Kerala Yoga & Wellness Journey 2018

Departures: India

Discover India through the Ancient Arts of Yoga & Ayurveda

This is a one-of-a-kind trip hosted by Two Dog Yoga Studio owner Annie Stocker. Annie will lead the group on a journey of discovery that integrates the sister sciences of yoga and ayurveda while experiencing the culture and flavors of lush, tropical Kerala.
Ayurveda and yoga were both founded in ancient India. Drawn from an understanding of nature’s rhythms and laws, ayurveda—the science (veda) of life (ayur)—is built around the five elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth. Yoga is a healing discipline that provides a practical method for integrating the body, breath and mind. The two complement each other and act to achieve harmony of the body, mind and spirit – which is the essence of true health.

Beneficiary

We believe that to travel responsibly, a portion of our tour cost should benefit the communities we visit. For this trip, we will donate to a non-profit organization that is having a very positive impact in India—PATH who is working on maternal and child health, immunization services, and HIV prevention.

Pricing

$3,990 per person, double*
$1,375 single supplement

For more information and to get started, contact us at How to Book.

Itinerary

February 10—25, 2018

Day 1 & 2

Depart for Kochi

Depart U.S. Fly to Kochi, losing one day due to time zone changes.

Day 3

Kochi

Early morning arrival in Kochi on the southwest shore of the Indian Ocean and transfer directly to our hotel. Traders and explorers have been visiting this part of the Malabar Coast for over 600 years and it shows in the mix of cultures. Morning free to rest followed by an afternoon yoga practice. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Day 4

Kochi

After morning yoga followed by breakfast, enjoy a full day exploring Fort Kochi, including the Portuguese built St. Francis Church and the Chinese fishing nets. Take a tuk tuk to the fascinating Dhobi Khana laundry, the Mattanchery fruit and spice market and meet a Brahmin family. After lunch, visit the Dutch Palace with its 17th century murals and the oldest Jewish Synagogue in India. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 5

Kochi

This morning,  we’ll meet with a local Yogini who will offer an experiential view of the culture of Kerala and spiritual practices related to Yoga and Hinduism—the oldest religion on earth. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then a free afternoon to shop the boutiques of Fort Kochi. Late afternoon, we’ll walk to a cultural center for a Kathakali performance. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Dinner at a waterfront restaurant.

Day 6

Kochi – Dewalokam

This morning drive to Dewalokam, a lovely, riverside organic farm and guesthouse where we’re welcomed by the warmest of Keralan families. Our 5-day stay at Dewalokam will provide the opportunity to dive deeper into Yoga and Ayurveda studies and practices. Our daily schedule includes early morning sunrise meditation and pranayama with Annie followed by asana/poses with local yoga instructor Paul and afternoon restorative practice with Annie.

We’ll also learn about Ayurvedic body constitution, lifestyle and healing with food and spices, as well as other healing practices that combine yoga and Ayurveda using mudras, meditation and chants.

Day 7

Dewalokam

Start the day with an outdoor yoga class followed by a breakfast of fresh squeezed juice and products from the farm. Four Ayurvedic massage treatments are included during our stay at Dewalokam.

We’ll tour the farm which grows pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, turmeric along with the fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs and honey that are served as part of their delicious family-style meals. Enjoy a cooking demonstration before dinner.

Day 8

Dewalokam

Morning yoga practice followed by breakfast and Ayurvedic treatment. At least once during our stay in Dewalokam, we’ll visit the nearby town of Thodupuzha, where we’ll have the opportunity to shop as the locals do and visit a Hindu temple.

Afternoon is free to walk through the tropical forest, see how rubber is tapped, swim or bamboo raft on the river, explore the farm, visit the nearby village, temples and school or simply relax.

Day 9

Dewalokam

During our stay at Dewalokam we’ll also experience the traditional Keralan meal served on a banana leaf, which is eaten during the spring harvest festival of Onam and on other special occasions. Keralan rice accompanies at least ten separate mini dishes, all vegetarian, providing an extraordinary array of tastes. Each dish is balanced following the principles of Ayurveda, promoting equilibrium and a sense of well being in mind and body.

Day 10

Dewalokam

Enjoy an unplanned day at Dewalokam, and take the opportunity to learn more about the culture of Kerala, and the practice of yoga and ayurveda wellness. This afternoon, dancers and drummers from a local temple will share their worship with us.

Day 11

Dewalokam – Munnar

Morning yoga practice followed by breakfast. Say goodbye to our gracious hosts, Jose & Sinta and travel by private, air-conditioned coach to the hill station of Munnar, a beautiful area of thick forests and verdant tea plantations. Our bungalow-style estate where we’ll stay for two nights is set amidst a hillside cardamom plantation with sweeping views to the valley below. We’ll have a guided hike through the plantation followed by afternoon tea. Dinner at the estate.

Day 12

Munnar

Rise early this morning to journey by Jeep, followed with a moderate trek into the tea carpeted hills, to reach Kulukamalai Tea Estate, the highest tea factory in the world at 8,000 ft. Hike though the emerald terraces and when we reach the summit, salute the sunrise with a yoga practice.

Enjoy a picnic breakfast, and a tea tasting at the estate. Afternoon drive into Munnar to visit a vocational training school. We’ll see their papermaking and textile-production process using all natural dyes in the crafting of beautifully designed products that are offered for sale. Time to shop there and in the town of Munnar for spices and handicrafts.

Day 13

Munnar – Marari Beach

After breakfast depart on a scenic drive to Marari Beach. En-route we board a houseboat and enjoy a backwater cruise. Kerala backwaters consist of a complex network of lagoons, lakes and canals and are best experienced while slowly cruising the labyrinth of canals in a traditional thatch-roofed houseboat. See life on the banks, lush green rice fields, coconut groves, temples and churches. Late afternoon disembark and transfer to Marari Beach for a two-night stay.

Day 14

Marari Beach

Marari originates from ‘Mararikulam’, the name of the nearby local fishing village. Here life still goes on much as it did a hundred years ago, with the men going out to sea to bring in the daily catch.

Practice yoga this morning with a local master. After breakfast, you may also choose to take a guided tour of the resort with a naturalist who who will explain the Malabar coast’s unique ecosystem and variety of flowers, plants, butterflies and birds or perhaps walk to the nearby fishing village. This afternoon, relax by the pool or beach, take a yoga class, and or book an optional Ayurvedic massage treatment after consulting with the on-staff Ayurvedic physician.

Day 15

Marari Beach – Kochi

Morning yoga practice, and breakfast at Marari Beach. Depart for the village of Vaikom to visit a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and visit a local village to see their traditional way of life. Enjoy a canoe ride in the narrow canals—there is no better way to see the life and activities on backwater at close quarters. Have lunch with a typical Kerala family in their home. Check into our hotel near Kochi airport for dinner and overnight.

Day 16

Fly home or to Delhi for optional extension

Depart early morning for homeward flights, arriving the same day due to time change. Optional extension to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur is available.

For pricing and hotel information, contact us at How to Book. The specifics of this itinerary are subject to change based on local conditions at the discretion of Ponte Travels.

• All accommodations, meals and activities are included. Airfare additional.