A few weeks ago Zach and I set out to do what I like to call a “location redemption.” That’s when we go somewhere that we’ve been before, back in our drinking and partying days, and experience the place again through our now-sober selves. If you’re not in recovery it might be hard to understand, but I really love going back to some of the places where I partied particularly hard and made some not-great memories and “redeem” them by having a more conscious, mindful experience as a sober traveler.
Sedona was high on my list for a location redemption. I’d been there so many times, but I’d never really looked into the vortex phenomenon or any of the many spiritual aspects of Sedona. Enter Mark Griffon of Sedona Mystical Tours. I found Mark’s tour company online and knew immediately that having him guide us through Sedona would be the perfect way to finally experience the sacredness of the red rocks. And I was totally right. Mark’s expertise and gentle nature make him a perfect guide for seekers in Sedona. Mark took us off-the-beaten-track to some locations where we were the only people there, even during the crazy tourist season! Here’s the video we made of our Sedona Mystical Tour experience.
As you can see in the video, we had a truly remarkable experience in Sedona this time. We had started the day feeling stressed and anxious due to outside factors, but after a short while of hiking and feeling the vibration of the land with Mark, we both felt cool, calm and heavily meditated! It was wonderful.
This post will the first in our series on vortexes and spiritual places in the USA! Next on our list to visit and film are both the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California, and the other Mystery Spot in the Upper Penninsula, Michigan! Where else should we go? Leave your recommendations in the comments!
The south of Sri Lanka is a perfect tourism destination, especially if you like surfing and yoga. Sri Lanka surf and yoga retreats are a great option, especially if you enjoy all-inclusive, no-worries travel. With many different surf and yoga retreat options, it can be hard to decide which retreat to book. Here is our guide comparing the 5 best Sri Lanka surf and yoga retreats!
Offering all-inclusive week-long surf and yoga retreats based in Weligama, these retreats are held at an amazing colonial villa in the jungle near the town. Included are four surf lessons, eight yoga practices, breathwork meditation sessions, two daily meals with private chefs, a cooking class, and charity give-back days. They also take you on a safari through Udawalawe National Park which is packed full of wild elephants and other beautiful creatures. A great value for seeing a lot without needing to plan anything. We also like how everyone starts and finishes the experience together, allowing you to make deep, lasting friendships.
Weeklong packages include six surf sessions, six yoga classes, one massage, and daily breakfast. A bonus is the friendly local owners and delicious Ahimsa Vegan Cafe (extra cost but worth it) located on the property. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, quietly nestled away from the main road. Other packages and longer stays are available on their website. Less all-inclusive but better for more independent travelers.
For a more luxury option, enjoy Soul & Surf’s new and modern rooms and beautiful swimming pool. Included in a one-week stay are three meals per day, seven yoga sessions, ten surf outings, two meditation sessions, a guided SUP adventure and more. Great if you want to spend your time relaxing in one place; the downside is that it’s a little off the main drag. Oh, and the swimming pool is a nice bonus.
Weeklong price: ~ $1,500 USD for a shared room – $2,500 for a luxury private room. Check their website for options and availability. Prices lower in off season (May-November).
Made for the more serious surfer crowd, Sunshine Stories retreats include many different types of training to take your surf to another level. Included in their packages are seven breakfasts, five lunches and dinners, ten yoga sessions, five surf lessons, a variety of surf classes and video feedback, a temple visit, and your own surf video.
Weeklong package price: $899 USD for a shared room in their villa.
Located in Ahangama, Camp Poe is a boutique oasis which offers luxury safari tents or bungalows for accommodation. They also have a swimming pool and honestly some of the best yoga teachers on the island. Their packages include seven breakfasts, five dinners, five surf lessons, surf theory, five yoga classes, and included tea and unlimited water.
Weeklong package price: from $699 USD for private tent. Cheaper shared tents also available. More action-packed deals are also available with twice the surfing, more yoga, and included photo & videos. Check their website for other price options.
All of the best Sri Lanka surf and yoga retreats include transport to the surf spots and surfboard rentals. Check their website for more exact itineraries and lists of optional add-ons. Keep in mind that the weather is best in the south of Sri Lanka between November and April, and prices are higher during this season. If you are looking for the best budget Sri Lanka surf and yoga retreats, consider coming in the off season to save and enjoy less crowds.
Bigger Life Adventures is our new yoga and adventure retreat company featuring us, Zach and Carrie, leading you on adventures in incredible countries around the world! This is our newest video, showing you a little more about what a trip with Bigger Life Adventures looks like!
A few of the things we want to share with Bigger Life Adventures are yoga, meditation, clean living, amazing destinations, vegan food, and giving back to the local communities. 10% of all participation fees are donated directly to charities working in countries where our retreats are located. This year we will be hosting retreats in Southern California, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania. Check out the dates and maybe we’ll see you there?
In Sri Lanka, every full moon is an official holiday! We really love the connection between nature and spirituality that every celebrates here. A couple weeks ago the full moon was extra special, because it was also Vesak Day, a holiday celebrating major milestones in the life of Buddha – basically his birth, enlightenment, and death are all celebrated on Vesak Day.
We also got to have a special experience for Vesak and the Full Moon, by going out to on the water with SUP Yoga Sri Lanka at Duwa Villas! They had organized a special full moon ceremony experience including meditation, pranayama, some gentle yin SUP yoga, and a letting-go ceremony out on the water. We captured a little bit of video before it got too dark to share the experience!
