Greening a Yoga Retreat Center: Green in Eden
By: Wendy Green
Owner: Casa Verde Retreat Center, Honduras
After 3 decades of teaching yoga at my studio on the “Jersey Shore”, I decided to “cash out” and live my dream~ living with nature and running an eco/raw food/yoga retreat center in a pristine, natural, tropical environment.
After 2 years of searching, I found the perfect property~ 2 fruit filled, riverside acres in the magnificent Rain Forest of Honduras. Casa Verde was born!
Practicing Ahimsa, making it “DEEP GREEN” was a top priority. I chose local sustainably harvested hard woods for the yoga floor, low VO paint made from natural pigments, low EMF Led bulbs, (CF’s and dimmers have a high EMF output) and organic cotton pillows/linens/towels. I decided on the Eco Yoga mat by “Barefoot Yoga Co”…because it was rated #1 by the New York Time, is constructed of all natural rubber and jute fibers, has good traction and is un-dyed.
Keeping it green, I do not use or allow synthetic chemicals on the property. I only use baking soda/vinegar and organic essential oils for all our cleaning purposes. Floors are swept, not vacuumed. Laundry is washed in cold water with “soap nuts” (a natural soap) and line dried. For pest control I use boric acid and peppermint oil.
We have a “grey”water system for our guest house. This means all water that goes down the drains, is used to water plants via underground pipes. So, I instruct guests to bring only bio degradable/organic personal care products. I make a natural bug repellant from essential oils that guests can purchase. I also instruct them to bring a “Klean” stainless steel water canteen, we do not use plastic on the property.
Food is stored in SS containers in the frig. Because I offer a raw food cleansing diet, there is no fuel needed to create meals. All kitchen waste in composted, the retreat center creates very little waste.
I use very few lights (only one at a time) and encourage guests to do the same. I give guests a solar powered flashlight for nights, there is no outdoor night lighting. I use no heat, no AC. I take climate change very seriously and do my best to keep the center’s carbon foot print as low as possible. For this reason, I do not have a car…but a motorcycle that gets 75 mpg.
I am installing solar panels and micro hydro generator this summer, the center will be off grid using only renewable energy.
I offset my guest’s flights by donating to www.carbonfund.org.
I have found this approach is greatly appreciated by guests. And for many it is great inspiration to follow this simple and deep green approach once they return to their homes.
For me, teaching yoga is more than asana, pranayama and philosophy…it is about creating union with our planet and ourselves by treading lightly and respecting the earth.