2018-04-17 40 People
Prana Lounge is the perfect place to resource yourself regardless of wanting to spend a couple of hours or a few days there.
Located at 60, Horton Place, Prana Lounge is a whole wellbeing center. They do not only offer yoga classes but also a place to spend some quality time with a cup of coffee/tea or maybe have a chat with one of their amazingly friendly and empathetic therapists at their Ayurveda clinic. Physiotherapy, acupuncture, psychology and everything you need to heal and discover more of yourself is right here. You can also enjoy their Ayurveda spa and even maybe spend a few days there for a complete wellbeing retreat as they have five amazing hotel rooms.
This place revolves around a theme of “discovery, recovery and relaxation” and that’s exactly the first impression you get as you enter the place. Prana lounge is a calm and peaceful relax-stop filled with the smiles of not only their staff but also everyone that visits them.
The place is created for goodness and wellbeing in every aspect. The walls painted white gives a quite soothing feeling with the oriental styled decoration. It’s filled with positive vibes that spreads on to all their visitors.
Prana Lounge offers a variety of classes that suits anyone depending on convenience and personal preferences.
We personally tried out the Kundalini Yoga class with Fiona in a purified styled room with subdued light and relaxing music. Started off with breathing exercises with the guidance of Fiona throughout followed by some yoga poses the class ended with chants. In end of it you could feel for yourself that you actually feel well, relaxed and resourced with all the negative vibes around repelled.
It is a minimum of LKR 1,000 per class for such an amazing experience.
"Where does the concept of Prana Lounge stem from and how did you get to know each other?"
Annie: "I used to go to a center in the UK. I loved practice and release different types of things which is what firstly gave me the idea to have a place like this for the rest of my life, doing these wonderful things. Here in Colombo, we met another meditation group and exchanged ideas. I proposed her and we started working together, creating a team and decided a on a location. After so much hard work and planning we came together gradually."
"How long ago did you start?"
Anja: "Three years. The first concept planned was about five years ago where we started to reach out to people and look at places. Thereafter, we suddenly came across this property and it’s a trust that is meant for community upliftment so we proposed to have a holistic health center set up and support the building by upgrading and beautifying it. It’s a long process but some very supportive friends encouraged the start. We began with just Yoga classes on Monday evenings while everything else was under construction. The studio downstairs was fine but we made it look nicer for classes. Over the three years, we created this amazing place."
"What sort of evolution do you have in mind today?"
Anja: "We are going to build a holistic health clinic for naturopathic doctors: homeopathy, acupuncture, Ayurveda. We have a group of therapists onboard who can be consulted by appointment. We would have Reiki and tongue readings. We have various other treatment guest practitioners as well. We had a physiotherapist and different healers."
Annie: "We have Thai and Yoga teacher training too. It’s all really evolved from just the Yoga class. It was all there in the plan and it’s just how quickly it unfolded. We also got the Café where the whole idea was to create a center with a holistic field as to have good food, yoga, meditation, different types of treatments and everything to help you in your journey."
"What about the boutique hotel rooms project?"
Anja: "We will open five rooms but that is still in a very raw state at the moment."
Annie: "We are just rewiring and plumbing at the moment. We also have an area we are going to develop into a spa, with hydrotherapy and a steam room so everything to complement your Ayurvedic treatment. The whole purpose is for relaxation and rejuvenating."
Anja: "We are also tapping into the boom of the wellness tourism where people don’t want to just lie by the beach for two weeks but they really could have an experiential journey. So, we will have wellness packages with various travel agencies. It will be a city retreat, in Colombo. So, we could promote that this is the start of the journey and they could go to Galle, or to Kandy, or to the east coast… There are various centers that we will start cooperating with and setting a program so that then it’s like a tour around the island but all focused on wellness, having different experiences on the wellness scene."
"How would you describe Prana Lounge in three words?"
Annie: We have a tagline, which is that it’s a place for discovery, recovery and relaxation. So that’s it just in three words. But if you want a few more words…
Anja: …Discovery is mainly self-discovery. We encourage people on their journey on discovering their own healing powers. Many people don’t know because of modern times. They trust in the western medical doctors and we are giving them options to understand where the disease is coming from, and why they have it and find the root of their disease, of their unwellbeing, because in most cases it’s the manifestation of the mind that is not healthy. So, they could then explore why they are not healthy, maybe it’s because they are stressed.
