Ayurveda, Sea and Dance
Autumn in Kerala is the quietest and best time of year to go for an Ayurvedic treatment, the ancient Indian system of curing illness and restoring the body’s immune system. Ayurveda has been in existence in Kerala for over five thousand years, during which time its practitioners have been curing not only the body, but also the soul. People come here from all over the world for beauty, health and harmony and there are many local Ayurvedic health and detox clinics to choose from. The season here lasts until late March.
The majority of clinics in Kerala offer approximately the same set of treatments: purging, rejuvenation, weight reduction, stress reduction, longevity, beauty and the treatment of certain disorders. Each treatment is based either on panchakarma, the Ayurvedic system of detoxification, or on rasayana, a system of nourishment and rejuvenation for the body.
This is the perfect place to combine business with pleasure. After you have found your beachfront hotel, you can saunter out for yoga classes in the morning, with your personal instructor, and in the afternoon, when it gets hot, you can submit to any of the procedures prescribed by your doctor. In the evening you can swim and sunbathe on the beach, enjoying the snow-white sand and warm,
gentle waves. If you choose, you can dedicate your evenings to studying the local culture.
The spirit of Kerala is best expressed in a performing art called Kathakali. It is a classical dance, with elaborate costumes, that follows strict canons and is about one and a half thousand years old. Another traditional dance is Mohiniyattam, one of the most lyrical of all the Indian classical dances. Traditionally, Kathakali was performed in an open space on moonlit nights and lasted until dawn. As a rule, its subjects are scenes taken from the ancient Indian epic poems Mahabharata and Ramayana. Kathakali is performed by men who are trained in special schools. Training starts at the age of 11 and lasts for 5 to 6 years. However, only girls learn the art of Mohiniyattam. As the word ‘mohini’ means an enchanting woman, and ‘attam’ means graceful movement, Mohiniyattam translates as ‘the graceful dance of the enchantress’. A defining influence on the development of these traditional dances was a form of martial arts called Kalarippayattu, a precursor of the famous Chinese Kung Fu. It is probably one of the oldest forms of martial arts in the world. You can see inspiring performances of Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, and even bouts of Kalarippayattu, at any of the excellent Ayurvedic resorts along the coast, such as the Xandari Pearl, located on the sunny Marari beach.