Sky Temple Story

Morning Plant 4It is with great excitement that many members of the Yelapa community and I prepare to welcome you! Sky Temple visitors are eagerly anticipated and deeply appreciated by the local community. The impact of your visit on this village will be felt long after you have returned home. 

Imagine what it will be like to live in a small coastal Mexican village reached only by boat! Yelapa is a magical community very different than other places in the world or even other places in Mexico. The local community owns all the land; they have not sold their village to individuals or developers. We work in partnership through interpersonal agreements made through family and relationship. This way of life is very different than the “ownership” model practiced in the U.S. and Canada and most the world. I feel honored to have the experience of living here with this unusual group of people. And I will be honored to be your hostess and guide to your Yelapa experience. 

Often when people reach the Sky Temple they want to know how I ended up building this structure, living on this mountain, and becoming the “Keeper” to this very unique place of practice. I’m writing a bit of my story here so that when you arrive you can give your full attention to all the beauty and magic around you, already knowing my story. 

I came here in 2004 seeking a healing place for a dear friend and out of sense of being called. It’s difficult to explain a calling that was beyond anything rational, practical or carefully planed. My intention moving here was to offer service. I had no idea what lay ahead. I was called to move on blind faith and trust and really don’t have the words to explain an almost cosmic invitation and series of circumstances that caused me to let go of my comfortable life in the north. And as a life long city person, I entered a tropical Mexican village with no real vision of what I would be “doing here”. I, with full willingness, entered the mystery of “unfoldment” practicing trust in a process I could not really explain. 

Sky TempleMy first years here were spent living in the center of the village, making connections with my neighbors, working with some village projects, learning the language, and going through major adjustments in life style. Having come with a background in community organizing, a devotion to a path of both martial arts and yoga for most my life, I started teaching adult yoga classes in the center of the village. I also poured myself into teaching the village children yoga and helping develop a children’s center in the village. I led a yearly retreat called “Yoga & Birding” that many of my former students from Seattle loved attending. This retreat grew, reaching beyond my own student base. It was a very fulfilling way of sharing yoga and the beauty of nature with many people drawn to Yelapa for this experience. 

Through the deep love I felt developing for this experience of living in this village, a kind of internal voice spoke to me. It said “You need to create a “Yoga Village Experience” for people. I listened to this voice and was puzzled with questions of how this would happen. 

My first casa in the center of town had a terrace facing the sea. I taught adults six classes of yoga a week on that terrace, surrounded in village life. My front yard became a place for a weekly village children’s yoga class at 6:00 pm every Monday evening. I’ve been told that none of the village children ever had attended a regular kind extra curricular class like this in their life times. Having been a highly enthusiastic camp counselor, and with years experience teaching martial arts to children, I could hardly wait to throw my mats down in the middle of the village with the kids and see what would happen!

I knew that with this active wild bunch of kids I needed to make my classes as fun, fast-moving and challenging as possible. My front yard was set dead center in the village. Everyone walked past my front yard. So when these classes were held, an audience of adults, grandparents and teenage boys heckling the class all gazed into my front yard. The children’s class was filled with up to 25 kids of all ages with dogs roaming among us. Imagine adults and children in this village seeing me consistently teaching yoga every Monday evening. With my beginning Spanish and huge heart, the village felt my love, intentions, enthusiasm and willingness to take on a challenge. 

Plant 1AI started to face some serious health issues living in the center of the village. My beloved neighbors, who were used to burning garbage due to lack of disposal systems, did not fully understand the impact of burning plastic. My breathing began to suffer and I started experiencing a severe case of asthma. Not wanting to give up my life in the center of the village, it took a long time to figure out that my health issues were due to a problem that would not change. 

There came a time when I had to face that I needed to move. I have to honestly say, I did not have a totally clear vision of what I was doing. I was entering a zone way out of my realm of experience and comfort. And so I began the practice of the “biggest yoga poses” of my life. Some poses involved great challenge, facing what often felt impossible. Other poses shook my core in the testing of my faith. Inverted poses took my life upside down with loses and changes I never expected when we entered the project. 

Incredible as it still seems to me, I decided to lease an amazing piece of land and began planning and building what was to become the Sky Temple.

I was surrounded by the love of my friends who joined together to make this happen. They gave strong gifts in design, holding a vision, believing in me, and making “good taste” decisions. This all came in the midst of facing the consuming experience of building on a mountain without trucks. Materials were all shipped by small boats and carried by men and animals. 

Since that time, the radical voice suggesting I create “A Village Yoga Experience” has had a playground to begin birthing. Step by step I began working with my neighbors to create the village yoga experience. I call this voice “radical’ since this was to be a great departure from my understanding of existing retreat centers. I followed this path with commitment, while at the same time wondering if anyone would really want to come and have a village experience. 

IMG_2827The “Sky Temple Village Yoga Experience” is designed to impart a glimpse into living in the midst of this unique community while practicing in the extraordinary setting of the Sky Temple. The teachers bringing groups infuse their teaching with all their knowledge and the expansive broadening of understanding invited by the setting of the village. My intention is to create a feeling of unity with both nature and the native community. Groups coming to Yelapa have come to understand that this experience is about the walking, climbing, immersing in nature and the village, and doing yoga.

Through my devoted time of Aikido martial arts training I often fantasized about being the “care taker” of a dojo. A dojo is a martial arts school and means “the place of the way”. My life transformed dramatically through my 15 years of devotion to martial arts and I wanted to show my gratitude through the care taking of the dojo. Now thirty years later, I realize this fantasy has come true but in a very different way. I am the “care taker” of the Sky Temple, my dojo in the sky in Yelapa, Mexico. 

Judith Roth   “Keeper of The Sky Temple”

Welcome! Benvenidos!

May this experience be a blessing in your life.

It truly takes a village.

The support in creation of the Sky Temple reaches far beyond the borders of Yelapa.  

My deepest gratitude and thanks to all the following people who have helped create and sustain the vision of the Sky Temple.

Gwen Marie

Cody Sontag

Naná Simone

Sartia Simone

Maria Morgan

Michael Morgan

Claudia Brown

Brad Wollman

Carolyn Songin

Peter Buck $ Diane Pearlman

Lydia Marshall

Tammy Lianu

Bruce Ferry

Neo & crew

Felipe Garcia

Orelia Garcia

Ellie, Suzanna, Horacio

Fellin, Bryon, Lazaro

Deb & Tim Cahill


Juan Cruz

Celida Cruz

Shannon Yates

David Yates

Tara & Jerry Woolpy

Steven Zaban

Dana Hutson

Shannon Medisky

Pegge Bastress

Jessie Rose Roberts

Angel, Edwardo, Martin

David Lord

Alfonso Garcia

Luis Carcia

Eric Garcia


Julie Brigham

Susan Beer

Mary Tesoro

Rebecca Inez

Gina Puccinelli

Luis & family @ Manguitos

Bahia & Susan Pasko

Deborah van Storch

Tricia Duffy

Eric & Luli

Niki & Luke

Lori, Alex, Brett Gholson

Baxter Bell

Gina Sala

Wendy Lippman

Annie Stocker

Wendy Groesbeck

Lacie Cosgrove

Carla Wainwright

Sabre Page

Kathleen Kelly-Hoffman

Andrea Gerasimo

Tracy Glenz

Jean Sutton

Karen Cappa

Karla Pirruccello

Sarahjoy Marsh

Tatiana & Jeff

So Many In The Village – It’s hard to name each person – Thanks To Yelapa

All The Spirit Traveler’s Practicing In The Sky Temple