A New Year Retreat Experience

Baby Turtles

The Importance of a New Year Retreat

The new year is a time of new beginnings, a time to reflect on the year gone by and ponder all the possibilities that lie ahead. Celebrated almost universally across various cultures, for those who follow the Gregorian calendar, this day arrives every year on January 1st.

A common custom is to write down resolutions for the new year, a practice that can be traced back to the Babylonians more than 4,000 years ago, to let go of bad habits and adopt healthier ones. For some, this may centre around making lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier, exercising more consistently, or restoring a healthy sleep cycle. For others, it may mean spending more time with loved ones and being present in those interactions. Or it could be about working hard towards a goal or taking a leap of faith to pursue a long-held dream.

We often hear the phrase ‘to start the new year off right’ around this time. It is believed that what you do at the beginning of the year foretells what you will do for the remainder of the year. Taking time for yourself during this period and joining a retreat can be a valuable catalyst to inspire change and set the right intentions for the year ahead.

What is a Retreat?

Retreat Definition

Much more than a spa break or holiday, a retreat allows you to take a step away from your usual environment, routine and practices, and take the time to focus on yourself. Whether balancing the mind and body through yoga and meditation, inspiring creativity through artist workshops, or restoring health through holistic healing, a retreat offers the setting and support to reflect, recharge and adopt healthier habits.

Benefits of Retreats

In today’s fast-paced world, the demands of work, personal pursuits and social commitments often come at the expense of our well-being. Our body, mind and spirit fall out of balance, and this manifests as fatigue, burnout and illness. Although this can happen at any time of the year, the winter months can leave many of us feeling particularly depleted.

Going on a retreat can be a wonderful remedy for the built-up stress from the past year. By incorporating different healing modalities and practices, such as meditation, yoga, healthy nourishment, nature walks and opportunities for relaxation and self-reflection, a retreat can help you cultivate mindfulness, reduce stress and gain new insights.

Why Choose a New Year Retreat?

Deepening Your Yoga Practice

Yoga is a unique tool to explore the self through conscious movement and breath.

Whether you are looking to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine or follow the spiritual path of yoga, the beginning of the year provides a great opportunity to set this intention. However, one of the more difficult aspects of any New Year’s resolution is to maintain consistency and this applies to any practice. With yoga, creating the time for practice and showing up on the mat can be challenging.

Attending a yoga retreat provides the ideal setting to cultivate a consistent practice which you can take home with you: highly experienced teachers who can offer guidance, a community of like-minded people on the same path, and dedicated time and space for practice.


Enhancing Mindfulness and Meditation

A meditation retreat offers a valuable opportunity to reconnect with your inner quiet and calm away from the noise and distractions of daily life. Often integrating different healing modalities, such as breathwork, sound healing and nature connection, such retreats can help prepare your mind for the year ahead – one that is compassionate, resilient and sincere.

For some, your sole objective may be to nurture the mind. For others, meditation may be a tool to improve and the myriad benefits of meditation cannot be overstated, to manage our stress response, treat depression and anxiety, enhance pain tolerance, improve immunity, increase focus and attention, and support general physical and emotional well-being.

Whatever your motivation, a retreat provides the time and space to disconnect from the outside world and observe as ingrained patterns of thoughts and emotions unwind.

Opportunity for Self-Care and Relaxation

All too often, we find ourselves seeking treatments and adopting lifestyle changes only after experiencing burnout or when faced with ill health. Regularly incorporating self-care practices and creating the time for personal well-being serves not only as a preventative measure but also supports healthy emotional and physical release. Far from indulgent, these activities and rituals are essential and the changes you experience can radiate positive effects to those around you.

A New Year retreat serves as the perfect way to get away from a familiar routine, slow down and start the year by prioritising self-care.

Retreats at the Sen Wellness Sanctuary

Location and Destination

Tucked away in the Rekawa Nature Reserve, the Sen Wellness Sanctuary sits between the Indian Ocean on one side and a tranquil lagoon on the other. This area is home to a beautiful turtle-nesting beach, as well as a rich, tropical mangrove ecosystem, teeming with unique and diverse flora and fauna. Here, in this serene environment, you are reminded of the abundance of life and the healing power of Mother Nature.

