There's no better way to relish the benefits of rest and relaxation than at a boutique yoga retreat in paradise. The Paradise Retreat, run by local lady turned Australian, Rachi Perera, is a seven day programme of yoga, spa dates, surf lessons and so much more, set between the sunny shorelines of Sri Lanka.
With the concept of retreat packaged vacations sweeping the globe, nowadays there's plenty of selection for the zen seeking traveller. But no destination offers a place for pursuing inner peace quite like Sri Lanka. With its lush mountainous landscapes rolling down to unspoilt stretches of palm lined beaches, and imbued with the sacred gentleness of the predominant Buddhist belief, this tropical island is topping the world's list for wellness vacations. And what better way to explore the surrounds while you explore your inner self, than through the guidance of a local yogi cum island gal.
Despite having moved abroad, Rachi feels a deep connection and compassion for her home country. Caught in the grips of civil war for three decades and tragically swept by the 2004 tsunami, this paradisical island has suffered a number of devastating blows. The Paradise Retreat is Rachi's own personal contribution to Sri Lanka's fast rising sustainable tourism sector. As she says 'the biggest drawcard of The Paradise Retreat is that it's entirely unique and different to every other yoga retreat in Sri Lanka. It's a yoga inspired holiday that allows you to experience all the nurturing benefits of a boutique yoga retreat while also getting a real taste of beautiful Sri Lanka.' Larger scale yoga retreats can't offer the same insider knowledge and know-how as Rachi and The Paradise Retreat team can.
So what can you expect from a week-long getaway at this luxury retreat? An overindulgence in all things you! The retreat is carefully crafted to help attendees reconnect to their inner beings, find a deeper sense of fulfilment and peace, and come away feeling rested and rejuvenated. On the first day our resident yoga instructor, bubbly Irish born Emma Sheridan, placed a blank journal on each of our mats. This was to help us on our journey of 'svadhyaya' or self-study. We used our journals throughout the week to record experiences, reflections and manifestations for our ideal self and future.
Emma led almost daily Hatha Vinyasa classes to start our mornings and restorative Yin to round off our afternoons. Her style is dynamic and creative. She encourages yogis to keep an open and curious mind about their sense of self and to deepen the connection between body and spirit.
Classes took place in front of various tropical backdrops from ocean-view sunrise rooftop sessions, to candle lit lakeside sunsets, and even a SUP (yoga on a stand-up paddle board) yoga experience for that extra island vibe. Every class was rounded off with a scrumptious spread of seasonal Sri Lankan food, hearty conversations and more than one drop of the local coffee brew! Inbetween ample amounts of free time to relax and reflect, we were given a variety of included activities to choose from: a bike tour through the mangroves and temples of Galle, surf lessons in Anagama- one of Sri Lanka's prime surf spots, pampering massages at luxurious Oyo Spa, a trip to historical Galle Fort and a tour of the Virgin White Tea Factory, to name only some of the itinerary items.
Rachi's next available retreat will be taking place in December in two lush locations of Sri Lanka - starting off in the majestic mountains around Kandy and tapering down to the sandy beaches of the southern coastline. Occurring over the new year, this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year that's past, prepare for the year to come and start 2018 with self-care and a full set of recharged batteries!
You can find more information about The Paradise Retreat at www.theparadiseretreat.com. Be sure to book early to snag your spot in this luxurious retreat.
TRAVELLING SRI LANKA DO'S AND DONTS
- Don't trust the tap water, buy bottled water instead.
- Do dig into the famed local dish 'Rice and Curry' and ask for curry top ups if you run out.
- Don't get into a tuk tuk without settling the distance and fare price first.
- Do travel by bus, the fares are super cheap, but expect an authentic experience of crowded aisles and blaring Bollywood-like music.