Mystical Yoga Farm-Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
I had the pleasure of spending the weekend at the Mystical Yoga Farm near Santiago on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala this weekend. It’s the off season right now, so my friend Grace and I had the place all to ourselves.
Luckily, my good friend Jah is the manager and put together a lovely getaway package for us. For $45 USD a night you get to stay either in a dorm or a private casita, have three delicious meals which are made from produce grown on the farm as much as possible and all the ceremonies offered; plus yoga of course. Generally speaking, it’s a workshop and volunteer farm and school so if you happen to go when there is a Yoga Teacher Training on, then you’ll get all the asana offered to students.
It took us four chicken busses to get from Antigua to San Pedro where we had breakfast and hit up the market and health food store before taking a boat to Santiago. From there, Jah organized for a private boat to take us to the very secluded and beautiful private property that the farm sits on.
What makes the Mystical Yoga Farm stand out is that unlike other permaculture farms that are about the sustainability aspect and daily volunteer hours harvesting (although they are run on solar power and all the water is filtered three times over), or a yoga ashram that’s about worship in daily meditation, pranayama and asana; they also offer a lot of ceremonies. There is a clear skew towards shamanism and giving thanks to the land in the various daily ceremonies they practice.
Once we arrived and settled in, we were escorted to the open format tea house and partook in a tea ceremony with Chinese tea that was delicious. From there we got ready for a Temazcal ceremony followed by a delicious, and well won dinner in the main dining area.
Temazcal is a Mayan version of a sweat lodge, where the structure is built from either wood or cement (in this case wood) with a fire outside heating the coals inside. After first thanking the four directions, we entered the darkened room in silence and then sang medicine songs to Shiva and Kali as well as more modern Rainbow-gathering songs. There was a point when we were invited to call out the things that no longer served us so that they could be burned up in the fire. I let go of my need to be perfect or to please others and I could feel myself getting light headed and hot as we sang to Kali, the destroyer, to take away that which was no longer serving us. The Temazcal lasted about an hour and then we walked naked to the dock and lay under the night sky, letting the air cool our skin.
In the morning we started off with a cacao ceremony on the dock, drinking pure cacao and hot water and then Jah lead us through a guided meditation. We followed the ceremony with an incredible two-hour yoga class that mixed Hatha, Ashtanga and Kriya yoga.
Even though there was a lot of travel, the weekend was well worth it.
The Mystical Yoga Farm hosts several YTTs throughout the year, both 200 hour and 500 hour with a focus on both traditional yoga as well as shamanism and ceremony through The Yoga Institute. They also hosts several retreats throughout the year, check their website for more information.