Kerala, on the southern tip of India, is one of those places that symbolises wellness. It’s the birthplace of Ayurveda, India’s ancient healthcare system (which is over 2000 years old) and remedies and massages are available on every street corner! However, I was here to suss out the really special places that offer this incredibly rejuvenating and healing form of treatment.
What I love about Kerala is how vibrant and warm the place is. You get the sense that the land is really plentiful, and the poverty isn’t as prevalent as it is in other parts of India because the bounty of the land provides. Amidst the tropical greenery bunches of bananas hang down and you see big piles of fruit and vegetables in little markets along the roadside. More children are in education than any other part of the country too and it’s a joy to see them skipping to school in their immaculate uniforms with ribbons in their hair. Women walk around in beautiful brightly coloured saris, laughter seems to be just a smile away. Spot bikes, tuk-tuks, trucks, Mercedes, brightly hand-painted trucks and even the occasional elephant, zigzagging between each other on the roads and lanes, it’s a wonderful kaleidoscope.
(Taking in Kerala)
I was lucky enough on my trip to test some really powerful Ayurveda and yoga. A shirodhara (where warm oil is poured rhythmically over your forehead) at Manaltheeram was so mind-soothing that I fell asleep to the sound of gentle rain and the wash of waves. I was there at the tail-end of the monsoon season so there was the occasional shower, which is actually the best time for Ayurveda as the humidity allows the skin to fully absorb the healing oils and herbs. I was also blown away by a 70 year old yogi who is the most flexible person I have ever met and looked so toned that it really was a living testament to how effective a daily practice can be.