'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

 

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

 

Posizione del Loto e chakra colorati

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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God and me, me and God are one

mindfulllGetting High on Kundalini Yoga
No body, no ecstasy…no glands, no God. Our bodies are the multi-dimensional key to all other states, all other planes. Without this “Truth machine”, as Yogi Bhajan calls it, we are ether with no drive, and no options. Within this incredible vehicle we are limitless. This body is not a boundary laden curse that is our cross to bear, but an amazing opportunity to explore beyond earthbound reality.
We feel. We think. We act. Information comes in through the portals of the senses. Does it come into the brain, or into the body? Perhaps both simultaneously. Thinking and feeling are so closely associated, we can barely separte the two. Our thoughts lead to feelings. Then we think about how we feel. Our thoughts and feelings seem whirled together, spawning each other, and leading to acts about which we think and feel. When we have a “gut feeling”, perhaps it’s really a “gut thinking”, as it turns out that we actually have brain cells in our stomachs. Perhaps we think and feel with much more than our “mind”. And what is mind? A combination of interpretations of “facts”, colored by feelings, distorted by our human spectrum of perception. Is a mind a brain? I think not! Perhaps, as in the idea of the Collective Unconscious, our minds are not even contained by our bodies, but are rather accessed through the physical nature of them.
When it comes to yoga, and more specifically Kundalini Yoga, we are given the power to stear and direct this maelstrom of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. We are given the ability to direct the glandular secretions through specific practices; an ancient technology of the body. What an incredible gift! A technology so perfect that everything you need to use is exactly what you were born with. Within each human being on this earth, the potential of the Golden Chain.
The Golden Chain, as with many concepts within yoga, has various layers of meaning. In a more external sense, it is the link of knowledge passed from one person to another, creating a chain of linked consciousness that began with the first teacher of Kundalini Yoga, and now terminates in you, as you receive this understanding within your self, untill you pass it on to the next human, and so on etc. But this is of course not all. Through the technology of mantra, specifially the Adi Mantra as prescribed by Yogi Bhajan, (ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO), the Golden Chain becomes our connection to the Infinite Creative Force, and Divine Wisdom. And this occurs by the physical connection, within the brain, of the pineal gland (the seat and source of DMT within the brain), to the pituitary gland, or third eye. Could this mean that through the Adi Mantra, and the subsequent practice of Kundalini Yoga activating the secretions of the glands, we experience the release of DMT in the brain?
I am not a scientist, but I am an empiricist. I am willing to come to personal conclusions through the knowledge of my own experience. Through the knowledge of Self. I am willing to say, “Sure seems like it to me.”
“All is Mind” says the Kybalion. All of Nature contains DMT, and as natural organisms, so do we. The sense of Oneness within us may be the flowering of DMT as activated within the pineal gland, as perceived by the third eye. We recognize ourselves as God, and begin to understand all that is as being an expression of that. Perhaps we first know this through psychadelic metabolites. Now we recognize the territory when we enter into this realm. Now we take the reins with the knowledge of the ancients that has been transported into the present. Now we make this connection with the Divine on demand. Now we become Divine.
“God and me, me and God are one”- a mantra given to us through Yogi Bhajan. SAT NAM

Yoga blog 16/10/2013

Today a fearless exploration into the kundalini yoga zone!

We did a set specifically for the Transformation of Sexual Energy. This is a vigorous kriya, including some fairly complex pranayama.

We began with Varuyas Kriya. This is similar to a warrior pose, but down on one knee, reaching forward with palms together, invoking the mantra SAT NAM, with a rhythmic use of the root lock, (a tightening of the pelvic floor, anus and sex organs, with an indrawing of the navel). This doesn’t sound too demanding in text, but the manual Kundalini Yoga/Sadhana Guidelines recommends up to 7 1/2 minutes on each side, and we were absolutely satisfied with a minute and a half. This is one that will have to build up gradually!

This one simple exercise opens pituitary secretion, regulates excessive sexual energy, and increases immunity, as well as bringing balance to the magnetic field of the body. Even with only a total of 3 minutes in this kriya, we had worked up a good sweat.

Sex Energy Transformation kriya is quite unique, using exercises and techniques that are not found in a lot of other kriyas. The first exercise alternated between cobra and plank. In the next exercise we alternated cow pose with a belly-down forward stretch on the mat. Both of these kriyas used a mental projection of the mantra ONG SOHUNG, and were done for 26 repetitions. ONG, the Infinite Creative Consciousness, SOHUNG, I am Thou. Basically, a fundamental identification with the Creative, (Creator).

This identification is again reiterated in the eighth exercise, as we lie in sivasana, chanting GOD AND ME, ME AND GOD, ARE ONE from the solar plexus.

