Chaya Garden Ashram Yoga Retreat Center, Belize

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.

 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.
Namaste!

 'just a little hippy" in around 1972

Who is Laine Hoogstraten?

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.

 'just a little hippy" in around 1972


‘just a little hippy” in around 1972

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.

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Laine Hoogstraten today, in residence at the Chaya Garden Ashrm

Laine Hoogstraten today, in residence at the Chaya Garden Ashram

 

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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!

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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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Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte Taylor delivers this CAN’T MISS TedTalk about the two sides of the brain. Jill was a brain scientist who had a rare opportunity to study the brain from the inside when she had a stroke and lost the use of her left brain. She discovered a profound connection to energy in the “la la land” state of her right brain. and she barely lived through this experience. It took her eight years to fully recover, and you won’t want to miss this mesmerizing account of crisis and healing.

Do try this at home.

Our greatest desire is that everyone give yoga a place in their lives

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.

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R-SIZE 2 (640x480) Kundalini yoga starts with this mantra.

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.

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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.R-SIZE (640x480)

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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.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/10-000-leaves-indie-ashram-needs-new-thatch

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

 

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Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Posizione del Loto e chakra colorati GuruGayatriMantra
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

Gobinday Mukanday

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If the above article feels true to you, perhaps you, like me, need this kriya to assist you in balancing your desires with reality.

Things are fucked up, it’s okay. I have to learn to embrace it.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

for tolerance and humility, let's do it!

for tolerance and humility, let’s do it!

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

 

…couldn’t wipe the smile off my face

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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.