Ayurvedic Experience & Tour of South India

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Date(s) - Thu 31 Jan 2019 - Thu 14 Feb 2019

Category : Continuing Professional Development

…this story starts 10 years ago when an unexpected collaboration began. Mr Prasad Ninan of Relax Herbals, Thiruvanthnapuram, contacted Sheffield Centre for Massage Training where I am principal. All the way from Kerala, South India (as you do), he asked if I might be interested in hosting some Ayurvedic massage training in the UK. To cut a long story short and to save you from the details of the many conversations, planning & strategies, I said yes and the rest is SCMT history. Needless to say Prasad, Dr Anand, his associate and I have become great friends. In the summer of 2017 in my front room in a little village near Barnsley UK, we hatched an exciting plan. Vicky, Prasad & Anand created the VPA group and in February 2018 we ran our first two-week long unique holiday. I took a group of 14 people, a diverse bunch, to Kerala to be able to experience first-hand, the very beautiful country, the authentic Ayurvedic treatments and training as well as many more offerings that we are delighted to bring to you again in 2019.
Below are more details, (subject to tweaks as is the Indian way). We’ve tried to give as clear a picture as possible, but if anything is missing please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
31st January – 7th February 2019 – Tour
Arrive to start the tour of some of the most lush & beautiful regions in Kerala. Transport – luxury, spacious, air conditioned coach.

This part of the holiday includes: A delightful overnight stay on a Kettuvallam; a traditional Indian houseboat on the backwaters – everyone who visits Kerala holds this as one of the ‘got to do’ activities. A one-night stay in a beautiful hotel in Munnar, high in the Western Ghats, where many tea plantations can be seen as well as wildflowers and plants. Two nights in a hotel in Thekkady wildlife preservation area; visiting Periyar park and taking a boat trip to view elephants, water buffalo and many aquatic animals & birds. Other possible activities are: visit to a spice garden, a tea museum and watch a demonstration of Kalari an energetic and exciting form of martial art.

7 nights
1st Feb. Arrival a day to aclimatise and land in South India. Get your Indian rupees as the UK doesn’t exchange this currency. Shop for supplies such as sun screen. Dinner only provided on the first day.
Spend a relaxing evening visiting a market or simply rest.
2nd Feb. Fort Kochi, famous for Chinese fishing nets. Relax by the sea with a cold pineapple juice and you might be lucky enough to spot a school of dolphins.
On the move: Our journey’s, on our comfy coach, will take around 5 hours each time and we’ll enjoy beautiful scenery; spot banana trees, papaya plantations, pineapples growing wild, and other exotic fruit as well as medicinal plants. Watch Kerala life unfold while being transported by a safe and skilful driver. Lunch is en route. Take own snacks for the journey.
3rd Feb. Transfer to Thekkady for 2 nights. On arrival relax or hang out in the German Coffee house spotting wildlife.
4th Feb. Early morning boatrip. Spend the day in Periyar wildlife sanctuary.
5th Feb. Transfer to Munnar for 1 night.
6th Feb. Transfer to our houseboat home. Along the journey see gorgeous views and unusual flora and fauna. Early morning start with stop for lunch break. On arrival be awed by the scenery as we slowly travel along the world famous backwaters of Kerala and then settle down for a delicious dinner cooked in the galley kitchen.
7th Feb. Home cooked breakfast on the house boat and after another short journey on the backwaters in the morning, we’ll transfer to Thapovan Heritage Home.

7th – 14th February 2019 – Thapovan Heritage Home, Nellikunnu, Maloor, near Kovalam.
A week of Ayurveda – Ayur = Life and Veda = Science. Focus on your health & wellbeing. Daily restorative yoga in a stunning outside hall and even with the sound of vibrant life going on, find your Stillpoint. Stay in accommodation designed to reflect the local traditional architecture, in rooms that are naturally cool & airy. Learn Ayurvedic therapies for rejuvenation. Receive Ayurvedic therapies tailored to your constitution (dosha) and aimed at renewal of energy and a sense of wellbeing. Also on offer for 2019, Indian cookery classes.

