A green-thumbed god is said to have created Kerala, the small Indian state, elongated on the Malabar coast and facing the Arabian Sea. A great classic in imagining a state of well-being: white sand beaches, coconut palms, waterways between lagoons and lakes surrounded by tropical forest aboard houseboat, an imprecise term that can represent either a simple wooden boat with a reed roof or an expensive and well-equipped boat.
In the slow flow of navigation, the hyperactive mind of Western travelers finds a new sense of calm and peace.
Among the three Kovalam beaches, a crescent surrounded by coconut plants, and of Varkala, with a spectacular reef, in the 1960s a destination for backpacking hippies, today it is alive with surf yoga classes and Ayurvedic therapies: Kerala is one of the destinations of the so-called wellness tourism and, to understand why, we have to take a trip back in time some two thousand five hundred years.
Particularly in Kerala,attention to health and good food and proper eating habits (Yukta-ahara) in addition to the search for man’s harmony with himself and nature has always been a priority, and the many Ayurvedic centers bear witness to this. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word derived from the fusion of Áyu’, life and ‘veda’, meaning knowledge, hence science of life, a medical system of health that covers both prevention and cure and is based on the ancient Indian wisdom texts, the Vedas.
Prevention and treatment are based on maintaining or restoring balance and harmony in the body-mind-spirit system: a person living in this state is a Swashta.
In the system of traditional Indian medicine that goes back to the ancient texts at the basis of Indian philosophy, the Vedas, health and well-being are interdependent. In 2014 the AYUSH department, ayush.gov.in, (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unami, Siddhy and Homeopathy) became a ministry within the Government of India, and the purpose of the department is to promote the connection between the wisdom of traditional medical traditions and the methodologies of contemporary science.
But how and where does an Ayurvedic therapy take place? From the simplest and most basic studio lost in the forest to the most modern wellness center, one will find a wooden table with channels at the edges to drip the huge amounts of coconut oil needed for massages and various devices for nose cleansing and therapies.
The diagnosis is made in an office by a doctor who observes physical signs and symptoms and asks very specific questions to check the status of the Dosha (Vatha, Pitha and Kapha, the three principles that govern all biological, physiological and pathophysiological functions of humans), also included is thepulse beat analysis which reveals the inner aspect of the patient, as well as other special assessments such as that of the tone of voice.
Located on the shores of Chowara Beach, 9 km south of Kovalam Beach, Trivandrum, is Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort(somatheeram.in), the first
in the world, with an in-house medical center-one of the most centrally located destinations to experience a dedicated wellness journey. Here we start the day around five in the morning with a walk on the beach along with yoga and meditation practices, the three hours of specific treatment takes place afterwards at theAyurveda Research Centre and Hospital with different programs: for example, Panchakarma is a detoxifying or purifying treatment based onbalancing bio-energy with customized treatments based on medicines, oils and herbs. The vegetarian diet is an integral part of the treatment, which must last between 14 and 28 days to have a lasting effect.
For those who would like to continue the journey and have a Keralese experience in harmony with nature, including houseboat rides and local cooking classes, the Pooppallys Heritage Homestay (pooppallys.com ), located in Alleppey, is a wooden villa built more than 100 years ago, with quiet charm, where you can stay while sharing your experiences with the owners.