Volunteer Vacations

The Sanctuary in Mexico closed in 2018 so most what may read below is now not relevant. I leave it here however in case you would like to see what i used to offer.

In August 2019 however i bought a property in Bulgaria and i now offer Volunteer Vacations / Work Exchange stays at my new home Atmanna. Please visit my new Atmanna Page for more information.


Atma (aka Pete)

This Work Exchange Volunteer Vacations page describes what The Sanctuary Healing Retreat Center asks from its' Work Exchange Staff, and in turn what The Sanctuary can offer you as a Work Exchange Volunteer. For these positions we are asking for a 6 month commitment.

Whether you consider this to be a vacation or not will depend partly upon your perception and attitude as to what is work. You will of course be asked to work (25 hours per week), but if you are passionate about sharing with others, then you may not consider it as work. There will certainly still be time to play and learn as well.

If however you would like to have more of a vacation than a work exchange whilst still helping out with a lesser (10, 15 or 20 hrs per week) work commitment, please consider staying at The Sanctuary as a Volunteer Guest. This will support The Sanctuary as it will pay toward the cost of your stay whilst The Sanctuary will benefit from your voluntary work.

If you've not already done so, please read The Sanctuary Home Page, and our Schedule & Conditions Page before continuing.

The Sanctuary is now closed.

 but please visit other pages on this site to learn about and/or contribute information about healing naturally.

You may also visit my Atmanna Page to read about and see my new home in Bulgaria and what i offer here.

To help ensure that The Sanctuary is spiritually grounded in practice, presence and continuing education, our Work Exchange Staff should be familiar with the practice of a morning sadhana. While we have a group sadhana available for guests each morning which our staff and volunteers are free to and encouraged to join, some degree of discipline must exist within in order to take seriously what it means to begin the day with presence and awareness.

While obviously life is a continuing journey of growth and healing for everyone, our Work Exchange Volunteer Staff are here mostly to contribute towards helping our guests to cure/heal themselves, not to receive attention towards being cured/healed. Yes, spiritual development, progressive learning, and physical healing will happen in this environment whether you embrace it or not; but as for clear issues of healing that will detract from the energy of the home and its intentions of helping others to heal, please be sure to disclose anything of this nature which may be relevant. There are no strict regulations regarding this, but please consider this for the greater good of the whole

As Work Exchange Staff  you will need to ask yourself deeply if you are wanting to throw yourself into a community setting which will be small, intimate and often very demanding in its own unique ways. Our intention is not to indoctrinate a paradigm of healing which can sometimes feel radical, but to set the space for you as staff and those as paying guests to seek deeper within, while receiving from without, as we explore new ways of physical healing, spiritual growth, and lifestyles less toxic both on the inside and the outside, and within that container (the space of The Sanctuary), to learn more about ourselves as individuals and our greater depths.

This is a dynamic experience, requiring flexibility, willingness, skills and creative yearning. In general, requiring a certain amount of character and at times potentially some vulnerability.

Since the beginning of 2015 we have been offering Karma Staff positions for a 1-3 months before offering these full Work Exchange Staff positions. This is not always the case however. Depending upon your application, your experience and skills, and our staff requirements at the time, we also offer Work Exchange positions without needing to come as Karma Staff first. We do recommend though that you consider the option of visiting first as Karma Staff (at a cost). We have two Karma Staff positions available each month with a reduced work requirement (20 hrs per week instead of 25 hrs for work exchange) for minimum 30 day periods.

volunteer vacations work exchange - volunteer vacations work exchange

Have you ever been a part of a community? Have you ever seen inside yourself through interacting with others? Have you ever needed to learn to go with a flow? These are important questions.

The Sanctuary is intended to be a place of love & respect. Rules & guidelines can only take individuals and community so far, and from this we learn that in order to make anything work, intentions must be set and in alignment with the greater good.

Please however be sure to read our "rules" so you understand where we are coming from.

Please also be sure to read this blog from Christian who stayed at The Sanctuary for 4 months.

Are there Work Exchange Volunteer Vacations Staff Positions available?

