On my recent yoga adventures I headed deep into the jungle and spent a month practicing yoga in stunning Sri Lanka...
It was a wonderful experience and one that I won't forget. Where to start is the question...?
I stayed in a wonderful place called Rukgala Retreat in Central Provenance. A yoga and wellness-focused hotel, which is about an hour from Kandy and overlooks the untouched and stunning Knuckles mountain range (the most amazing view to wake up to everyday and offers some highly recommended treks with breath taking views). Rukgala is nestled in the jungle, close to lesser known temples, lush green tea estates and secluded villages around the shores of the Victoria Lake. A real hidden gem, off the beaten track...
So a perfect location if you like to explore, enjoy nature and the peace and quiet, away from the 'hustle and bustle' of the more popular tourist destinations in and around Sri Lanka (but still close enough to take day trips to visit Kandy, bigger Buddhist temple's such as Temple of the Tooth and tea plantations like the beautiful Asburnham estate)
I have to say...if you are looking for a spot to really 'escape' to nature and immerse yourself in yoga, this is definitely the place!
I also visited the Royal Botanical Gardens, to check out the beautiful variety of plants, flowers and amazing trees with huge fruit bats just 'hanging out' from them, in broad daylight...
I highly recommend a trip to the these gardens. Such beautiful colours, smells and the light was just so inspiring, a photographers paradise.
We got lost in there for hours and still didn't see it all!
As it was a yoga advenuture... obviously a little yoga was required amongst all this beauty!
So, what brought me there... 'Wild Self Yoga', and lovely Rose, Nick and Xinia, who run Yoga Teacher Training courses in Australia and decided to do a training course in this stunning location in May.
I was drawn to the location and Wild Self Yoga, because it was the perfect combination of what I was looking for in a course...traditional authentic teaching, a solid course structure with a focus on anatomy, as well the right balance of philosophy, asana practice and the 'Art of Teaching'. They sure delivered all of this and more...exceeding my expectations and would highly recommend these guys for anyone looking for a Yoga Teacher Training course. Check out their website for more information on the next training course in Australia this October...
The lovely hosts Emma and Jasmine at Rukgala are yoga teachers too, and made our stay just perfect, with their understanding and little touches to ensure our stay was comfortable and as relaxed as possible, while we called this our home for the month of May. Rukgala host yoga retreats, as well as private stays, offering a range of yoga classes for guests and Emma and Jasmine also lead yoga retreats for women called Luuna Collective, which is worth checking out too.
One of their recommendations while I was there, was to experience a Ayurvedic massage which was a beautiful and relaxing experience, and I recommend trying when in Sri Lanka. Ayurveda was also something I was interested in exploring and another reason I was drawn to the yoga training course with Wild Self Yoga.
The word 'Ayurveda' in Sanskrit means the 'knowledge of life and longevity', the two main guiding principles of Ayurveda are;
1. The mind and body are inextricably connected
2. Nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind
Freedom from illness requires us to expand our own awareness and bring things into balance...and this is actually a less complicated process than one might first think!
What is Ayurveda? Interested, find out more:
Sri Lankan has inspired me in so many ways, from the friendliest people with the biggest smiles, to the stunning landscapes, nature and wildlife.
Another long lasting memory is the food! While I was out there I did a cooking class (another 'must do') with the wonderful chefs at Rukgala, so I could share some of the amazing flavours with friends and family when I got home. I regularly make yummy smoothie bowls in the mornings and love coconut water to start the day...and have had many Sri Lankan curry nights with friends and family since, which brings me back to that wonderful place!
It felt like I had a truly authentically Sri Lankan experience, from the delicious food to the amazing people I met, that worked at the retreat and I shared this wonderful experience with, to practicing and studying yoga in the wild outdoors with the sounds of nature and wildlife. Which has now inspired me to take yoga outside whenever and wherever I can, to breathe in the fresh air, tune into the sounds of nature and unwind.
One finally highlight of the trip was the cheeky monkeys who lived in and around the estate and joined us for some yoga in the shala one morning (obviously during my exam!). It's not that often you get to practice yoga with monkeys...that certainly tested the 'monkey mind'!