About the Farm
The Mystical Yoga Farm is a self-directed Retreat Center and Spiritual Community that is focused on self-sustainability, organic connection with the environment, and feeding and nurturing the bodies and souls of yogis, teachers and healing practitioners. Our desire is to heal the earth and its inhabitants through connection with nature and Spirit, the source of all of creation.
Throughout all the activity runs the practice of yoga, in the form it was originally intended – as a lifestyle, a living intention, of union of all levels of our being. Aside from the daily practice of meditation and yoga asana, our Yoga can be seen in the respect we offer the land through ceremony and daily application of permaculture principles, in the reverence we bring to our meals, in the gratitude expressed in community gatherings, in the constant efforts to reduce, re-use, recycle, in the joy expressed through song and creativity, and in a myriad of other subtleties that make life on the farm so precious and unique. One of the primary principles that feeds us is that of ahimsa – harmlessness and the preservation of life, which radiates out in sustainable practices both inside and outside our walls. As Founder Vedantin often reiterates – we do not own this land, we are simply caring for it, and as such it is with honor and love that we approach our relationship with this special piece of earth. Whatever your intention in coming to the Mystical Yoga Farm, whether for a Yoga Teacher Training, Permaculture Design Course, Retreat or as a community member, the Farm is a place to disconnect from the rush of everyday life and reconnect to Source.
Off the gridin a tranquil, roadless forest, Finca de Yoga Mística is an ongoing, real-time experiment in the practices of sustainable living. We seek to find balance, reconnecting humans with nature through revived techniques of rural living, delicately woven together with the most up-to-date and appropriate technologies. Some projects recently completed include a brand new eco-shower block, construction with locally available materials, passive solar shower, composting toilets, the design of passive solar multi-functional living spaces, and food-waste-composting. We have a small solar system for recharging appliances and use rechargeable solar lights in our cabins.
The farm comprises 3 wooden bungalows, 5 private cabins, a wood and glass Rancho (with dormitory for 8-10, kitchen, and cafeteria), several composting toilets, one washhouse with hot shower (gas powered, looking for solar thermal alternatives in the meantime), one eco-shower house with rainwater catchment, a traditional stone temascal (sauna) (10 person capacity with cold shower outside for rinsing), an outdoor, circular yoga shala and the large multipurpose Jaguar Hall with 4 private rooms, living room and our newly renovated, glass-fronted yoga studio. We are also currently constructing a brand new yoga studio building, which will also house several private rooms and a hangout area and form the new social center of the Farm. Also, pictured, is our ‘Om Dome’, a superdome made entirely of earth-bricks (sandbags) and topped with a cleverly constructed, geometrical colored glass skylights, offering us fantastic acoustics for our evening satsangs and a calming environment for community healing sessions. All of our buildings are constructed by local workmen, with materials sourced from the surrounding area and designs created in-house. We invite innovative people with creative ideas to join us in our living experiment – if this sounds appealing, please contact us about your interest or expertise. We are also interested in stained glass work, work with earth and clay, earthbag construction, construction using recycled materials and re-use of plastic in construction.
The Mystical Yoga Farm, as well as being a haven for nature and humans alike, provides the perfect location for many unique and inspiring retreats each year. From one-day workshops on Aerial Yoga, Meditation or Fermentation, to week-long explorations of creativity and relaxation, to ten-day educational trips for young students, the Farm offers a wealth of resources to meet the needs of any group. In addition, hundreds of people have taken the opportunity to enjoy the grounding tranquility of a personal retreat, joining with the community for morning and evening practices and using free time to dive deep within. With miles of open land and volcanoes to investigate, the tranquility of the mystical Lago Atitlan, outstanding yoga teachers and plentiful outdoor activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding, MYF draws in a wonderful variety of ideas and offerings from all over the world. If you are interested in holding your retreat at the Mystical Yoga Farm, please check out our Retreats page or email email@example.com.
The Mystical Yoga Farm hosts eight Yoga Teacher Trainings each year through SchoolYoga Institute, recognized by Yoga Alliance at the RYT-200 and RYT-500 levels. These trainings draw on the traditional teachings of yoga as spiritual practice, combining the ancient wisdom of the East with modern wellness and holistic healing practices. In addition, our Yoga Teacher Trainings work with the deep, sacred knowledge of the Andes, using the peruvian Medicine Wheel and Shamanic Ceremony to guide students into a connection with their inner Self, going through a life-changing, restorative and revealing process of transformation. The serenity of the surroundings at MYF and the conscious community found here provide the perfect environment for this powerful process of release and renewal. If you are interested in doing your training with us, please see SchoolYoga’s website at www.schoolyogainstitute.com.
