​In the summer of 2014, I spent a month living at a Vedic ashram on the island of Kauai, in order to explore a personal understanding of what it means to have a harmonious connection between mind, body, soul, and environment.

Between the mossy gullies of Kalalea Mountain and the cerulean coast of Anahola Bay, sits Durga Farms and its accompanying school of Ayurveda & yoga, named "Hale Pule" - Hawaiian for "House of Prayer".  The 4.6 acre sanctuary offers a unique space to those interested in experiencing a way of living that realigns the body and mind with nature's rhythms, through practicing a combination of yoga, meditation, Vedic practices, and gardening.    

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Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, which literally translates to “the science of living”. In its most basic form, this ancient Indian philosophy suggests that we are most capable of bringing physical, mental, and spiritual balance into our lives when we align ourselves with the rhythms of nature.   

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Durga Farms boasts lush organic fruit trees, succulent vegetable gardens, and several areas designated toward growing curative herbs and spices.


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Each morning at Hale Pule begins at approximately 4:30am.  Some residents wake earlier to partake in self care practices, some of which include a ritual called "abhyanga", which translates to "lovingly oiling the body", and involves massaging the body with warm oil.  Many claim that the practice aids in calming the nervous system.

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Durga Farms is unlike most other organic farms, in that Myra implements Vedic farming methods, one of which is a practice known as "Agnihotra", which is Sanskrit for "Healing Fire".  The ritual involves burning special organic materials in a copper vessel at specific times of sunrise and sunset, while a set of prayers are uttered.  Vedic texts allude to the idea that the vibrations of the words combined with the placement of the sun, has a positive energetic effect on the burning contents and those around the fire.  

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During my last few hours on the island, a woman sat beside me at the bus stop.  Her eyes glistened and her lips cracked into parchment, as they absorbed the last light of a gloaming hour.

“Pono, yes? You see it? Over there in the hills.  It’s what we say when the mountains,” she made a firm wall with her left hand.

“…and the ocean,”

another wall with the right –

“…are in harmony.”

She lowered her hands into her lap, and with closed eyes made a few slow nods of her head, as if having just recited a holy scripture.

I smiled at her - or at least at her explanation of the term.

It was a Hawaiian word that I learned upon arriving on Kaua’i, and although it was the last time I heard it during that trip, its meaning stayed with me as I reflected upon the privilege of having experienced living in harmony with the rhythms of the mountains and oceans.