I absolutely love Guatemala!
This country has a strong spiritual vibrancy. There are not only Mayan sacred centers but there is a quality of life that has been held strong, similar to that in Vermont, California and reemerging on a Brooklyn roof-top garden.
There are birthing centers, spiritual communities holding strong amongst seasonally wandering energy workers gracing small pueblos, with a growing cultural community built upon recycling and eco-culture.
Obviously there is a flip side to all countries. There is separation from the poor and well-off however when it comes to spirituality and personal growth this is a thread that cannot be cut by socioeconomic class.
As our group wanders through Santa Cruz we meet up with the program director, Pat of Amigos de Santa Cruz. Followed by a small tour of new infrastructure containing a trades building. Yes, resources are not readily available.
The little bodega on the way to town does not have a full stock pile of all that is necessary for the house. Even there, you leave your glass bottles to be rewashed before being bottled again. If household materials are not readily available it is easy to see that clean water or running water of any kind is an issue.
Stoves are open fire pits burning in a mud and stone structure. The walls are black. The children and families live and breathe this when food is prepared. Amigos has helped bring in water filtration systems, clean-burning wood stoves, a meal program for children at school and a computer program made possible by donated computers and assistance.
The trade building is a big deal. It allows one to be active in the community, to have a sense of purpose, and to actually get to a school that does not require a daily boat and bus ride exceeding three hours in each direction.
Try not to see this as a town that is full of alcoholism and laziness. It’s not. The children play soccer and the towns people gather, speak publicly, looking forward to the changes that could allow the women and men of the community to give work and finance back to their town. On this day one of our students sponsors a young girl to go to school. This will change her existing family.
Perhaps this is something really worth considering on or off of a travel ridden schedule. The teacher now travels, seeks, plans and all the while trying to be contained in an intimate network of students on a spiritual path toward realization, or at least a state of yoga.
What this country really makes me feel is reset. It allows for one to take initiative into life. I find it the perfect place to create a ten person collective for deeper studies of yoga. Studies that not only move thoroughly through the Yoga Alliance curriculum, but that enrich the practitioner’s life in such a way they have no other way of living and have never wanted to live any other way.
Not long ago, a student who just completed a 200 hour program reached out through a Facebook invite. I was invited to her 200 hour program. She later wrote to me and told me the exciting news to see if I received the invite. I did. I mentioned that she graduated a few months ago. She agreed and said that she was really excited to offer this program. There was a huge pause before replying. All I could say was if you want help in designing the program please let me know.
I am not in the dark with yoga being a business. And I am not more special because I did not think it could be a career. I work hard at being able to make what I have learned accessible and manageable to the modern yoga practitioners. I am not more special because I studied yoga, siddha, mantra traditionally for a long period of time one-on-one with all my teachers, but there is something that I have learned from this process.
There is a natural rhythm, a way, in which we create programs that are all inclusive. A credit card or check will do. And there is the actually selection of a student. The way in which a student chooses to step forward. One of my teachers once said that ‘the right teacher attracts the right student.‘ I find this to be very true. I see it in this collective.
This collective has decided to not move through a standard 200 hour curriculum, but participate in a program that enriches each of their lives in such a way that they have no other way of living and have never wanted to live any other way.