Annie: The whole purpose for Prana Lounge was really to create a space for self-discovery and to be able to explore whatever possible ways you could find out everything about yourself. So, digging deeper into who you are, what you want, what’s your soul purpose, if there is any health issues… We want to create space to make time for yourself, a safe space and a secret space where people can just retreat and communicate with each other as well. You can have the choice to meet people who can understand when what you say is slightly outside of the box and I think that in the last few years, more and more people have been connecting with each other on a different level, on a spiritual level, and actually understand what spiritual means: it doesn’t mean going to the church or going to temples anymore. So, in a way, what we wanted to create wasn’t a temple but a place where you can explore your spirituality as well. And just a place to relax, a place to chill. If all you want to do is have a coffee and sit, and not even be healthy, that is ok too. Because that is the whole point: welcome everybody on a healthy, wealthy spiritual journey or not. So, you can come here and just eat, and see what’s going on in there behind the glass doors and think “maybe I can be interested in doing that”, or you can bump into a friend you didn’t even know was interested into any of this, and they’ll say “Hey, why don’t you try this!”. And not just for Yoga, or meditation, or movement or classes, but even for seeing a therapist of some kind, like a psychologist or a naturopathic doctor.
Anja: We have a lot of counselling now that the sign of the time is that people seek not to be judged and to be accepted and helped by outsiders who will look at different angles. And it’s not like going to a shrink and sit there. We create this safe environment where people can go and see a psychologist and other people wouldn’t know: they could come here for yoga, they could come here just for the spa, but they could also come here for a treatment or for a consultation. So, people feel safe here, it’s a relaxed place.
Annie: So, yes, the idea is that it is a very peaceful place as well and you can just come, and be, and breathe, and that’s all what you need to do. You can start a conversation with somebody, be inspired by something. Actually, there will be a bit more inspiration within the actual space. At the moment, we are still building it. The idea is also to be inspired: visually, healthwise, and on any level. That is the reason for setting up the shop as well, so that you can actually buy things to help you on your journey: music and crystals and stones, and even clothes. And also really importantly supplements. We have different vendors in that project so that you can find all sorts of different things: healthy organic teas, organic supplements that you put in your food and your milkshakes and nuts and all sort of healthy snacking things that you could possibly have.
So, the idea is like an unholy composing experience. It’s something that I felt that Colombo was lacking, there wasn’t really anything like it. And it’s been amazing that since we have that, there has been has been various yoga centers being set up and we communicate and collaborate with them. It’s not a competition, it’s about communicating and collaborating with each other to support the healing journey in Sri Lanka. I think it came at a really good time when the war had just ended and I had just arrived at that point. With that idea having been inspired in England to go to these places, I have just realized that Colombo needed somewhere that everyone could come to, no matter what their religion or their beliefs were because it was not about that. This is just different ways in which we can find amazing different people to help you on your journey. And it has been fantastic because a lot of people said: “where are you going to get all these people? There is only a few people in Colombo” and I said: “Well, they’ll come, I know a few people in England from my classes out there” and amazingly when one or two people come, they have a whole circle of people that they know, traveling around the world into Bali, into Thailand, into most of Europe and the States. And, we’ll say “Oh, by the way, I’ve just been to Sri Lanka, did this really amazing experience, I think you should go to Sri Lanka and get in touch with Annie and Anja!”. That’s how we had really amazing teachers: yoga teachers, movement teachers and all kind of practitioners that I’ve been like “Oh, I’m in India, I’ve heard about Prana Lounge. Can we come over, we really would like to see Sri Lanka!” So, we say yes and we set up a workshop for them, because we know they maybe won’t be here for more than a month or two. So we set up workshops on weekends so that people can get a real intense immersion boost on whatever the practitioner is teaching. We’ve had all sorts’ very interesting and different types of things!
"Where your passion for Yoga does comes from?"
Anja: I was into fitness, I mean when you are younger, you go to the gym. And suddenly you feel you need to calm down a little bit and go a little bit deeper into stretching. And my mother used to do yoga years ago and I hated it then but later I started to honor it. I started here in Sri Lanka when I first came and just practiced. I myself am not a teacher but I’m a reiki master and a craniosacral therapist and I’ve worked in corporates for many years and then decided I needed to do something more purposeful with my life, you know, help other people to find peace and healing, and create a space to facilitate. We have a big network of people and I used to visit doctors here. I went to homeopathy and acupuncture and I found they were practicing from home and they were not acknowledged and they didn’t have a platform to practice. And also they weren’t accepted, somebody would go to a big hospital and I thought they deserved a space where they are acknowledged as a doctor, because they can sometimes help you even better, because they don’t treat symptomatic but they treat the cause. And only then it’s cure.
