On vacation there is nothing quite like sitting on your porch and watching the world go by…
By Jordan Coates
In a yoga retreat in Sri Lanka, there is nothing quite like sitting on your porch, feeling content in the comfort of your home, finding happiness in the simplicity of watching the world go by.
And there is almost nothing better than finding this while on vacation.
Better yet, take that back porch and expand it into a veranda wrapped around a grand white mansion filled with wide open rooms and antique furniture with numerous balconies held up by columns. The view consists of a large yard filled with flower-adorned trees, tall looming palm trees, and, just over the railroad tracks, a beautiful view of the crashing waves. Throw in coconut milk fresh from the coconut, and you have the scene for Villa de Zoysa, a place where you will find the homiest holiday no matter how far away your home really is.
My Superb Yoga Retreat in Sri Lanka
One of my favorite parts of traveling is finding hidden gems that the big travel companies haven’t snuffed out yet. It was last August that I stumbled across Villa de Zoysa, and if the fact that I was meant to stay one night and ended up staying three weeks doesn’t speak for itself, I will continue to boast.
Villa de Zoysa is a lovely yoga retreat owned and run by the friendly and charismatic Sri Lankan, Devinda. The great white house where guests stay was built years ago by his grandfather, a man who wanted all those who passed by on the train to see his wealth. The house continues to be well known; if you ask any tuk-tuk driver to take you to ‘the white house’, they know where to go.
A typical stay here is two weeks, although many, like myself, choose to stay much longer. Guests come from all over the world as do the yoga teachers, who rotate teaching about every month or so. During the stay, three hours of yoga split between two classes is offered each day to all ability levels.
Yoga is practiced in a small-netted studio just outside the house. It is perfect for letting the sun stream in during the morning session, and watching the sun set as you move through poses in the second session. During both, while you focus on breathing and meditation, the sound of waves crashing just several yards away is soothing.
The Routine at Villa de Zoysa
Following each session are the included meals, which can only be described as heavenly. They are eaten together, family style, on a long table in the dining room. After just a few meals, everyone really gets to know each other and becomes like family.
Breakfast usually consists of tea and coffee, eggs, freshly made fruit salad, hot roti, and curd. Dinner is always different with a selection of delicious Sri Lankan dishes like pumpkin curry, fresh grilled tuna, dhal, and numerous vegetables. The meals are always filling, nutritious, and most importantly, delicious.
Besides yoga, the surrounding area provides lots to do and see, and Devinda is always eager to show guests around and share his knowledge of the area. Villa de Zoysa is located in Boossa, a quiet place with many locals and few tourists. However, just ten minutes in one direction is the famous Hikaduwa Beach. Here you can find many tourists, restaurants, hotels, and opportunities for massages, surfing, and shopping. If you come during the right time of year, you can also have the chance to feed the local turtles.
Ten minutes in the other direction is Galle, where you can find the bus station with connections to all other areas of Sri Lanka. The Dutch built Galle City and the Galle Fort, which is now a world heritage site. The fort is filled with European-style cobbled streets lined with shops and restaurants and numerous boutique hotels. You can walk along the water, taking in the sights such as the beautiful lighthouse and
the children jump ing from the rocks into the water. You might also catch a game of cricket being played or people enjoying a ginger beer while watching the sunset. There is also a 300-year-old Buddhist temple and a nearby tea plantation where you can take a tour and try out the various delicious teas.
A Yoga Retreat for Serenity and Relaxation
Other beaches nearby are Unawatuna and Jungle Beach. Many guests also often head to the nearby luxury hotel, The Lighthouse, for spa treatments, a bite to eat, to use the large swimming pool, or just to check out the hotel’s resident monkey.
Villa de Zoysa also provides the option of a full ayurvedic treatment, or at your request, a masseuse will come to the house for any treatments you like. The in-house massages are all very professional, reasonably priced, and relaxing. The ambience of the house however, is often enough to find the relaxation you seek. The house is filled with comfortable places to lounge, shelves full of books to read, artwork throughout the house, and of course, many chairs on the veranda to relax and enjoy the view.
Apart from Villa de Zoysa, which is absolutely wonderful, Sri Lanka itself is an amazing place to visit. It ranks in the top three of my favorite countries, and was voted the number one country to visit by Lonely Planet for 2013. I myself am not a devoted or experienced yogi, but now, a year after my first three-week holiday at Villa de Zoysa, I find myself here again for another glorious three weeks in paradise.
I haven’t done any yoga yet, but I already feel engulfed in serenity. The house’s ambience and the view is exactly how I remembered it. I am sitting on the veranda enjoying the view as I write this. Sitting here, I feel I must write about this place because I would be selfish to keep such a gem to myself.
If you go:
Villa de Zoysa
Boossa, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 91 2267123