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

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.


Water Fasting = Life Extension


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!


Breaking a Five Day Waterfast: Best Glass of Juice I Ever Had


…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.


waterfast journey; some thoughts from day three and four


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.

this showed up in images for waterfast, so I thought I'd include it

this showed up in images for waterfast, so I thought I’d include it




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 fwater-glassood 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!


It's an amazing TIME to be in Belize during the summer months.  There are certain things available that we crave all year.

Juicy Fruits and Raw Retreats in July and August

It's an amazing TIME to be in Belize during the summer months.  There are certain things available that we crave all year.

It’s an amazing TIME to be in Belize during the summer months. There are certain things available that we crave all year.

Juicy Fruits!  Time for a RAW RETREAT!

Juicy Fruits! Time for a RAW RETREAT!

Pitaya Smoothie, what color!  What texture!  What satisfaction!

Pitaya Smoothie, what color! What texture! What satisfaction!

A sweet thing here to tantalize your taste buds.  You can't resist our vegan cocoa cake topped with Dragon Fruit and frozen Mangos!

A sweet thing here to tantalize your taste buds. You can’t resist our vegan cocoa cake topped with Dragon Fruit and frozen Mangos!

If you are interested in a RAW RETREAT, no problem! But the best time to book it is for JULY and AUGUST!


Yoga + Food + Fun

The weather has been lovely, and there is always something new at the market.  The yoga is hot, and the water is cool!

It’s the best time to get healthy and high on life!

We hope these pictures will convince you that it’s time to visit Chaya Garden Ashram in Belize for yoga retreats, massage, and vegetarian cooking.

Here is a new gallery of us and our students having a great time!IMG_21551013226_502967383157529_1637387798_n 1800475_502967259824208_1208360309_n 58482_502967219824212_136011151_n


Mixing up Belizean Green Drink!

Grapefruit Juice Green Drink


Mixing up Belizean Green Drink!

Mixing up Belizean Green Drink!

Grapefruit Juice Green Drink
Today we made GFJGD for our class studying traditional chinese medicine in Belize, who are having a potluck.

We were invited to bring something healthy and healing by our teacher Suzan Barnes, and talk about it.

One of our favorite ways to start the morning is with this green drink. It tastes delicious!

Belize is one of the great citrus producers of the world, so it was no problem to get a 50lb bag of grapefruit fi cheap!

The sylic acid in grapefruit is good for the joints. Sylic acid is also a disinfectent, so it works for fungus and bacteria infections.

We blended the grapefruit instead of juicing it, so we get the benefit of having a few seeds in there, and also some pith.The pith contains most of the vitamin c and antioxidants and bioflavinoids It is healtier for us to use the whole fruit, and not just it’s juice.

Grapefruit is good for you if you have a cancer pathology, or a liver pathology. But be careful about injesting grapefruit if you are using perscription drugs.


The greens we are using in our green drink is parsley. Parsley has a unique flavor, which is fairly strong, and that’s why the grapefruit is there in the recipe, along with cane sugar .

We purchased our parsley in the vibrant San Ignacio market on Saturday, in Cayo District, Belize.

Parsley can remove heavy metals from the blood, remove cancerous cells from the lungs, is helpful in treating asthma, as well as being good for the joints and the heart.
We flavoured the drink with Cane Sugar. The cane sugar has essential nutrients and minerals. It contains magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium and iron.