At ARDEA, we love nothing more than travelling the world to find out about all the incredible projects that people are working on. We’re inspired by ethical entrepreneurship, sustainability and working from the heart. This week we report on Kinsapacha Yoga Retreat and Eco Lodge Farm in The Sacred Valley, Peru.
Green Living in the Andes Mountains
I am writing this sitting in an adobe building made from earth and organic materials. The view from the window is of a vibrant green permaculture garden abundant with fresh organic vegetables growing plump ready for harvest. To the right of the garden there is a geodesic dome with a sky view where people come from all over the world to practice yoga. I am in Kinsapacha Yoga Retreat and Eco Lodge Farm in Urubamba, Peru!
The hearts, souls and minds behind this beautiful space in the Andes mountains are Jorge, from Peru, and Ilse, from South Africa. This ambitious couple co-created their sustainable lifestyle project founded on a mutual value and desire to take care of people and planet through their work. Ilse manages the yoga retreats, wellbeing workshops and healing therapies whilst Jorge’s passion lies in the permaculture garden and hospitality.
Partnership to Create a Sustainable Business
Ilse was teaching yoga on retreats in Zanzibar and Jorge was running a small guesthouse on the beach. When they came together to create their own business in Peru, their skill sets and different backgrounds fit together well. Ilse says “We both resonate with the idea of conscious living through everyday practice. For me that involves being aware of the internal and externalities around my body and mind. For Jorge it involves working with the land and being present in the garden, which is a form of meditation.”
Sustainability is a word used to describe projects or a way of living, working and creating that meets the needs of the present without having a negative impact on future generations, the environment and the local community. Sustainability can be split into three pillars, economic, environmental and social. [You can read more about sustainability on our blog post about sustainable fashion.]
At Kinsapacha they have their own permaculture organic kitchen garden, using the vegetables to feed themselves and their guests. It is one of 12 organic farms in Urubamba. Permaculture is the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. It’s a set of specific design principles that takes into account the whole system and the cycles of nature. Permaculture works with the fact that we are a delicate yet resilient ecosystem where everything is connected.
The restaurant at kinsapacha serves healthy seasonal food with a lot of vegan options, as The Guardian reported, ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on earth’. They also sometimes cook trout sourced locally.
Jorge says “We make sure to participate in a circular micro-economy. We recycle many of our materials, including food which is the soul of Kinsapacha. Food waste is turned into compost through different methods, such as vermincultre, where worms help break down the food. In nature nothing is wasted, everything transforms into a fertiliser that nourishes the earth.”
A safe place for self-exploration
Jorge and Ilse chose the Sacred Valley because of the protective presence of the mountains providing a safe container for people to explore their personal healing journeys. Yoga is a path of self-exploration and self-care which ultimately allows the individual to feel part of the whole and better be able to take care of others, as well as the planet. So the practices and philosophy of yoga match harmoniously with the principles of permaculture.
Ilse says “At Kinsapacha I have learnt to take things slower, to be more present and to enjoy the beauty that nature provides, as well as the knowledge that she teaches us.”
Learning more about this project in The Sacred Valley was truly uplifting. Of course it’s not always easy running projects like this, like with anything there are all kinds of challenges. But Ilse and Jorge show us how when your heart and soul are in your work then you can always find creative ways to get around any obstacles in the way.
To read an inspiring interview in full with Jorge and Ilse for The Skin Talk Blog, click here.