The Sri Lanka yoga tradition is booming—perfect for mind and body in a fractious world
Yoga, the fitness regime for mind and body, is booming in the West—and Sri Lanka, with its magic, mystery, and traditional wellness treatments, is a perfect place to practice.
Brigid Delaney, an Australian journalist writing in the Guardian UK, says that “yoga is booming. In the past decade it has morphed from being an exercise you might do once a week at your local gym to a lifestyle – and a physical and spiritual ideal to which you aspire.”
It follows an early Guardian piece in which Isabel Choat extolles the delights and benefits of one of our best yoga resorts, Ulpotha, “an exceptionally beautiful yoga retreat in central Sri Lanka”.
She writes: “The forests of central Sri Lanka are home to one of the world’s best yoga retreats, where the scenery and ancient sites on the doorstep are as blissful as the classes.”
Brigid Delaney reports that, according to the Yoga Journal, 36.7 million people practise yoga in the US, up from 20.4 million in 2012. The yoga market is now worth $16bn (£12bn) in the US and $80bn (£74bn) globally.
And in the UK, ‘yoga” was one of Google’s most searched-for words in 2016, while the yoga and pilates business brings in £812m a year, and rising.
“In my local area of Sydney, upmarket yogis have colonised the high street. Most people I see walking around the suburb of Bondi have stopped wearing proper clothes.
“In many respects, yoga is the perfect pastime for our age – the meditative elements give us the opportunity to find peace and stillness in a time of increasingly hectic and crowded information, the instructional bits give us moral lessons in the absence of traditional religion, while the stretchy, bendy, sweaty physical stuff is a great way of countering eight or more hours a day spent hunched over a computer.”
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All of which underlines Isabel Choat’s paean of praise for Ulpotha, which, she says, is “talked about in revered tones by yogis as one of the most extraordinary yoga destinations in the world”.
She notes that “apart from its remote setting, what distinguishes Ulpotha is the way it’s run—by a committee of six villagers, who make all the decisions about finances, hiring and firing, and replenishing supplies”.
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