Pay What You Want Retreat WELIGAMA, SRI LANKA
Some people believe that the ‘Lanka’ from Sri Lanka is derived from the Tamil word ‘ilanku’, which means ‘to shine’ or ‘to glitter’, thus making Lanka a name that literally means ‘that which glitters’.
And boy, does it!
In an effort to sum up what can only be described as my greatest journey to date...
During my three month journey in Sri Lanka, I spent a week being completely silent in a Buddhist meditation centre, trekked through the majestic Knuckles mountain ranges, stayed in some of the top places to stay in Kandy, took the epic train journey from Kandy to Ella through tea country, where I saw waterfalls etched into mountain peaks and scenery that literally made my jaw drop. Watched the sun rise at Little Adam’s Peak, swam with turtles, went surfing, got an amazing yoga teaching job for five weeks in my dream jungle yoga shala at the beautiful Sri Yoga Shala, made lifelong friendships with countless amazing humans. And then, for the icing on the (vegan) cake, I spent my last week at a Yoga and Breathwork Retreat at the extremely lovely Green Peace Inn, located in Weligama in the Southern part of Sri Lanka.
I came to Sri Lanka expecting it to be like India or Bali, with yoga studios everywhere offering drop-in classes, but it’s more of a place to go for a week long retreat or a pricey package yoga holiday. And the south is buzzing with retreat spaces and places, like Talalla Retreat, a hot spot on the Sri Lanka Instagram trail, or Soul and Surf, a popular retreat spot also with places in India and Portugal. Camp Poe is another and the aforementioned Sri Yoga Shala.
Green Peace Inn has gone completely off piste and as a random act of kindness, for two weeks of the season (at the beginning and the end) they have decided to run a ‘pay what you want’ retreat. In an attempt to offer their services to those who may not be able to afford it, or maybe just because they are lovely! Martina and Alex, both from Germany will greet you with a big hug when you first meet them, and then one every time after that. As you get to know them throughout the week you will begin to feel the genuine love they have for each other and everyone of their guests.
It’s evident that they pour their hearts into the space, the little touches say it all. Each room is named according to the different chakras. Mine was the Manipura (or Solar plexus) room with the most magnificent view of the ocean to wake up to every morning, a hammock on the balcony to spend lazy days gazing at the ocean, shelves for books, incense for burning, a water bottle to refill, the perfect amount wardrobe space and hooks in all the right places. Like they have thought of everything.
The twice daily yoga was a mix of yoga styles from different teachers in the community, and so nice to practice on the rooftop with that view. The breathwork session was a great experience for me. Everyone has their own experience with breathwork but I had a really lush time this time around and that is largely due to feeling safe and secure in the space and Alex and Martina really made that happen beautifully.
But I think the best part of the retreat for me was the food! These guys have so much talent! I see a best selling plant based cookbook hitting shelves! So much hard work went into the cooking. I’m telling you, vegetables have never tasted so good and cooking for 14 people twice a day is not easy. The smoothie bowls in the morning, were the best!
So on the last night, they arranged a singing circle under the stars. This was really special and the next morning a final yin yoga class and a circle to talk about our experience and what we will take away from the week. Of course we were all in tears opening up and sharing about ourselves, our experiences, how we’ve grown and how sad we all were to be leaving each other. Here we are post tears…
On our bed, we were given an envelope to ‘pay what we wanted’ for the week. I paid what I could afford but I wanted to pay so much more! I’m hoping that this blog post will share some love for them and attract more love and positivity to their wonderful little peaceful yoga community haven, so that the Green Peace Inn team can keep doing what they are doing so well ♡