Annie: I think in your late 20’s, early 30’s, you’re like let’s try something else in life and I started with transcendental meditation, something that actually has me sit still for more than two minutes, and that was actually my way into this whole world and then I found a really amazing teacher who practiced Kundalini yoga in England and I just couldn’t stop going to his classes. I had another Hatha teacher in the midst of the gym. There are so many places in England that have inspired me, it wasn’t just one place. Just would love a day when you would spend doing a class, maybe going to the gym fir a bit and relaxing for a bit and having a café to go and sit in. So, that was the beginning of mmy journey. That was, you know, I felt really good about myself, I felt fit and I used to have breathing problems so it helped me with my breathing problems. That is what triggered my inspiration and I just really enjoyed the fact that you felt stronger after so many classes. Kundalini actually is really amazing because it sorts of helps not only with your physical but it also gives you a sort of sense of courage and strength, it gives you the ability to go forward with something you might have not gone forward with before. And also, there is a lot of chanting in Kundalini so it sorts of helps you vocalize what you wanted to say, and be quite clear and confident. It helps you connect with yourself on a deeper level. So, yes, that was my inspiration for yoga and that was fifteen years ago now.
"And who inspires you in life?"
Annie: Over the years, I’ve been inspired from a spectrum of musicians and artists and performers, from David Bowie to the Dalai Lama. That’s how I see it. And in between, there would be amazing inspirational speakers, healers like Wayne Dyer, Christopher Hewett, Tony Robbins, who are high up there inspirational self-development workers.
Anja: My inspiration are other people in my life, because the people I meet and attract into my life or come into my life are the greatest inspiration, especially those people who I find difficult. They end up being the ones that are my greatest teachers. And, then, my children are my inspiration because our children, in the end, start teaching us, like I teach my parents a lot of things and they look up to me sometimes for the things I tell them because I’m on a different journey than them. So yes, my parents, my children, my friends, my daily encounters, the trishaw people, and whoever who is difficult that you see and that you meet up. I started my spiritual journey to understand the higher reasons of life because there is a point in your life, your life crisis, when you just ask yourself what is the point in your life and where do I come from and where do I go to and what is the whole purpose of this and sometimes you lose the sight of things. That’s when I started to become a reiki healer. You start with self-healing: first you heal yourself and then you heal others. On that journeys, I had a lot of not gurus because I was taught by my spiritual reiki master that we ourselves are our own guru because we have all the wisdom that we need in us and you just have to question yourself and find clarity in what you want to achieve. And, there is a lot of them outside being very inspirational. My favorite ones that I keep listening to are Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle. My first inspirational or spiritual book that I read was from Eckhart Tolle and when I first took it into my hands 20 years ago, I didn’t understand a word. After, thirty, forty, fifty pages I was like “this doesn’t really get to me”, but then I took it again a few years later and you know, the more mature you become, the more you understand and the more it appeals to you because you go through certain processes in your life. The name of the book was “Living in the Now”. That has become my motto, really, because there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow because everything is uncertain and all that we have is now, and what we create in the future is now, and what made us in the past is what we are now! It’s quite beautiful this whole process and I think this is the way to be. And also, our motto isn’t wellness, it’s wellbeing and we have taken the word apart in our tagline, saying “being well” or “be well”. It’s just a space for being and a space for wellness. So being in your wellness is our aim, that’s what we want to teach, or facilitate.
"Which values do you carry the most in your life?"
Annie: To be grateful. To be compassionate. And to laugh! To be able to laugh! There are very simple things that you take in your day.
Anja: That’s what religious prophets left us, like Buddha has taught unconditional love and kindness, Christ has taught unconditional love. There is a lot that you can learn from all the religions and if you put the best of all together then I Think this is the best. Because eventually, they all taught the same. So yes, it’s compassion, and especially to find the truth, the higher truth of being, and the truth in yourself because what you believe is true is different from what I believe is true. We all have our own story, we all have our own truth.