The Mystical Yoga Farm is home to an ever-changing, thriving group of volunteers, work-traders, staff and our local team, all gently and intentionally brought together under our inspiring Director Bonnie Norton. Together we form a small, conscious community dedicated to living the intentions of Yogic living. We begin our days with meditation on the dock, followed by yoga asana and breakfast blessed and eaten together. We enjoy bringing a depth of intention to our work during the day and reflect on our personal growth and community experience through our evening Satsang gatherings. Life on the Farm is a rare opportunity to slow down and appreciate the real, the truth, the essence of what it is to be alive. If you are interested in becoming a part of our community, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We power our lights, kitchen appliances, computers, and cell phones with solar power, which helps us balance out the needs of a modern community with our remote location and sustainable intentions.If you are interested in providing support by donating toward additional solar power projects please apply through our Opportunities page or contact us by email at: email@example.com
During the Guatemalan rainy season (June through October) we gather rain off of the tin roofs of our bungalows. We expect to collect enough rainwater for everyday use for showering, water plants, and for cooking in our community kitchen. Harvested rainwater will be stored in a combination of holding ponds and freshwater tanks.
Harnessing the mid-day sun, we heat our shower water in our new Eco-Shower Block purely on the sun’s nurturing rays. Using a system of coiled black tubing we heat harvested rainwater for showering.
Flushing toilets and inadequate sewage systems are the main source of pollution on Lake Atitlan, at the same time as being a waste of rich nutrients. When collected properly, composted human waste (just like cow or chicken manure) is a good source of nitrogen for trees. In our composting toilet system we collect urine and human manure, mixing them with ash and plenty of sawdust. This dry composting method minimizes odor often associated with the outhouses of old. When a composting toilet is full, it is “closed off” and left to compost for up to 18 months, at which point the rich fertilizer is safe to be removed and used to fertilize forest orchards and trees.
At the farm, we bring consciousness to all aspects of life. Including our footprint of trash. We try our best to minimize waste by creating eco-bricks, plastic compacted in plastic water bottles, which can then be used as building materials. We ask guests to bring as little packaged goods to the farm as possible. We also encourage women to use menstrual cups: It’s reusable, plastic free, and helps to get in touch with your body by honoring blood as a sacred communion. These menstrual cups can be easily found at any health food store.
Permaculture and Biodynamic Farming
Permaculture as we know it today is a philosophy developed in Australia by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. This philosophy is “consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food and energy for provisions of local needs.” Permaculture seeks to answer the question “Are there ways to live within nature’s limits while providing a secure future for our children and justice for everyone?” MYF actively seeks out ways to practice these principles, while balancing the needs of the farm, and this beautiful philosophy can be seen in many ways throughout the land.
The Permaculture movement is based on 12 principles:
- Observe and Interact
- Catch and Store Energy
- Obtain a Yield
- Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback
- Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
- Produce no Waste
- Design from Patterns to Details
- Integrate Rather than Segregate
- Use Small and Slow Solutions
- Use and Value Diversity
- Use Edges and Value the Marginal
- Creatively Use and Respond to Change
Through following such principles wherever possible, we are able to truly bring our yoga to the earth. As well as being a practice of sustainability, it is also a method of developing relationships between the community and the land we live on, as well as feeding the healthy relationships between each of the elements living on the farm. We have been lucky enough to host an annual Permaculture Design Course with Stephen Brooks and Sarah Wu, two forerunners of the permaculture movement in Central America, which have helped bring these principles alive on the farm. Our Permaculture Design Course is held every year in May – if you are interested in signing up, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following permaculture principles of Bill Mollison, we have outlined our community needs into zones, describing the relationship between our people and the land around us. The first zone outlines the hub of our living space – the things that we need, and the things that need us. Our zone one includes our communal kitchen and dining space, bathrooms, yoga studio, and kitchen gardens including frequently harvested crops such as herbs, lettuces, and salad vegetables. The outer zones comprise more of our hardy crops, such as coffee and fruit trees, as well as more private living spaces and yoga spaces. We are currently designing more energy efficient living spaces, cool in the heat of the day and comfortable in the chill evenings, which will form the temple and heart of Finca de Yoga Mistica. These designs are as multi-functional as possible and all built by local workmen with local materials.
We have an established composting system that enables us to recycle nutrients from food and garden waste back into the land. We enjoy practicing and experimenting with some of the many different methods of composting for soil improvement. Our “laboratory” and experimental practice draw methods rooted in Biodynamics, Biointensive farming, Permaculture, and Vermaculture.
Biodynamic Farming is a farming method birthed by Rudolf Steiner, that integrates the energies of the cosmos with the energy of the Earth. Methods include planting according to the pull of the moon, taking into account surrounding environments and their energetic influences, and putting energy into supporting the good in nature, as opposed to fighting the bad with chemicals and pesticides. Biodynamics can be describes as living in nature and observing what happens according to varying different conditions (for example, planting a carrot on full moon as opposed to new moon, mid-day or early morning, and observing any differences) and following the rhythms of ancient knowledge along with our own keen observations and first-handed experiences. As Steiner said: “Biodynamics is a human service to the earth and its creatures, not just a method for increasing production or for providing healthy food.” Interestingly, Biodynamics is so intuitive that many of the methods described by Rudolf Steiner are already part of the indigenous farming practice here on the Lake, particular that of our Gardener, Silvio, whose green fingers and loving intentions have allowed the farm garden to truly bloom.