Here’s what some people say after their experience with us:

     Aloha Ano,

     You had been on my mind a lot the past few weeks.  I wanted to thank you for simply being you.  I feel immense gratitude for getting to live with you and everyone at GaiaYoga.  I don’t think I was able to fully appreciate the experience ’til I left.
     I have a huge amount of respect for you Ano, in the way in which you live in integrity with yourself.  (Committed to instinctive eating, living from the land, and constantly seeking better ways to facilitate connection with others.)  You’ve inspired me to eat only local foods… and stick to that with conviction.  You also broke open my ability to see the strong needs I have for community and tribal connection.  I also wanted to thank you for the several sessions of bodywork you facilitated on me.  I feel such gratitude and tenderness because that met my needs for support and healing.
     I truly have so much love and gratitude for you in my heart. You have shifted and helped disesemble layers of Societal Conditioning.
     Thank you so much Ano.
I truly love and respect you.
– Jenna

Morganna w/ Ano (Party Time!)


– Morganna, Canada


Take 2:

My time at Gaia Yoga Gardens is one that I hold so dear in my heart and soul.
     Initially I  interned at Gaia Yoga Gardens during the summer of 2011 and returned shortly after to spend Nov of 2011 to March 2012 . I currently live between California and Vermont.  I fell in love with the land, the GaiaYoga Culture, and underwent what I consider my most profound personal and spiritual transformation. I truly found my rhythm at GaiaYoga, learned to walk to the beat of my own inner drum. It’s hard to use words to describe the love I felt at GaiaYoga and the healing I received from my time spent there.
     I have so much love for the GYG family, the land and the spirit and culture of GY. I am so grateful for my time there, the deep learning, the growth, and my transformation from child to adult. I experienced deep friendship, what I consider true community and experienced a very beautiful relationship to the land and it’s vibrant spirit. And hey, I even learned to chop open a coconut with a machete, milk a cow and poop into a worm filled composting toilet!
     The Nonviolent Communication classes and practice that were offered at GaiaYoga to me at the time I did my internship have forever changed the way I communicate, deal with conflict, see, hear and speak to the world.
     What I learned at GYG has continued to shape me. Though I spent only a short time there, I consider my experience at GYG and all I was introduced to a sort of foundation to the person I am today.
     So much gratitude!  Thank you for hearing me, seeing me and holding me!
     – Morganna (Mo)

