Yogi Confidential: Volume Five

Body Conscious, Earth Conscious

by Christine Anderson

costa-rica-ocean-view.jpg

In the yogic scriptures as part of the social conducts within the Yamas and Niyamas, exists one of the most important rules of yoga. Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word meaning, ‘non-violence’ and is an umbrella for peace. Committing violence involves much more than just the obvious, like war and street fighting. The words you speak, the thoughts you have, the way your treat your own body and mind and even the food you eat can all be carried out violently if not conscious of action.

In the Talamanca mountain range of Costa Rica, in the south, in a town called Yorkin, exists a very peaceful community of Bribri natives. I had recently, the great pleasure of living within this community for nearly two months, experiencing their culture, language and people. What makes this community unique is that it was started by a group of woman…

A group of woman practicing Ahimsa. I am grateful for all that ‘Stibrawpa’ (Women Artisans) has taught me. How the power of one, with the cooperation of many has started what could be a new world revolution.

Stibrawpa was formed in 1992 by Bernarda Morales, who saw her community and her culture rapidly disappearing.

The three missions of the organization are, to protect the river, bring back the culture and save the forest. All acts of peace and regeneration after experiencing some of the destruction of the modern world.

Being in the mountains, with the only access to town via the 1 hour ride on the river, the men were leaving the community in search of a livelihood with which to support their families. The south of Costa Rica is littered with the banana plantations of the United Fruit Company, and this is where the men went to work.

With the men out of the community, working in the plantations, the women were home alone with the kids.

When the men would come back for visits, they brought with them the processed foods and fruits from the plantations that had been treated with chemicals they had never been exposed to. Slowly, their diets and culture began to change. They were eating food that they were not accustomed to and with the introduction of the sugary processed treats the children no longer wanted to eat their traditional organic fresh foods. The health of Yorkin was declining.

The men began to develop diseases of the modern world. The harsh chemicals of the banana industry were delivering lung and brain cancer into the husbands of the Bribri women. Bernarda gathered some of the women together and they began to brainstorm ways to bring their husbands back home. They had to bring work to the community or else their culture was not going to survive.

Sixteen years later, Yorkin has a natural tourism business. Nature conscious travelers looking to experience some of the land and culture of Costa Rica are never disappointed in Yorkin.

The community is now formed by 30 families and 210 people. All the families work together and each family has an organic farm on their small piece of land, separated from their neighbours by a row of flowers. They grow 5 different types of banana, cacao and palmito along with some other diet staples. They feed the community first and what is left goes to market for export.

In Yorkin, there is limited electricity (all solar), and the community is doing it’s best to revive the health of the forest, animals, land and river that they have watched decline over the years.

What does this have to do with Ahimsa?

On my travels from San Jose to Yorkin, once crossing over the Talamanca mountain range, the landscape changed from lush forest to miles and miles of banana farms, known as ‘banana coast’. The look of the banana fields is shocking. Miles of banana plants with big bunches of green bananas hanging from the plants.

Wrapped in blue plastic bags.

What is in those bags aside from bananas? At least TWO HUNDRED and EIGHTY different types of pesticides and hormones to keep bugs away and speed the ripening of the fruit. Five of which are considered ‘extremely hazardous’ by the World Health Organization. if you eat bananas, do the research and see what you can find, that’s what’s in those bags (and the rivers, lakes, earth, ocean reefs, the bodies of the workers and finally yours).

Eating foods that have not been consciously prepared is an act of violence to all of these things. I am grateful to have been there. To meet the people affected by non-organic farming and to hear their story. There is so much more that can be written about this community, about organic farming and especially about the impact of non-organic farming on the environment and all of us who share the responsibility of its health.

I believe that the nutrition I consume is made up of more than just protein or the vitamins contained within, it also holds the energy (of love or otherwise) from the moment it was planted, to the moment it enters my body. If I work in my yoga practice to be mindful and respectful of my body in motion, it makes no sense for me to fuel up with tainted nutrition.

Which bananas would you rather eat?

girl-with-bananas.jpg

Jaylei helping carry the bananas from the family farm.

water.jpg

The Yorkin River is the Bribri people’s connection to society… so far they have managed to keep it (mostly) clean from the chemicals of United Fruit Company that have poisoned many of the other rivers in this part of the country.

img_0249.jpg

A small piece of ‘banana coast’ dotted with the toxic blue bags that wash into the rivers, land and lungs of the workers.

bananasbluebagstlucia.jpg

Yogi Confidential….

