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A Guide to Places for Drop-in Yoga in Sri Lanka

Hey y'all,

So this is my first blog post since I took off to travel and work abroad. Again it has taken me over 6 months to get round to writing a blog. I am currently in Thailand after visiting Cambodia, however I started my adventure in Sri Lanka working in various surf and yoga retreats, guest houses, hotels and hostels.

When I haven't been running practice in person or filming for my Online Video Library, I have taken the time to participate in yoga class myself as I truly believe you should practice what you preach.

Sometimes a teacher, but always a student; whenever I take time to participate in class, not only is it good for my own mind, body and soul, I get the opportunity to learn or reaffirm teachings. It is important for me to take time to connect with my own breath and feel the energy of the other participants in class. By absorbing this energy and also the teachings from a different teacher; it is something that hopefully makes me a better yoga teacher as well as a healthier, happier more balanced human.

Over the 6 months I travelled around quite a bit in Sri Lanka. As well as working at Surf and Yoga Retreats and participating in 2 Yoga Retreats I went to many drop in classes mostly around the South Coast. Here is a list of drop in yoga classes I can recommend and my experiences:

-Salt House, Hiriketiya

Out of all the places I went for drop in Yoga, Salt House was one of my favorites. I stayed in Hiriketiya for a week and went here for year 2 or 3 times. I also commuted here on scooter while working at a Surf Camp in Matara to attend class for my own practice.

Salt House offers rooms, a pool and a restaurant as well as daily yoga (Vinyasa Flow) classes at 07:00am and Yin at 17:00pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Mats and props are all provided and refillable drinking water is available. The Shala is located upstairs surrounded by palm trees and nature (the local peacock loves to make noise during practice)

I took vinyasa classes with Charlie during my practices and loved attending her classes. She put emphasis on movement with breath and through practice I really noticed by breath deepen. I really enjoyed the intentions set and the yoga teachings throughout the practice as well as variety of postures and sequencing each time I turned up on the mat here.

-Jackie's Guesthouse, Mirissa

Jackie's Guesthouse was one of the friendliest places I went to experience Yoga. I made good connections with the Yoga Teachers, the owner Jack, his family, friends, guests as well as other students during class. I participated in yoga classes here as well as taught some classes while staying in Mirissa.

The Yoga Shala at Jackie's is located in their garden. The guesthouse offers rooms, surf hire, lessons and breakfast. There is complimentary tea, coffee and water for before and after class where students are welcome to stay and chat and connect after class. Various Yoga classes take place daily at 08:00, 10:00 and 17:00. Practices include Vinyasa, Hatha and Yin with some classes on the schedule also taught in Russian.

I took many classes here while in Mirissa as well as commuting here via scooter when working in Matara. I enjoyed practices with both Judith and Egor again with great teachings for the mind throughout practice and focus on the breath. Attend vinyasa classes with Egor if you enjoy creative sequencing and a challenge.

Dots Bayhouse, Hiriketiya

Again while staying in Hiriketiya I alternated between going to Dots Bayhouse and Salt House for my yoga practice in the morning. Again while working in Matara I would also commuted here for my own yoga practice when possible.

Dots Bayhouse is a a social hub in Hiriketiya with many visitors making use of their restaurant, bar, live music nights, accommodation and of course yoga. The large shala is situated upstairs and the yoga teacher Marleen, lays out mats and props that we may need for class in a very unified way. Vinyasa Flow takes place daily at 08:00 plus Tuesdays at 16:00 and a Yin Yoga class on Thursdays at 16:00.

Marleen sets intentions at the beginning of class and checks in with her students for injuries or anything she may need to be aware of before practice begins. Her classes are what I describe as mostly 'ladder flow' classes. Based on taking vinyasas, each round more postures are added to the flow. At the end of class, you reach the complete sequence where you have the choice to repeat the flow again or to rest in child's pose. The practices at Dots Bayhouse are dynamic and can be challenging but very enjoyable (I've been looking for a challenging class!). Even though I do enjoy ladder flow, I also enjoy other types of vinyasa flow sequencing when going to class. If I was in the mood for this type of practice or for anyone who enjoys ladder flow sequencing I would recommend yoga classes here.

JJs Hostel, Mirissa

OK So JJs Hostel is a place I cannot really review as I was the Yoga Teacher here. Originally I enquired about going to Yoga here while in Mirissa, however their current yoga teacher was sick and they were looking for urgent cover. I taught here for 4 weeks until they found someone to teach more permanently. Anyhow it was a great place to work and I would recommend taking yoga here if you are in Mirissa.

JJs is a popular luxury hostel in Mirssa offering luxury dorm and private rooms, a swimming pool, social events, kitchen, cafe and yoga classes twice daily. Morning Vinyasa Flow classes take place at 07:00 in the Yoga Den situated in the garden, while Sunset Yin Classes take place on the rooftop at 17:30.

Obviously I cannot review my own classes, and did not have the opportunity to take yoga classes with the new yoga teacher. However the staff at JJs hostel and very friendly and helpful. Yoga mats are provided for class and props if needed. It is a great place to stay or visit if you are looking to be social, meet other travelers or likeminded people.