Annie: Each story valued and each story respected by each other, to accept the way everybody is, what they’re meant to be. And not to judge as well is another really important thing. That was again the point of this place. There are all kind of people at different stages and phases of their journey and it’s for those who have been further to help the others and for those who really don’t know that it’s ok to be in a place that you don’t know because you’ll meet someone who’ll tell you his story and also sometimes you just have to go down before you can come up. The book I read first was the Tibetan book of the living and the death and I didn’t understand anything. I kept reading and reading it for ever and ever, and amazingly, now when you read anything from the Dalai Lama, you realize that so many of those inspirational speakers are using all of that information just making it much more understandable, in a much more simple way, and delivering techniques in which people can actually transform and change themselves. It’s the power of thinking and the power of now. That’s how we think, the vibration, the energetic way that we speak to people creates an effect that is the ripple effect! It’s all part of how any of those inspirational speakers speak today. It’s now more reachable to everybody. And that’s again what we would like to do a little bit more when we finish creating that space, it’s to have inspiring people come and have seminars and workshops, and support people on their transformational journey, to give them the tools so that they can actually do that quicker.
"Any advice to “be well” in everyday life?"
Annie: How to be well? I suppose the core being well is not to be stressed. That’s what creates a lot of physical elements, it’s stress that manifests physically. So I think that’s sort of up here emotionally and mentally. I would say whatever is happening in your day to take a moment to be still, to take a deep breath in, exhale and let go that whatever it is that is bothering you. And really, to be able to laugh, and joke, and transform that into something that you can learn something from and you can laugh about. You know, I think that laugh changes energetically not just you but everybody.
Anja: Yes, I think that’s our main purpose. Live, laugh…
Annie: …be joyful and be happy! The one thing that I would say is that this whole process of creating this place hasn’t been easy for the two of us. There’s lots of ways in which we don’t necessarily agree and there’s a lot of things that happened that can make you feel quite disappointed like that not happening and that not ending up and that done all wrong with upsides down. But you know, at some point of the day, you have to let it go, you have to laugh about it.
Anja: As Annie is involved mostly with the renovation and with the creative part, so far I’m very involved with the operational side of it. So, I manage the staff, the students that come, the people that seek something here, the teachers, the therapists and guides and practitioners. Any of us wanted this office and I kept saying in the beginning “no, I don’t want an office”. And ok, it’s great for these purposes because it does give us a lot of peace sometimes, but my true joy in the business is to be down there at the reception and see people walking in, the acquaintances I make, and when I see the faces that come in and are usually stressed and they seek something, and then you make them comfortable. A lot of them are home now, people come here because they feel so at home here. When I see people leaving after a class or after a treatment and they have completely changed, and we know that we are heart of their process, of helping them to achieve joy and healing, that’s a very fulfilling thing to have. So after all it’s a business we run here, but it’s also the joy that we have in this business.
Annie: That is really amazing. With all the hard work that we do backstage to create the right space and whatever else happens backstage, it’s really nice to see people actually using this space and enjoying it, and feeling relaxed, and feeling rejuvenated, and discovering something about themselves. I think in the last three years, through different workshops, I can definitely see the change in certain people and it’s really nice to see it, how they completely evolved and blossomed.
Anja: And the beauty of this business as well is that we have really never reached out a lot to teachers. We have never asked one teacher “can you come and teach here?”, they all came to us and said “can we teach at your center?”. And we have never reached out, this is the first interview through years, we don’t really want to and need to do this. So I’m just saying that the beauty of it is that it’s coming naturally. It’s the law of attraction, when you create a certain vibration, then you attract those kind of people you want to be in your life and in your environment. And they really empower us to be what we are. It’s not the building that is Prana Lounge, it’s really not, but it’s the teachers, it’s the spirit of the whole thing, the people that come here and believe in being happy and joyful. That is what we have achieved in a short time and very naturally, we haven’t asked for it.
Annie: I think that the main thing is that this project is really seeded from the heart and it’s been something that we have been really passionate about and loved! And now to see that it’s that it’s happening it makes you feel happy. It’s a project from the heart, really. And I think we’re sharing that vibration, raising the vibration, creating a healing vibration in Colombo. I think it’s happening! There are people that I would never have expected to be here or even talk in the way they are talking recently who are coming to workshops and saying: “oh I did this thing at Prana Lounge, and it was good I was really surprised!”.