An Earth Ashram is a retreat and sanctuary for people to gather and practice, study, and celebrate life. Life/nature/earth is our greatest teacher and we are all humble students. In that knowing there is not hierarchy or dogma.
Ashrams have existed for thousands of years in India and then starting in the 60’s all around the world. You can find Ashrams dedicated to yoga, music, art, farming, etc. People stay at ashrams to deepen their study. The grounds of ashrams are usually basic in material terms, providing a simple environment that is largely free from the usual distractions of modern life (making it an ideal environment for learning).
An authentic ashram is a sacred place where the atmosphere is charged with transformative energy, built up over time through the presence of an enlightened teacher and continuous spiritual practice.
To us the most “enlightened teacher” is the Earth.
Our spiritual practices may include yoga, meditation, and an abundance of modalities to heal and grow in all ways. We revere above all our interactions with the Earth such as through gardening, tending or simply observing. We are devoted to care of the land as a spiritual practice.
As tenders to an Earth Ashram it is our intention to work symbiotically with nature. We work with natural materials that are locally and sustainably sourced. We are inspired by what indigenous cultures and later ecovillages from around the world have done to build structures out of earth. We are utilizing simple, natural and low impact on the environment building methods to weave harmoniously into our natural environment. We are also off-grid getting our power from solar and wind power. All of these systems demand more interaction and innovation.
If we look at the etymology of the word ashram we find the Sanskrit root śram, which means ‘hard work’ or ‘toil’, with the prefix ā meaning ‘towards’.
Ashrams are places where we can ‘work towards’ a particular goal. Ashrams are indeed often places of deep inner work, and at times intensive physical endeavor too, with the goal being the realization and expression of deeper understanding, liberation, and joy. At an Earth Ashram there is plenty of physical work to do on the land, in the gardens, and in the mundane tasks which when one lives immersed in nature are plentiful and constant.
As stewards of an Earth Ashram we know the greatest service we can do for our community is to grow food as medicine for the people.
Ashrams are known as places that serve their community in need. We are working towards growing several thousand pounds of food a year to share by donation and as charitable contributions towards local food programs. The other goal we work towards consistently is sharing holistic healing and education in classes and retreats as well as offering individual support. It is all interconnected; our wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet.
The word ashram also has another Sanskrit root:ashraya– meaning ‘refuge’ or ‘retreat’.
A retreat environment is set up for the purpose to be of enormous value and help for one in achieving inner peace. At an Earth Ashram inner peace is found by taking refuge in nature. There is an encouragement to spend time in silence communing with the elements and taking a break from technology. To become totally present on the land with bare feet, without phone in hand, so that you can fully absorb all that nature is sharing with you in that moment. To slow down, smell the fragrant flowers, notice all of nature’s abundance dripping off of the fruit trees. There’s a great sense of support and love that can be felt in these precious moments of gratitude.
We open Earthsong Hawai’i as an ecological community learning space aka an Earth Ashram to serve as a place for us to grow – plants and trees, and ourselves – and to sow seeds that will support future generations of humans, flora, and fauna.
We invite others walking this path who may want to make a stop at Earthsong for their enrichment, and for the enrichment of the land. It takes many small communities of devoted people to make a big ripple effect.
The Earthsong Stewards