Mindful yoga retreat, Sri Lanka

27 October - 3 November 2018

Cost from £950

Teacher Ali Gilling

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Join Ali for some nourishing yoga and a sun filled adventure in Sri Lanka. Immerse yourself deeply and open up to new possibilities through your breath, body and soul.

The luxurious and spacious Sri Devi Villas is a 15 minutes walk inland from the turquoise blue sea on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Situated 15 minutes ride from the city of Galle. The retreat overlooks the paddy fields filled with incredible beauty and wildlife.

The villa is hidden away and really is the perfect place for complete relaxation among the sounds of wildlife and the occasional chanting of monks in the far distance.

About Sri Devi Villas

Situated on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sri Devi Villas offers access to excellent beaches for relaxing and enjoying unforgettable sunsets. There are a few tea plantations and various Buddhist temples along the coast. This luxury retreat centre has over 2.5 acres of tropical garden. The outdoor yoga platform is covered and is close to the paddy fields in amongst the wildlife. There is a large pool, a spa and both an indoor and an outdoor covered lounging area. The centre has extremely friendly and helpful staff and all modern facilities.

Rusindu, the chef is very creative with more than 15 years of experience in 5-star hotels in Dubai. In Sri Devi Retreat Rusindu cooks amazing locally-inspired dishes using nothing but locally sourced products. Guests who want to join Rusindu on his daily trips to the local vegetable and fish markets, are more than welcome. He’ll show you fruits and vegetables, which most guests will have never seen before and show you how to prepare them. Salads are made with snake gourd, gotukola or mukunuwenna - a light curry with jack fruit. General cooking techniques of the Sri Lankan cuisine include curries, fish and poultry in banana leaves, sambals and a few more special secrets.

There are many excursions on offer during the week and trips to explore on your day off.

The daily programme

There will be two yoga sessions each day, including yoga, pranayama, mindfulness and meditation. The mornings will begin with meditation and pranayama for those early risers, followed by a dynamic yet meditative hatha flow yoga practice.

After the morning session, there will be an abundance of fruits and a healthy and filling breakfast. There will be several hours in the day to please yourself, whether it be a walk to the nearby white sandy beaches, taking a treatment with the in-house Ayurvedic masseuse, taking a ride to the nearby shops, cafes and restaurants on the beach or simply chilling by the pool.

The group will meet again in the late afternoon for a more gentle practice dedicated to nourishing yourself, including restorative postures, meditation, visualisations and yoga nidra.

The retreat starts on the Saturday at 7pm with a welcome meal. The last class is on the Friday evening with a farewell meal. Five evening meals are included, leaving 2 nights free for eating out.

Things to do

There will be several optional activities to choose from during the week for those interested in seeing the sights of Sri Lanka. There will be one free day during the week when you can explore further on the island or take one of the excursions offered.

The villa is very luxurious and spacious, tucked away near a village and surrounded by wildlife. There are many different areas to have time to yourself undisturbed to simply relax. It is about a 15 minute walk along the paddy fields or five minute tuk-tuk (the local three-wheeler) to the ocean and sandy beach.

There are several beaches to choose from, some lively with music and entertainment, some quieter and expansive. There are many varied restaurants along the coastline for watching stunning sunsets and evening entertainment if you wish to experience Sri Lanka's unique and friendly social-life.

Excursions & activities:-
- Yala : safari to see the wild elephants in Yala National Park.
- Kataragama, pilgrimage town in Sri Lanka for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Veddas.
- Sunrise boat trip to see blue whales
- Safari to see wild elephants
- Touring the most famous 19th Century tea estate
- Booking a magnificent boat trip to Cinnamon Island to see how cinnamon is produced
- Visiting and walking around Galle Fort
- Experiencing the flavours of Sri Lanka with a top chef
- Ayurvedic massage

Treatments available

The spa offers Ayurvedic floral / herbal baths, the shirodhara drip and a wide variety of massages. There is also the use of the stream box. An Ayurvedic diagnosis is available with one of the best practitioners and Umesha, the Ayurvedic therapist, has over 10 years of experience in different kinds of Ayurvedic massages and treatments. Her specialties are chakra massages, shirodhara (the slow oil stream on the forehead) and relaxing body massages, reducing tension and stress.

