. Demands a change. Can’t feel terrible any more.
Eat less, eat raw. Was doing great with the less last December and January, but somehow blew it. I just love food. Cooked food, so soft, fragrant, comforting…
Hoping fasting will disengage this emotional addiction, let the raw food begin.
I am a hedonist. I love to eat more, I love to eat chocolate covered ice cream, I love curry, dahl, rice, roasted garlic…this is all so crazy, I kept thinking there must be a way to carry on with all this enjoyment, but body says no. Yogi Bhajan says the body is a truth machine. Face the truth of the body. Seek comfort in yoga, in love, in nature, in myself. This is not what I want. It is what I have. This body is life. I must live it.
So, back to yesterday. We get invited to sell some food at a party, so I begin to get my energy together and prep and organize. Food is all around me, fresh shredded lettuce, brined turmeric cabbage to which I added sweet peppers, fragrant refried black beans, garlic and lime rising from the guacamole that Evan is making. I want a shred of lettuce, I want to lick my finger, I want to lick the spoon. But I don’t.
Ev hands me a glowing glass of watermelon juice. I grab it and down it goes. About forty minutes later, the crazy side cramp of doom. Incapacitated. Evan helps me by massaging it out. The ghost of it still gives me a little pinch throughout the night, vending and dancing, even a bit today.
Almost through day four, and no purge. By this I mean, haven’t taken a shit in four days. I’m waiting.
Last time, about six weeks ago, fasted 3 days, the gates broke on the third evening after a day of detox headache and really low energy. This time, nothing so far. Although starting this fast, I wasn’t in as bad trouble as then. Went into it the first time with five days of absolute constipation already lodged inside me. Really horrendous.
This time bowels very sluggish, but not fatal.
I’m going to do up some dehydrated flax flat bread so I have something to eat when I’m ready for food, perhaps day after tomorrow. My goal is to hold the fast until tomorrow afternoon, beginning with grapefruit. Just that for eve of day five. Maybe something more solid the day after, more fruit, maybe get into the flax crackers a bit. Really lusting after gucamole, avocados from our own tree. God I love garlic. I don’t seem to be detaching, do I? Geez, I just love food. Dreaming of raw chocolate confections in my sleep. Next time, my goal is to waterfast for a week. My ultimate aim is for a ten day fast. Meantime, bring on the raw food!