My wife and I came to Gokarna in 2006 to take a break from the fast-paced western world and to learn more about yoga and meditation. After teaching at Om beach for some years we decided to create and build our own place at the golden sands of Kudle beach with the help of Govinda which is one of the directors now. Since 2007 we have lived in tree houses, first on a cashew tree and then on different banyan trees around the property. A childhood dream come true. Now we have received the 11th Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor, which shows that our costumers are happy with the accommodation and management style we provide at Namaste Yoga Farm.
With the help of local workers, we modify our place a little bit every year, striving to make it more beautiful, comfortable, and relaxing so you can feel a sense of home away from home. Luisa and I try to make your stay as pleasant as possible. If there is anything destressing your vacation, please feel free to talk with us. We are here to help you. India has become our second home for most of the year since the incoporation of the company and before we spend many month in Europe organizing retreats along the Spanish coast or just traveling around Europe. Mostly Germany and Spain, though this year 2014 we taught yoga only at the Camping Riedsee close to Donaueschingen. Now five years later we still live in a tree, dont do retreats in Europe anymore, but have registered our own company,
Zenlike Yoga Farms Privat Limited with the brand name of Namaste Yoga Farm
As a traveler, you will have an impact on the environment and culture of the place you are visiting. Here are some rules of thumb to make this impact positive!
Eco-turism is more than a catch-phrase for nature loving travel and recreation. Eco-tourism is consecrated for preserving and sustaining the diversity of the world’s natural and cultural environments. It accommodates and entertains visitors in a way that is minimally intrusive or destructive to the environment and sustains & supports the native cultures in the locations it is operating in. In all Eco cottages at Namaste Yoga Farm we use thick volcanic, laterite stones for the walls and terracotta tiles are placed on coconut wood rafters for the roofing, coconut fiber mattresses and waste water goes back to the plants. We spread awarness about plastic pollution in front of the entrance gate, stopped using plastic straws and plastic bags, provide bulk drinking water, dispose garbage at the local dump and dont burn it and use energy saving lights.
Eco-tourism also endeavors to encourage and support the diversity of local economies for which the tourism-related income is important. With support from tourists, local services and producers can compete with larger, foreign companies and local families can better support themselves. Each year, my first yoga retreat was donated to local charities. We give work to about seven local persons and each of them gets paid over average. Included into their salary is a 13th month wage and medical check-up.
Fundamentally, eco-tourism means making as little environmental impact as possible and helping to sustain the indigenous populace, thereby encouraging the preservation of wildlife and habitats when visiting a place. This is a responsible form of tourism and tourism development, which encourages going back to natural products in every aspect of life. It is also the key to sustainable ecological development. The International Eco-Tourism Society defines eco-tourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” This means that those who implement and participate in eco-tourism activities should follow the following principles:
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.
- Support international human rights and labour agreements.
Carry back all non-degradable litter such as empty bottles, tins, plastic bags etc. These must not litter the environment or be buried. They must be disposed in municipal dustbins only. Observe the sanctity of holy sites, temples and local cultures. Cut noise pollution. Do not blare aloud radios, tape recorders or other electronic entertainment equipment in nature resorts, sanctuaries and wildlife parks. In case temporary toilets are not set-up near campsites, after defecation, cover with mud or sand. Make sure that the spot is at least 30 meters away from the water source. Respect people’s privacy while taking photographs. Ask for prior permission before taking a photograph.
Do not take away flora and fauna in the forms of cuttings, seeds or roots. It is illegal, especially in the Himalayas. The environment is delicate in this region and the bio-diversity of the region has to be protected at all costs. Do not use pollutants such as detergent, in streams or springs while washing and bathing. Do not use wood as fuel to cook food at the campsite. Do not leave cigarettes butts or make open fires in the forests. Do not consume aerated drinks, alcohol, hard drugs or any other intoxicant and throw bottles in the wild. Do not tempt the locals, especially children by offering them foodstuff or sweets. Respect local traditions. Polythene and plastics are non-biodegradable and unhealthy for the environment and must not be used and littered.
When you travel, learn about your destination before you get there. Read guidebooks, travel articles, histories, and/or novels by local authors and pay particular attention to customs such as greetings, appropriate dress, eating behaviours, etc. Becoming aware and sensitive to these customs will increase local acceptance of you as a tourist and enrich your trip. Follow established guidelines. Ask your eco-tour operator, guide and/or the local authorities what their guidelines are for limiting tourism’s impact on the environment and local culture. Staying on trails, packing up your trash, and remaining set distances away from wildlife are a few ways to minimize your impact in sensitive areas. Seek out and support locally owned businesses. Support local businesses during your eco-travels to ensure maximum community and conservation benefit from your spending.