Relax and recouperate in a luxury spa within Sri Lanka’s premier boutique and luxury hotels. Combine beach with spa treatments for a total de-tox. Our experts have reviewed and selected Sri Lanka’s best Ayurveda retreats where personalized programmes and comprehensive Ayurveda medicine are the priority. De-tox, rejuvenate or focus on general well-being. Yoga can be part of your programme but if you are seeking yoga and beach holidays, we have the perfect yoga retreats on the coasts of Sri Lanka. Ideal for the solo traveller.
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What is it?
Ayurveda means the science or knowledge of life. It is an ancient, holistic therapy for body and mind practised in India and Sri Lanka for some 5000 years, using diet, herbs, oils and animal products, yoga and meditation to heal and rejuvenate. It believes the life forces, or doshas, of an individual must be balanced to enjoy good health. Ayurveda restores the balance of those energies, known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
What can it do?
The casual visitor to Sri Lanka may enjoy the de-stressing and toning massages and herbal baths as part of a holiday pick-me-up. However, serious treatments must be taken over a period of weeks or months and will begin with a thorough medical review by a well-qualified specialist. It is claimed that many conditions can be alleviated or cured by Ayurveda, including arthritis, migraine, exhaustion, high blood pressure, depression, cystitis, asthma, nicotine and heroin addiction. Whilst there is no published evidence, many ayurveda patients extolling the virtues of its effects are post-operative and post-chemotherapy patients.
Examples of treatment
Muhuna abyanga – face massage
Uses oil or herbal cream to remove impurities and achieve smoothness. It soothes the nerve structure of the face.
Shirsha abyanga – head massage.
Uses oil to massage head and nape of neck to stimulate circulation, make nerve tracts flexible and resilient, promote hair growth and relax tenseness.
Vishesha sharira Abyanga – Synchronised/intensive massage
A gentle massage by two synchonised therapists using special oil to strengthen and invigorate the skin and tissue, and lymphatic and immune system for deep relaxation and harmony.
Vishesha Prathikara - Special therapy
Senior physician will prescribe special therapy using special herbal medicine and oil in the cure of special ailments.
Lukewarm oil is continuously and gradually poured on the forehead through a copper vessel while the guest is lying down on a special bed- recommended for headaches, depression and sleepiness bringing mental and spiritual relaxation.
Sarwangadara – Pizichil
Warm medicated liquid/oil is poured on the body together with mild massages.
Pina Sweda – warm oil and herbal massage
Warm oil massage followed by heated herbal-rice bag massage for relaxation, pain relief and stimulation of blood circulation.
Vashpa Aggrahanaya – herbal inhalation
Serves to dilate and purify the respiratory tract
Avagahana Sweda – herbal water bath
A warm herbal bath to relax tension, purify the system, alleviate pain and for general well-being.
Vashpa Sweda – herbal steam bath
As many as 6 fresh herbs and 12 dried herbs make up the boiling pot which produces the steam for this remedy. It opens the capillaries and tissue crevices to induce sweating and excrete waste matter.
Akshi Tharpana – eye therapy
A special treatment for ailments using herbal medicine
Acupuncture – Chinese medicine
Ayurveda and acupuncture harmonizes well in specific cases. It is dispensed with the guests consent.
Panchakarma –Vamana, Vireka, Vasti, Raktha Mochana, Nasaya
Five ayurveda remedies used in the cleansing process of ones system, through which toxins and other harmful substances in the body are eliminated.
Where to stay?
Boutique Sri Lanka has selected Ayurveda Pavilion on the beach for full and well respected treatments. Siddhalepa in Wadduwa has been established for many years and the skills have been preserved by generations of the family.
One-off treatments and massages can be found all over the island. Many of our recommended villas and boutique hotels will arrange for private treatments in your room. (eg:- Cape Weligama, Ceylon Tea Trails, Max wadiya)
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What is it?
Though practised in Asia for some 5000 years, yoga has come to be appreciated by the Western world more recently, as its relaxing and health-enhancing effects have been demonstrated.
From a Sanskrit word meaning ‘Union’, yoga connects mind with breath to control the body and create ultimate physical health and mental peace.