At AYM we are interested in fostering a sense of community, so that we can learn from one another, and inspire one another to grow. Whether the focus be spiritual, physical, or anecdotal, we would love to have members of our community share their stories…

If any of you are interested in writing a segment for

Yogi Confidential please contact us by email

info@ashtangamontreal.com

Body Conscious, Earth Conscious

by Christine Anderson

costa-rica-ocean-view.jpg

In the yogic scriptures as part of the social conducts within the Yamas and Niyamas, exists one of the most important rules of yoga. Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word meaning, ‘non-violence’ and is an umbrella for peace. Committing violence involves much more than just the obvious, like war and street fighting. The words you speak, the thoughts you have, the way your treat your own body and mind and even the food you eat can all be carried out violently if not conscious of action.

In the Talamanca mountain range of Costa Rica, in the south, in a town called Yorkin, exists a very peaceful community of Bribri natives. I had recently, the great pleasure of living within this community for nearly two months, experiencing their culture, language and people. What makes this community unique is that it was started by a group of woman…

A group of woman practicing Ahimsa. I am grateful for all that ‘Stibrawpa’ (Women Artisans) has taught me. How the power of one, with the cooperation of many has started what could be a new world revolution.

Stibrawpa was formed in 1992 by Bernarda Morales, who saw her community and her culture rapidly disappearing.

The three missions of the organization are, to protect the river, bring back the culture and save the forest. All acts of peace and regeneration after experiencing some of the destruction of the modern world.

Being in the mountains, with the only access to town via the 1 hour ride on the river, the men were leaving the community in search of a livelihood with which to support their families. The south of Costa Rica is littered with the banana plantations of the United Fruit Company, and this is where the men went to work.

With the men out of the community, working in the plantations, the women were home alone with the kids.

When the men would come back for visits, they brought with them the processed foods and fruits from the plantations that had been treated with chemicals they had never been exposed to. Slowly, their diets and culture began to change. They were eating food that they were not accustomed to and with the introduction of the sugary processed treats the children no longer wanted to eat their traditional organic fresh foods. The health of Yorkin was declining.

The men began to develop diseases of the modern world. The harsh chemicals of the banana industry were delivering lung and brain cancer into the husbands of the Bribri women. Bernarda gathered some of the women together and they began to brainstorm ways to bring their husbands back home. They had to bring work to the community or else their culture was not going to survive.

Sixteen years later, Yorkin has a natural tourism business. Nature conscious travelers looking to experience some of the land and culture of Costa Rica are never disappointed in Yorkin.

The community is now formed by 30 families and 210 people. All the families work together and each family has an organic farm on their small piece of land, separated from their neighbours by a row of flowers. They grow 5 different types of banana, cacao and palmito along with some other diet staples. They feed the community first and what is left goes to market for export.

In Yorkin, there is limited electricity (all solar), and the community is doing it’s best to revive the health of the forest, animals, land and river that they have watched decline over the years.

What does this have to do with Ahimsa?

On my travels from San Jose to Yorkin, once crossing over the Talamanca mountain range, the landscape changed from lush forest to miles and miles of banana farms, known as ‘banana coast’. The look of the banana fields is shocking. Miles of banana plants with big bunches of green bananas hanging from the plants.

Wrapped in blue plastic bags.

What is in those bags aside from bananas? At least TWO HUNDRED and EIGHTY different types of pesticides and hormones to keep bugs away and speed the ripening of the fruit. Five of which are considered ‘extremely hazardous’ by the World Health Organization. if you eat bananas, do the research and see what you can find, that’s what’s in those bags (and the rivers, lakes, earth, ocean reefs, the bodies of the workers and finally yours).

Eating foods that have not been consciously prepared is an act of violence to all of these things. I am grateful to have been there. To meet the people affected by non-organic farming and to hear their story. There is so much more that can be written about this community, about organic farming and especially about the impact of non-organic farming on the environment and all of us who share the responsibility of its health.

I believe that the nutrition I consume is made up of more than just protein or the vitamins contained within, it also holds the energy (of love or otherwise) from the moment it was planted, to the moment it enters my body. If I work in my yoga practice to be mindful and respectful of my body in motion, it makes no sense for me to fuel up with tainted nutrition.

Which bananas would you rather eat?

girl-with-bananas.jpg

Jaylei helping carry the bananas from the family farm.

water.jpg

The Yorkin River is the Bribri people’s connection to society… so far they have managed to keep it (mostly) clean from the chemicals of United Fruit Company that have poisoned many of the other rivers in this part of the country.

img_0249.jpg

A small piece of ‘banana coast’ dotted with the toxic blue bags that wash into the rivers, land and lungs of the workers.

bananasbluebagstlucia.jpg

Yogi Confidential….

At AYM we are interested in fostering a sense of community, so that we can learn from one another, and inspire one another to grow. Whether the focus be spiritual, physical, or anecdotal, we would love to have members of our community share their stories…

If any of you are interested in writing a segment for

Yogi Confidential please contact us by email

info@ashtangamontreal.com

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