Ashiyana Brazil: Join our R3volution!
A couple of hundred kilometres north of Brasilia in Brazil, in the state of Goias, is a divine little hide-away known as "Alto Paraiso" (High Paradise). Chris Nelson, author, entrepreneur, yoga teacher and founder of Ashiyana Goa, bought 16Ha of land here in Alto eleven years ago, with the intention of creating a sister retreat to Ashiyana Goa.
Ashiyana Brazil is our expression of how a business can be a force for good through creating a virtuous loop of sustainability, based upon the 3 Rs of our R3volution:
With your help, we'll be able to open the sister retreat to Ashiyana Goa, which has itself evolved into a social enterprise, supporting our staff and guests, the local community and the wider environment.
Ashiyana is a Hindi word meaning home, and it was precisely this sense of feeling at home that Chris had in mind when he founded Ashiyana Goa. Our retreat has grown to become one of the most loved yoga and spa retreats in India, attracting 1000s of guests from all corners of the globe. The magic of the retreat though, lies beyond the beautiful design of the centre, the incredible beaches and the delicious, fresh food, and is rooted in the heartfelt desire for our guests to drop all of their worldly worries. This is clear to see in the beautiful smiling faces of the staff :)
With an eye for detail and his own published approach to wellbeing, Chris has created a unique experience for all who visit Ashiyana Goa.
- The Ashiyana Goa Family
When asked about his vision for Alto Paraiso, Brazil, Chris explained:
Alto is a very special place. It has an unassuming air, an understated beauty, and Mother Nature’s healing embrace is palpable. It's a truly unique location with exceptional bio-diversity, and its bedrock of crystals interwoven with rivers and waterfalls means that walks off the beaten track are truly spectacular.
Over the last few years, we've been slowly developing the land, planting trees, making wonderful friends and learning about the needs of the local community. We’d like to invite you to be part of our campaign, or what we’re calling our R3volution. With your help we’ll be able to implement the 3 Rs of our R3volution:
- Relaxation - Complete the building of the Retreat that will finance the other two elements moving forwards
- Rehabilitation - Build a community/workshop space for the Rehabilitation Project, which integrates men and women back into society following drug and alcohol abuse
- Reforestation - Prepare the 9Ha of our agro-forestry project land for further planting, and build a sheltered structure with store for the workers
Our whole philosophy is based upon the creation of a virtuous loop of sustainability -
- Once the Retreat (Relaxation) is completed next summer, we'll be able to further fund the Rehabilitation and Reforestation elements of the project, as well as employ some of the workers who've been displaced from the fields by modern farming methods
- Our agro-forestry project will employ the same men and women that have been rehabilitated back into society, and their labour will enable the sale of seeds, saplings and trees, providing funds for our other social projects
- Our good friend Zizo, who lives on the land, is an expert in permaculture and agro-forestry, and with his help we hope to inspire many others to live in harmony with the land, teaching them that over-grazing, stripping of trees and seasonal burning creates long-term depletion of the land
Here are some of our projects at Ashiyana Goa:
- Nepal fund - After the 2015 earthquake, we have continued to support the families of our kitchen team by contributing a portion of our profits as well as raising donations from workshops and events throughout Europe and India
- Teacher Training Scholarship - we offer four scholarship places per year to those who can't afford the normal tuition fees
- BBC Media Action Correspondence Dinner - luxury holidays offered through fundraising auction
- Brighton Yoga Festival- sponsored fundraising event run by Brighton Yoga Foundation
- The Sisterhood foundation aims to give women and girls in the third world a brighter future. Ashiyana partners with the Sisterhood Foundation and supports their large scale fundraising events
- Welfare for Animals Goa is an NGO dedicated to rescuing animals in need. Ashiyana partners with WAG and some of the Ashiyana family-members volunteer at the clinic to give love and care to the animals in need
- Cleaner environment - we help run a local rubbish clear up every year and have sponsored the installation of local rubbish bins
In addition, in the twelve years since Ashiyana Goa has opened, well over 10,000 guests have been supporting the local shops, businesses and restaurants, enabling them to thrive.
