One of the excellent benefits of living in south India is meeting people who know alot about south India. Sounds circular, but occasionally the people are specialists on topics we have come to care deeply about. We met a group of Sanskrit scholars yesterday quite by chance, one of whom is a leading authority on the texts that are the earliest documentation of what we now call yoga.
When we mentioned our interest in yoga from the lay perspective, because we offer yoga experiences in various properties we manage in Asia and Latin America, it led to a simple question: where can we learn the most, most accessibly, about the real origins of yoga? The answer was this book and this author (incidentally a friend and colleague of the one to whom we were asking the question. So over at Oxford University Press this is what we found.
With a bit more searching we found this excellent BBC Radio 4 segment from just a few months ago that features the same scholar, Mark Singleton, and is worth a listen if you are interested in the origins of modern yoga. Continue reading
Lately I have been speaking and spending time with Ratheesh at the front desk and around the resort. Ratheesh is an ayurvedic therapist and practitioner and also the resident yoga teacher at Cardamom County. It was actually Ratheesh’s grandmother, who he respectfully refers to as Thankamma, who taught him yoga techniques from a young age. We also discussed what inspired Ratheesh to enter the ayurvedic trade and his response was his family on his mom’s side had always been interested in this 5000-year-old medicinal trade. Dr. Leela Kumary, Ratheesh’s aunt, who is an ayurvedic doctor first inspired him to pursue a career in ayurveda from as early an age as ten.
Having grown up in the backwaters of Allepey, Ratheesh talked about bathing in the waters of the half-salty, half-freshwater due to the opening and closing of the floodgates in-between the dry and rainy seasons. He also told me about his one and a half year training in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu in Ayura and the following one year practical residency at the Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Hospital in Kaladi, Ernakulam, near Cochi. This was followed by a transfer to Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Hospital branch in Mumbai, Maharashtra for one year where he had a great time sightseeing and living in the big city, especially close to Bollywood. However, in the end Ratheesh missed Kerala, especially citing the south Indian cuisine he grew up with, and returned to practice ayurveda and teach yoga within the hospitality industry. Continue reading