Accommodation & food at Sri Devi Villas

Sri Devi Villas has several villas that have clean and spacious twin beds. Each villa has its own tea/coffee making facilities, a fridge and counter with a sink, a large bathroom and private terrace. In addition there is a fully equipped and staffed kitchen, and for no additional cost the staff can prepare your own food for you.

There is a limited single occupancy available for an additional cost.

Comments

I had a blissfully relaxing time at Sri Devi Villa in February this year, on a yoga retreat led by Ali Gilling.

The Villa was incredibly comfortable and felt very luxurious. The individual apartments were very spacious - a friend and I shared one together - and had plenty of space to ourselves, a sitting area, kettle and fridge - plus a beautiful bathroom. Each morning we awoke to a lovely view of the garden and pool. The yoga platform is situated in the garden - a wonderful setting. It was so tranquil, yet teaming with wildlife and bird sounds. It proved to be an ideal space for meditation and breathing exercises, where you could tune into the sounds and rhythm of the place.

I especially selected this yoga retreat as it was led by Ali Gilling, who has led other retreats I have been on in the past. Ali's style is very restorative and nurturing. She supports you to explore a very wide range of postures, whilst listening to your body and going at your own pace. Ali adapts to suit the needs of the group - and of individuals - meaning that everyone has the opportunity to learn about and develop their own practice. This, combined with the wonderful staff at the villa, who were so welcoming and attentive, made it the ideal holiday.
George
I had the pleasure of joining Ali’s yoga retreat in Sri Lanka in February 2018. Being a novice, and on my first retreat, I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. On arrival, Ali immediately put our minds at ease. we were a small manageable group of 7, and we all settled in to the routine fairly quickly. Ali has a very calming nature, and took us through all of the practices in a progressive way, so that we could work to the best of our  own abilities. She was vigilant with our positions, and gradually built up our strength and balance throughout the week.

The Sri Devi villas was a stunning location, offering comfortable accommodation with a delightful pool, and delicious food, not to mention the abundance of wildlife in the gardens and surrounding area. we were also offered massages at a very reasonable price. I would highly recommend Ali’s yoga retreat to anyone, whatever their level.
Laura
Thank you so much for wonderful times in India. The yoga holiday was just what was needed. I felt like I was hanging in time with rest, relaxation, healing, amazing yoga, giggles and all at a fabulous venue. The guys there were great fun, very sensitive to everyone's needs and couldn't have done more to attend to every individual. Ali is a beautiful soul who supported and guided us with great knowledge, integrity, variety and holding. Thank you to you and your team. I trust Yoga on a Shoestring
Pauline
I had a wonderful time. Ali was an incredible teacher and host, she went over and above to ensure everybody had a great experience,and she's just such an amazing presence.
Alice
Ali was the sweetest yoga teacher we could of wished for who held a very special, gentle supportive space for us.
Tracey

Mindful yoga retreat, Sri Lanka, 27 October - 3 November 2018

Costs

Price per person for a shared twin or double villa is £950 for 7 nights.

To reserve your place a 50% non-refundable deposit is required.
The full amount is due 6 weeks before the start of the retreat.

Included:
Two yoga classes per day with one free day
Transfers to and from the airport to the villa (a two and half drive in a comfortable taxi)
Your accommodation
A hearty and healthy breakfast
Five dinners at the villa
Lunch and dinner on 2 evenings are not included in the cost to give you the option to go for dinner as a group or individually and to explore the array of affordable local places to eat along the stretches on beach resorts and tavernas

If you haven't seen this part of Sri Lanka before you may like to extend your stay. There are many nearby affordable places in the area that we can give advice on.

Travel Arrangements

Although there are many options for flights to Sri Lanka it is essential that you book early to get the best deals. A visa is required for visiting Sri Lanka, which you can apply for online - your passport is stamped upon entry to the country.

For flights to Colombo:
www.skyscanner.net
www.cheapflights.co.uk
www.southalltravel.co.uk
www.srilankanairlines.com
www.jetairways.com

A taxi from Colombo Airport to the Sri Devi Villa is included in this holiday. The journey takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.