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The founders and villagers welcome you to enjoy Ulpotha in this spirit. Though Ulpotha has come to be known as an eco-friendly, vegetarian yoga retreat center that offers Ayurveda, the founders would like to emphasize that it was not established to be anything in particular. The yoga, Ayurveda, and eco sensibilities are not central to its ethos - Ulpotha is there to be enjoyed as one wishes, and taken for what it is: an enchanting place that sprinkles its magic dust on those who pass through. There is no aspiration in Ulpotha to be anything other than what it is - a lovely, playful but honoring folly.
You 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 natures 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 accommodations are on a sharing basis, which means that a solo traveler will be automatically allocated, in a spacious double hut (twin beds), with another like-minded guest of the same gender. Guests booking, and coming together, will be allocated in a double hut (double bed or twin beds if not a couple). Sharing with someone is more welcome than one might usually expect, though ultimately soothing to the ears, the unusual jungle noises can take some getting used to and its quite reassuring to have a companion sharing ones space. The guests will anyway find that they end up spending very little time in their hut, except, at night.
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 Ulpotha 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. Having done so, it is hard to imagine a place better suited to the practice of this ageless discipline. On your day of arrival, you will be collected from the airport by one of Ulpotha's excellent drivers and welcomed in Ulpotha with coconut juice, herbal tea, fruits, and healthy snacks.
The day begins with birdsong, as well as light tea and fruit before your dynamic morning class. Ulpotha invites leading teachers from around the world to come and share their gift of yoga with its guests. A variety of yoga styles are on offer to suit a wide range of preferences. Yoga is practiced in the yoga shala, which is essentially an open-sided hall that lets in nature's charms, from gentle breezes to bird songs.
On occasion, classes are conducted further afield: beneath the splaying branches of a Banyan tree, or on top of Monkey Rock, or below the neighboring temple - or wherever else takes the collective fancy of those present. Many of the world's most respected yoga teachers come to Ulpotha. As the teachers change every fortnight, several types of yoga - usually Hatha, Vinyasa, yoga therapeutics, Yin, Iyengar, and Ashtanga - are available at different times in the season.
Every morning, there is an optional yoga class in a large, open-sided building with a palm leaf roof, or in the cool dappled shade of a banyan tree. Teachers who come to Ulpotha are very experienced and are open to teaching many levels of students within a class. Some may also guide dawn walks in the beautifully wooded surrounding hills for those who wish. As Ulpotha attracts high-quality yoga instructors, some guests come mainly for the yoga classes.
But since Ulpotha was never intended to be primarily a yoga center, there is no pressure to attend classes and life does not hinge on classes of any kind. So you will not feel an outsider if yoga is not for you. 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. Ulpotha provides yoga mats, wooden blocks, belts, small flat cushions, and bolsters in the Yoga Sri Lanka shala.
After breakfast, choose an Ayurveda detox package and enjoy the oil applications and herbal baths and steams under the supervision of the resident doctor or simply go for a swim or relax on a swing bed. Lunch is served in the Ambalama, where you can enjoy a delicious array of veggie dishes, juices, and teas while chatting with fellow guests. In the afternoon, have a massage with one of Ulpotha's outstanding international therapists, take a bike ride and visit the local village, roam the hills, visit the neighboring Buddhist temple, boat on the lake, or simply relax.
Afternoon classes held at sunset are restorative and include meditation and pranayama. Enjoy a sumptuous candlelit veggie dinner, borrow a book from the library, or chat with the owners. Head up to the lake and dance under the moonlight. For your information, the holiday cost includes two daily yoga classes of one and a half to two hours per day: one class in the morning around 7:30 a.m. and the second class in the evening around 5:00 p.m.
Please note that the yoga starts on the first Sunday evening and finishes after class on the final Saturday night to allow guests to check out by 10:00 a.m. on the final Sunday. There is no yoga, on the afternoon of the half-day excursion trip (week one) nor on the day of the excursion trip of week two.
Samanta is one of Mumbai’s leading yoga teachers. She unites expertise in Yoga, Thai Massage, and Vedic Chanting to help you rediscover your storehouse of energy. Her Integrated Teaching Method offers the benefits of Sivananda, Iyengar, and Vinyasa yoga styles, deep relaxation, and detox therapies.
Samanta has been dedicated to mind-body health for over 20 years. With a lifetime spent practicing Yoga, Jazz Technique, and Bharatnatyam, she is able to combine unique perspectives about wellbeing, healing, and physiology.
Samanta’s work centers on Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Ayurvedic, and Thai Bodywork Therapies, Sound Healing with Tibetan Singing Bowls and Handpan and Vedic Chanting. The Yoga she teaches centers around aspects of Movement therapy coupled with the more traditional and esoteric practices of Chakras, Mudras, Bandhas, Mantra, and Yoga Philosophy.
In July 2008, she partnered with Shaleen Parekh to open India’s first boutique yoga studio, Yoga Sutra. Samanta started out in fitness as a teenager, and her journey into the body traversed 15 years as an instructor and lead performer with noted choreographer Shiamak Davar. She then transitioned into practicing and teaching Yoga in the year 2000.
Over the last thirteen years, she has explored and mastered several healing therapies for the mind and body. She is an Advanced Teacher of the Sivananda Yoga tradition and is also certified in Yoga Therapy, Yoga for children, as well as Pranayama and Dhyan (Breathwork and Meditation). She has designed and teaches corporate yoga and fitness programs, collective and private classes, and international retreats.
Each class at Ulpotha will leave you feeling joyous and peaceful. Find inner strength in mind and body like never before.
