I suppose this doesn’t really address the question, but I thought I’d post up a bio I wrote for the International Day of Yoga. It didn’t get used, but maybe that’s a good thing.
ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO
“Each one of us has access to Divine Wisdom and Infinite Creativity. This is the basis from which I teach, and the ground upon which my students stand, as we begin every Kundalini class with this mantra. I believe that every human being has Knowledge of the Sacred rooted within their DNA. Consciousness is the fabric from which we are spun. All we need are the correct inputs to awaken that understanding. This is one aspect of the ancient practice of Yoga, a realization of self for all. The practice of Yoga is like inserting a key into a lock. It is what our bodies were designed for, the liberation of our consciousness.”
Raised by hippies in the wilds of Canada, Laine Hoogstraten is a self-realized healer and teacher practicing Hatha and Kundalini yoga at Chaya Garden Ashram in the Cayo District of Belize. She established the ashram in 2012 with her husband and partner, Evan Anderson, Co-Director of the ashram.
Laine was introduced to yoga as a child, and was immediately drawn to study the practice on her own through books and television. She began formal yoga classes in 1985 at the age of 18 while attending Emily Carr College of Art and Design in the city of Vancouver, Canada.
Moving to Winnipeg in 1997, Laine started volunteering at an Iyengar studio in return for classes. She studied the precise asanas of Iyengar practice under the teaching of Val Paape for the next five years, becoming an advanced student with an innate sense of alignment. At this time Bikram yoga was being introduced in Winnipeg. The heated studio, (110 degrees Fahrenheit), was very attractive as Winnipeg has temperatures below forty for many months of the long winter. A renegade studio had been set up by a private practitioner, as at the time there were no teachers available. People were doing the practice entirely from an audio tape of Bikram’s voice. Within the next few years, teachers were certified and an official Bikram studio opened. This is where Laine started an intensive daily practice in 2002.
“I felt the years of training in alignment with Iyengar yoga were a wonderful foundation for Bikram, who places greater emphasis on effort.”
Laine opened her home as a heated studio in 2007, doing a daily practice with friends and family. Moving to Belize in 2010, and discovering a perfect location near the village of Cristo Rey in the Cayo District, it seemed the most natural thing to open an ashram.
“I had been teaching hatha vinyassa classes in Bullet Tree to guests from the Parrot Nest, as well as doing healing massage. We were located at what is now known as Raw Spa. I began to paint the sign for Chaya Garden Ashram on a whim. Higher Wisdom was directing me.”
Chancing upon Kundalini yoga teacher Caroline Barnes, Evan and Laine began to study Kundalini yoga according to the teachings of Yogi Bhajan in 2011, and three months later arranged to study in residence with Caroline for the next five months.
“I had been hungering for mudra and mantra for many years before I found Kundalini Yoga. I didn’t know that was what I was looking for. Eventually it found me.”
Laine took to Kundalini yoga like a fish to water. Everything began to expand. The instinct for alignment combined with the strength built by years of Bikram yoga were a perfect preparation for Kundalini Yoga.
“Having played the didgeridoo for twenty years, the Breath of Fire was already natural to me. States of altered consciousness had been familiar ground since childhood, and had been flowing through the arts of healing, music and yoga consistently in my life.”
Early experiences with hallucinogenic metabolites opened pathways for psychedelic knowledge of the glands, what Laine calls “the Exploration of the Innerverse.”
Yogi Bhajan says,
“I am not here to teach students, I am here to teach teachers.”
Laine began to teach Kundalini yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, at the founding of Chaya Garden Ashram in 2012.
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.
“Everything is perception.”
Mitch Podolak, Executive Producer of Home Routes, is the founder of the Winnipeg and Vancouver Folk Festivals and Winnipeg’s West End Cultural Centre.
“Everything you have is your mind…How can man develop his mental faculty to perceive everything correctly?”
Yogi Bhajan, founder of the Kundalini Research Institute
“Perception is within the senses, responded to by the glands, and interpreted by the mind. Without the body, there is no perception. Each of us is given the
vehicle, yoga is the key to unlock it.”
Laine Hoogstraten, yogi, founder and Director of Chaya Garden Ashram
Everyone who comes through the Chaya Garden Ashram, Belize’s most amazing yoga spot, takes away a little something different. As soon as you taste the excellent food we prepare here; exquisite vegetarian cuisine, you will be among the many taking notes as to what Laine is accomplishing in the kitchen. Here is a photo of a Lettuce which has been in the fridge for over two weeks!
As you can see, this lettuce is no worse for wear and appears to be thriving. The entire lettuce has new growth despite being cut and refridgerated. It’s tricks like this; crisping, that will ensure your success as a yogi who seeks to maintain a high level of wellness and health.
Laine has many more insights from her years of experience in the organic food industry. Organic is good; she says, but local is better. That is one of the reasons that we moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize. Belize is where we can get the tropical fruits that we love, and San Ignacio has the largest farmer’s market in Belize. Laine’s knowledge is available to anyone who visits the ashram.
We’re working on getting the best quality Bhairava Tantra mix out there with the Swami’s blessing, and I feel like a STEWED PRUNE I’ve been soaking in the mystic bliss of Swami’s profound reading of the Vigjana Bhairava Tantra so long, I wanted it to be ready for Gurupurinam but we’ll just have to wait and see what comes out in the final mix. It will have to sound more like this, 2013’s Sri Guru Gita with Swami Shivananda Giri.
I’m having a great time working with him.The best way to understand Swami is through his show on Blog Talk Radio, Meditative Living. Click here. We are frequent listeners. Swami is VERY interested in Belize and we’ve been having a great time doing SAT SANG over Skype. He’s as interested in Belize as we are about Yoga! Swami is always open to some Sat Sang, which is a spiritual gathering, which will be great no matter what mode or technology we are using. Only one technology we’re talking about… Yoga. Swami has been enriching us with his knowledge for some time. We feel gratitude for all the ancient TRUTH he is sharing on Yoga, and the playfulness and POWER that he brings to it. I personally love to hear him talk about ENLIGHTENMENT. http://www.meditativeliving.info/ LET US KNOW if you’d like to have SAT SANG with SWAMI SHIVANANDA GIRI in BELIZE!
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!