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Relaxation and Yoga Retreat Sri Lanka

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.

Meet the instructors

Pi, Georgia, & Jon
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Highlights

  • Daily Iyengar yoga classes
  • Evening meditation or sunset walks
  • Participate in two exciting excursions
  • Relax with two one-hour massage sessions
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 14 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate

Yoga styles


14 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 23 participants
Airport transfer available:
Bandaranaike International Airport (US$70 per person)
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
12:00
Check-out Time:
10:30

Facilities

  • Sauna
  • Steam room
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Meditation garden
  • Yoga shala
  • Free bicycle
  • Laundry
  • Library
  • Wedding
  • Outdoor shower

Guests are accommodated in one of several 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 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.

Program

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.

Yoga with Georgia

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.

Typical day

  • 07:00 - 07:30 Tea and fruit
  • 07:30 - 09:00 Yoga
  • 09:00 - 09:30 Breakfast
  • 09:45 - 12:30 Massages/Ayurveda/swimming/relaxing
  • 12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
  • 14:00 - 16:00 Massages/Ayurveda/swimming/relaxing
  • 16:00 - 17:00 Tea and snacks
  • 17:00 - 18:30 Yoga/Meditation/Sunset walks
  • 19:00 - 20:00 Dinner

Included excursions

During this retreat, you will have two excursions. In the first week, you will have a half-day excursion and on the second week, you will have a full-day excursion.

Instructors

Pi Jem

Georgia Marnham

Jon Fellman

Retreat location

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 its 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 of which are done in the lowest profile way possible - without acknowledgments, 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

Social policies

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 seeks feedback from local community leaders. Ulpotha is run by a committee of villagers with help from one of the owners, himself a local.

Nearby places

  • Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) - 3 hours
  • Dambulla - 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Kandy - 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Kurunegala - 1 hour
  • Maho - 30 minutes
  • Sigiriya - 1 hour and 30 minutes

Unique features

Activities

  • Cycling
  • Massage
  • Spa
  • Swimming

General

  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Lake
  • Meditation garden
  • Yoga shala

Services

  • Free bicycle
  • Laundry
  • Mosquito net

This Yoga Retreat is vegetarian-friendly

Click to see more vegetarian-friendly Yoga Retreats

Food

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.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Tea
  • Detox juices

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Organic
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Book Ayurvedic treatments and massages
  • Explore the surroundings
  • Relax in the garden
  • See the stunning views
  • Swim in the lake nearby
  • Visit the local community

Spa treatments

In this yoga retreat, you will have two one-hour massage sessions. Additional Ayurvedic treatments or massages are available at an additional price. (with the therapists 80 USD per hour)

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.

What's included

  • 2 excursions (only transportation)
  • 2 one-hour massage sessions
  • 14 nights accommodation
  • Access to hot water bathing area
  • Bicycle rental
  • Daily healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Daily yoga classes
  • Laundry services
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Taxes

What's not included

  • Additional massages
  • Ayurveda treatments
  • Entrance fees to cultural sites
  • Insurance
  • Outside meals
  • Travel costs to and from Ulpotha

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

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 70 USD, 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.

Airport: Bandaranaike International Airport Airport transfer available: Bandaranaike International Airport (US$70 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 40% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
15 days / 14 nights
from --

Availability

Arrival: Sunday March 13, 2022
Departure: Sunday March 27, 2022

Availability

Availability is equivalent to a 2-week duration but the customer can choose to arrive on the 1st week or 2nd week.

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