Ulpotha's natural charms lend themselves readily to a deeply satisfying experience of Yoga. If ever there was a place made for Yoga, Ulpotha is it. Though Ulpotha was not planned at the outset as a Sri Lankan Yoga centre, Yoga very quickly took its central place in the Ulpotha experience through a series of serendipitous events. Having done so, it is hard to imagine a place better suited to the practise of this ageless discipline.
Ulpotha invites leading teachers from around the world to come and share their gift of Yoga with its guests. Under the Teachers and Therapists sections can you find a list of those teachers who are scheduled to come in the next season, along with a brief profile of each. A variety of Yoga styles are on offer to suit a wide range of preferences.
Yoga is practised in the Yoga Shala, which is essentially an open-sided hall that lets in nature's charms, from gentle breezes to bird song. On occasion classes are conducted further afield: beneath the splaying branches of a Banyan tree, or on top of Monkey Rock, or below the neighbouring temple - or wherever else takes the collective fancy of those present.
Many of the world's most respected Yoga teachers come to Ulpotha. As the teachers change every fortnight, several types of yoga - usually Hatha, Sivananda, Iyengar and Astanga - are available at different times in the season. Every morning there's an optional Yoga class in a large, open-sided building with a palm leaf roof, or in the cool dappled shade of a banyan tree. Teachers who come to Ulpotha are very experienced and are open to teaching many levels of students within a class. Some may also guide dawn walks in the beautifully wooded surrounding hills for those who wish.
As Ulpotha attracts high quality Yoga instructors, some guests come mainly for the Yoga classes. But since Ulpotha was never intended to be primarily a Yoga centre, there's no pressure to attend classes and life doesn't hinge on classes of any kind. So you won't feel an outsider if Yoga isn't for you. This is a place to unwind, be gentle with yourself, live close to nature and simply be; or if you feel energetic, a wonderful place to exercise and rejuvenate.
Ulpotha provides Yoga mats, wooden blocks, belts, small flat cushions bolsters in the Yoga Sri Lanka Shala.
Ulpotha has an exciting programme of Ayurveda treatments and, by the very definition of 'holistic', possesses the ideal climate and environment for the practise of this deeply therapeutic and traditional art.
There are seven treatment programmes on offer at Ulpotha:
Ashinsanaya (Benediction) – 5 days - $300
Sanasuma (Satisfaction) – 7 days - $400
Namskaraya (Salutation) – 10 days - $600
Abhishekaya (Coronation) – 12 days, $720
Aswesilla (Solace) – 14 days - $800
Samadhiya (Profound) – 21 days - $1,200
Mokshaya (Redemption)– 28 days - $1,600
Until recently, Ulpotha had offered non-specific and general native treatments such as steam and infused water baths. The main reason for the absence of Ayurveda in Ulpotha was that the founders wanted to wait until the right person crossed their path to carry out the very specialised therapeutic practise of Ayurveda.
When the founders of Ulpotha met Dr. Srilal Mudunkothge B.A.M.S., they realised they had found the person in whom they could place their confidence and trust to establish an Ayurveda practise in Ulpotha. They felt that his Ayurveda qualifications and credentials, combined with his understanding of the profound importance that a healthy and natural environment has to the process of healing, made him the ideal practitioner to introduce Ayurveda to Ulpotha.
As an integral part of the arrangements made with Dr. Srilal, an Ayurveda clinic was established in August, 2005, to give Ayurveda treatments to local villagers free of charge. This initiative, which includes free Ayurveda medicines, takes us back to the traditional way Ayurveda was dispensed, where Ayurveda patients rarely if ever paid in cash for the Ayurveda care they received. Instead they would make a symbolic offering of betel leaves to the Ayurveda doctor at the time of consultation and make their own services in kind available to the Ayurveda doctor.
The clinic is funded by the income generated from Ulpotha's Ayurveda treatments.
Ayurveda Treatment Programmes
The primary aim of Ayurveda is to balance the body’s energies and thus restore one’s health and vitality. Ulpotha is a particularly suitable place in which to undergo Ayurveda treatment, as the food and the environment complement the therapies and serve to underscore the holistic approach of Ayurveda itself.
Subject to availability, all guests may consult Dr. Srilal, Ulpotha’s resident Ayurveda doctor, to learn about their state of health from an Ayurveda perspective or to simply satisfy their curiosity. This first consultation is free.
If a Ayurveda treatment programme is desired, Dr. Srilal will prepare a personalized detoxification and rejuvenation treatment plan for each individual. Central to the drawing up of an Ayurveda programme is the consultation. Through this the doctor will get a sense of what imbalances are present, and which one of the seven different type of body types is involved. Once an Ayurveda treatment programme is chosen, the doctor will then vary the use of treatment ingredients and medicines accordingly and administer one of the Ayurveda therapies below :
All of the Ayurveda programmes begin with detoxification therapies, which consist of preparatory and specialized elimination treatments. Preparatory treatments are called oleation and fomentation.
Ayurveda Oleation therapies consist of the following :
Abyanga: Oil application for the first layer of the body
Angamarda Abyanga: A deeper oil application for the second layer of the body
Angamarda Abyanga: A deeper oil application for the second layer of the body
Pattu: Application of a detoxifying herbal paste on the body – though this does not involve oil, it is an important step in the process of opening the pores of the body to facilitate detoxification
Shirodara: Dripping of oil on the third eye to detoxify, relax and still the mind
Sarvangadara: Involves the dripping of oil on the whole body
Pindasweda: Application of oil with a milk rice poultice
All of the above Ayurveda oleation therapies are administered with the intent of dislodging toxins from the body’s tissues and moving them towards the pores. These toxins are extracted through the fomentation therapies, which consist in turn of herbal baths, steam baths and herbal saunas.
Ayurveda Elimination therapies
The specialised Ayurveda elimination therapies on the other hand consist of inhalation, purgation and emesis treatments among others. All of these are used to bring the body’s energies into balance, though not all of them will be necessary in all cases. Once a balance is achieved, nourishing Ayurveda therapies are administered to maintain that balance. These rejuvenation treatments consist of traditional Ayurveda oral remedies using organic ingredients.
In order to experience all of the Ayurveda prepatory and elimination treatments, it is necessary to choose the Namaskaraya (10 day) or longer programme.
On your arrival in Ulpotha you will be introduced to Dr. Srilal, who can book you in for a free Ayurveda consultation. Depending on whether you have pre-booked an Ayurveda programme or, if not, your suitability for treatment and availability, he will administer the Ayurveda programme length of your choice and / or needs.
Please note that you need to be in Ulpotha for at least two days before starting an Ayurveda treatment if you have arrived directly from overseas.