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There is no aspiration in Ulpotha to be anything other than what it is - a lovely, playful but honoring folly. 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 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 it's magic dust on those who pass through.
Guests will be 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, freshwater, 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/loo spaces separate from living spaces. The enchanting showers are open to the stars and the toilets are modern.
All the 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 visiting together will be allocated in a double hut (double bed - if it's a couple or twin beds). Sharing with someone is more welcome than one might usually expect, although ultimately soothing to the ears, the unusual jungle noises can take some getting used to and it's quite reassuring to have a companion sharing one's 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 centre, 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 practise 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 song. On occasion classes are conducted further afield: beneath the splaying branches of a Banyan tree, or on top of Monkey Rock, or below the neighbouring 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's 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 centre, there's no pressure to attend classes and life doesn't hinge on classes of any kind. So you won't feel an outsider if yoga isn't 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 our 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 our 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 1 & half to 2 hours/per day: one class in the morning around 7:30 am and the second class in the evening around 5:00 pm. Please note that the Yoga starts on the 1st Sunday evening and finishes after class on the final Saturday night to allow guests to check out by 10:00 am on the final Sunday. There is no yoga, on the afternoon of the 1/2 day excursion trip (week one) nor on the day of the excursion trip of week two.
For the tailored Ayurveda treatment packages, we do a very simple traditional Panchakarma, which depending on one's dosha-type (determined via consultation with our in-house doctor), involves oleation (oil application to the body), herbal baths, steam baths, saunas, inhalation, rice milk packs, facials, etc, nothing too heavy. It is a great detox and combined with the yoga and Ulpotha's delicious food, leaves one feeling super relaxed, toned and cleansed. Dr. Srilal leaves a couple of days for the guests to acclimatise, before starting a treatment.
For your info, Ulpotha's little Ayurvedic clinic offers a limited amount of Ayurveda packages/per day (9 for women & 3 for men). Therefore to avoid any disappointment, they recommend guests to pre-book and pay for their Ayurveda package at the time of their booking and prior to their arrival at Ulpotha as priority will be given to the guests who have pre-booked and pre-paid their packages.
Wade found yoga in the late 90’s during his travels and since then has made it his passion to discover alternative techniques for furthering the growth of mind and spirit and for healing the body. He has taught in Asia, Greece, South America, and the U.S. and is always excited about sharing new discoveries.
Wade teaches a unique fusion of styles derived from his travels and from the inspirations of teachers like Dharma Mittra and Rusty Wells. His certifications in Ashtanga/Vinyasa, Thai and Intuitive Massage, and Touch for Health added with his meditation and Advaita studies in India with Ramesh Balsekar have given him many gifts to be thankful for and share with others…
His teaching style is structured but at the same time very playful and always gives options of openness, depth and strength so that everyone will be challenged and can share their energy. The Advaitic principles of ‘oneness and non-separation’ are the dharmic principles to his teachings.
On his retreats, you can expect a daily creative vinyasa flow based practice, with individual attention to challenging poses deconstructed and a daily restorative practice infused with meditation, dharma and thai yoga. He strives to find interesting ways to keep others inspired and connected and receiving inspiration from others is what keeps his love for yoga alive.
Boris Gonzalez and Pi Jem
In week 1 a half-day excursion to one of the outstanding local heritage sites around Ulpotha will be arranged in the afternoon.
In week 2 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)
Participation is optional and external costs are not included, though transportation is. Guests are given a variety of options and one or two are chosen according to majority guest preference.
Wade's teaching style is structured but at the same time very playful and always gives options of openness, depth, and strength so that everyone will be challenged and can share their energy. The Advaitic principles of "oneness and nonseparation" are the dharmic principles of his teachings. On his retreats, you can expect a daily creative Vinyasa flow based practice, with individual attention to challenging poses and a daily Restorative practice infused with meditation, dharma, and Thai yoga.
Pi Jem's particular style of Thai massage is a strong massage that is especially beneficial for those who practice yoga. It helps circulate the blood and energy around the body and open areas where there may be blocked energy or prana which can cause pain and/or stiffness. Her expertise will leave you feeling deeply relaxed and at peace, with a supple body relieved of pain.
Boris has developed his own intuitive massage technique which unlocks one's energies through a physical therapy acting on the skeletal structure, muscle and tissue. The result is to liberate fears and burdens that are held inside the physical body, allowing it to recover its natural flexibility and resulting in pain relief and relaxation.
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.
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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 can't do without (coffee, a gin tonic, chocolate, and the like) - Ulpotha suggests you bring it with you. As they have 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.
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.
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’s wise to ask when its available before booking your holiday.
Guests can expect one free massage from visiting therapists per week. Any further massages can be arranged with the therapists subject to availability at a cost of 80 USD per hour. 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.
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 in to a hotel close to the airport and they will pick you after your breakfast (9 - 10:00 am), and bring you to Ulpotha in 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 Colombo Bandaranaike International airport, (3 hours drive from Ulpotha). They can arrange airport pick-ups from 4.30 am.
Ulpotha will arrange a driver to pick you at the airport / hotel near the airport and will return you to the airport or drop you to your next destination after your stay with them. The cost per vehicle is 100 USD for one person and 115 USD for two persons.
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