“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
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!
May 30, 2014
“collage is a visual remix”
The show is courtesy of San Ignacio Library, which is where it all began.
One evening last December as we drove by the closed San Ignacio Library, something caught my husband’s eye. We pulled into the library parking and went to have a closer look. Evan began to pull material out of the bin by the corner of the building with a look of incredulity on his face. He picked up the whole sack from the bin and threw it in the back of the truck.
When we arrived back at the yoga ashram, we were amazed to realize what we had. Torn up books on the most interesting but weird subjects, from Mushrooms of North America to The Psychic Power of Pyramids, to books on blacksmithing techniques and a color plate book of Persian rugs. Not to mention Japanese Wooden Joinery and an antique book of pre-tech games and entertainment for children and families.
We immediately threw a collage party, our first of many over the next several months. We now have over thirty works by many students and friends of Chaya Garden Ashram. These works can also be viewed online www.chayagardenashram.com/
Chaya Garden Ashram on the Cristo Rey road is a place for yoga, healing, art, music and dance. All are welcome.By Laine Hoogstraten
Director, Chaya Garden Ashram
We are just putting the finishing touches on our new orchid garden and bath area. As you can see, it’s our own design, that accentuates the spaciousness and simplicity of our ashram. The Bath area is on the West side of the ashram and offers the greatest privacy. The tub fits two comfortably, and we have already enjoyed what this great tub has to offer!
Using the natural herbs that are growing closest to the ashram, the herbs that we are likely to need the most, we prepare a bath by bringing water to boil on the stove or fire hearth in big pots.
First we consulted with Rosita Arviga’s Rainforest Remedies and the new book that we are previewing from Susan Barnes, which is a close to complete and contains hundreds of useful Belize herbs! We used Gumbo Limbo, Snake Grass, Sarosi, Ix-Ka-Nan, and Avocado herbs in our bath.
The bathing area also sits some deck chairs and several beautiful orchids, shaded by some coconut palm trunks. The surrounding area is a garden full of flowering banana plants and baby trees.