It started to rain a little bit while we were out on the water meditating, but the rain felt cool and nice, like the baptism of a new moon cycle! It was so peaceful to just lie on our backs on the boards, feeling the gentle motion of the water and the refreshing touch of the raindrops. What an amazing experience! We can’t wait to try more SUP Yoga in Sri Lanka!
We discovered the amazing Surf & Yoga Mirissa during our second visit to Sri Lanka when we were looking for a place on the south coast to chill, get some work done, and live close to nature. Surf & Yoga Mirissa’s property is right in the jungle just 1km down the road from Mirissa’s main beach. The retreat features clean spacious rooms with super-comfy beds, hammocks to lounge around in all over the property, a surf shop and yoga studio, all the activities you could possibly want to do in south Sri Lanka, and the amazing Ahimsa Vegan Cafe!
There’s also breakfast and dinner available (vegan and non-vegan options) for guests, three yoga classes per day, and surf lessons available for all levels with awesome, experienced instructors.
The yoga instruction is also top-notch, with a variety of styles being taught and teachers who can cater to all levels! Honestly, it’s the perfect place to jump headfirst into the yoga+surf life!
Ahimsa Vegan Cafe, the super-cool shipping container restaurant on site, has amazing healthy plant-based offerings! It’s open every day except Sunday from 11-3:30! Be sure to try the signature Ahimsa Bowl – a mix of roasted veggies, salad, veggie protein, and delicious homemade peanut sauce!
Mirissa Surf & Yoga also strives to be as eco-friendly as possible, with composting, recycling, and regular “karma yoga” beach cleanups! The owner, Priyal, and staff of Surf & Yoga Mirissa can guide you to all the best sites and activities in the area! They’re a super-friendly crew of surfers who will be sure to make you feel at home in Sri Lanka! There’s also no less than FOUR cute, friendly doggies who call this place home. So there are lots of furry friends for those of you who miss your pets so much, like us!
Check out their awesome video for more of a taste of this amazing place!
While spending time in south Sri Lanka, we were fortunate to come across Weligama Surf Yoga Retreat. They run monthly week-long getaways in the Bandara Watte Villa, a beautiful colonial escape surrounded by many local animals including wild peacocks. Located in the jungle nearby Weligama, Sri Lanka, their adventures are equally focused on surfing and yoga, using experienced local surf guides and certified yoga instructors. They also feature a “give back” volunteering day where participants visit a local school, teaching the children yoga and donating school supplies.
Unlike a lot of the yoga camps in the area, Weligama Surf Yoga Retreat takes you surfing almost every day. Weligama Bay near the villa is the perfect spot for beginner surfers. For more experienced surfers there are many opportunities for close by beach and reef breaks in Unawatuna, Galle, Ahangama, Midigama, and Mirissa. We loved how they used only local surf instructors; the guys were super nice and helpful especially for the newbies.Weligama Surf Yoga Retreat also features a “give back” day when you get the opportunity to check out a local school and lead activities for some children. The kids really love it and it’s a great opportunity to see into the lives of little Sri Lankans. They have so much energy, and by the end of the hour all the adults are dripping sweat, the kids still running circles.
The morning and sunset yoga practice is at the Bandara Watte Villa. You listen to the sounds of the jungle while peacefully drifting into a meditative state. If you get lucky a peacock will show its feathers.
One of the highlights of the retreat was the food! The chef, Mahendra, creates local dishes with a twist of western fusion. The curries he makes are some of the best we’ve had, the spices deep and complex, but comforting and familiar at the same time.
Whether in Sri Lanka for a short time or a long trip, Weligama Surf Yoga Retreat is a great way to see and do a lot, without worrying about anything. The staff is top-notch and the venue is classic, you’ll quickly feel at home and not want to leave!
Bangkok is a crazy city that has everything you could possibly want, healthy food trends and fitness included! Yoga is hugely popular but it usually comes with a big price tag since it’s trendy and many of the gyms and studios are super new and fancy, geared towards wealthy Thais and expats.
I spent the last four months living in Bangkok and discovering all the options for FREE and donation-based yoga. After some looking on Meetup, Facebook, and asking around, I found some great **free** classes and made new friends!
Yim Yam Hostel & Garden(the hostel we are marketing consultants for!) has a free sunset rooftop class open to everyone Tuesdays at 6pm! The class is taught by Kwan and it’s usually a hatha style class suitable for all levels. After the class, you can hang out in the garden or cafe at a Post-Yoga Social Hour with 30% off all drinks!
Yoga with Evelin offers classes in Benjakitti Park around sunset twice a week! Tuesday at 6:00pm is a Hatha Strength class and Wednesday at 6:30pm is a Relaxing Yin class. I loved coming to her Wednesday yin yoga class to really stretch and meditate while watching the sunset! Evelin is an amazing teacher and also runs cool yoga/meditation retreats on Koh Samet!
Wanna do yoga on Thursday? Kwan, the teacher from Yim Yam Tuesdays, sometimes offers a FREE class in Benjakitti Park. Check her Facebook page, Bangkok Free Yoga, to see if it’s happening!
Last but definitely not least, my favorite Bangkok restaurant Broccoli Revolution, recently started a donation-based class on Thursdays on their rooftop at 5:30pm. The volunteer teachers rotate through and have always had great music and a great flow every time I’ve gone. Donations from this class go to Sati Foundation, a nonprofit working on health and education programs with under-served and at-risk populations in Thailand. So this class has a great karma yoga thing going on and it’s a great excuse to eat amazing vegan food for dinner after class! Just check Broccoli’s Facebook page for the official dates of this class and send them a message to sign up!
I hope this guide helps you find some wonderful, affordable yoga classes to attend in Bangkok and leads you to some meaningful connections with other yogis as well!