Sri Lanka - Always worth a visit
This blog post is long overdue: I wanted to write about this beautiful place in the south of Sri Lanka, called Sri Yoga Shala, since I started my blog. When I went to Sri Lanka for the first time, I was blown away by the beautiful and rich nature and landscape of this island as well as by the hospitality and the warmth of the people living there. I was visiting one of my best friends, who was living in Galle, Sri Lanka for a couple of weeks to chill.
Sri Lanka is only a short plane ride away from my favorite travel hub Dubai (4.5 hours to be exact), and both, Emirates and FlyDubai, fly there frequently. The ticket prices are super reasonable. My friend planned our short time together perfectly (unfortunately, I only stayed for 4 days) and I saw a lot despite my short stay. So good, she already knew her way around.
Besides attending a cooking class to learn traditional Sri Lankan Curries, visiting a tea plantation, and checking out the vibrant atmosphere of Galle Fort, we also ate our way through all those Rotis, Parathas and Kottus, and went to see the tiny Cinnamon Island in Koggala Lake to understand how cinnamon is made (hint: it's probably not the way, you've been thinking your whole live. If you're interested, check this video).
Most of the time, however, we spent at Sri Yoga Shala in Unawatuna, next to Galle. I've been doing yoga since 2010 and I've never experienced a place and vibe like this before! Well, I've simply never done a yoga retreat or anything similar before so practicing yoga in Sri Lanka was an amazing start into my yoga travel journey. A short heads-up: This is not an affiliate or sponsored post. I simply loved doing yoga there.
Yoga in Sri Lanka? Meet Sri Yoga Shala - A magical place in the jungle of Sri Lanka
Imagining entering a space with an instant contagious calm atmosphere, relaxed and so gorgeous unlike anything you've probably ever seen - in the middle of the jungle! It felt like being in paradise! The architecture is modern, open and sleek yet not intruding. The natural environment can live and breathe. The shala (shala means house in Sanskrit. The term is used in Ashtanga yoga meaning a house of yoga aka a yoga studio) is nestled up against palm trees or other jungle plants. It feels like this place was meant to be there all along.
I believe mainly wood and stone have been used to build this beautiful place. Right next to the shala is an infinity saltwater pool for relaxation before or after classes. The entrance to the changing rooms is hidden behind huge plants; it's a half-open space (don't worry, nobody can look inside) with showers and lavatories cohabiting with a palm tree in the corner, which grows through an open part of the ceiling.
The shala itself is open on three sides and has a high wooden ceiling. The sides can be covered in case of bad weather (one of our sessions happened during a thunderstorm and it was an amazing experience!).
Classes, Workshops & Staff
My friend had been going to Sri Yoga Shala already for some weeks. We took three classes together during my mini holiday including one 3-hour chakra workshop. The group sizes were comfortable and not too crowded and the teachers were supportive and helpful. One of them caught my attention in particular: Emma Sheridan. I loved her way of teaching, she's relaxed with an eye for detail and chose to structure her classes by themes (we attended a hip-opening class). After the 90-minute session, we chatted briefly, and I found out, that she used to teach at a Dubai yoga studio! What a shame, that I didn't know her while she was still living and teaching in the same city, I spend so much time in. She's not with Sri Yoga Shala anymore but started her own Yoga Retreat in Sri Lanka.
The staff of the shala is super friendly and attentive. More amenities like a garden café offering vegetarian and vegan dishes as well as an own accommodation for overnight guests are available as well (just a short tuk tuk ride away).
Sri Yoga Shala not only offers daily classes but also retreats, workshops and intensive trainings. Classes, which last 90 minutes, are offered three times a day during the whole week. The prices are reasonable (one 90-minutes class costs 1900 LKR which is around 11 EUR) and if you plan to visit Sri Yoga Shala on a regular basis, there are class passes available for either 3, 5 or 10 classes valid for one month (and you'll save some money if you go for the class pass bundles). There's even the possibility of booking massage treatments, which we unfortunately didn't try due to lack of time. After each class, everyone is offered a delicious cinnamon yogi tea. You can definitely bring your own yoga mat and additional equipment. However, Sri Yoga Shala offers everything you need from mats, blocks, through to yoga straps and cute little pillows for relaxation.
Final Yogi Thoughts
Doing yoga in Sri Lanka, in such an incredible space released some feelings inside of me, which I never experienced before. I felt like the calmest, happiest person on earth. I was at peace with the world and myself while following the yoga teacher's practice. This is a place where you can bring your mindfulness and yoga practice to a whole new level.
So this is a definite YES to practice yoga in Sri Lanka! If you're ever going to be in the south of Sri Lanka, do yourself a favor and visit this amazing and inspirational place for at least one yoga class. I'm so grateful to my friend for taking me there <3
If you can't make it there though, there's so many other beautiful and stunning spots in Sri Lanka to practice yoga. Do a thorough research before your trip and you'll find some amazing spaces. In the end, it's all about the super laid back vibe of this little island, the friendly people living there and the kindness you find at so many corners.
Have you ever been to a yoga shala or have you ever done a retreat? Where did you go and what were your experiences? I'm super curious, let me know in the comments section!
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