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Ulpotha's natural charms lend themselves readily to a deeply satisfying experience of yoga. If ever there was a place made for yoga, Ulpotha is it. Though it was not planned at the outset as a Sri Lankan yoga center, yoga very quickly took its central place in the Ulpotha experience through a series of serendipitous events. This is a place to unwind, be gentle with yourself, live close to nature, and simply be; or if you feel energetic, a wonderful place to exercise and rejuvenate.
Guests are accommodated in one of a number of tastefully decorated traditional wattle and daub huts sprinkled through Ulpotha, where living is by design a communal and shared experience in nature's embrace.
There are 11 charming guest huts in Ulpotha, 10 of which are for two guests and one for three. All of them are built using traditional wattle and daub with comfortable beds, excellent mosquito nets, cupboards, fresh water, towels, and offer a sarong to wear and take home. The huts are of an open, airy design that facilitates the sense of being one with nature.
Twice a year, each hut is hand painted using different colored clays, where no designs are ever repeated. Much use has been made of clay, stone, wood, pottery, and fabrics that reflect traditional village practices and aesthetics. With one or two exceptions, Ulpotha adheres to the Sri Lankan village tradition of keeping toilet or loo spaces separate from living spaces. The enchanting showers are open to the stars and the toilets are modern.
All the huts at Ulpotha are allocated on a twin share basis. Sharing with someone is more welcome than one might usually expect. Though ultimately soothing to the ears, the jungle noises can take some getting used to and it is quite reassuring to have a companion sharing one's space.
By design there is no electricity in Ulpotha and life is lived by the rhythm of the day. As candles are to a restaurant, flame is to Ulpotha. Paths and accommodation are lit by lamps and lanterns with the twinkling firelight creating a captivating and romantic sense of times gone by.
During this yoga retreat, expect morning classes to be detailed asana practice and evening classes to be more restorative. The first week of this retreat will cover foundation practices and lead to more advanced work during week two.
During this retreat, you will have two excursions. On the first week, you will have a half-day excursion and on the second week, you will have a full-day excursion.
Ulpotha is run as a self-sustained village, where the vast majority of staff are from immediately surrounding local villages and who live in and largely run Ulpotha themselves.
The resident Ayurveda doctor provides training in Ayurvedic massage and therapies for the treatment center staff, who are also from either within Ulpotha or from neighboring villages. Nearly all the food consumed in Ulpotha is grown on site. In addition to growing rice, fruits, vegetables, and timber trees, they have recently started growing medicinal plants and trees used for making Ayurvedic medicines.
Ulpotha sources many of their other supplies and building materials from the immediate locality. Similarly, all the Ayurvedic medicines used in the treatment center are made locally.
Ulpotha regularly invests in services and amenities for the local community (rebuilding and maintaining the reservoir that is central to local agriculture, creation of a free Ayurveda clinic for the surrounding villages, donations to the local hospitals and temples, all which are done in the lowest profile way possible - without acknowledgements, notices, quid pro quo demands, plaques, etc.).
The Ayurvedic treatment center within Ulpotha, which serves paying guests, is used to fund the year-round free clinic for the surrounding villages. Only local products and services are made available to guests
Before their arrival, guests are given an introduction as to what to expect through information provided via the website and a guest information pack. Once in Ulpotha, guests are encouraged to learn more about the local culture and customs through immersion and interaction with the local villagers.
Guest participation is encouraged in local ceremonies and traditional gatherings while keeping them informed of locally acceptable behavior and appropriate dress code. Guests are encouraged to visit social projects within the community (such as the free clinic) or in surrounding villages (schools for handicapped children, etc.), and to support such projects.
Ulpotha regularly holds meetings with and seek feedback from local community leaders. Ulpotha is run by a committee of villagers with help from one of the owners, himself a local.
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During this retreat, you will be provided with daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Snacks and drinks will also be provided. The food at Ulpotha is simply delicious and very healthy. It is almost entirely vegan, naturally wheat free, with an abundance of fresh vegetables, organic red rice, and tropical fruit freshly picked largely from Ulpotha's gardens. A visit to Ulpotha is a good opportunity to detoxify your system without fuss.
Special diets cannot be catered for but it is fairly easy to pick and choose, depending on your taste, from the many dishes served at each meal. If there is anything that you feel that you simply can't do without (coffee, a gin tonic, chocolate, and the like), they suggest you bring it with you. As the retreat center has no electricity, all food is cooked fresh for each meal on open fires.
Breakfast is served from approximately 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and consists of herbal teas, fresh fruit, fresh coconut water, herbal rice porridge, and a Sri Lankan breakfast cake. Lunch served around midday is the main meal of the day and consists of a wide array of Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, salads, Ulpotha Heritage rice, fruits, curd, juice, and herbal tea. Dinner is served after dusk and consists of an array of salads, Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, juice, fruit, and herbal tea.
In this yoga retreat, you will have two one-hour massage sessions. Additional Ayurvedic treatments or massages are available at an additional price.
You can pre-book an Ayurveda package of either five days, a week, 10 or 12 days, or two, three, or four weeks. Prices range from 300 USD to 1,600 USD. Treatments will typically last for about two hours each day and can be scheduled either in the morning or in the afternoon. The rest of the day will be free for you to hang out and do other things, including yoga.
A wide variety of therapies is available at Ulpotha through the seasons, though the ones on offer at any particular time depend on the therapists visiting Ulpotha at a given time (stays range anywhere from a month to three months). There are always two therapists present.
Please keep in mind that, if you are undergoing an Ayurveda program, the doctor may advise you not to have any massage therapies that may interfere with your treatment. Please note all treatments are fully clothed. Wear your comfortable, loose clothing (your yoga clothes are perfect) bring a long sleeved top and socks if you have them.
Please book your flight to arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). Transfer to and from this airport is available upon request. Ulpotha will meet you at the airport and return you to the airport after your holiday. The cost per vehicle (maximum of two people) is 100 USD for one person and 115 USD for two people, each way. The transfer cost should be paid upon arrival in Ulpotha. Please inquire should you wish to be collected or dropped off at a location in Sri Lanka other than the airport.