January 2020 I went for a three week internship to Kerala, India – the heart of Ayurveda. You can find many Ayurvedic hospitals and clinics there, so absolutely the place to be! As part of my training we (I and my fellow students) stayed at Manna Home Ayurvedic Clinic, a small clinic in a small village close to the backwaters of the Arabic sea. Down here you can read my experiences in a nutshell, accompanied with some beautiful (and some less beautiful) pictures I made. Let me just say upfront: I have not fallen in love with India….
Let me start with the fact that being pregnant and having to eat curries all the time was an absolute mismatch. I never threw up, but just the smell of the curry made me put some extra sandelwood oil under my nose: safety first.
Apart from this mismatch, one must think that a Yoga ánd Ayurveda lover like me must be absolutely at place in a land like India. Well, no: I really was not….. Of course I have only seen a pin button of this country, but for what I have experienced: it was too loud, too many people, too polluted, too kitsch, too chaotic, too insane traffic, too much inequality (both sexes and castes), too little privacy and I felt too restraint to be myself. Rather honest huh? 🙂
That does not mean that we had fun times, I was really impressed with the temples and all the rituals taking place there, the beautiful women in their saris, the tropical nature and the beautiful sunsets with pink skies.
Of course we weren’t there for holidays, we were there for the internship, diving deeper into Ayurveda. Daily we received theory classes of two Ayurvedic doctors. Varying from discussing different diseases and their treatment to understanding the human physiology from an Ayurvedic perspective. Intense classes and at times hard to focus with 36 degrees temperature. Luckily we were in a small group so we could ask all our questions and often engaged in interesting discussions with each other.
We also got the chance to treat some of the locals with Ayurvedic treatments. We regurarly came along the same patterns: diabetes (the sugar intake is high in India, chai teas are literally sugar sweet); malnourishment due to lack of water and food intake or lack of variety; body and joint pains due to dryness in the body (lack of liquid intake combined with working under the hot sun and physical labour); nerve related pain (often in combination with diabetes which harms the nerves) and a variety of other complaints.
One day we organized a so called ‘Medical camp’. We offered free consultations and medicine. That day over 50 clients were helped. Unfortunately not many villagers have the financial means to receive regular treatment. At times at Manna Home a family member of the family is teached how to give the treatment, so that they can proceed treatments at their own house in some way.
Overall it was an intense three weeks with lots of impressions. Apart from daily studying we went on a few trips. One of my favorites was a boat trip over the backwaters towards sunset. Being in the quiet nature really is more my thing than noisy street life. Various times we went to join a temple ceremony. We felt of course absolutely lost with all the customs and rituals but it was just beautiful to soak it all up. We also went to Varkala, a very touristy place some 5 hour drive from Manna Home. It was nice for a change – I could eat something else than curries! – we shopped in the numerous touristic shops; jumped (fully dressed) into the ocean and sipped our over priced (but still cheap) morning smoothies.
I can’t say that India stole my heart which is somewhat unfortunate it carrying the origin of Ayurveda. Maybe one day I will give it a second chance.
I hope you enjoy the photos!