This is what we have achieved so far in Goa. Our intention is to expand upon this in Alto Paraiso, Brazil with our 3Rs. Whilst the projects in Goa are hugely supportive in the community, the size of our land in Alto Paraiso will enable us to take this to the next level!
Please support this opportunity - with your help and contributions we can both transform lives and continue the process of returning the land to its natural, verdant glory. Our perks include a range of experiences that you can enjoy as part of the journey.
With your help we can transform a community and the surrounding ecosystem.
Our goal is modest:
Our requirements in phase 1 have been carefully costed so you know exactly how your contribution will help. Much of this is construction, which in turn supports the community in and around Alto Paraiso.
Phase 1: We require an initial cash injection of £50,000, which will be used as follows:
- £27,500 to complete 10 guest rooms
- £7,500 for the rehabilitation project's workshop space
- £5,000 to build the retreat's organically constructed yoga shala
- £5,000 for final preparation of the 9Ha of land to be ready for further planting
- £5,000 for a worker’s shelter which will also house equipment in a safe storage facility
The completion of the guest rooms and yoga shala will enable the retreat to open for paying guests, which allows funding to begin for key parts of the social projects and the reforestation programme.
Guests will be invited to help on the land if they wish, or those with relevant qualifications will be invited to assist with the rehabilitation and reforestation projects.
We've put together some fabulous perks that we hope you'll be excited about...
- Generous discounts for yoga holidays/retreat stays* in both Ashiyana Goa and Brazil. During your stay you will have an opportunity to help on the land or with the social enterprise areas of the project. Enjoy a walk around the region where you can explore the most diverse flora and fauna on the planet, including the 200 million year old crystal bedrock, dramatic gorges, and the magnificent waterfalls and rivers where you can refresh yourself with a cool dip
- A one to one with Chris Nelson, who will talk you through the SOAR philosophy from his book Wake Up and SOAR, including tools for relaxation, optimal lifestyle hacks, and keys to being inspired and fulfilled
- All of you who contribute will have your names imprinted on the entrance wall to the retreat, so that your kindness will never be forgotten
* If you have specific dates you would like to join us, please contact our bookings team first to check availability.
Our bookings team will reserve your requested dates (subject to availability) for 48 hours whilst you purchase the relevant perk.
Please then forward your Indiegogo receipt confirmation email to us to proceed with your reservation.
If for whatever reason we don't hit out target, we'll ensure that all donations go towards the completion of the guest rooms, as this will ensure we have the means to generate income from paying guests to fund the other two of our Rs. This is our essential objective!
Your impact can and will help!
Your contribution will matter a great deal to many in the community that our project is supporting, plus it will have a hugely positive impact on the local environment. We have a wonderfully compassionate and energetic team at Ashiyana, and we'd love you to get involved and support us too!
So we welcome you on-board, knowing that together we can create lasting, positive change in Alto Paraiso. In fact Chris' vision is expansive, and once we've made a success of the R3volution Project here, we'll begin to spread our efforts to other areas around the world.
Is there a risk?
Some may view building and running a retreat in uncharted territory as a risky business, but rest assured that we've had 12 year's experience of running a successful retreat in Goa, India. Here's what Chris said about founding Ashiyana Goa:
"Whilst my intentions when buying the land were pretty humble, it seems that life had other ideas. Ashiyana has grown to become quite a substantial community - providing a home away from home to many thousands of guests, employment to 50, predominantly, local Indians, and support for a large array of social projects. Ashiyana has become the manifestation of a dream that I had a long time ago. But it has become so much more than I’d imagined, and because of the efforts of many people, and a few key people in particular, it is now a world-renowned yoga retreat and community that has spawned hundreds of yoga teachers, many thousands of happy guests, and is a fundamentally important element of the local community."
We know that there will be challenges along the way, but we've set up an amazing network in Alto Paraíso and the team is primed and ready to complete Phase 1 of our beautiful project! Everything is in place, and with your help we can move it forward...
There is always a way to help!
If a cash contribution is tricky for you at the moment, there are many other ways that you can help - the most important being to share our campaign as far and wide as possible! Indiegogo is a great platform with plenty of tools to use for this purpose, so, if money is tight but you like our project, do please share it around your network of friends. We would be so grateful, and you truly would be a part of our R3volution!