     Gaia Yoga was a pivotal destination for me.  I was 21 years old (am now 31 in 2017), a traveler, seeker of Truth and societal rebel.  Hawai’i had become my destination.  Within my first month on the Big Island I met Ano at a community gathering and soon found myself walking the red cinder road past the papaya fields of Kapaho to Gaia Yoga’s jungle doorstep.  Immediately I felt a sense of connection and place there.  At the time Gaia Yoga was very young and I had the experience of helping build some of the initial infrastructure and plantings.  However, what I really got to do at Gaia Yoga was work on myself and allow Ano to help mentor that process.  Your relationship may/will differ with Ano and the other folks who live at Gaia Yoga today, but at that point that was where we were at. Ano had a way of questioning everything and showed a lot of interest in me.  Through learning Instinctive Eating, I felt like my senses of taste and smell were being fully utilized for the very first time.  I remember many collective, joyous Instinctive feasting sessions there, like ripping open giant golden jakfruits in the moonlight, fragrant, silky durians or just piles of juicy, sweet rambutans and lichees.  I often fasted on fresh coconut water for a day or two and felt like I detoxed from my entire life up to then of years of fast food and other unhealthy practices.  Non-Violent Communication session really opened my eyes to how I affected and offended a lot of people in my life, and that my rebellious attitude, defensiveness, insecurity and pride were not really positive personality traits.  Learning to climb and harvest coconuts was incredible, confidence building and something I still tell people about.  I feel like I grew a lot at Gaia Yoga.
     I realized after over a year in Hawai’i, living mostly at Gaia Yoga, that I had so much unschooling to do, maturation to go through and deep spiritual growth to commence that I eventually could see that I had to move on and was not ready or grounded enough for life in community.  But Ano’s compassionate and patient mentoring of me, as well as the many colorful, creative, emotional and intense interactions with many of the denizens of the community were all meaningful, helpful to my (and hopefully their) spiritual and emotional growth and times I very deeply cherish in my life.  I have often missed living at Gaia Yoga.  Now I run an organic farm and nursery in Kentucky but still practice many of the permaculture principles I learned at Gaia Yoga on my farm and in my nursery business.  I still appreciate Instinctive Eating principles, although am not a raw foodist.  Open and compassionate communication is vital in my life.  So, you could say I took a lot from the experience of being at Gaia Yoga.
     If you choose to dive into life at Gaia Yoga I encourage you to be open minded, open hearted and just be in the moment.  Relax and enjoy a few fresh coconuts.  Feast on some of the extremely delicious fruit with everyone.  Sweat and work (landance) without worrying about tomorrow or what the results will be down the road.  Get to know the people there and enjoy storytelling under the magical Hawaiian stars.  Be open to growing and changing.  You might miss the city or where you came from, but you’ll miss Gaia Yoga when you leave, so be present and live fully.  If you’re looking to invest in intentional community and find your niche in the tropics, this could be a good opportunity for you.  Whatever is attracting you to Gaia Yoga, you can be sure your experience will be anything but ordinary, easy or boring.  With openness, humility and a desire to contribute you’ll love your time there, whether for a month or the next 20 years.  Give Ano a hug for me.
     – Blake Cothron
     Peaceful Heritage Nursery, KY.

Aleanu with Elohi

To say my Immersion at Gaia Yoga Gardens transformed my life would be an understatement!  I’ve always wanted to be free to live this way and embrace this intention. Gaia Yoga gave me the nourishment and inspiration to realize my dream. Now I am as whole as I was when I was born.

     “Aleanu” Imbert Matthee, Executive Director Washington State Smile Partners

Dear GaiaYogis, Thank you all for the warm-hearted Love, Wisdom, and Knowledge you’ve all shared with me.  You’ve made my experiences in Hawaii truly unforgettable, in the best of ways of course!  I sincerely appreciate the depth of commitment to your collective virtues in being fully authentic, in integrity, honest, and open to all that life offers you.  The Nonviolent Communication classes were an invaluable part of my experience there, as well as the states of mind involved with the Primal Diet, Instinctive Eating, and the great care and concern you all make to have such a minimal impact on the environment, while still living normal? productive lives (haha).  I hope to return someday soon to be apart of your beautiful constellation one more.  I hope you all enjoy the Holiday season and have a wonderful New Year!

Yours Truly, Nataloo,  Thomas Nataloo Ray from Kansas City, MO

     Namaste Ano,

     How’s the commune and the fam? Hope all is good on the homefront.
     I wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation for my time at GYG and connecting with your tribe there. You guys are living a way of life that makes a lot more sense than what the matrix has to offer. I’m still integrating what I witnessed on the Big Island and the possibilities of living off the land there.
      So much love to you and the tribe. What you are doing out there is really crucial and important. Blessings and good fortunes to GYG.
     Om Shanti,

     Eugene, OR

As I reflect on my two month stay at GaiaYoga Gardens, I feel deep joy, gratitude, and tenderness for the land and people I left behind. Words fall short to describe the beauty of the jungle, authenticity of each individual, and beautiful connections that made each day a surreal blessing. I arrived at GYG eager to simply experience a difference pace of living, and I left with so much more than I anticipated. I was challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually as I underwent a process of shedding limiting beliefs and habits, and I am now enjoying the process of integrating new ones. I healed in places I didn’t even know were broken. I experienced the freedom of expressing my deepest feelings in a compassionate and loving space. Most importantly, I made a temporary home in a jungle, surrounded by beautiful people who showed me love and grace and what it means to truly live in community with one another. Thank you, Ano, for your vision and the energy you pour into others each day. Thank you, everyone at GYG, for loving and supporting me just as I am. I love you all!

