The Mystical Yoga Farm is an eco-retreat center on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.
We’ve been hearing this term “eco-retreat” for some time now. But what does it really mean? And what qualifies a center to call themselves this? We want to encourage you to do your research to discover the depth of integrity each center has in calling themselves an “eco-retreat”. Here are some questions to ask!
Question #1: What do you do with your waste?
The Mystical Yoga Farm is the only known zero waste center on Lake Atitlán. What does this mean and why does it matter? To be zero waste means to reuse, recycle, or create, with all of the trash that we have from our daily life here. We started our goal of becoming zero waste back in 2016 and became fully 100% zero waste in 2020. Any and all trash and waste are burned, composted, reused, or made into art and building materials.
This is important because in places like Lake Atitlán, there is no trash pickup or managed landfills. Which means the trash and waste ends up piled on the sides of the beautiful volcanoes here. Can a center really be an eco-retreat if they are depositing their trash on the sides of mountains?
We consider the Earth, Mama Gaia, to be a sentient being. We pray to her, listen to her, and are dedicated to living in harmony with her. Being a zero waste center is a foundational part of our commitment to living in harmony with her.
Question #2: What is your impact on the Earth?
Here at the Farm, we follow the principles of permaculture to our best ability in how we interact with the Earth. From using only biodegradable products, to designing our spaces into zones that balance our needs with those of nature, and to composting and organic farming.
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.
Ensuring that an eco-retreat center is highly considerate and focused on their impact on the Earth in all respects is very important to being an eco-retreat.
Question #3: Where does your food come from?
We know how important the quality of our food is for our body’s nourishment. And how the methods we use for farming impact the land. We grow our own organic herbs for teas here on our property. And we’ve partnered with our sister property Dreamland Sanctuary to grow organic food for our kitchen.
Dreamland also has a mission to empower the local Mayans here to learn organic methods of farming for their own land, so that we can make a greater impact on the land around the entire Lake Atitlán, not just our own property.
We then do our best to source locally organic grown food as much as is possible, with the future outlook of eventually growing all of our kitchen’s produce needs at neighboring sister farms.
The Bottom Line:
To be considered an eco-retreat center shouldn’t be taken lightly. It takes effort, dedication, consistency, and long-term planning to ensure we are having a harmonious and beneficial impact on the Earth. And it’s important so that we can reverse the harmful effects of our past ignorant ways of living.
Help us make an impact by ensuring we support eco-retreat centers that are truly in alignment with the vision of a more beautiful, sustainable, harmonious world.