Located in Southern Sri Lanka, the Sanctuary is situated close to some of the most breathtaking places to visit in the country, which you can explore before or after your journey with us. The Yala and Udawalawe National Parks, home to wildlife you won’t encounter elsewhere. Hiriketiya Bay, where the jungle meets the sea, is one of Sri Lanka’s gems for surfers and explorers. Or Galle, an enchanting bohemian seaside town with a rich history and a touch of European charm that sets it apart from other Sri Lankan towns.

The beauty and vitality of the location are unparalleled, an idyllic setting for a retreat experience.

Rekawa Beach Sunset beautiful sky (1)

Programme inclusions

At the Sen Wellness Sanctuary, we specialise in authentic Ayurveda and provide bespoke wellness experiences that are personalised to the needs of each individual – your unique constitution, medical profile and personal wellness goals.

On your day of arrival, our experienced Ayurvedic doctor will conduct a thorough consultation and develop a tailored healthcare programme that includes daily doses of herbal medicines and Ayurvedic treatments depending on your constitution and any imbalances present. The primary focus for our practitioners at Sen Wellness is to discover the root cause of disease, whether that be due to certain lifestyle choices, stress, medical conditions or emotional imbalances. Each day, we provide two to three Ayurvedic treatments according to the prescribed programme, including oil and herbal massages, and steam and body treatments.

Guided Yoga and Meditation Sessions

Our holistic approach is supplemented by daily yoga and meditation classes at sunrise and sunset. In the morning, we begin with pranayama and mantras, followed by some hatha and vinyasa yoga to energise and revitalise the body. This will take place in the yoga shala overlooking the tropical forest, or outside on the stretch of golden sand with the soundscape of nature ever present.

In the evening, we follow a gentle yin yoga practice and deeper meditation or mantra chanting, often accompanied by the healing vibrations of the gong. Occasionally, we host group Cacao and Fire ceremonies to open the heart as well as shamanic rituals for energy clearing.

Each week, we invite a Buddhist monk to lead the meditation and sound healing sessions and support guests on their spiritual journey.

© Richard Kalina

Tips for Maximizing Your Retreat Experience

Arriving with an Open Mind and Heart

The most profound healing occurs when we open our hearts to the experience and listen to the spirits that inhabit the ancient land – the ebb and flow of the ocean waves, the symphony of bird songs, and the trees that pulsate with life. Each element serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of all things, a reminder of our place in the natural world.

Being in an unfamiliar environment can be challenging. The body will naturally show resistance when it suddenly slows down. You may feel anxious and find it difficult to be present. However, an important part of the retreat experience is accepting that this resistance exists and trusting the process with an open heart and mind.

Connecting with Fellow Retreatants

Some of the deepest healing can occur when we allow others to be a mirror of ourselves.

In a world that is becoming increasingly disconnected where most people don’t know their neighbours or the community they belong to, joining a retreat provides you with the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who are brought together by some turn of fate. It may bring you closer to someone you would not have noticed back home, someone with different interests or opposing political views. But through shared experience, you connect on a more fundamental level. This connection with fellow retreatants, finding belonging in a community and tuning into the collective love is valuable in your healing journey.

The Final Word

Join us this coming year at the Sen Wellness Sanctuary for a restorative and unforgettable experience. Celebrate the transition from old to the new and start the year with a renewed sense of purpose.


Davia is our Retreat Specialist and manages enquiries and bookings for those interested in visiting us at the Sanctuary. Her in-depth knowledge of the wellness programmes we offer means she will be able to answer any questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Davia is also Clinic Manager at Sen Wellness London, ensuring the smooth running of our holistic hub in the medical district of Harley Street, where we offer osteopathy, acupuncture, yoga, meditation and community events as well as retreats in the UK and Europe.