– Allison G., Seattle, WA

     Well where to begin… I was in a pretty scary and vulnerable place in my life when I came to GYG. I made a choice that would set me on a course of much needed healing and discovery of shadows I had hidden away that kept me from living as my higher self. I knew that I needed support, connection, and to create family.

Living at GaiaYoga was quite challenging and came with many rewards. We had classes to attend centered around our diet, nonviolent communication, and learning to live in harmony with self and others. Instinctive eating and raw food eating peaked my interest as I had come to believe that to have a clean digestion is a vital piece that effects your physical as well as psychological self. It would have been so much more challenging if I did not have the eating/diet shift support that the folks at GYG provided. When one shifts diet so much emotional baggage comes to the surface and having a support team going through the same feelings was vital.

Another area in which was highly beneficial for all community living is learning to communicate in a manner that makes you look at people’s reactions as feelings related to needs being met or not being met. Looking within yourself to gauge what’s alive for you in that moment and express that and be heard. Nonviolent communication was taught and practiced on a daily along with once a week HeartCore to help clear charges with each other so we can stay connected. GYG taught me that it was in my hands to make changes for myself and my community and that my choices do effect others. I learned how to better connect with children, build structures, small electrical projects, plant trees, gather/harvest coconuts, eat well, practice communication, importance of integrity, and holding others accountable. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to live, learn, and share at GYG.

My path has led me to live in Northern California, but in the family I’m involved in (which is a polyamorous family!) I integrate so much of the cultural practices and values that I experienced at GY. I practice NVC in my everyday life, teaching the people who are helping to form our community how to practice it and hear each other and hold compassion close. I am always and forever aware of what I eat. Always organic and promote that by buying from local sources like neighbors, coops, and farmer market. This year we also put in a 11 row garden. We just finished building our first earthen floor for a low impact non electrified yome structure.  We are clothing optional community because nudity is not wrong or hurtful!  Next step plan on having composting toilets (harvesting humanure), getting solar, and converting the conventional house to be on grey water system.  We have already stopped using toilet paper and have bidet.  We’ve been teaching our baby elimination communication which I saw at GYG, thus using less diapers and having my baby be more free and natural.  Hmm, I think that’s it.  Thank you  GaiaYoga Gardens!  Aho!

– Galaxy Blum, Grass Valley, CA

In the last six years I have been traveling to and learning about existing communities in Oregon and Northern California. Recently I heard about the Puna District of the big island of Hawaii and its many and diverse communities. I flew here in January to help a friend that had just begun a project. We visited Ano at Gaia Yoga Gardens to see how he had designed and built his simple but efficient breeze houses. We toured the village and I resolved that I would come here to help in the construction of one of these structures as an educational experience.  Ano suggested that I come for the immersion program to learn how they live and work together.
The immersion from the web site was about communication on several levels.  I have been more focused on infrastructure and permaculture in my search but Im aware that its human interaction that brings down many community projects.  I was excited to explore non violent communication, holistic intamacy, holistic spirituality and social permaculture.  What I didn’t expect was to have my mind blown, my heart blown wide open and my life transformed to a place of love and bliss by the emotional and spiritual healing methods employed by the members and teachers of GaiaYoga.  This is the first time I have experienced a community that operates from a place of deep heart connection and its changed my perception of how we can live together and transform this culture from one of me to one of we.
 Since the immersion I have stayed on to participate in the landance.  This is the collective effort to build and maintain a community that aspires to self sufficiency.  This has deepened my respect for the people and the vision by working with other members to build structures both physical and social. It has given me the opportunity to see the communication in action in making decisions and to deal with minor tensions between individuals.  If you are in a place of personal transformation or interested in joining or starting community I highly recommend this experience.

