Inspiring Local Teenagers at the Sat Yoga Ashram

By Durga

Two Local High School Student Groups Visit the Ashram

One of the greatest joys of living and working at the Sat Yoga Ashram is being able to offer a real vision of a truly sustainable life.

In the context of this ongoing effort especially within the local community, we recently had the honor of welcoming two student groups from local high schools for an educational visit to the ashram. Hosted by the ashram’s agricultural coordinator, Durga, these young Costa Ricans enjoyed a day of learning, hands on experience and community life.

Students from Colegio Ambientalista Isaias Retana Arias, with their teacher, Don German Arias Cruz.

The main topic of study for the groups was community development and agroecology*, which includes food security. At the ashram, they were able to see first hand how a community can not only be developed harmoniously, but also thrive using the ancient science of yoga. On the phenomenal plane, they could learn from our environmental practices, such as ecological food production and appropriate waste management, such as recycling, mulching, and dry compost toilets.

Durga, with students from Liceo Rio Nuevo, and Sergio one of our workers who also helped to facilitate the group.

Many of the students and teachers were already familiar with the ashram land in its previous form as a cattle farm that had undergone serious deforestation and overgrazing. They were greatly surprised by the radical transformation the property has undergone in the past seven years in its development by the Sat Yoga community. It was humbling to see how the reforestation, abundance of wildlife, diversity of crops, and revitalization of the land inspired both the students and the teachers. 

After eating a delicious breakfast, lovingly prepared by our ashram kitchen, Ruchira, (a sacred name, meaning delicious, tasteful, bright and beautiful), we gathered to sample a display of non-traditional produce just harvested from the ashram fields. This gathering was an opportunity to discuss the principles of diversity and food safety that we are employing here at the ashram. To see the wonder of the students in their reactions and their eagerness to try all these new fruits and unfamiliar produce was priceless. It is a great privilege to be a witness to these precious moments, to listen to all the conversations that emerge when the mind and heart open. More than raising food, Sat Yoga is about raising consciousness, and to see young adults experiencing another possibility, at least for a day, was very moving.

Hanuman and Roylan in the greenhouse with the students.

It was a full day of tours, and hands-on learning and both the teachers and students expressed gratitude for all they had experienced. They were inspired and uplifted to see a successful and rapidly developing project in their neighborhood that is not only providing practical models for ecological sustainability that is applicable in their communities, but also providing new patterns of relating to nature and one another based on yogic values of nonviolence, divine love, and respect. One student made a beautiful comment; “[these practices] are very good because in the eyes of God we are all brothers and sisters and there is no difference among any of us.”

It was a joy to open our home to this lively and inquisitive group of students, and we look forward to continuing to share our experience with the region, so that the growth here at the ashram, both spiritual and on the phenomenal plane, is of service for more communities.

*Agroecology is the study of ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems. The prefix agro- refers to agriculture. Bringing ecological principles to bear in agroecosystems can suggest novel management approaches that would not otherwise be considered.

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