7 nights
Proposed daily programme during your stay at Thapovan, times may vary and the plan may be subject to change. You may opt for all or some of these activities.
• 7am to 8.30am rejuvenating yoga class. Outdoors, undercover, surrounded by swaying palms.
• Breakfast – wholesome, traditional food.
• 10 am to 12 noon training which includes 30 minutes theory 90 minutes practical, hands-on practice.
• 12 noon to 2 pm Lunch break – buffet of delicious, fresh vegetarian food.
• 2.30 pm onwards – daily personal Ayurvedic treatment. Late afternoons are for rest periods, socialising & free time or…
• …3.30pm to 5pm Cookery classes
• Dinner – buffet of delicious, fresh vegetarian food, times tba.

Possible schedule for the Ayurvedic classes
• 1st day CHAVUTTI THIRUMAL – REJUVENATION MASSAGE training using practitioners’ own feet.
• 2nd day training on FULL BODY MASSAGE.
• 3rd day SHIROABHYANGA – traditional seated head massage, inc. arms & shoulders.
• 4th day training on PODIKIZHI – massage with herbal powder bolus.
• 5th day training on SHIRODHARA – pouring of herbal oils or medicated milk over the forehead in a rhythmical manner.
• 6th day training on KATI VASTI – traditional therapy for back ache. FACE MASSAGE. FOOT MASSAGE.

Possible schedule for 1 hour personal treatments
• 5th & 6th & 7th day PODI KIZHI (herbal powder bolus) with SHIRODHARA

New for 2019. Learn traditional Indian cookery (this class can be taken as an alternative to learning Ayurveda). Our Chef at Thapovan will be teaching you how to cook 8 dishes during your stay. Traditional Kerala vegetarian recipes will be deconstructed. Then all the ingredients, including spices, are blended together to make delicious dishes. Learn how to make pulissery, sambar, thoran, and other exotic dishes and go away with Indian cooking to add to your repertoire in your home kitchen.

31st January – 14th February 2019
All inclusive; accommodation, full board (except on arrival day and travel days), flights & transfers. Entrance fees to all organised activities. All treatments (one per day), all teaching materials including manual and herbal oils and ingredients for the cookery classes, are included in the cost. Optional daily transfer to beach (from Thapovan). People on the two weeks unique holiday fly from Manchester into Cochin and leave from Thiruvananthapuram airport NB: we have selected the best airline Emirates; the food is great, the inflight staff are friendly and helpful, the cabin furniture is comfortable and the overall flying experience is very good.

Not included in the cost of the holiday.
In addition, there are options of low cost activities that you might want to include in your stay, for example visit to nearby temples, markets, classical concerts, festival events etc.

We do hope this itinerary has given you helpful information to whet your appetite and help you picture yourself joining us. We’re looking forward to accompanying you every step of the way on our unique Ayurvedic Experience and Tour of South India.

Inevitable small print: The VPA group reserve the right to change any of the arrangements for the trip if necessary, however all precautions will be taken so this shouldn’t happen. The Ayurvedic treatments on offer in this package are not medical treatments and are provided for detoxifying and rejuvenation and should be taken at your own risk; if in doubt please check with your personal medical advisor. Should you wish to have the recommended vaccinations for visiting South India, your GP should be consulted. While we make every attempt to select places to stay and people to be around who are trustworthy, we can take no responsibility for any belongings that are lost or stolen. The participant should inform the VPA group of any mental or physical health issues that may impact the trip. We should all abide by any code of behaviour in all of the places we stay or visit in Kerala and the VPA group reserve the right to withdraw participants from the programme, without refund, if their behaviour is considered disruptive or offensive. If in the unfortunate event that a participant decides to leave the holiday, there will be no refund of any monies paid. Visiting India requires a tourist visa, it is your responsibility to get this in good time. You should arrange your own travel insurance. Please inform your bank shortly before travelling, of the dates you will be in India, to enable you to access funds – some of our guests found it difficult to access money from local ATM’s as their banks initially blocked withdrawal. The VPA group are not a tour operator or travel agent. Taking part in the Ayurvedic experience and tour of south India is done so at your own risk.