While traveling the south-west coast of Sri Lanka I stumbled upon a beautiful yoga place in Welligama and instantly decided that I wanted to try it out. When I visited the Green Peace Inn they had just been open for one month, and the place was already buzzing. After meeting the owners, tasting the food and practicing yoga on the rooftop, I quickly understood that this was a magical place. I had a talk with the owners Amy, Martina and Alex to hear more about their life, how they all followed their dream to live in the tropics and do yoga, and their top tips on building a sustainable lifestyle.
How was The Green Peace Inn created?
Green Peace Inn has been a guest house running for the last 15 years. The owner Lucky was actually given the land by a good friend that had been living in Sri Lanka for some years, teaching local people English. He wanted to help Lucky make a better life for himself and saw something special in him. Lucky started with just 2 rooms, and every time he had enough money to build he added more rooms to Green Peace. Alex and Martina came as guests early in 2017 and spoke with Lucky about his desire to find some partners to help him grow and improve his space, and there the seed of what Green Peace Inn has become now was planted.
Can you tell us about your background?
Amy - I'm actually an art director and have been working in the creative field for about 7 years now. I've been lucky enough to be able to work freelance, so for the past year, I've combined my love of travel with design. Since I left London and started to travel more, and explore the world of yoga, I naturally gathered more clients in this area. I spent a lot of wellness community and work with lots of lovely brands that are like-minded. It's really great for me to combine work with my passions.Martina - I worked as an event planner in Germany for some year, but after a while, I felt that it was not making me happy anymore. I quit my job and went traveling and started to share my passion for Yoga. Right now I’m doing a breathwork teacher training because I want to support people more in their process to step out of their fears and traumas and life a joyful and healthy life. For me this is one of the goals in life, to see how beautiful people can grow and find their inner truth.Alex - Alex is a trained yoga teacher and studied programming and business informatics. Right now he is on a breathwork teacher training to deepen his knowledge about breathing, trauma, and meditation. He has traveled the world for several years as a freelance web designer, marketing expert, and programmer.
When and why did you start practicing yoga?
Amy - I started to practice yoga 6 years ago because I had a bad injury. I'd always been a long distance runner and had never really taken good care of my body, so I'm actually really thankful for this injury - it made me more aware of how I use my body and how to look after it. My first few years of yoga were a purely physical experience, it really helped my injuries and I felt stronger than I ever had in the gym. I would say I started to get deeper into my practice when I experienced my first retreat - spending 7 days in relative silence, and practicing yoga twice daily - I moved more away from what yoga does for the body into what it does for the mind.Martina - My passion for yoga came into my life about three years ago, when I attended my first yoga class in Costa Rica. After 8 months of intensive practice, I decided to dive deeper into the yoga practice myself and started my 300h yoga teacher training in Germany. Yoga helps me to slow down, be present and mindful of the busy daily life.Alex -I had my first yoga class in India when I lived there for 4 months in Bangalore. I started to meditate very early and I heard so many times about yoga in different meditation centers, so I was curious about it and just booked a training in Bangalore. After a few year, I really felt that the yoga practice helps me in my daily life and in my meditation practice. So I decided one day to deepen my knowledge by doing an intensive yoga teacher training in Germany, which is such an important part of my life
What are your top 3 tips for living more sustainable in your everyday life?
Spending so much time in Asia, our first point has to be to avoid plastic wherever you can. It's so painful to see how many empty plastic bottles are left around in Sri Lanka, and I actually don't think travelers realize this is because it is nowhere for them to go! Most plastic and waste at the moment is just dumped in the countryside. As tourism grows its so important for us to encourage refillable bottles, which we try to do with our guests, also by offering free filtered water.
Second would be to reuse or upcycle - there are many great companies in Sri Lanka that are working with waste materials, such as Rice and Carry. They create cool bags and purses from discarded rice bags (something else you can find everywhere in Sri Lanka!)
Finally, we would say you should use what you have around you and be creative. We used many materials that are readily available in Sri Lanka, such as cinnamon sticks for clothing rails and coconut rope to hang them. We made signs by hand from discarded wood and repainted old plant pots - all of this meant we're not consuming in an unnecessary way - plus it gives our interiors a Sri Lankan touch.
"Spending so much time in Asia, our first point has to be to avoid plastic wherever you can. It's so painful to see how many empty plastic bottles are left around in Sri Lanka, and I actually don't think travellers realise this is because there is nowhere for them to go!"
What was your vision for the place?
We wanted to create a space we would all love to stay at, which meant somewhere more like a home than a guest house. It was important for us to have a sense of community, where like-minded people can come together, share their experiences, and learn and grow together. Our most ingenious idea for this was our long cafe table, where we've found everyone will sit together, and naturally introduce themselves to others. Sharing our meals together immediately makes us feel more like a family, and we've already had wonderful feedback about this, especially from solo travelers who immediately feel welcomed to the group.
What are the thoughts on the wonderful menu?
Alex and Martina created the menu, simply using recipes they loved, but also being aware of using local Sri Lankan ingredients, so in some cases, we had to tweak the dishes to include seasonal produce. We wanted to have an Ayurvedic inspiration to the dishes, and within Ayurveda, it is really important to use fruits and vegetables that grow easily around you, there are also many herbs and spices that can improve your health, such as cumin, ginger, and turmeric.
"We wanted to have an Ayurvedic inspiration to the dishes, and within Ayurveda it is really important to use fruits and vegetables that grow easily around you, there are also many herbs and spices that can improve your health, such as cumin, ginger and turmeric."
What are your hopes and dreams for the Green Peace Inn?
We only want to make our guests happy, and hopefully, along the way make some new friends and connections across the world. We've made plans for workshops, festivals, and events where we will reconnect with our Green Peace family during the summer. We hope that the great people we have already met will come back and visit us again next season because for us Green Peace is just about the amazing people that make the energy here so positive and warm.If you are ever in Welligama, we sure to stop by Green Peace Inn <3You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook or read about them here.