To help us recruit and retain souls with integrity for 6 month work exchange positions, we are now offering end of contract performance related continuity & profit bonuses, in addition to food and accommodation. These are not guaranteed as they related to both the performance of the individual and the financial performance of The Sanctuary (having sufficient cashflow to be able to pay a bonus), but this is our definate intention. The profit share you may earn will however be vested to help nurture The Sanctuary in it's early years. Further details on completion of application.

Note that there is also opportunity to earn cash (in addition to the accomodation & food) by giving therapies, workshops and retreats. More info. about this below.

Update - 26th October 2015

We currently 1 work exchange vacancies.

We also invite applications for the future. If you would definitely like to come and you are able to make a contribution toward the cost of your stay, please consider coming as a Karma Guest, Karma Yogi or Karma Staff.

Please be sure to visit our new website as the information on this page is not up to date.

The Sanctuary is now closed.

 but please visit other pages on this site to learn about and/or contribute information about healing naturally.

You may also visit my Atmanna Page to read about and see my new home in Bulgaria and what i offer here.

volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations

Work Exchange Training Program

To help ensure our Work Exchange Staff Guests hit the ground with their feet running, we require you to enter our training program (our Karma Staff Requirements shown below), before and during your stay. This is to help tune in to the philosopy and values of The Sanctuary, and to help ensure that the maximum benefit is acheived during the stay. It also is a stepping stone to becoming a more permanant resident or to open your own Sanctuary Approved healing center with our support.

Karma Staff Requirements (First Month)

Click here for access to resources - password peaceandlove. 

Before Completion of Karma Staff (or Work Exchange Staff Application) Form

  • Read Radical Forgiveness up to the end of Chapter One (Jill's story) then write (in the space on the application/booking form below) about your experience, thoughts and feelings once you have completed this.
  • Start to read The Presence Process, at least up to the end of the Aligning Intent in Part I, then write (in the space on the application/booking form below) a few sentences about your experience, thoughts and feelings once you have completed this.
  • Like our Facebook Page and invite your FB friends to also Like it.
  • Share our Facebook Page on your Facebook Wall.
  • Subscribe to our Newsletter (in right hand column of this page)
  • Submit the form below to confirm availabllity of space and obtain pre-acceptance.

Before Arrival

  • Read our Holistic Healing Protocol page, including watching the videos & following the links for further information. Write in an additional e-mail about your experience and feelings once you have completed this. Also ask any questions you may have.
  • Read our Household Manual. Write with any questions you may have.
  • Note, this item is highly recommended, but not required: Continue reading The Presence Process (the complete book if you choose the Introductory Level of entry, or up to the end of Part II if you choose and decide to commit to the Experiential Level of entry). Write in an additional e-mail about your experience, thoughts and feelings once you have completed reading up to the end of part II.

During Your Stay (not part of your working hours unless otherwise stated)

  • Attend a minimum of 3 morning meditations & mantra chantings per week. You may sometimes be asked to set up and hold the space for morning meditation & mantra chanting, in which case you may claim 15 mins. as part of your working time on your time sheet.
  • Attend a minimum of 2 yoga (or alternative) classes each week.
  • Attend daily (after break-fast) workflow meeting (except on your days off)
  • Complete an online time sheet every day (Gmail account required).
  • Attend a minimum of 1 group breath-work session every week .
  • Write a twice monthly "volunteer blog" on our healing-haven.com website sharing about your experience of the previous two weeks (including your experience of The Presence Process if you have chosen the experiential entry level).
  • On the first Monday of your stay, complete a 24 hours water or juice fast. Write at least a couple sentences about your experience in your first blog.
  • During your first week (or before arrival), watch the ´╗┐37 minute video of Marc David's Introduction to The Future of Healing´╗┐.
  • Following instruction, take on the shared responsibility, with one other person, of soaking and rinsing the sprouts twice daily (you may claim 15 mins. for each day you do this, as part of your working time, on your time sheet).
  • During the first month of your stay (or before you arrive), listen to the lost Teachings of Yoga audios by Georg Feuerstein and write a few sentences about your experience and feelings of this in your blogs.
  • By the beginning of week 2, start reading the book Creating Peace by Being Peace by Gabriel Cousens. (You may claim 50% of your reading time as part of your working time on your time sheet - details to be entered every day - up to 2.5 hours per week)
  • Especially after your first week once you become familiar with the routine, you are asked to actively support our management team during your stay, by helping show new guests settle in, generally being helpful, and assuming your requirements enthusiastically, so not burdening our managers with needing to remind you to complete them.