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One of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in my life. The 10-day retreat is the ultimate in relaxation. They feed you all your meals (delicious homegrown/homemade food), schedule yoga and daily spa treatments and hold special ceremonies throughout the week. The staff go above and beyond to make your experience deep, meaningful and heartfelt. The sanctuary is located in a jungle so be prepared to be immersed in wildlife! Monkeys, reptiles of all kinds, turtles on the beach, eagles/birds and more! I stumbled across this place researching Sri Lanka and it was truly meant to be. The faculties are stunning, comfortable and reasonably priced. Don’t miss an opportunity to come here!
Melanie Farfel
Melanie Farfel
A wonderful stay! The staff was so incredible and thoughtful throughout. I left feeling very rejuvenated. Thank you !
I had really nice experience at Sen Wellness for 8 nights. Here is in the middle of nature, we can feel that we are a part of nature and it is very natural to live with all kinds of animals and plants. I am now mentally and physically fit.What I really appreciated is food - healthy, everyday different menu, some vegetables that I have never seen… I felt that my feeling of taste transformed through my stay and skin condition and body condition became better.All people here is really kind and peaceful.Yoga teacher, Stefania, is a wonderful teacher, she is really knowledgeable and so kind to care all participants. I had enjoyed conversations with her at breakfast, lunch and dinner.Doctors, therapists are nice, I could ask questions and request whatever I feel comfortable.There are different types of rooms, I experienced the most luxury cabana and eco-cabana with Air Conditioning, too. Luxury cabana was awesome but I liked eco-cabana as well. It was an old facility but authentic, compact and I felt cozy. I was alone in the room so the space was enough for single use. If you wish to have luxury stay, I would recommend you to go for Luxury cabana.Everyone has different purpose and expectations. My purpose was feel nature, have simple life and feel appreciation of life. And it was fulfilled. Thank you so much for all Sen wellness team.
sunil damodar
sunil damodar
Went to Sen Wellness with family for a retreat, it was a nice spiritual and healthy experience. Fantastic team who were friendly and did everything possible to make it us feel special, great doctors and therapists and of course the daily yoga and one on one interaction with Sam was icing on the cake. Would recommend this to anyone looking for a great mix of spirituality, yoga, treatment and healthy eating. Look forward to my next one at Sen Wellness.
Jessica Crozier
Jessica Crozier
Sen Wellness is the perfect place to go to when you are exhausted by life and need a rest to get back to yourself and work through any difficulties you may be experiencing.There’s lovely yoga and meditation classes every day plus a set schedule which is a great way to structure your day of rest alongside tailored Ayurvedic treatments and healthy food.The place is for me perfect but it’s not like a 5 star hotel so if that’s what you are looking for it may be the wrong place for you.If you are lucky you’ll see some turtles as well.Samath and Francis are great managers and will make sure everything goes well.
Kumail Syedain
Kumail Syedain
Beautiful experience, beyond my wildest expectations. Would recommend to anyone interested in Ayurveda and healing
Neil Wadhawan
Neil Wadhawan
I was fortunate to lead a yoga retreat in early February of 2024. Everything was absolutely spectacular. Sen is a very special place with a beautiful energy that is perfect for retreat and healing.What really makes Sen so special are the people. Every single one of the staff members as well as the ayurveda doctors and all the managers were so kind and always trying to make each experience special. The entire team was led by Sanath and Frances and they were both absolutely wonderful. I can't possibly find enough kind words for both of them. Their leadership and warmth really allowed me to lead the retreat in the best way I could and they were always there for me whenever I needed. Thank you!
helen wright
helen wright
Sen wellness is a perfect sanctuary. The Ayurvedic retreat was insane - I loved every minute of it . Thank you
Elly G
Elly G
Came here for a yoga retreat with our teacher. This is the place to unwind, do yoga, relax and get Ayurvedic treatment. Ayurvedic drs and therapists are so helpful and friendly. Staff are so warm and helpful. Frances is the manager at Sen, a person with a beautiful soul who is very sensitive to our needs and intentions when visiting the sanctuary. Saneth (pardon my spelling) is a very dedicated and hardworking gentleman who made sure that our stay was a pleasant one. Highly recommend Sen Wellness Sanctuary 🙏🏽
Heike Mucha
Heike Mucha
I stayed at Sen Wellness Sancutary for the festive retreat 23/24 - for me a 10 days commitment to complete immersion. I enjoyed every bit of it already at the Sanctuary! Now, back home and 40 days later, I am still profiting from the treatments, the experiences I made and my 40-days-practise that I started, as soon as I arrived home.Here is my deepest gratitude for the gifts I received during this retreat: a wonderful place, a kind, supportive, attentive and friendly team, support and grounding in my personal difficult moments, fantastic and soothing Ayurveda treatments (thanks to the doctors & massage therapists - always there with a smile and advice), delicious food, fascinating ceremonies (an unforgettable experience!), a lot of fun & laughter with other group members...Just to name a fiew.The biggest gift is, that I still have all this in my heart, that I can feel the connection to it. And that the practice of pranayama and meditation starts to become a routine! I hope, I can return to this unique place one day.
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