by :: Debbi Murphy (April 13-24, 2019 Sri Lanka Yoga Retreat teacher)
“What do you remember most about your trip?” I love that question. It’s my favorite way to reminisce and anticipating my favorite question is my favorite way to get mentally prepped for an adventure. This time that adventure is my April 2019 Sri Lanka travel with The Travel Yogi and I’m making my list.
My plan, based on the itinerary and past yoga retreat adventures with The Travel Yogi, is to make it a joy of senses. My list is all about soaking up the vivid colors, the enticing aromas and the sounds of Sri Lankan culture and daily life. I’m going to revel in the smiles of the locals and the taste of fresh, new, food flavors. And I’m looking forward to sharing a moment in time that grounds me on the mat and to this beautiful country; my ‘yoga retreat Sri Lanka’ list embodies all of this and leaves plenty of space for what the ladies in the office, and the universe, has in store.
Sri Lanka Culture and Nature
I’m looking forward to the sun-splashed village centers and the gorgeous towering temples. I’m already mentally staging my future treasured photographs and souvenirs. I’m going to shoot the vines creeping over the ruins of a 2,100 year old ancient monastery at Ritigala and as many of the 153 statues of Buddha in Dambulla Cave Temple as I can. That’s the top of my crazy-amazing culture list and then there’s all the nature. I know that Yala gets most of the attention (leopards and elephants… it’s definitely deserved) but I love that this Sri Lankan adventure hits Gal Oya too.
Gal Oya boasts its own family of spectacular ‘big’ wildlife (and if we’re lucky enough to see swimming elephants you’ll hear me squeal all the way across the Pacific) but there’s a natural immersion here, more so than in crowded Yala. When I post photos from the lake in Gal Oya and shots from the top of Monkey Mountain, they’ll be captioned with knowledge gleaned from our naturalist guide and stored forever in my travel bank.
Sri Lanka Food
Arab, English, French, Portuguese and Dutch influences are going to make for delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Sri Lankans love their chilies, but I might have to go light on the heat… I’ll let you know after when I’m back.
With so many conquering cultures over the years Sri Lanka is now the beneficiary of a fascinatingly multi-faceted cuisine. A healthy dose of deliciousness from neighboring India and the countries of Southeast Asia, give Sri Lanka travel tasties a scrumptious leg up. Rice, curry, cardamom, coconut milk, fresh fish, chicken, lentils, eggplant—I’m drooling. And tea! Sri Lanka is a land of tea and treats, a lovely carry-over from the British years. An afternoon refresher of tea and, along with the requisite jam and clotted cream, is a definite.
New Breath In, Old Breath Out
Of course for me it’s always been about a yoga retreat adventure because I want to stay healthy, grounded and open to everything when I travel. The thing is that I am going to use this adventure, an adventure to a deeply Buddhist country, to practice maintaining my practice on and off the mat. Hustle and bustle, hot days, new food, new language, new people… all of this can be super overwhelming. I’m a seasoned traveler. I’ve got lots of passport stamps and fabulous memories. But remembering that each inhale offers something new in the same way each practice, each day and each adventure does is how I stay open and ready for the world. Welcoming and appreciating the micro and the macro… that’s how I use my practice on the road.
This beautiful culture has survived for thousands of years through invasions, turmoil and various rulers. However, through it all, the individuals, the men and women that make a country tick, continue to share a culture that respects and ennobles the best in all of us. There are twelve days of exploration and amazingness on this Sri Lankan adventure and I’ll be breathing, opening, welcoming, loving and learning each day.