Picture yourself practicing Yoga with like-minded yoga lovers, the wind in your hair and the beach just a few steps away. Traveling and taking part in a Yoga retreat is a wonderful way to fill your cup and enhance wellness, explore new parts of the world, be a part of the international Yoga community and most importantly: immerse yourself in Yoga.
Yoga retreats provide an outlet to truly integrate the various limbs of Yoga into your daily life and routine: did you know that poses (asanas) are only one aspect of Yoga? Read on for a few reasons why Sri Lanka is one of the best Yoga destinations in the world!
Headed to Sri Lanka? click here for more Sri Lanka travel tips and destination guides!
1. Go somewhere new and exciting!
So you probably have friends who have been to yoga retreats in Bali, Thailand, Mexico or Costa Rica: but how many people can say that they’ve explored and practiced Yoga in Sri Lanka? Although Yoga is certainly not new to the region (it’s just a stone’s throw away from India), more and more Yoga centers and retreats are being established across the island in Sri Lanka which makes it a perfect Yoga destination to deepen your practice.
There are many places along Sri Lanka’s south coast that offer daily drop-in classes such as Talalla Retreat, Dot’s, Salt House and Sri Yoga Shala, or practice in the scenic mountains at Rukgala Retreat near Kandy. You can also sign up to my mailing list to find out about any of my upcoming retreats on the island!
2. Check out Sri Lanka before it gets too crowded
While Sri Lanka has been “up-and-coming” for a few years, this beautiful island has been thrust into the spotlight and recently made it onto tons of “Top Travel Destinations” lists – this means that it is going to become increasingly popular and more and more crowded. Many people are now looking to Sri Lanka as a less-crowded alternative to the popular beach destinations in Asia such as Bali and Thailand.
Since the end of the civil war in 2009, tourist arrival numbers have multiplied several-fold each year and the country continues to work hard towards improving the infrastructure to accommodate the influx of visitors. Why not beat the crowds and get a whole stretch of beach to yourself? It’s the perfect place to indulge in a little peace and solitude to clear your mind.
3. Learn to surf
Surfing and Yoga go together like peanut butter and jelly. Yoga benefits surfers in a multitude of ways, and conversely surfing is a great sport to complement an active Yoga practice. While there are a multitude of great yoga destinations around the world, not all of them offer the ideal surfing conditions!
If you’ve never tried surfing before, Sri Lanka is the best place to learn: the waves are gentle, the surf is uncrowded and the water is warm! I took up surfing in early 2015 and am now working on turning on the open face of a wave – I’m telling ya, it’s an exhilarating experience! There are plenty of surf and yoga retreats that you can check out – I recommend Talalla Surf, a surf camp and yoga retreat in southern Sri Lanka that runs weeklong programs led by experienced and qualified coaches.
4. Stunning surroundings
There’s nothing better than practicing with a cool ocean breeze and being surrounded by Mother Nature. Sri Lanka is wonderfully lush and offers blissful sunshine all year round: love drinking straight out of a coconut and hanging out on pristine beaches? Sri Lanka is the perfect place to calm the soul and immerse yourself in what nature has to offer!
Alternatively, perhaps you find yourself drawn to the misty mountains in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Take your yoga practice high up in the hills in open-air shalas surrounded by the jungle and mountain ranges. After a calming yoga practice head out on a cultural exploration to one of the UNESCO-listed heritage sites around the island of Sri Lanka. The possibilities are endless in Sri Lanka for anyone looking for variety.
5. Assortment of Accommodation Options
There are rooms for every type of traveler and for every type of budget – Sri Lanka has it sorted. There are not only beautiful five-star hotels like the Anantara Tangalle Peace Haven Hotel, Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort, Anantara Kalutara and Cape Weligama, but also boutique hotels, converted colonial houses, eco-lodges and luxury tents for “glamping” (like Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge) – basically, anything your heart desires.
Many places offer drop-in Yoga classes and also host multi-day Yoga retreats throughout the year, and traveling yoga teachers often visit Sri Lanka for an extended period of time to host trainings, workshops and retreats. You could easily hop between drop-in classes along the coast in south Sri Lanka, or get settled in one place for a few days at a time.
6. The opportunity to experience the ancient art of Ayurveda
Ayurveda and Yoga are two peas in a pod and share many philosophies and practices; if you’ve always been interested in learning more about the art of Ayurveda, Sri Lanka is one of the top countries in the world to experience the ancient practice. Many therapists complete years of training to obtain a Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine degree from university, before going on to treat patients at Ayurveda centres and clinics.
Take the opportunity to find out your combination of doshas, experience a shirodhara treatment and blissful head massage, and find out which types of food complement your constitution. If you’re interested in learning more about Ayurveda while practicing Yoga, check out Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions in a little seaside town called Negombo, or consult with the in-house Ayurvedic doctor at Anantara Kalutara.
7. Ease of travel
Sri Lanka has a well-run international airport with direct flights to Colombo from a dozen countries around the world. There are also flights to Colombo from most major layover hub airports including Hong Kong, Dubai, Qatar, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, so getting there is a piece of cake. Once you arrive in Sri Lanka, in-country transportation is also cheap, reliable and safe with a sprawling train network (read on for why train travel in Sri Lanka is a must-do), tuk tuks galore, brand new highways connecting cities and towns as well as a domestic air taxi services from coast to coast.
Most visitors will need to apply for a visa (except for nationals of Singapore, Maldives and Seychelles) but this is easily done online for a small fee. Visas can also be extended as necessary without too much fuss – you can do this via the Sri Lanka visa extension website (though many people report that it can be buggy), in person in Colombo, or pay a visa agent to do it on your behalf.
Have you visited Sri Lanka before? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below!
You may also like:
- 10 Amazing Yoga Destinations Around the World
- Make the most of your yoga retreat experience with these top tips
- Rukgala Retreat is one of the best yoga retreats in Sri Lanka. Read more about my time there
- Need some help planning a trip to Sri Lanka? Here are all of my insider Sri Lanka guides
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