Who is Laine Hoogstraten?

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.

 'just a little hippy" in around 1972


‘just a little hippy” in around 1972

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.

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Laine Hoogstraten today, in residence at the Chaya Garden Ashrm

Laine Hoogstraten today, in residence at the Chaya Garden Ashram

 

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Welcome Mom!

We are excited to welcome my mother Lois and her husband Farley to the ashram for their first visit to Belize!
They are used to pretty glamorous traveling, the arctic, the islands, the mid-west; and it’s with great joy that we welcome them to our humble abode. The wonderful thing is they are letting go- and letting God; they will be enjoying the humble but hearty benefits of ashram life for the next two weeks.
It’s a good thing they will be here to help us eat our bountiful crop of avocados this year.
We have an exciting vegan bar B Q planned for the second weekend in July. Bar B Q’s are a common protocol of family togetherness in Belize, but this will only be the FIRST vegan Bar B Q we’ve planned in the 5 years we’ve been here. Lots of good dishes will be coming, with Mary and Sparkle providing some, Jamal from Roots Wraps and Smoothies providing some, and we’ll provide some as well!
Roasting potatoes with garlic and onions, wrapped in foil in the fire, pineapple skewers, grilled egg plant, casava salad and more!IMG_0108

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Chaya Garden Ashram

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Welcome everyone! Please use the tabs to see what we offer. Feel free to ask us any question under the Contact Us tab. The Ashram is available for private, group, and guest teacher retreats.

We are pleased to be participating in the International Day of Yoga in Belize City on the 21st of June.

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Water Fasting = Life Extension

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I just finished a 5 day water fast and I’m planning a 7-10 day water fast in August! Water fasting is an incredibly simple and easy thing to practice. I recommend getting a book by Paul Bragg or by Arnold Ehret. Paul Bragg’s most direct advice on how to handle a water fast is “Just Grin and Bear”.

I actually started my retreat on Sunday and ended it on Thursday. On Saturday, I made a long drive to the Belize’s capitol, Belmopan. I suffered a bit of heat exhaustion that day, and decided to only rest on Sunday. On Sunday some neighbors called on me to drive them to their family’s residence in Succotz, and I couldn’t say no. So, when I arrived home, exhausted as ever, and trying to fight off a nasty infection, I started my fast.

Drinking nothing but water and consuming nothing seems like a recipe for disaster to anyone who enjoys the Standard American Diet (SAD). But the truth is the opposite! Nothing so extends your life as fasting. The reason fasting is feared is because so much emphasis is put on eating everyday. Most people enjoy large meals, eating at least 3 times a day, and stuffing anything into their face they can get their hands on. If you’ve never fasted before, you might fear the confusion of your mind, because of the cessation of this automatic activity. In truth, fasting will put you into direct communication with your body.

I really enjoyed the first day of my fast. Laine went alone to a picnic, with our Belize Pro-Organic food group to the fabulous Blancaneux Lodge, to tour their organic garden and have a potluck with the members of the group. Even though I missed out the lovely gathering and splendid food, my peace of mind quickly returned to me in the silence of the ashram, and the steady rhythm of bird song, the trickling waterfall and the noise of the crickets.

Day two is the day when I REALLY wanted nothing to do at all. I went to yoga with Laine at the class she teaches at Ka-anna resort first thing in the morning. I felt great, but then my body was giving me instructions to CHILL OUT. My resolve was weak, but I made it through the day without breaking the fast. Laine was by my side giving me encouragement as to how brave I was.

On day three, I noticed that I had stopped playing loud music, stopped drinking tea, and I wasn’t interested in the computer at all. I was getting regular rest, getting to bed at an appropriate hour, and drinking plenty of water. I got approximately half of the chores done that I normally do, but I was still mentally alert.

On day four, I felt fantastic! I woke up with the Sun, and hit the hammock and read more and more about the benefits of fasting. I directed my consciousness, WILLED my body to work and accomplished a great number of tasks!

Day 5 I was feeling just as able, and the possibility of prolonging the fast lingered within my reach! We did a restorative set of yoga from our Kundalini manual, and upon rising from Shivasana, I felt such youth and radiance in my skin, it was hard to stop from smiling! But because the fast was a spontaneous decision, I thought it best to break it now. Laine had prepared a salad so beautiful, I swear I have never in my life seen such a wonderful salad. Lettuce, mint, sprouts, onions, mangoes, bell apples (a small local apple which has the resemblance to rose quartz), and dressed with lime juice. Laine and her friend were enjoying this salad when I came down from checking the email, and I immediately asked her for a small plate. I sat for the rest of lunch, contemplating, teasing myself, enjoying the scent, colors, and texture of the salad, until both ladies were finished lunch. Then I decided, I would break my fast now, but plan a longer fast in August.