Click here for access to resources - password peaceandlove. There are additional requirements for both Karma Staff and for Work Exchange Staff after the first month, to continue the training program.

If you are inspired from what you have read so far, please read on. If, on the other hands, some things feel out of resonance with your own current state of being and you have doubts, please contact the healing headquarters for clarification or perhaps to request more information.


Non Violence, Truthfulness, Integrity, Respect, Transformation, Simplicity, Accountability, Sustainability, and Community Living,  are some of the core values at The Sanctuary.  You will likely be challenged by some of these. Please be prepared for this. Do you blame others when something goes wrong?

We are here to "go within", to avoid the distractions of the outside world, to find inner peace.  Are you prepared for this?

volunteer vacations work exchange - volunteer vacations work exchange

What type of work will I do?

Anything which needs doing to keep The Sanctuary running smoothly and to look after the guests. This might include cooking, cleaning, gardening, online marketing, instructing/helping guests with our healing protocols, teaching a yoga class, preparing juices, putting up flyers in local shops, restaurants and hotels, dehydrating & packaging food and herbs, and much more. 

As part of your energy exchange, you will be required to present an evening experiential workshop to other staff and guests once per week. This will involve sharing for about 1 to 1.5 hrs something which you are passionate about, or which interests you.  If this is not something you are used to, it may feel scary. It will however help you to grow. Living on the edge of our comfort zone is very helpful to growth. Usually the time to prepare for and present this is not be considered to be part of the work exchange hours, but to be in the spirit of giving. Please offer any thoughts about this in Q11 if this does not feel right for you.

During your stay you may be asked to work on a project, which will benefit both The Sanctuary, and yourself. A legacy you will leave perhaps. An example might be to research and fulfill the creation of better drinking water than we currently use, or to create a hydroponic food growing system, or to help create a free community wi-fi hotspot. 

To help ensure we have sufficient guests at The Sanctuary to pay the bills and more, it is very helpful for our staff to contribute to marketing. Writing a blog at least monthly, sharing at least weekly on a least 2 social networks (eg. Linked In, Spiritual Networks, Facebook etc) and perhaps participating on a local expats forum  http://www.tomzap.com/ph5/list.php?17 and some health & yoga forums, is likely be part of the work (probably around 1 hour per week minimum). This can be done in Spanish as well as English if your Spanish is sufficient for this. This is not "hard sell" marketing, but sharing experiences and helpful information, with the side effect likely to be satisfied readers who might come to visit The Sanctuary.

Part of your work will be helping to share our holistic healing protocol with guests. You will therefore be asked to try some of our healing modalities, such as MMS Protocol 1000, colon cleansing with enema and Infra Red Sauna. These will empower you to be more effective in the working environment and help attune you to the mission of The Sanctuary.

You will be required to complete a detailed time sheet every day, both to help your to keep track of your time and the work allocated to you, and to help our work suoervisor to manage the staff.

While all our staff take a share in most duties, we broadly define the staff positions and duties (which also includes supervision of Volunteer & Guest work commitment) as follows:

These Positions / Duties  for winter 2015/2016.

Position 1:  Responsible to the management committee, duties to include reviewing the Guest Booking Diary and the correspondence of arriving guests to become familiar with the character and the interests of the arriving guest. Greeting guests and reviewing with them their personalized program. Showing them to their rooms and presenting them with a personalized written greeting, collect money, present receipt. Staff recruitment. Supervision of Assistant Manager. Be familiar with and proficient at the duties of the Assistant manager so as to be able to oversee & deputise for him/her. Responsible for day to day management of entire operation. This is a hands on position, helping in all other areas where needed. Experience in similar operations and environment is very desirable. The General Manager potentially will receive (in addition to food and accommodation) a performance related bonus. Your "profit" share will be vested to help nurture The Sanctuary in it's early years & to help build community. Click here for more details. Ideally to be bilingual in Spanish & English to at least intermediate level.