Next comes a complex series of varied breaths combined with mantra and visualizations. Sitting in half lotus or cross legged, we began an alternating breath, in through the left nostril and out through the right, with root lock and meditation on the base of the spine. Mentally projecting SAT, Truth, on the inhale, and NAM, Name or Identity on the exhale. (Truth is my Identity, also stating connection with the Higher Self). This escalates to breath of fire after one minute, continuing to use alternate nostril breathing. Several other breathing patterns are utilized in rapid succession culminating in a visualization which begins with SAT NAM sonically spiralling up the spine on a held exhale, SAT travelling down both sides of the spine on the inhale, to enter the base of the spine, and NAM rising up the center of the spine on the next exhale. This visualization sequence is repeated twice.

This leads to the final chant and meditation. EK ONG KAR SAT NAM SAT NAM SIRI WHA GURU. It was during this last phase that I heard one of the internal sounds manifesting as a very high pitched but subtly quiet tone, lasting only a few seconds. This is known as nada, and is really of no consequence in and of itself, but is a marker along the way down the Path of Yoga, the journey toward a state of Union. It is good to notice and take note when this happens, notice what you are doing and what is on your mind at this time.

As we wrapped up and took our final sivasana, the meditation was profound. I didn’t settle down as quickly as I expected, but as those who practice corpse pose know, when you think you should get up, that’s when you must stay down! Soon I began to cascade through layers of consciousness, colours, and bodily sensations of rushing subtle energy. I began to feel as though my breath was somehow outside my body, somewhere above me, leaving the body in absolute peace and rest, not even troubled by the rhythm of the breath. I experienced a distinct tingling sensation opening at the top of my head, the many petals of the crown chakra unfolding…

Then my friend Oscar who is repairing the thatch of our palapa arrived to be paid and I had to rise, or descend? back to the surface world, and take care of business.

My final thoughts are that this kriya needs to be practiced many times before it can be mastered, and that it is well worth the effort to do so.

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Yoga Blog 15/10/2013

Yoga Blog 15/10/2013

At the Chaya Garden Ashram in Cayo District, Belize, you will find very dedicated yogis and yoginis who will help you initiate yourself on the golden chain of teachers known as Kundalini Yoga.

This process will facilitate you in the use of mantra, mudra, and meditation as ways to balance the functioning of the body, and bring higher awareness to your consciousness.

The ashram is a super conductor of yoga energy.   Today the class was so engaging, that from the moment it begun and I sat to tune in with the mantra, to the moment when we sung the good-bye song, I was completely absorbed in the class.   This is a remarkable experience that yoga offers.  Athletes call the being “in the zone”.

I could feel my body working in harmony with my focus, my awareness.   As the class progressed and I explored the different movements of my body, I didn’t worry about anything, my mind didn’t wander.  My body felt great!  Not so much that it was distracting, I was only aware of the benefits of my yoga from a point of reference that I could say was outside myself.

I have experienced the best yoga of my life at Chaya Garden Ashram.  And on a regular basis!

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Chaya Garden Releases Sri Guru GIta Ambient Mix With Swami Shivananda Giri

 

Chaya Garden is pleased to present an important mix from our resident DJ Evan Anderson.  It is a colaboration between beatmixing yogis and shaktipat swamis that takes the ancient text Sri Guru Gita for a remix.  Imagine you are right there with Shiva and Shakti as you hear this truth, and offer them our salutations!

 

Sri Guru Gita Belize Ambient Mix

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Yoga Blog 22/08/2013

 

Yoga Blog 22/08/2013
On yogibhajan.org they are inviting us to chant the Guru Ram Dass mantra these 11 days leading up to Yogi Bhajan’s birthday on the 26th of August, and to share our stories of chanting this mantra. Well, it was just today that we read the website and heard about this, however, on or about the 15th, we were compelled to play Bachan Kaur’s Ram Dass Lullaby over and over and over all day! Then later this week we named one of our kombucha flavors ‘Wahey Guru!’ It is amazing to feel that this mantra has so taken hold of us that we are automatically tuned to it!

 

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Yoga blog 8/20/2013

Yoga blog 8/20/2013

Okay, just laughed our asses off watching the worlds weirdest movie, Dinner for Schmuks. With all that hilarity pulsing through us, we did a Yogi Bajan meditation for prosperity and abundance, very simple, striking first the inside of the sides of both hands together, and flipping the hands to strike the outside of the sides of the hands together, while chanting HAR at each hit.

I felt so abundant already, the joy of the laughter clinging through the meditation, and now I feel it instilled within me, in my cells, infused in my aura. Very positive, very fun.

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