“Everything is done with mindfulness and intention at the farm”
Have you ever purchased one of those sound cd’s? You know the ones with the birds singing and the trees rustling in the light breeze. You may have played this kind of cd to help you sleep at night or to bring some calmness to your day. Well, I’m pretty sure I’ve found the place where these sounds are recorded. And it’s in Guatemala!
I’ve just spent the last five days at the Mystical Yoga Farm at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and I have left feeling like I’m floating on a cloud. To enter the farm is to enter a bubble of happy, loving and tranquil energy that permeates everything in its path. You are surrounded by beautiful forests and volcanos. The air is so fresh, you feel your lungs immediately lighten. The birds and crickets and frogs are providing a constant melodic soundtrack throughout your day and the lake (which is thought to have magical properties) is so beautiful and calming to look at and have at your doorstep.
In the beginning, what was most appealing to me about MYF was the fact that it is completely off the grid. They use solar power to heat the showers and for light in the common areas (kitchen, dining hall and bathroom). There are no lights in the cabins so after dark a perfect ambience is created with candlelight. There is no internet and phone reception is limited making the bubble even more impenetrable. If you follow my Instagram page then you may have seen that I have implemented a technology free day every Sunday to try and reduce my dependance on technology. Well, this is the perfect holiday from technology!
Three wholesome and nutritious vegan meals are prepared for guests each day. With approximately 60% of all the food coming from the on site and neighbouring farm. The vision is to work towards making that 90% of all food coming from the farms within the next year.
Another great system they have in place is the compost toilets. Every toilet on the farm is an inspiration in itself. Brightly painted with inspirational quotes and images and almost completely zero waste. Unfortunately the toilet paper only comes in plastic packaging but this is offset by the fact that everything else is turned into humanure and returned to the earth.
Waste in general is kept to a minimum by purchasing as many extra supplies needed in bulk as possible from neighbouring towns and recycling, repurposing and composting wherever possible.
As I said before, the sustainable aspect of living was what helped me choose MYF in the first place but what made the whole experience even sweeter was the intentional and mindful way of living.
One thing that I have noticed over the years of living in modern society is that we no longer value ritual and ceremony. We no longer have genuine gratitude for the lives we are living, the food we are eating, the clothes we are wearing and we have forgotten to appreciate what our Earth provides for us. We have replaced ancient festivals that signified important times of year with celebrations that mostly only focus on material things like chocolate and presents.
At MYF, rituals and ceremonies are a big part of everyday life. Starting everyday with a tea ceremony and using the time to give thanks and reflect. Then onto Yoga and meditation and using that time to be present, state an intention and show self love. Then onto our first meal of the day – breakfast and blessing the food with the holding of hands and happy, energetic chanting. And then, eating said breakfast together with light chatter and no phones. Every meal is blessed with genuine love and gratitude and while I felt a bit silly in the beginning chanting to my food, by the end of my time at the farm, blessing the food was one of my favourite things to do. It really helped me to appreciate and value the gifts I was being given.
Other ceremonies I had the pleasure to participate in included a storytime sound healing, a cacao ceremony with an ecstatic dance and a Temezcal. All completely new to me and all completely intoxicating and cleansing. The Temezcal (a type of sauna which originated with pre-hispanic indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica), especially as it was not only used as a cleansing sauna but as a sacred place for reflection and meditation. Instruments were also brought inside so that as a group we could sing and play and laugh together. I have never done anything like this before and would never have expected to. And to be honest, usually, I would be too shy to participate in such a thing as I feel that I can’t hold a tune but this was a perfect opportunity for me to drop my ego and pretences and give myself fully to the process.
Everything is done with mindfulness and intention at the farm. From sowing seeds to cooking food, to painting a toilet. There is a feeling of togetherness and community and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and love. I have been inspired not only by the sustainable practices but also by the deliberateness of every action and the connectedness with nature, the spirits, each other and the individual self.
Whilst travelling for the most part is fun and exciting, there are times when it can be exhausting and hard and sometimes you don’t even realise you have lost your centredness or maybe you were never centred to begin with. A personal retreat is a great way to return to a happy equilibrium, refocus your intentions and reconnect with yourself and the earth. And at a place like the Mystical Yoga Farm, you can also learn heaps about sustainable living. Bonus!
I’ve never had the opportunity to go on a retreat before so I have nothing to compare this to but for me the farm was perfect in every way and I have left with so much more than I arrived with. The only negative I can think of is that I couldn’t stay longer! Oh and they had a great selection of loose teas so of course I’m sold!
Love Kat xx