Position 2: Responsible for scheduling the tasks for staff and working guests as well as supervising the completion of those tasks and deputising when needed. These tasks will include: kitchen management and duties (including vegan meal preparation & menu planning), food procurement, housekeeping, laundry, and garden upkeep. "Green fingers" and raw food and juicing experience are highly desirable. The Assistant Manager potentially will receive (in addition to food and accommodation) a performance related bonus. Puerto Escondido local preferred. Salary possible for non-live in position. Ideally to be bilingual in Spanish & English at least to intermediate level.

Position 3:

Correspondence: Answer guest inquiries (including staff applications), answer questions, confirm availability of accommodation & rates, calculate deposits, send (and follow up upon) Paypal payment requests, maintain and update booking diary, provide clear summary of required info. to General Manager.

Healing Department: Training and assisting guests and staff with healing protocols. Leading morning meditation, teaching yoga class. A strong meditation and yoga background is highly desirable for this position.

Programing: Develop new programs/retreats/workshops per the minutes of the meetings of the management commitee. Supervise implementation. Maintain a consistent level of expertise of the instructors. 

Marketing: Online marketing on several professional and social networks and health related forums. Develop and maintain the web site, produce printed promotions for local use and interact with the Programs Manager to initiate new programs that are developed and are actionable.

The above 3 positions are by no means fixed. The duties / roles will be shared between the 4 management positions (which include Pete, the founder of The Sanctuary), depending upon abilities, preferences and the needs of the community.

volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations

What will I need to bring with me?

The most important thing for all of us is to come with an openness to learn from each other, a dedication to "spiritual practice" (probably at least 1 hour a day in meditation for example), a willingness to uncover our deepest shadows and patterns so we stop acting from them, to be aware of and to look for ego, vanities, resentments, anger etc. to grow into greater consciousness, to be caring and loving people.

We are all one, no one is better or worse than anyone else even when our ego tricks us into thinking that. We must (as the god that we are) take 100% responsibility for everything in our lives. For example: If someone speaks to me in an angry tone of voice - nothing to do with me? - or at a deeper level - what is that reflecting in me? How have I created that? No need to answer, just reflect upon the idea. But, be sure that you will be challenged on this if you are seen to put blame on others and to react, rather than accepting the learning experience and to act in a kind and loving way. It is a requirement of our work exchange staff to accept responsibility for what happens around them. Please be sure to read Radical Forgiveness as may well be required to complete a Radical Forgiveness worksheet during your stay (unless you are an angel :-).

Please don't bring any products (such as toothpaste, shampoo, soaps, deodorant etc) which have toxins. (Most of them do). Bring only 100% natural products. There are good products available in Puerto Escondido or you can make your own. Please bring towels for personal use. You won't need many warm clothes as it is rarely if ever cold. Perhaps some evenings u might want a long sleeved sweater/jacket, but rarely. It very rarely rains before June or after October.

Please bring a laptop if at all possible to help with the online sharing work. Please state in Q11 if you do not have a laptop.

volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations

Opportunity to earn Cash
Can you offer Therapies, Workshops or Retreats?

Do you have some expertise, skills, knowledge, experience and confidence which you could share by way of therapies, a retreat or a workshop?  

Perhaps you are able to give massages, cranial sacral therapy, teach meditation, yoga, or art therapy, or family repatterning, or salsa dance, or teach Spanish. Maybe you can teach about permaculture, community living, raw or whole food preparation, or even conscious business skills. Maybe you can teach massage, or reiki, or perhaps you have experience doing a liver and gallbladder cleanse.

You would not need to take on the full responsibility for giving a retreat or workshop yourself, but would be supported by the existing structure of The Sanctuary and by other volunteer staff or Karma guests.

Within the daily schedule at The Sanctuary we have available time-slots for teachings as follows: 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 6pm. An ideal retreat structure could incorporate our existing schedule of meditation, yoga, meals & evening experiential workshop with an addition of 3 to 7 hrs teaching per day in the aforementioned time slots. Guests could arrive for the retreat on Sunday afternoon for a meet & greet introduction.

