Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, killer surf, diving opportunities, fun trains, famous tea, flavourful food, impossibly green tea plantations and rainforested peaks beckon walkers, and then there are the beaches. The beaches! Dazzlingly white and all so often untrod, they ring the island so that no matter where you go, you’ll be near a sandy gem.
Sri Lanka’s attributes are many. Few places have as many Unesco World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area. Its 2000-plus years of culture can be discovered at ancient sites filled with mystery. Legendary temples boast beautiful details crafted by artisans through the centuries.
About Villa De Zoysa
This magnificent villa was built by a wealthy aristocrat, who made his fortune in the early part of the last century. With acres of coconut palm trees, and contemporary British architecture, the property retained in the de Zoysa family ever since it was built in 1927, is unique on the coastline. This property is unmatched in the south of Sri Lanka. It has been aesthetically maintained, with its large collection of original antiques and art and crafts, polished hardwood beams and plenty of open courtyards, terraces and passageways to relax in.
Around Villa de Zoysa:
There is plenty to do between yoga classes!
Recently I moved my home base to a small surf town in Costa Rica. I yearned for a simpler life, a sunnier life. I sought out less stuff and welcomed in more soul. I found my happy place in a small town with 1 dirt road. Even in paradise though, one has obligations and responsibilities. On a resent trip home to visit my family, my passport was stolen in transit. It also happened that the Canadian Embassy was closed for 5 days exactly when it occurred. I felt naked, like a true nomad with no-man’s land. I had called the government offices in Canada who informed me that if I had a police document reporting the theft as well as any government issued photo-ID I could get on a plane. In fact, according to international law it is forbidden to be denied entry into one’s own country. You know all those times your Dad reminds you to bring a photocopy of your passport with you when you travel? As it turns out, that ain’t worth squat.
As I found out upon insisting I be boarded onto the next plane to the true North Strong and free, internationally, it is virtually impossible to travel without a passport no matter how many governmental connections you have in your home country and pieces of ID cards you posess.
To make a long story short, I got loud in the airport. I cried. I got upset. I through a tantrum, insisting I be allowed on to the next plane to Canada. I got stressed. I lost my bearings and my thoughts and before long the police were called and I nearly was taken in to custody for causing a scene. Luckily we were able to call my local member of parliament, the Costa Rican board of tourism and the Canadian embassy to get me out of cuffs. In any case, I was still stuck without a passport in Costa Rica for 5 days until the Canadian Embassy reopened and reissued me a valid travel document. On reflection, here’s what I’ve learned-
1.Keep calm and carry on
I panicked and almost got arrested. When I finally managed to calm myself down, I was able to reassess the situation and talk my way out of international incarceration. In panic mode, no one would listen, I felt helpless. Once calm I could take charge of my words, body language and properly express myself and my needs. Ultimately this lead to the police backing down and my being able to properly take care of what was really necessary: getting a new passport and getting back to Canada.
Being upset gets us nowhere. When we are angry, we flail and scream. Our faces get distorted. Our body language gets grotesquely over exaggerated. In a way, we become a dramatized puppeted version of ourselves. It is impossible to listen and truly hear what a tantrum-tastic person is saying because the show of their limbs and expressions is too distracting. In addition, when we yell at people they do not hear or listen to us, they shut down. There is sound but no content. They extrapolate the worst words. They turn off their compassion and turn on their defenses. No matter how difficult, when life is tough and scary and seemingly hopeless, it is imperative to stay calm.
How do we keep ourselves from panicking? Long slow exhales. This is how I managed to release some anxiety and calm down enough to act intelligently. While the police officers escorted me to a corner of the airport, I took the deepest breath that I could and exhaled as slowly as possible. It started to work. My thought process slowed down, my vision became more clear. Inhale deeply. Exhale slowly. I started to notice my gate and walk more confidently. Deep breath in, long breath out. I stopped crying, lowered the tone of my voice and dealt properly with my situation.