– Rick Sherman, Missoula, MT

I completed the Immersion at GaiaYoga Gardens a few weeks after arriving on the Big Island with my two children in a relocation from New York to start a new life. Just moving to Hawaii as a single mom with kids is an immersion in and of itself, and living in an intentional permaculture jungle farm community intensifies the whole experience. I entered the Immersion with a somewhat smug attitude, having attended many retreats, seminars, trainings, transformational workshops and group process encounters in my 50 years of life. Yet, I had an open mind, and I hoped to be pleasantly surprised.

My hopes were met. The quality of the information that was shared with me and my fellow students was top-notch. The professionalism of the instruction was a terrific blend of prepared, informed, and engaged with our process as a learning group. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and specialize in communication skills with couples and entrepreneurs, and I was blown away by the efficiency and power of the relationship skills I learned in the Immersion. I began using my new tools immediately with my clients as well as with my ex-husband and my current partner, all to great results.

I am very pleased, proud and grateful for the learning I accomplished in the Immersion, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting a blast of experience into a lifestyle that is truly close to the earth, unplugged from mainstream society, and that goes deep into what it means to be human and relate to ourselves, our bodies, each other and the world.”

Amy Jay (Yaj), MA, LMFT

     I’m a proud graduate of the 16-Day Immersion Experience at GYG and have learned a lot including better communication skills (NVC), substainable, permaculture homesteading in the rainforest region of Puna, Hawaii, and benefits of community life, Instinctive Eating and an organic, raw food diet.

     Working and living with a supportive LGBTQ+ friendly community has allowed me to flourish in spiritual growth and development, challenging myself physically, intellectually,  emotionally and spiritually.  Only several months ago I was working and living an unsatisfactory life in the Midwest, and feeling disconnected.

      In Hawaii working the “āina” whether it’s weeding / landscaping or collecting  Melocia leaves (organic TP!) both benefits the community and allows me to connect with nature – something that had been missing in my day to day activities. Taking long, ambling walks and late night star-gazing are now forms of meditation for me.

      Having community support and the NVC tools I’ve learned to use have been invaluable – I recommend anyone wanting personal growth to look into NVC. Better yet, look into GYG! In addition to being a wonderful group of people, it is a sacred space for healing and living a spiritually balanced, holistic lifestyle. Best of all I get to live in a tropical breeze-hut, with only a screen between my living space and the surrounding rainforest paradise!
      I was happy to support GaiaYoga Gardens recently at the Hilo Pride parade (July, 8th 2017) and Ano’s vision of True Human Freedom. Thank you Ano Tarletz Hanamana and GYG! You have enriched my life beyond measure!
– James Schwartz, Kapoho, HI

Madeleine (above) with Isabel (below)

GaiaYoga Gardens was a a life changing experience for me. I started my stay at GYG not really knowing what to expect. I was timid, nervous, and a bit uneasy of my surroundings. However, throughout my 4 week stay, I became much more free. Much more aware of my sense of self. A healthy dose of courage cultivated inside of me and I felt as if the entire trajectory of my life had changed. I left with much more confidence than what I came with, and that was completely empowering for me. The people, the land, the food, the lifestyle – everything impacted my life for the better. I miss GYG everyday and think about the people and surroundings I left behind quite often. I hope to return sometime soon!

     With much love, Madeleine

     I first visited GYG in 2011 for 6 weeks with my 1-yr-old daughter on my search for a more nature-based community lifestyle. I felt at peace in the community, as if I came to a refuge. There is a vulnerable authenticity that permeates the group of people who choose to come here, and I felt supported in speaking my truth through daily interactions.
     I love the spirit of generosity and conscious focus on inner work, nonviolent communication, compassion and non-judgment, and I love the lush land that feeds my body and soul.
     In 2017 I came back for two short weeks. Why did I return? GYG is like a breath of fresh air in our culture of alienation from others and the nature, and I needed that oxygen. I am hoping to be back. Thank you, Ano and Melekai and the beautiful people I have encountered at GYG!
     – Mariyam Medovaya, Alaska