Retreat teachings could take place Monday to Friday, leaving weekends free for shorter (3 hr, 1 day, or 2 day) workshops offered to both locals and as an additional option for retreat guests.

If you are successful in giving therapies or organising and leading a retreat during your stay, and need to work more than your usual hours as a result, The Sanctuary will be pleased to share the financial rewards with you. This can be up to 70% of the teaching element of the charge we make, after expenses. It is our wish to empower you to create an abundance both for The Sanctuary and for yourself.

If this is something that interests, even excites you, please complete the appropriate question in the application form below. Note, this is not a requirement for application.

Summary: Work Exchange Volunteer Staff

Our "staff" is more than a mere term: it is the core of what The Sanctuary is. Every person inside The Sanctuary healing retreat is a part of its energy, affecting and reacting as life flows. 

As a staff member, you will be part of The Sanctuary: its daily activities, its meals, its cleaning, its healing modalities with guests, its community project,


You will be The Sanctuary during your stay here. You will affect its energy, and it will affect you as we develop communication skills, explore new spiritual practices, and build relationships with one another.

We require a commitment from our work exchange volunteer management staff to stay for a minimum of 6 months. Part of the reason for this is that in the first weeks and months you will be learning and getting to know the lay of the land. If you are unable to stay this long, we offer Volunteer Guest placements with a reduced work commitment and no minimum length of stay. 

While we set a guideline of 25 hours work per week (usually six days of around four hours), what we "require" is an active exchange of energy to ensure increased creation. What you put in is likely to be pale in comparison to what you can get out of the magic that happens in The Sanctuary when you fully embrace the experience. Learning to receive is just as important as learning to give.

What's Included in exchange for your work?

Included as a part of your work exchange is basic and usually delicious healthy vegan food. There are some things however which we do not necessarily provide! For example; we only occasionally eat bread, preffering to keep a gluten free house; good quality Coconut oil is expensive and is used in cooking somewhat as is olive oil. If however you want to consume say 3 tablespoons coconut oil per day or if you want to take spirulina or chlorella (all very supportive of health) then you will need to buy these yourself. We have a big pot of healing tea on the go, perhaps ginger & turmeric, or yerba buena or epecote. We prefer however not to have the temptation of coffee in the house as it is generally not supportive of health, unless a particular healthy brand infused with healing mushrooms for example.

If you live very simply you could survive with no money. But we recommend you have around 200 pesos per week for incidentals, personal care items etc.  Use of our washing machine for personal laundry is not included, although you may hand-wash items during the periods when the mains water is on (Wednesday & Saturday afternoons & Sunday morning). Bed-linen is provided and can we washed a maximum of once per week. Please bring your own towels.

Please be sure to visit our new website as the information on this page is not up to date.

We require a Goodwill Deposit

We ask for a refundable deposit of 2,000 pesos (approx. US $160) from our work exchange staff. This is to be paid in advance by Paypal (+ 5% Paypal processing fee) once a placement is offered. 

If you choose to stay, your deposit (less the Paypal fee) will be refunded at the rate of 500 pesos per month at the end of each completed month (up to the end of month 4), provided you have complied with your agreement. We are not looking for perfection but simply willingness, harmony and commitment.

If however at the end of one week you decide The Sanctuary is not for you, then you may choose to leave.  The deposit will be retained as payment for your one week stay. (The amount is slightly less than our standard Volunteer Guest price for staying one week). The same applies (your deposit will be retained) if at the end of the week our management commitee decide that you have not complied with your agreement and are unsuitable for the position.

volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations

What Else?

Although we will do our best to avoid and make further arrangements, rooms and beds are offered both for Guests and for Staff, so sometimes you may need to move to another space as new guests arrive. Please therefore be clear in your application if you will absolutely require a separate space, which would more likely be a camping space.

We will do our best to make space for all but it is important that we feel the willingness and openness of anyone who will be part of our small staff, so as a member of our healing team, we will review your stay on a continuing basis.

So to repeat, the Sanctuary reserves the right to review and theoretically cancel our obligation at any time. Your completion of your work requirement and general attitude will be a part of these reviews.

