June 3, 2010

Shayari Jungle Retreat in the Ecuadorian Amazon. ~ Janet Perry

The Shayari Jungle Retreat in Ecuador is the perfect space for deep healing, combining ancient Yogic practice with equally ancient shamanic wisdom.  Shayari Reserve is a pristine Rainforest community,  home to 15 indigenous Kichwa families, and an abundance of rare and endangered wildlife. On the magnificent grounds is an ecotourist retreat center.   Resident shaman Don Fausto leads guests to serene sacred waterfalls, as well as deep healing ceremonies utilizing the medicinal brew Yahe. The power of this work does not end where the yoga mat stops, as each dollar raised will provide clean drinking water to the indigenous communities most affected by the pollution of the Rainforest.  The Shayari Jungle Retreat will run between July 21st through the  31st.

Organizer Russell Mendell is passionate about the work being done in the Ecuadorian Amazon.  He is working with an organization, Kaivalya Retreats, that does development projects through ‘Retreat Benefits’ where all of the money received goes towards the projects, such as clean water systems.  Mendell describes the Shayari Jungle Retreat in Ecuador.

“Its a yoga retreat in the Amazon Rainforest at a Shamanic Retreat Center.  It’s with a Quiche tribe, which is one of the tribes that live in the region of the Amazon, further South, which has been really affected by oil drilling.”

Dhyana Masla and her sister Syama are yoga instructors and will be leading yoga sessions during the  retreat.  Dhyana;

“Nature is the rhythm of the Divine. A tree does not resist the wind, but flows and grows in accordance with it. I find my passion in nature; in recognizing my intrinsic connection with all that exists and noticing how I meet each experience; in combining the elements to create healing spaces that inspire, educate, remind and reconnect you with your own true nature on your journey towards rediscovering and creating your Self. “

Massage therapist and Yoga Instructor Syama Masla says

“I am committed to continuously opening my heart, continuously learn, and allow each person and moment that arrive in my life to act as a teacher. I hope to meet you from this place. My passion lies in co-creating supportive communities, the healing arts, expressive arts, and the ancient arts of Yoga.  Please join me on a journey of healing, Yoga, celebration, and creation!”

Two hours downstream from the pristine ecological Shayari Reserve lies Lago Agrio and its oil contaminated water.  In the more than twenty years that Texaco conducted oil drilling operations in the Ecuadorian Amazon they dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste water and raw crude oil into unlined pits and the rivers surrounding Lago Agrio. As a result the indigenous people of the region have suffered greatly. Having to rely on contaminated wells for drinking, contaminated rivers for washing, and contaminated fish and game for sustenance, they have seen rates of cancer, and skin disease skyrocket.

The people of the area have filed a Class-Action lawsuit against TexacoChevron.  Meanwhile, English activist Nicola Peel, partnered with local organizations to construct low cost, high volume water catchment systems with salvaged wood.  Each of the guests attending the retreat will be providing enough drinking water for between eight to ten families.

Mendell describes the water catchment designs,

“They’re basically big green water tanks with a filtration system built in.  They’re cheap and efficient.  All the supplies come from local hard-ware stores and its a really cheap system to maintain.  We teach them how to maintain them.  We also build the systems with the families, so its a very collaborative experience.  We show them everything that needs to be done to maintain the system.”

Mendell explained that he feels a sense of duty to this work.

“When I was a young man I received a scholarship to go on a Shamanic Journey to the Amazon Rain-Forest.  and it was a life-altering experience.   The Shamans told me when I was leaving; they said, “You’ve been given this incredible opportunity for a reason, and with this priviledge also comes a responsibility.   I really took it to heart and I’ve been looking for ways to ‘serve’ down there for a very long time now and this feels like a really good way….”

Find more information on retreats that ‘give back’ at Kaivalya Retreats’ website.

Janet Perry is a freelance writer from Nederland, Colorado. She cares about the underdog and cares about creating a more sustainable world where nobody gets hurt and all creatures live in peace.

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