Rukshan Yoga, Mirissa

I had very interesting and positive experiences when I went to Yoga class at Rukshan Yoga. The three times I went were all very different. My first experience, I was the only person who turned up for class. The owner Rukshan lead me through a kundalini practice (a practice I have only done a couple of times) including chanting and breathwork and some very dynamic movements. He then lead me down to the beach in a walking metta meditation where he did some yoga therapy with me. It was a very unique experience like no other.

The 2nd time I went for practice, my friend and I again were the only participants and Rukshan lead us through another kundalini practice where 2 other ladies turned up halfway through our practice. It turned out they were previous students of Rukshan and we all went for lunch together afterwards.

The 3rd time I went to practice at Rukshan Yoga, was a Yin Yoga nd Meditation Class taken by a different yoga teacher running the class to send love and kindness to those affected by the Ukraine-Russia war going on at the moment.

I enjoyed all three practices here at Rukshan Yoga, if you are looking for a more traditional practice where you explore more about the mind and the mental and spiritual benefits of yoga I would recommend taking practice and speaking to Rukshan. Rukshan offers a very individual and unique experience tailored to those who arrive at his shala. If you are in Mirissa and wanting to delve deeper than just the surface of Yoga I would recommend exploring Yoga with Rukshan.

Now Yoga Begins, Mirissa

I stumbled across Now Yoga Begins during my first evening in Mirissa while walking along the beach. Now Yoga Begins is ran just outside Summer Breeze hotel on an arched veranda overlooking the sea. They run daily Hatha yoga classes in the morning at 7am and at sunset at 5:30pm. Mats are provided.

I was only able to go to one yoga class with Kamale here as I started teaching Yoga myself at the same time he runs his classes in Mirissa the next day. The one class I went to, I thoroughly enjoyed. Kamale is a local teacher and again teaches in a more traditional Hatha way. He adjusts his student and the location of the classes is lovely.

Sri Yoga Shala, Unawatuna

Sri Yoga Shala is somewhere I wish I explored taking more classes at during my 3 months working nearby at Surf Spirit in Unawatuna. Located in the jungle in between Unawaturna and Ahangama, Sri offers a timetable of various yoga classes as well as accommodation and retreats and a cafe.

The Shala and setting of Sri is beautiful and peaceful. You are also welcome to use their pool before and after class.

The two classes I took at Sri were very different. The first class which I loved and really enjoyed was a yin yoga class. During the class we chanted mantra and the teacher explored the meaning of yoga as well as explained the benefits of yin yoga as well as the postures and the reasons we do certain postures and rebound after.

The other class I took at Sri, I had mixed feelings about. Named Power Yoga, the practice I participated in felt more like a Pilates/dance class than a Power Yoga Class. Even though it was fun to experience and for the teacher to share his practice with us, it was not a practice that resonated with me and will not choose to participate in again.

Sri offers A variety of yoga classes taught by a variety of teachers so check out their timetable to see if there is a class that might resonate with you,.

Hangtime Hostel, Weligama

Hangtime Hostel in is a place I went to ‘hang out’ a couple of times while visiting Weligama. I have been there for food at their cafe/restaurant as well as taken a painting class there. They offer daily yoga classes at 9am and 4pm which is a mixture of dynamic vinyassa in the morning and a more gentle vinayasa in the afternoon.

I only took 1 class at Hangtime at 4pm and the yoga class was popular. They provide mats however they are well used. The teacher lead us through a gentle vinyasa which I enjoyed, however it was at times hard to hear the teacher with the noise of the road. As practice went on I was able to phase out the noise of the road which did not affect my practice, yet for those susceptible to noise might find it distracting. Even with the noise, I was able to find some peace and clarity through the class I took here.

The Nuga House, Ahangama

The Nuga House is a place I heard a lot about for its yoga classes, but unfortunately did not get the opportunity to try a class at. Again while working in Unawatuna, I wish I had made more of an effort to get myself to more classes for my own practice. While staying in Mirissa I did get the opportunity to visit the cafe and feel the vibe of the place and see she space they practice yoga in.

The Nuga House offers boutique accommodation, surfing and yoga classes as well as a cafe. Classes are taken above the cafe and they run certain classes in the morning and afternoons. Even though I wasn’t able to try out a class here for myself, I have heard many good things from other yogis and travellers I have met on the island about the yoga classes here.

Basecamp, Weligama

Again Basecamp is a place I unfortunately didn't get the opportunity to take class at, however I heard from other fellow yogis that really enjoyed class there and also met a yoga teacher who ended up teaching some classes there also.

Located in Weligama, Basecamp is a yoga studio which has it shala located looking out over the ocean. They also provide accommodation with breakfast, daily yoga classes in the morning and afternoon as well as scheduled social events. Again because I haven't experienced a class here myself, I can only go off things I have heard about yoga at Basecamp which are mostly good things. Apart from the road occasionally being a bit noisy, the teachers and setting for yoga here as I have been told is really good.

I hope my recommendations helps you if you are travelling to Sri Lanka and are looking to take a yoga class or two. Let me know if you try any of the places or know of any other places in Sri Lanka that you enjoy going to for yoga classes.


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