Other Considerations

  • Please consider that we are not just offering a work exchange placement (for which we consider the 25 hrs of work to be a fair exchange for the food, sleeping space and community experience that The Sanctuary provides). We are offering Volunteer Work Exchange. We therefore invite you to apply if you are full of enthusiasm for helping The Sanctuary fulfill it's purpose, with the spirit of volunteering, as opposed to coming just for place to stay for a while in exchange for work. 
  • We have a cat. His name is Peace. He is (mostly) vegetarian, beautiful and friendly.
  • It is hot in Mexico, especially here in Oaxaca. The Sanctuary is located in a somewhat elevated position so catches some breeze, but some people do find it quite hot.
  • This is a community in which you will play a strong role should you be accepted as work exchange staff. Please do not take that lightly--it will require more than just a work exchange attitude, and will give you much more than that in return.

volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations


Yes, this is probably the longest page you've ever read. Well, imagine how long it took to write it (about 2.5 years so far including many edits following staff experiences and feedback). You can read some of that feedback from staff here.

So finally, our longer term vision is for a network of healing communities. After successful completion of a 6  month work exchange position, there may be the possibility to stay on and participate in additional training as we make it available. We intend that you become empowered, and possibly even financially funded by The Sanctuary, to open your "own" healing centre.

The Sanctuary is now closed.

 but please visit other pages on this site to learn about and/or contribute information about healing naturally.

You may also visit my Atmanna Page to read about and see my new home in Bulgaria and what i offer here.

Work Exchange Staff Application Procedure


This is a long form, and sometimes when submitting a glitch can occur and you can lose all the information you have entered. So, please be sure to prepare and save all your answers elsewhere, then paste them into the boxes below. PLEASE Pay attention to this. It may save you a lot of frustration if something goes wrong.

Participating in a Work Exchange program long-term can be tricky, especially to decide upon by just written communication. We understand that and would like to do our best so that both you and The Sanctuary project can make the most informed decision and not get stuck or feel soured. There are many deep questions below which we recommend you answer. In so doing you will have greater insight into your own motivation, capacity, strengths and potential obstacles and will help us to get a feeling for who you are. After reviewing your application, if you are shortlisted we will ask you to do a phone interview by Skype to become better acquainted.

If you would like to apply for a Work Exchange Staff position at The Sanctuary yoga retreat and healing community (and for our Healing Haven Global Healing Center Website) please do the following:

Note, we do not insist you complete points 3. & 4. but it would be appreciated. 

  1. Review the questions on the form below. Don't complete it yet, just read and consider the questions. If you would still like to apply as a volunteer, return here to complete item 2.
  2. Sign up for the free Healing Haven newsletter (at the bottom of this page).
  3. Create a blog on our "Volunteer Quotes" page, uploading a full face photograph of yourself in which your eyes are clearly visible. On the blog page (which will be public) you don't need to say a lot, just introduce yourself and write a few sentences (or more if you wish) about what attracts you to volunteering at The Sanctuary, what you feel you can share with us and our guests, and what you would like to achieve from the experience. Be sure to enter your e-mail address when prompted. (This small action of creating your blog page will help our presence on the search engines, thereby attracting more guests and helping us to be able to continue to offer Work Exchange placements.)
  4. Visit and read our "sharing" page, and follow those actions suggested which inspire you. In particular we ask you to follow the "Biggest Impact" instructions. Next go to Volunteer Blog Page which you created in step 1 (you will receive an e-mail with the link, but it may take up to 24 hours to be published) then in the comments section, list the sharing actions you have completed.
  5. Review and complete the Pre-Application steps of The Sanctuary Training Program
  6. Finally, complete and submit the form below.

Please note that your application may be reviewed by key staff (other than Pete, the founder of The Sanctuary). If you have something absolutely confidential to share, please mention so in Q11 and Pete will write back to you with his private e-mail address.

Thank you for your time reading this far. We hope you are inspired to apply and if so look forward to hearing from you. 

Peace and Love

volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations - volunteer vacations

Please be sure to visit our new website as the information on this page is not up to date. Do not complete the application on this page, but find the new application form on our new site.  Thank you

Work Exchange Volunteer Application Form

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.


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