It was an inner battle with myself making the move to come here as a first time traveler alone. My intuition pulled me to this island for my growth and healing.  I came here with an open mind and yearning to learn. My month long stay at GaiaYoga went by in a blink of an eye. My longing for community life was met here in that short amount of time. My immersion experience isn’t comparable to any schooling I got growing up, our planet desperately needs the teachings that are being taught/practiced here. This is a special place near to my heart. So much raw honesty of true self is accepted here that my soul was aching for back at home.
The consciousness here is refreshing, so many like minded individuals all in one place. I’ve never met so  many unique individuals all in one area. Puna is a magical place for free spirits on their own journey to true self, while coming together as community/tribe. I felt more at home here in that month than I ever experienced back in my home town. I can’t thank Ano and Melekai enough for creating this GaiaYoga Consciousness & sharing their community with me. I always know I am welcome there. This is a place to come for deep connection, healing of shadows/health and living a sustainable life. I can’t put into words all I want to share, its up to you to experience for yourself  the shedding of your false self. I left a piece of my self on the Big Island but I also gained a piece of my soul that I will carry with me until I return. Thank you to all the beautiful souls I connected with for holding a space of safety for me to become more of who I truly am. You allowed me to express my feelings more openly than I ever have in my entire life. My needs to be seen and heard were met here. My body was deeply nourished by all the organic foods grown on the land. I was challenged and overcame many fears by following my intuition to come here. Follow your true hearts desires, they will lead you to truth.
Meg (Pearl) – Grantsville, Utah

     I stayed at GaiaYoga Gardens and had a great time. I felt welcomed and appreciated throughout my whole stay. I learned a lot working with Ano and the rest of the community, they are awesome. We spent a lot of time harvesting coconuts and building structures for the community, I learned a ton and ate more coconuts than in my whole life. The grounds are outstanding, everything is well organized and set up in a very thoughtful way, there is much to learn there. Being a vegan for a few years I thought I would struggle with the diet at GaiaYoga but the community was very understanding and I never felt judged for having different views and opinions. Everyone was very kind in that regard.
      One of the things I loved the most about GaiaYoga was the sense of freedom that I got just from being there. Freedom to dress any way I want, to express my sexuality without shame and to work at my own pace. Some days I would work 10 hours and other days I would take off and it all felt fair and balanced. I loved how the community could understand when I needed to take a break.
     GaiaYoga is a very special place with a huge potential for growth and the capacity to teach people how to live a more natural lifestyle that is more sustainable and less harmful to the environment. It is an excellent place to grow and learn more about ourselves.
     – Bruno Treves, Boulder Colorado

I stumbled upon GaiaYoga Gardens and it turned out to be a perfect place for my healing. We are all on different paths, with different missions so I can not say what GYG is, but I can say what it meant to me in this time of my life. It was a place full of love, understanding, a space to grow and a safe container for trying things and leaving old habits behind. I am grateful for meeting the people of GYG, for getting introduced by Ano to Nonviolent Communication, for getting guidance in Instinctive Eating and for the possibility to establish my self-confidence and to get a new perspective. Plus the fruits of the gardens tasted oh so sweet 😉
– Ingo Suppan, Austria

Aisha on top of coconut fronds!

 My longtime desire to live sustainably in community drove me to visit Gaia Yoga Gardens. The short week I spent there impressed me greatly; Ano and Melekai were so welcoming and well-grounded. There, I found hope for the possibility to truly live in harmony with others and nature. At GYG, the seeds for sustainable community are being mindfully tended, although the process is not an easy one. Now that I have left GYG, my main desire is to return as soon as possible, for as long as possible. GYG has renewed in me a joy for the present, and hope for our future.

– Aisha DaCosta, Phoenix


I am so grateful for my time at Gaia yoga and everything I learned living there.   This includes learning to milk cows, abundance of amazing food, coconuts:), fun times, learning about Hawaii and permaculture, learning about myself, ease of living in community, learning/witnessing healthy and unhealthy ways of being and communicating, lasting friendships and relationships that continue after leaving the community, and enjoying beautiful children, natural living, plants and animals.