I had the bite of salad, but I knew it would not be enough to move my bowels, which is important after a fast; and I boiled up a dish of tomatoes, lightly seasoned with tumeric, anatto, and salt. Although it’s important, it isn’t life or death to have a BM following a fast. I had to wait for the following day.

So that was my first 5 day fast and it was everything I imagined it would be. Visions of food danced in head, recalling in detail flavors, textures, recipes! I was weak; but I was soon full of vitality. Thanks to my yoga practice I have a fair bit of endurance, so physically the fast was not hard. I feel, that if you have adequate rest for the first three days; meaning FULL rest (and this is where a fast supervisor comes in handy; to handle the odd jobs and save you running around when you’re low on energy) then you to should be able to fast for 5 days on water, or longer!

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Yielding Results

We are loving the growth we’re experiencing right now. I have personally felt like this is a time of growth and transformation for some time. And I feel like we’ll see our efforts paying off sooner than later! Now this is evident as we prepare to erect our new roof. Right now we can look through the structure of our roof and see the stars, and it’s so beautiful to see! We really feel like we are protected even though we don’t have a roof over our heads, we did the work in preparation and now we watch as we yield our results. It’s fantastic! It’s an interesting place to be at in our Sadhana (spiritual practice). In some ways we can’t wait for it to get back to normal. But it’s interesting putting energy here and there while the bulk of our yoga and healing space is being used up in construction!
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Jill Bolte Taylor

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.

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On At The Ashram Playlist

Hey everybody, make sure you check out
Lots of music to discover, we’ll keep you posted to whatever we’re listening to, to save you some trouble at least, because we listen to what in our humble opinions is good music. Some of it will be mantra music, not all of it! I hope whatever it is you get as much from it as we do!

Chaya Garden Ashram, Yoga Belize

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Silent Meditation

Silent Meditations have become a staple at Chaya Garden Ashram. We acknowledge the power of yoga asanas, mantras, and mudras, but it is equally important to sit in silence and let the mind be free to expand and soar to new heights.

Meditating in this way was one of my first real commitments to yoga, and this is a renewal of that commitment. All that’s needed is to create some sacred space, by burning an incense, saying a few prayers of thanks to the creator for this time, and this blessing; and clearing the mind of any and all things that the mind attaches to.

The best way to utilize this technique is to do it along with someone else. This way, when you begin, and your mind is prone to wander and wind up your meditation too early, you can look over and see someone else still meditating with you. This really works because it forces you to pay attention.

I learned this technique from a friend, and we would always meditate on the patanjali sutras, the first two; “Now is the time of yoga”, and “Yoga is the cessation of the misidentifications with the modifications of the mind”. Using this technique, I’m able to quiet the mind, and the mind turns into a movie camera, projector, and screen.

Silent meditation is not just about silence, it’s about listening…. WITHIN!

Often we would meditate to great jazz, techno, downtempo and dub music. Without the mind using it’s previously known tricks of distraction and disguise, the music would sound very different, revealing new things about itself. It got to be the point where we could meditate with any music and achieve the same result.

Meditating here in silence at the ashram is even more beautiful; in correct posture, with fresh air, and the sounds and spirits of nature are delightful. The Garden is a presence here that can be felt in that silence. I’m so glad that I am doing this here now, a skill that is applicable whether you meditate in a cozy apartment or an amazing ashram.

And this is a meditation that was brought to us by our sweet friend, Sweetwater Charlie. We loved sharing silent moments, and Charlie really seemed to love and understand our Ashram. Thanks Charlie!

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Osmosis: jungle herbal hydrotherapy

up from the center

the layers of the cosmic onion

reach for the light

through the crown of my head

and I lie as if dead

now i know nothing

now I am everything

divine wisdom has always been nowIMG_4997

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these just in…stuffed poblano in a delicate spelt crust

 

Happy holiday!

this is how I have fun

roasted poblano peppers,  mildly spicy

roasted poblano peppers, mildly spicy

stuffed with a mixture of mashed potato and breadfruit with fried onion and garlic

stuffed with a mixture of mashed potato and breadfruit with fried onion and garlic, fresh parsley

ya, just like that baby

ya, just like that baby

how perfect is that?

how perfect is that?

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ready to party, served with raita, (cucumber and yogurt), and dash of the chili garlic hot sauce

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