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!
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!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.
“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.
Yoga’s Ark sending out a plea for assistance! Don’t let our ashram be swept away this rainy season!
In the rainy season, we receive up to 5 months of rain. Last November, our creek rose 20 feet in a few days. This is a lot of rain and we truly need your help to stay afloat! 10 000 leaves get’s us a new roof.
Please help us continue to develop Chaya Garden Yoga Ashram as a unique and affordable international destination for yogis of all ages, levels, and incomes.
We are the directors of Chaya Garden Ashram, a place to heal and restore, a place to explore, the inner cosmos and the heart of Ancient Mayan civilization. At Chaya Garden Ashram we are a self initiated, non-affiliated, independent yoga ashram with a mandate to share our practice with as many people as possible at the most affordable price we can offer. This is an intimate experience of self-knowledge in an incredible natural environment brimming with biodiversity in all seasons.
My name is Laine Hoogstraten. Evan Anderson and I have built this concept from the heart for the last two and a half years, from an abused and abandoned property to a thriving yoga community! We have accomplished all this entirely from our own resources and resourcefulness, inventing this amazing place by the grace of the Primordial Master and our Divine Wisdom, that which is inherent within every human being on the planet.
Jungle, waterfall, yoga, veg cuisine, mudra, mantra and meditation… everyone of any age from anywhere can join us here in breathtaking Belize, Central America, for only $35 US per day. We are proud to offer a karma yoga program at only half our regular amazingly cheap rate so that no one who is genuinely interested in the spiritual technology of yoga need be turned away.
But! We’ve had our fill of buckets, bowls and pots catching downpours, streams and drops! We need a new roof! We have been blessed with a gorgeous but badly leaking thatch roof over our second floor open air yoga deck.
All about the thatch…Our thatch roof is over 40 feet in diameter and has about 10 000 leaves. The thatch is at the end of it’s life, and the entire roof structure needs to be assessed and addressed. We are committed to maintaining the natural vibe of the ashram enhanced by the thatch, or palapa, as it is called here. A well done thatch roof lasts up to 15 years, and is the perfect way to live in Belize. It provides a breathing yet insulated layer against both sun and rain, built entirely of local organic materials. Everyone in Belize knows that nothing is cooler and nicer than thatch.
Local Belizean contractors skilled in the ancient art of traditional thatch roofing estimate $20 000 US for the job which involves harvesting leaves from deep in the jungle and transporting these leaves in bundles of 50 at a time by foot and on back, to where they can be picked up by truck and delivered to the site. This also applies to the bushsticks which will become the umbrella-like support structure, and the specific vine needed as lathe for the leaves to be woven through. It is a big job and can only be undertaken according to the season and the phase of the moon which is most optimal for cutting the leaves and poles. Traditional builders know that it is only for a week around the full moon that the sap rises to the tops of the trees and the tips of the leaves. When the materials are cut full of sap, they will last for many years as the resin preserves the leaves and poles from the invasion of insects and damp. This ancient technology is preserved today by only a few highly skilled craftsmen in our neighbouring village. Every palapa built in Belize helps to preserve the knowledge of this organic traditional way of living.
Help us sustain and grow the dream of unlimited sharing by making a contribution to our Indiegogo campaign, and equally important, by sharing this letter of introduction with everyone you know. We have fantastic perks lined up for all levels of contributor.
Donate to our cause in a spirit of partnership, confident that your support will see the successful blossoming of a lifetime commitment come to fruition.
With heartfelt thanks,
Laine Hoogstraten and Evan Anderson
Directors of Chaya Garden Ashram
Beautiful rainy season is upon us in Belize, and along with the arrival of citrus fruits, we are expecting some cooler temperatures, heavier rain falls, and lots of busyness as more visitors flow through San Ignacio and the surrounding area.
We jump at the opportunity to teach a yoga class at Mystic River Resort! On their yoga deck, surrounded by some pretty old-growth canopy, there is little to distract you from experiencing the raw power of a vinyassa flow yoga class.
Intense focus and concentration, deep, regular breathing, a flexible body, and a positive mental attitude will be the fruits of your efforts.
This week, one of our students was no less than 86 years of age! It was an intense experience for Laine, as a teacher, and for some of the other students as well, but this student “Jackie” took it all in stride. I asked her the secret to her longevity, and she replied, that if there was a secret, it was moderation. Remember that in your yoga class, as well as your adventures. Moderation may be putting it mildly. Jackie did some amazing things this week, including being the oldest person to navigate Actun Tunich Miknal, ATM, the famous cave, and to complete a 15 platform zip line!
It was an exciting day for Laine, she taught five hours of yoga that day; Ka’ana, Chaya Garden Ashram, Xunantunich, and Mystic River. Congratulations! It was fun for me too, I did a lot of driving, saw some amazing places, enjoyed great weather and practiced two yoga classes of my own!
Anyways, have fun out there!!
Yoga Blog 9/25/2014
When it is quiet at the ashram, typically the month of September is the quietest, we don’t take a break from our yoga, no, NO! We are waking up early and doing an ADDITIONAL kriya before our regular 10AM practice.
In the yoga that we practice, Kundalini, there are thousands of kriyas (series) and we alternate between them; choosing from several books that we recieved as a gift during Sadhana (spiritual practice) on Yogi Bhajan’s birthday, and the hundreds of kriyas that are available online for free to anyone.
The benefit of cycling through many series; is that each one is an open door to the soul. The body is capable of so many actions, and it has been said by one of our teachers that kundalini yoga is the “I bet your body has never done THIS before!” game. Different series open different doors, stretch different muscles, massage different glands.
The benefit in repeating the kriya is that it is NOT a matter of mere repetition, but you go deeper and deeper into the benefits as you progress. For example, The Apana Kriya is NOT the hardest or most difficult kriya we have ever tried, but it does have certain unusual postures and movements, and enduring the full time of the action will lead to the most satisfactory results.
That said, elimination, apana, plays an important part in the body. Without proper elimination we are unable to receive the full benefits of prana, the breath. The bad must go out as the good comes in. This kriya has some very subtle visualization that enhances the imagination.
Engage the SAT GURU with the mantra ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO at the beginning of the Sadhana and close with a long SAT and a short Nam. Do this practice for a week and tell us how you feel!
The ashram is flourishing with the rains, a little in the evening every day. The children are in school (except in service days which seem to come every week!) so that monkey falls, the waterfalls adjecent to the ashram feel like a private paradise. If you are looking for haven for yoga in Central America, then look no further!
The Chaya Garden Ashram is invisioning how we might repair the roof or create a new one. We estimate that it will cost $20,000 and that it will take a crowd funding effort to pull this off. We are preparing a project on Indigogo and it should be ready soon.
We hope that there will be people ready to support our yoga ashram project, because we have already created a beautiful community through students around the world.