Monitoring and controlling the breath actually reduces cortisol levels- the stress response. In addition it helps get us into a meditative state. Meditation helps increase brain capacity. This in turn will help you make more intelligent decisions. It will help you listen to guts and instincts. Breathing through it will increase rationality and decrease your chances of escalating a situation beyond your control.
It’s all good
Once I managed to relax a little I took a moment to further assess my current situation: I had cash on me, a credit card with a high enough limit to sustain me for a while. I had a backpack full of everything I needed, a computer to take care of necessities and a phone to FaceTime loved ones back home. I said to myself, “You’re alive. You’re unharmed. You are okay. It’s all good.”
In the worst situations abroad, this is what we need to remind ourselves. Sure delays might happen. Sure, there might be a ton of bureaucratic BS to face, sure you might not get home in time for that family celebration or work engagement… but you’re not hurt, you’re not harmed, you’re not dying. It’s all good.
So it turns out clichés can ring true. Oh and one more- probably should’ve listened to my mom! She told me to relax, check in to a hotel and wait until there was something that could be sorted out, no need to get worked up.
Your Retreat includes:
Arrival in Morocco. You will be picked up at Marrakech airport and brought to your home for the week. Upon your arrival at Peacock Pavilions Yoga Retreat Center, you’ll have a chance to relax and unwind. Once the entire group is assembled, we’ll enjoy a welcome reception with canapes, and cocktails. Cocktail hour will be followed by dinner at our hotel.
Start your day with Lauren’s energizing yoga class in Peacock Pavilion’s tented yoga platform. After Savasana, enjoy breakfast in the sun. Once nourished you will be transferred to the Medina for a guided tour of the sights, sounds and tastes of Marrakesh. Get ready to shop in the souks of Morocco! Explore on your own for lunch, or ask our guides for recommendations. After some tea at Winston Churchill’s favorite spot, the group will head back to Peacock Pavillions for a light dinner. Afterward, enjoy a movie in the cool evening air at the outdoor cinema.
AM yoga to brighten your spirits, followed by breakfast at Peacock Pavilions. After breakfast you will have free time to lounge by the pool, stroll through acres of olive groves that surround, write in your journal and reflect. Lunch at Peacock Pavilions is included. The afternoon will feature an optional yoga workshop with Lauren or more opportunity to bask in the sunshine. The evening will begin with a henna party and cocktails, followed by a ride to town for dinner and belly dancing!
The morning routine continues with yoga and a delicious breakfast. After breakfast we’ll head into town to visit Yves Saint Laurent’s garden, Majorelle. Find your own gem for lunch in the Gueliz followed by maybe another stop at the souk to pick up some local memorabilia and test out your bargaining skills once again. Dinner will be on the main square, as a group or on your own.
For the early-risers there will be a sunrise yoga class with Lauren followed by an early breakfast. After breakfast you will visit the seaside town of Essouira where we’ll be going camel riding! After you’ve tamed your beast of burden, enjoy a free day strolling through this charming town. The group will meet for a late-night transfer back to Marrakesh.
Time to REALLY unwind. After morning yoga and breakfast, spend some time relaxing in our Moroccan paradise. Enjoy an optional yoga workshop with Lauren followed by a late lunch at Peacock Pavillions. Afterward, cars will be waiting to take you to a local hammam, or spa. Enjoy traditional relaxation and hospitality as you get pampered Moroccan style. After rejuvenating, there will be a farewell dinner complete with local wines in the dining tent at Peacock Pavilions. A time to reflect and share the week’s experiences.
Before heading on your way, enjoy some yoga with Lauren and one last breakfast in style. After big hugs and teary goodbyes, transportation will be waiting to send you on the next leg of your journey.
2165$ per person shared • 2585$ per person private
A non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your space in yoga classes. a 50% balance of payment is due 60-days prior to the start date of the retreat. The remaining balance is due 30-days prior to the start date of the yoga retreat. A full refund, minus the deposit fee will be offered for cancellations made more than 60-days prior to the start date of the retreat. Cancellations of less than 45-days advanced notice will be refunded 50% of the retreat price. Refunds will not be offered on cancellations made less than 30-days in advance.