There will be a half day excursion to a secret outstanding cultural site near Ulpotha during week one and a full day excursion to some of Sri Lanka's top sites in the Cultural Triangle during week 2.
Samanta is one of Mumbai's leading yoga teachers. She unites expertise in yoga, Thai massage, and vedic chanting to help you rediscover your storehouse of energy. Her integrated teaching method offers benefits of Sivananda, Iyengar, and Vinyasa yoga styles, deep relaxation, and detox therapies.
French-born Sophie has been living in Sri Lanka for the past 23. After studying medicine in Paris, she switched to physiotherapy and started on a journey that led her to explore all aspects of wellness.
The holiday will take place in Sri Lanka. Ulpotha is located in the heart of Sri Lanka by a lakeside at the foot of the Galgiriyawa mountains - off the beaten track. It has been a retreat site for thousands of years and remains a perfect place for a yoga holiday in the heart of Sri Lanka. The first thing that was done when Ulpotha was re-inhabited was to address the aridity of the land that had resulted from the years it had been reduced to a monoculture coconut plantation prior to its abandonment.
This was done through the management of planting patterns, as well as the building of ponds and bunds, all of which were designed to increase the soil's water retention capacity and protect its fertility. Ulpotha then later on transformed into the self-sustaining, bio-diverse organic farm it is today; one where the practice of farming is holistic and includes paying respect to the land and its resources as well as to the deities protecting it.
It is a beautiful and peaceful hideaway, open to guests for part of the year. You may go to Ulpotha to experience yoga holidays and Ayurveda retreats and the warm, generous, and gentle hospitality the people of Sri Lanka love to offer. Ulpotha is only open for half the year, generally from June to August and November to March. The rest of the year Ulpotha reverts to its primary role as a traditional rice-growing village.
Ulpotha is blessed with surroundings that are uncommonly beautiful and serene. The abundant bird and animal life reinforce its timeless beauty. If you take away the pretty stupa on the mountain, one would be looking at a scene that has remained unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years. The sense of deep calm and peace is the essence of Ulpotha and the gift it shares with those who visit.
Click to see more vegetarian-friendly Yoga Retreats
Ulpotha will be providing tasty vegetarian meals and snacks. 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 from Ulpotha's gardens. 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 cannot do without (coffee, a gin tonic, chocolate, and the like), Ulpotha suggests you bring it with you. As Ulpotha has no electricity (by design), all food is cooked fresh for each meal on open fires. Breakfast is served from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 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. Following popular demand, Ulpotha has published a cookbook of some of the most favorite recipes of dishes served at Ulpotha - a kitchen in paradise. Meals that will be eaten outside of the facility are to be paid for additionally.
Book a traditional Ayurveda detox package in the Ayurveda treatment center (supplementary fee).
Visit the kitchen and kitchen garden and learn some recipes from delicious Sri Lankan cuisine.
Ulpotha is situated in the oldest inhabited region of Sri Lanka, an area rich in archaeological attractions and natural beauty. Each week either a half-day or full-day excursion is organized. Participation is optional and external costs are not included, though transportation is. You are given a variety of options and one or two are chosen according to majority guest preference.
In week one, a half-day excursion to one of the outstanding local heritage sites around Ulpotha will be arranged in the afternoon. In week two, a full-day excursion to one of Sri Lanka's famed UNESCO cultural sites or to the beach will be offered (there are no yoga classes on this day).
Chat with one of the lovely villagers and learn more about their relaxed and unhurried lifestyle.
Relax in a swing bed with a book from the well-stocked library
Swim in the silky smooth waters of the Ulpotha lake or take a raft or canoe through the backwaters for the best birdwatching spots.
Order a custom-made cool cotton shirt or pants from the tailor or design your own outfits.
Cycle around to the local villages and nearby lakes, and take guided walks to the hilltop temple or Uncle Willie's rock.
Stroll around Ulpotha's large grounds with your camera or binoculars to catch surprising wildlife.
One massage per week from one of the visiting therapists is included in the price. The western massage treatments range from Thai, deep tissue massage, aromatherapy to Hawaiian massage. They are done by fully qualified massage therapists from around the world. Massage styles change from month to month, as Ulpotha uses different massage experts each month.
So, if you yearn for a particular type of massage, it is wise to ask when it is available before booking your holiday. Ulpotha also has an exciting program of Ayurveda treatments and, by the very definition of holistic, possesses the ideal climate and environment for the practice of this deeply therapeutic and traditional art.
Bandaranaike International Airport
Transfer available for additional US$100 per person
Please book your flight to arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). Transfer to and from this airport is available upon request. The cost per vehicle (maximum of two people) is 90 USD for one person and 100 USD for two people, each way from and to the airport. Please email Ulpotha should you wish to be collected or dropped off at a location in Sri Lanka other than the airport and need to know the cost.
If your arrival flight is prior to your starting date at Ulpotha or late at night (close to midnight or thereabout or in the very early hours of the morning), Ulpotha kindly requests you to check into a hotel close to the airport and they will have you picked up after your breakfast (9:00 to 10:00 a.m.) and bring you to Ulpotha during lunchtime. In such a case, please inform Ulpotha of your hotel details once you have made the booking.
So the best way to proceed is for you to book a flight that lands on Sunday morning in the airport, (a three-hour drive from Ulpotha). They can arrange airport pick-ups from 4:30 a.m. Ulpotha will arrange for a driver to collect you at the airport or hotel near the airport and will return you to the airport or drop you at your next destination after your stay with them.
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