On Mother’s Day, the Isha Foundation celebrated Mother Earth by planting 1000 trees on their property in San Juan Bautista.
Over 300 Volunteers of the Isha Foundation, planted over 1000 olive trees of four different varieties on the hillside of their 65 acre property on Salinas Road, formerly belonging to the Nyland Family.
The Isha Foundation is a volunteer run organization with no paid staff. The foundation offers yoga programs under the name Isha Yoga. It has over 2 million volunteers and works in tandem with international bodies like the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
The Foundation volunteers had a large tent erected to house their member meeting, a musical performance and a brunch of Indian food for the volunteers.
Participants arrived from the Bay Area and Southern California and parts of the U.S. and Canada. Engineers, architects, filmmakers, teachers, mothers, fathers and children, worked in teams to plant trees in their own, or another name of their choosing.
Each tree was numbered and assigned to a pre-drilled hole. Volunteers lined up to receive their trees, locate the spot their tree was assigned to, remove the tree from it’s pot, loosen the roots, prepare the soil, place the tree into the ground and cover the base with mulch.
This activity is meant to reconnect participants with the land. Each is expected to keep track of their tree and return to water and care for them.
There were several families who participated, some with infants on their backs as they climber the hills to locate their designated spot. Some of the volunteers planted several trees, one planted and watered 14 himself.
The presence of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, who also joined in the planting and frisbee throwing had an energizing effect on the volunteers who practice his particular form of yoga, Isha Yoga, which focuses on “inner engineering” rather than the more physical forms of yoga which are currently practiced. He spoke of the need to develop the inner self to respond to the difficulties in the world and the need to care for the earth.
One of Sadhguru’s focuses is the planting of trees in response to the many trees which have been and are being removed in the rain forests and other areas. The Foundation has planted more than 17 million trees in India and they hold the Guinness Record for “Most Trees Planted in a Day”. They are also active in establishing schools for children in India and Africa.
The Foundation has over 200 centers in India, Africa, Great Britain, including one on a 2000 acre property in McMinnville, Tennessee which houses a Yoga and Meditation Center, as well as the Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, California.
The Isha Foundation describes itself as a non-denominational spiritual group which welcomes people of all beliefs to practice yoga and meditation. They stated a hope that someday they might build a meditation and yoga center on the property which would welcome everyone to participate and stimulate local businesses that cater to visitors to the center.
Vani Bahl, one of the volunteer coordinators, who works as an architect in her professional life, expressed a hope that people who come to the property will become an economic boost to San Juan and to become a resource to the community. At their center in Tennessee, they have provided a low cost medical clinic by making the physicians among their volunteers, available to the community.
The event attracted the attention of passers by including a CALFIRE crew who stopped by to take a look and chatted with some of the volunteers, Second District Supervisor Anthony Botelho, who came by in response to concerns by an adjoining neighbor about the suitability of the event and whether the proper permits had been attained.
“As I planted and watered my trees, I realized that they would be standing on the hill long after my mortal body was gone. It was blissful knowing that my hands had left something for the future.”
– Bonnie Hale, volunteer