About the Doron Yoga & Zen Center

Zen Yoga Center Atitlan

 Mission Statement

Doron Yoga & Zen Center (DYZC) is intent on creating a regenerative spiritual community and education center dedicated to the awakening of consciousness, service and kinship with the land.

What is the Doron Yoga & Zen Center?

DYZC is a spiritual, no-nonsense retreat center (ashram) that seeks practical solutions, based on real experiences rather than religious dogma. Self-responsibility, honesty, integrity, transparency and care for each other are foundational values.

We study, practice and integrate yoga and Zen infused with regenerative living inspired by permaculture and the flexitarian method along with mindfulness actions. We seek to involve the local community with our practices of The Yoga Lifestyle.

We offer a safe home to unlearn our limiting conditioning, and learn how to live a joyful life including, art, yummy nutrition, dance and philosophy programs to realize our full potential.

DYZC offers in-depth study and practice programs, along with lighthearted dance and play. This is the land of free spirit meets responsibility.

Culture Identity: Yoga Meets Zen

  • Clarity and Honesty: Beyond truth, speaking in a way that is not misleading others. Admitting fears, and issues that need work.
  • Authenticity: Speaking from experience, representing our selves as we are. Learning to be comfortable with ourselves.
  • Positive change: Helping others
  • Communication: Always seeking to have clear, loving communication while taking responsibility for our projections and feelings.
  • Responsibility: Holding ourselves accountable for what we speak and do, and even how we feel. Gestalt as a model.
  • Practice: Put our study into real life practice. Yoga and meditation meet real life.
  • Show up: to all practices on time. Show up to yourself, and stand up to your old conditioning.
  • Open to Change: Change and transformation are inevitable and we accept them. We learn to implement the new realizations.
  • Simplicity: in our action and possessions. Use what we need, share excess.
  • Permaculture: Work with nature, respect local resources and culture, sustainability, eco-friendly, organic, reduce and reuse waste.
  • Aesthetics: Clean, earthy, Zen, simple, natural, cozy with breathing space.

Why Guatemala?

View of Lake Atitlan from the Doron Yoga Retreat CenterView of Lake Atitlan from the Doron Yoga & Zen Center

More specifically, the answer is why the small village of Tzununa on Lake Atitlan. Part of my dream for the DYZC included mountains and water. Tzununa is set on the shore of the beautiful lake Atitlan, surrounded by volcanoes, which emit a powerful feeling. It a 5 minute tuk tuk or boat ride from the famous spiritual village of San Marcos La Laguna. The land itself is in a valley, along a creek (small river). The sound of water flowing, and the beauty of the greenery sets up perfect places to sit and be present.

The land itself is rich with dark rocks and stones, that add to the power and magical feeling. All who stepped on the land just wanted to sit and be. Just be absorbed in the nature. At the moment it has plenty of coffee, banana and some jocote trees. It has a slight slope with a rocky terrain.

The villagers are very friendly and kind. The women walk around in their traditional hand-woven clothes, carrying wood on their backs, and slapping masa dough between their hands to create tortillas that will be prepared on a wood burning stove. The traditional Mayan lifestyle in such a beautiful setting is very healing.

Transform your mind. Transform your life. Doron Yoga – a holistic approach to well-being.

How The Doron Yoga & Zen Center Came to Life

The vision for a Zen, Yoga, Art Center has been cultivating within me for about 25 years, since I first stayed at ashrams in India. The lifestyle of living with others sharing the same practice, the support of the community (sangha) and a lead teacher has made a great difference in my growth and practice.

I maintained a joyful yoga lifestyle even while running an art and fashion photography studio in New York City. I always took time off to practice in Zen centers  and monasteries, yoga ashrams, artists’ residencies, and retreat centers. I found that stepping away from my daily routine served as a great jumpstart and improvement for my practice, calmness of mind and overall happiness. It helped me study better and deeper. Each one of these settings was amazing but none of these offered what I needed and wanted. I was seeking a Zen Yoga Retreat.

I needed a place that offers the committed, mindful and respectful practice of Zen along with greater physical movement such as a yoga center, combined with ecology / permaculture practices, so I could actually eat good, healthy, balanced food as found in some retreat centers. Top it off with an opportunity to be creative, and offer programs for the improvement of the local community, and you get my dream place.

I wrote the book: The Yoga Lifestyle: using the Flexitarian Method to Ease stress, Find Balance and Create a Healthy Life, and wanted to find a way to pass on these teachings in the most practical way. Teaching it in a retreat setting is ideal, as it offers an all-encompassing way of living along with dedicated time and space to focus on the practice with a sangha (community of like-minded people).