– Evelyn Tanner, Kapoho, HI

Living at GaiaYoga Gardens forced me to live on the edges of community, spirit, self, and earth.  A truly remarkable place. – Fred Hamilton, Kapoho, HI

Ano and Melekai are amazing leaders and teachers. Their knowledge and positive energy have created an enlightening place to live and work, and I recommend visiting it to everyone.

– Kelly Kokaisel, Minnesota

Sven & Magdalena on far right, Ivy on left, building the Au’au Heiau (bathing temple)!

I’ve loved the structures here of the landances and the feeling that we’re all equals in this together. If and when I’m back on the Big Island I’d love to stay for longer!
– Ivy, Massachusets

It’s been a very spiritual place and people for me. I never experienced before.
-Sven Sommermeyer, Germany

Everyone who has not been here yet should experience the beauty of that place!!! Life is so “clean and harmonious.” I loved that!
– Magdalena Gorecha, Poland

Be sure to communicate your needs and things you like and don’t like to do. It (GaiaYoga Gardens) is as flexible as you are.
– Lucas Orton, Washington

Emilio and baby Iolanthe!

Staying at GaiaYoga Gardens has had a invaluable impact on my life. It gave me an unclouded insight towards my own ‘self’ and a voice to express what my needs and emotions are. I learned about the healing powers of food and how to grow it on a Permacultural level. I received a tribe who continue to love and support me to this day. I hope many others are lucky to enough to gain some perspective on themselves and their relationships like I did.


– Emilio Quarta, Kona, HI

My immersion at Gaia Yoga has transformed my life in more ways than I will likely ever be aware of. Ano and Melekai are among the kindest, most generous and visionary people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting and their beautiful home is a testament to the power of the individual to change the world in remarkable and far-reaching ways. Thank you!

– Michael, NY

Even though you have everything already figured out, GaiaYoga challenges you to go beyond that comfort to grow into the person you want to be, the person you can be.
– Michael, World Traveller

     I came to Gaia Yoga Gardens in Feb. 2016 not entirely sure what to expect.  About the only thing I knew for sure was that is was going to be way out of my comfort zone.  Knowing that I just went for it and decided to see what happened.  I was right, it was way out of my comfort zone!  Circling and sharing feelings almost every day… What in the world is up with that!?!?!
     Being there completely overwhelmed me and enthralled me at the same time.  The emotions expressed, the openness of the people, how much the people there really wanted to help process the deep emotional issues present in most people. I loved all of it!!!!! The people at GYG accepted me for who I was and where I was at in my personal journey, while simultaneously challenging me to grow into and accept my gifts and power.
     I lived there for about 3.5 months in 2016 and 3 months so far in 2017.  I will be back this winter to continue my journey there!  Gaia Yoga Gardens has given me a better connection to myself, to nature and to other people.  I treasure my experience there and think of life there almost every day.
              – Bryan C., North Dakota

     I’ve been staying at GYG on and off for six years now, and there’s reasons I keep coming back: the jungle living as well as the love, connection, and conversation. Waking up surrounded by only plants, trees and birds is one of my favorite feelings in the world, as the structures are screened in instead of walled. The people who live at and come to visit GYG tend to be an incredibly kind, open-minded, intelligent and weird bunch.

I have made so many good friends here, and had so many memorable experiences (ayahuasca! chasing after cows! general shenanigans! births of babies! romance! hurricanes!). In particular, I have a special bond with Elohi and Iolanthe. I’ve spent so much time with them as an auntie, and I love them dearly. Ano, Melekai, and the kids are very much my ‘hanai’ family (a Hawaiian word that roughly means ‘adopted’).”

I’m not sure what your experience will be, as the energy of the place is always evolving, but if you’re willing, one can reconnect with nature, Self and learn to wield a machete like a pro!

– Mae D., Hawaii