Yoga is also an integral part of Ayurvedic treatment with early morning classes in major ayurvedic retreats.
YOGA – which style suits you ?
The benefits of yoga are numerous and include: good health, happiness, longevity, mental stability, and increase in concentration.
Hatha Yoga – The most familiar kind of yoga practised in the west. It consists of asanas (body postures), pranayamas (breathing exercises), and meditation and provides a balanced approach to the search for perfect physical/mental health and happiness.
Raja Yoga – Raja, meaning ‘royal’, is considered the highest form of yoga. Meditation is its focal point.
Karma Yoga - The path of service. The principle of karma yoga is that what we experience today is created by our actions in the past. We practise karma yoga whenever we perform our work, live a selfless life, and serve others.
Bhakthi Yoga - The path of devotion, Bhakthi yoga cultivates acceptance and tolerance of others.
Jnana Yoga – The path of transcendental knowledge and wisdom. This can only be achieved through the study of the scriptures and texts of the yogic tradition.
Tantra Yoga – The path of ritual where a respectful attitude is cultivated, encouraging a ritualistic approach to life.
Asthanga Yoga – The eight-step path developed by the father of yoga, Patanjali. This promises to lead the seeker from ignorance to truth. It is an energetic form or yoga, often termed as power yoga. Well known thanks to celebrity fans such as Madonna and Gerri Haliwell, this power yoga involves linking a special breathing technique with a series of progressive postures. This is meant to create intense internal heat and external sweat to detoxify your muscles and organs.
Lyengar Yoga – A popular and widely recognised class, this focuses on precision postures and is slower-moving than some other styles – but intense. It can be easily picked up by beginners.
Ashtanga – Bikram Yoga – The hot-room style. This involves a system of 26 sequenced postures practised in a room heated to 100-110?F. There’s less focus on perfect posture and more on sweating and getting a good workout. It’s one of the more demanding styles and you will need to be reasonably fit to practise it.
Sivananda Yoga – This soul-calming style involves a series of postures, breathing exercises, relaxation and mantra chanting. It’s particularly good for people wanting to touch on the more spiritual or emotionally balancing side of yoga.
The best time to practise yoga is either in the morning or in the evening as long as the stomach is empty. It can be practised by anyone, at any age, with any physical condition, depending on individual needs. For example, athletes and dancers practise yoga for restoring their energy and to improve stamina; women working at home for rejuvenating energy and reducing fatigue, and the elderly to feel strong and improve memory.
Where to find it?
If you would like to balance a sun-kissed value holiday and the odd cocktail with morning yoga sessions, you'll love Villa de Zoysa or Secret Garden. Yoga is a daily part of ayurvedic life at Siddhalepa resort and Barberyn Beach resort. The serious yoga enthusiast and eco warrier will find paradise at Ulpotha in the north-east hills. Guest wanting to enjoy yoga as light relief to their luxury holiday excursions or to stretch out after sunbathing, will find evening and morning sessions at various hotels like Amangalla, Eden, Nisala Arana.
Many guests find the word and therapies of 'spa' far less intense and more acceptable when on holiday. Sri Lanka has many luxury spa within its larger and premier boutiques who will welcome non-residents. Treatments and therapists will be sourced from around the world and Sri Lanka can offer famous Six Sense and Per Aquum centres.
Our recommendations for combining Sri lanka's best beaches with spa are:
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What is it?
Meditation is the attainment of a deeply relaxed, though wakeful, condition. Metabolic changes take place with the release of anxiety – thereby reducing stress and helping to control pain. The calming effect impacts on both physical and psychological wellbeing.
You may benefit from ranging styles of meditation – breathing exercises, chanting, praying, object focus or visualisation, or silent sitting, and will be advised by the recommended centres.
Where can you find it?
Plus just 5 minutes in Unawatuna away you can study meditation and philosophy at the Meditation & Philosophy Centre, next to the temple, Yaddehimulla Road, Sunday & Monday, 3-5pm
Monasteries practising/teaching meditation for a modest fee/donation can be found at Kandy :