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AYURVEDA AND YOGA WITH IVANA BALDO IN KERALA : FORT COCHIN - MUNNAR - BACKWATERS - VARKALA - TRIVANDRUM
Ivana was always attracted to flying and travelling. After her studies of Economy of Air Transport at The College of Transport and Communications in Zilina she started to work as a flight attendant at Czech Airlines. At the same time, she was flying as a private pilot on single-engine airplanes. As a stewardess she came to Bombay for the first time in 1991 and immediatelly fell in love with India, Indian people and culture. She was coming back regularly because of her work and also for private holidays. In 2014 she settled with her family in Kovalam, South Kerala, where she found her new passion, yoga and ayurveda, which became her new lifestyle.
MY JOURNEY TO AYURVEDA>>
Departure from Vienna
Thera are not so many places in the world where the monsoon winds and the spices aroma have been bringing more ships because of the sea trade than Fort Cochin. It is a place where more than 50 different communities live together. There are Hindu temples, the oldest Jewish synagogue, the first mosque and also the first Christian cathedral in India. The oldest encyclopedia of herbs in Asia „Hortus Malabaricus“ was written here. Vasco de Gama, sage Francis Xavier and traveler Niccolo de Conti found their home in Fort Cochin for a short time. The last of them said, that China is a great place to earn money and Cochin is the best place to spend it.
So, let’s check it! In the afternoon we will take traditional auto-rikshaws and visit Mattancherry - a Portuguese palace and the kitchen of Maharaja, where they cooked according to the rules of Tamil Brahmins, the Jewish town with the oldest synagogue in India, the Muslim part with the spices shops, the colonial part of Fort Cochin with the Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture and the oldest Christian cathedral in India. In the evening we will watch the sunset over The Bay of Malabar near the Chinese nets and fish market.
After breakfast we will move to the mountain area called Munnar, which is a part of the Western Ghats. It is one of the most beautiful nature sanctuaries in India with tea plantations, picturesque lakes and a cool climate, which create very good life conditions for exotic animals and birds. We can even see elephants living in their natural environment, if we are lucky.
In the afternoon we will take a walk with a local guide to the mountain village to see exotic plants, spices and local traditions. We will take a cooking lesson where we will learn how to prepare some local dishes, curry, spiced with local spices and humor. You will be introduced to the basic principles of an ayurvedic cooking, which is based on the knowledge: „As the food, so the mind and as the mind, so the life.“
We will start our day very early. We will get to the foot of the second largest hill Chokramudi (2045 m) before the sunrise. We will literally start climbing above the clouds and welcome the sunrise there. Climbing up and down will take approximately 5 hours but it will leave an unforgettable experience and a picture of small villages in the valleys of Western Ghats. If the weather is good, we can see all the Bay of Malabar. (In case of a limited entry to this area we will go to the area of Lakshmi Hills).
After late breakfast we will take a rest and in the afternoon we will go to explore green tea and coffee plantations dotted with small Hindu temples and Christian churches. Our local guide will initiate us into the secrets of the Lord Shiva and Vishnu cults which have their origin there. Later we will visit the town of Munnar and the Tea Museum. We will spend the evening watching the Kalari Payattu performance, which is supposed to be the oldest in the world.
After breakast we will move to so called „backwaters“ area at the Vembanad Lake. According to the legend, the god Parasurama threw his axe to the Arabian Sea and where the sea retreated, there Kerala was born. The salty sea was mixed with 40 freshwater rivers and created a dense network of channels and lakes connecting the labyrinth of 1500 km of water ways in the area of backwaters. This is the place where Arundhaty Roy praises but also curses „The Gods of the small things“. Days are passing slowly here, the traditions are caught in the fishing nets and the gods are laughing from the mountains of Western Ghats. Only visitors floating on houseboats are disturbing this calmness.
We will also board the traditional houseboats and start our cruise with lunch, which we will prepare together with the crew on the boat. After lunch we will continue in our cruise and watch the beuatiful scenery. During a few stops we will see the everyday life of local people, we will walk to the village and visit a traditional market. We will also use small boats to get into the narrow parts of the river. We will be cruising until the sunset and spend the night on houseboat.
The morning houseboat cruise is one of the most unforgettable moments during the stay in India. Life awakens on the shores of the rivers. Fishermen are coming back home from the night fishing, women are washing the dishes after the breakfast in the river and children are going to school by small local ferry. The life flows slowly here, as does the flow of the rivers.
From the port of Allepey we will go to the southern part of Kerala. Aproximatelly after 3 hours drive we will have a stop in Varkala, a pilgrimage place with the famous Papanasham Beach. It is believed that dip in waters of Papanasham Beach washes away all the sins in one’s life. Varkala is situated on the cliff, with many restaurants, cafes, shops and with an amazing view overlooking the Arabian sea coast.
We will spend our last days on Chowara Beach, near the city of Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. I tis near a fishermen village, where the life reminds the time of hundred years ago. Men go fishing every day and women take care of the family. The long sandy beach, the local traditions and hospitality will be the best experience for you. We will visit the local fish market on the beach, také part in the ritual of hauling the fishing nets and fish auction. We can explore the neighbourhood by walk or we can take auto-rikshaws. We will try the traditional ayurveda. Except ayurvedic massages you will be initiated into the secrets of an ayurvedic cooking, which can be useful for you after coming back home. As they say in India „Let the kitchen be your pharmacy.“
Yoga lessons in the impressive atmosphere of The Travancore Heritage Resort will be led by Ivana Baldo, who is an IndeaYoga teacher. IndeaYoga is one of the oldest accredited schools in India. Indea in sanskrt is a combination of two words. „In“ refers to inner and „dea“ means light. The classes with Ivana will be focused to discovery and awakening of the inner light which is inside of each of us. The lessons are suitable for everyone, you don’t need any previous experience with yoga or meditation.
Yoga comes from India, same as ayurveda, and it is a natural part of any ayurvedic treatment. It is not only a physical exercise and body stretching as we sometimes see it in Europe. Yoga is focused on the coordination of the body, mind and breath. Thanks to the regular asana and pranayama (breathing exercise) practise, the flow of oxygene to the brain and internal organs is increased which harmonizes and improves their function. Ivana is an example that you can start with yoga in any age and you can solve many physical and mental problems with a regular yoga practise.
Airport transfer, departure to Vienna.
Ivana was always attracted to flying and travelling. As a stewardess of Czech Airlines she visited Mumbai for the first time in 1991 and immediately fell in love with India. Her new lifestyle became ayurveda and yoga.
Dedicated to everyone, who is searching answers to these questions: What is ayurveda? How is this ancient medical system connected with yoga, meditation, healthy food, relaxation in nature and modern life style?
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