The property that has become GaiaYoga Gardens (GYG) was purchased in December 2002 and is located in the Puna District on the Big Island of Hawaii. At that time, it was 17.75 acres of raw, forested land. It had a mixture of native, naturalized and invasive tropical species of plants and animals, which create a balanced and stable Hawaiian eco-system. GaiaYoga Gardens was originally founded in 2003, then re-founded in 2009 after Ano separated from his ex-partner and re-bought the land with his current partner, Melekai. The land is a combination of unmanaged rainforest, diversified tropical orchards, perennial gardens, cow pastures and infrastructure for our human community (bedrooms, communal spaces, “coco bar,” parking areas, bathing area, solar system, water catchment, etc.).
Since the beginning, the dream has been to weave our human settlement and our cultural vision into the already existing web of life on this land. Rather than dominating the land with tractor, bulldozer and lawnmower, we dance with it a little bit at a time, primarily using hand tools (machetes, saws, sickles, shovels, picks, wheelbarrows, drills, etc.) We gently sculpt out a niche for our homes. This isn’t to say we haven’t used a bulldozer, we have, but very intentionally where it is truly practical.
We moved into our first “tropical breeze house” home-made, eco-structure in the summer of 2003. Ever since then, we’ve been improving the infrastructure, planting food trees, bananas, bamboo, and gardens. We’ve been building our businesses, connecting with the Earth here, growing spiritually, learning to live together. We’ve been healing from our past, enjoying the blessings of our present and envisioning a future rich with the fruits and labor of a sustainable and holistic community. There’s been hundreds of people who’ve stayed with us over the years. Some stayed for weeks, some for months or years, but most are not here now. Several of us have stuck it out and are now the foundation of what GaiaYoga Gardens is becoming. We have lots of stories and “eras” that we’ve gone through to get to where we are now.
The two biggest lessons we’ve learned so far: 1) Creating an intentional community is a slow-moving sport that requires a lot of patience and grace. 2) Humans are the toughest crop of all… Bananas and solar systems come relatively easily compared to what it takes to heal and re-educate ourselves to live together sustainably. Founding a community and developing a new cultural consciousness and template takes time, lots of behind-and-under-the-scene work, lots of devotion, lots of compassion for ourselves and others and a very wide and deep set of tools and skills.
It also involves a lot of disappointment when things don’t go as we hoped. More than anything, it involves having the ability to bring creative and connected energy to life consistently. Creating community and developing ourselves into adults who are able to live sustainably and holistically demands the same kind of energy that parenting does: dependable devotion, the capacity to give energy when we’d rather not and the ability to create joy out of challenges.
As much as we’re proud of what’s manifesting materially on the land (our visible structure), we’re probably more proud of what’s gestating and growing within the people who are involved with GaiaYoga (our invisible structure). We see ourselves healing out of our conditioning, and becoming the whole, fully alive people that we were intended to be.
Socially, we have cultivated a fertile soil for experiencing and re-creating a natural human social structure. It consists of healthy integrated individuals within bonded families, within bonded clans, within bonded tribes, within larger social organizations — living a sustainable and holistic lifestyle. Spiritually, we support a diversity of practices and traditions that honor both the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine and show themselves to support all of our humanity. Depending on what individuals are here and what kind of passions they have, we engage in different spiritual and social activities. Individuals (with the support of our “container”), have a profound opportunity to heal; manifest their true self obscured by all of their wounds and cultural conditioning; develop as a healthy adult in an inter-dependent, cooperative, holistic culture; and enjoy life with like-minded and like-hearted community members. In summary, we are creating GaiaYoga Gardens as a sanctuary for developing sustainable & holistic culture that supports True Human Freedom, including: living in harmony with the Earth; connecting with Spirit and having that connection infuse all of life; engaging in growth, healing and self-development; and participating in deep and authentic relationships within a cooperative tribal community.
Early in 2016 Ano published the book he’d been working on for 3 years — a visionary treatise which is the culmination of 25 years of exploring and co-creating sustainable and holistic culture. The book is called True Human Freedom: The Inspiration and Argument for GaiaYoga Culture. It expresses the vision Ano has been devoted to and “pregnant with” since before he began GYG. In clear and sober language, it reveals what our cultural conditioning looks like and how profoundly it impacts us. Beyond that, it is a template or seed for how (and why) to create a new culture that actually supports (by design) True Human Freedom. Having this dynamic vision articulated clearly in words, with maps of culture and consciousness, is part of the dawning of a new era in our community. And we are experiencing the wonderful changes of sharing this intention transparently.
We hope you find grounded inspiration at our site. Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in participating in our 16-day immersion experience, doing an eco-rental, exploring the possibility of creating your home at GYG, ordering something, or if you just have a question or comment.
As of April, 2017, we are 2 permanent members and their 2 young children, 6 long-term residents exploring membership, a new baby, and a handful of short and medium term residents living and growing with us.
ATTENTION UNIVERSE: We are actively seeking mature adults (singles, couples and families) who would like to pioneer this vision and share this land with us and make it their home. We want more permanent members for our community!
For more information and inspiration about our community, check out these pages: