Yoga and Volunteering in India
Rejuvenate your mind, body and soul with our yoga and volunteering program in India. You will be living in the stunning and charming town of Fort Kochi in Kerala, an absolute gem of a destination in South India, popularly referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’ due to it’s rustic backwaters, gorgeous beaches, serene tea plantations, rich culture and multi-faceted history and delightfully sumptuous cuisine.
Not only will you learn or practice yoga from experienced yoga teachers who will help you discover or rediscover your spiritual side, but you will also spend your time giving back to local communities and helping sustainable and rewarding volunteer projects arranged by our team here at Volunteering Journeys. Our volunteer projects that you can choose from include women’s education and teaching children, so you can find something that fits in with your skillsets and personal interests.
Designed for yoga lovers or beginners alike, our yoga and volunteering program will help you deepen you understanding of yoga and will help you find your true self on both a physical and spiritual level. With the guidance of our expert teachers, you will learn importance techniques to improve your yoga practice forever. And all the while, you will also get the opportunity to travel and help others.
During your time in Fort Kochi, you will receive daily lessons in ‘Hatha yoga’, a type of yoga which combines physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation with various cleansing practices. Our local yoga gurus will work closely with you to help you connect spiritually and help you get more from your everyday yoga practice. The session is usually 1 hour to 1.5 hours and you will go either in the morning or evenings (depending on teachers availability). Yoga classes are generally in a group however there are times when you may get a private lesson.
In addition to the daily yoga classes, you will also take part in a rewarding community based project. You could be teaching in local schools and community centres or helping women’s empowerment projects where you will teach English and other life skills,or helping disabled children with basic games and activities. Volunteer projects will be spread between mornings and afternoons and our local team will help you prepare for these sessions.
Weekends are free for your leisure and you can go for an overnight stay on a traditional houseboat on the backwaters or stay amongst the lush tea plantations of Munnar. Fort Kochi where you will be living has several Ayurvedic massage therapy centres. In your free time you can always get a relaxing Ayurveda treatment or massage.
All The Details
Kochi, Kerala, India
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USD $ per person
Add $25 per week for yoga classes (1 class per week Monday to Friday) in addition to the below rates for the yoga and volunteer program
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- Pre-departure guide – to prepare you for your trip
- Pick-up and drop from the nearest airport or train station in Cochin
- Yoga classes Monday to Friday
- Shared Room in volunteer house*
- All Meals (Except on Sunday)
- Location orientation
- Project training with the local Program Manager
- Project resources
- Project Travel
*You have to walk to the yoga class daily
Whats Not Included in your program fee :
- Flights to the program destination
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal shopping and gratuities
- Local excursions
- Project materials that you personally need
- Yoga Mat
- Yoga Travel Cost
Local Team On Ground
Geetha Raj: Kerala Program Manager
Geetha is the backbone of our programs in Kerala. Her friendliness, generosity and warmth towards every volunteer will leave you feeling extra special. Having worked as local journalist for almost 10 years, Geetha grew a passion for community development work, and is very forward thinking. She is instrumental in Kerala Program development. A born leader, Geetha will give you the direction you will need to succeed as a volunteer. Her team will look after all your needs from the time you enter Kerala to the time you leave. In her spare time Geetha loves taking our volunteers to the temples to get a taste of Keralan culture.
- The nearest airport for this program is Cochin International Airport (COK)
- We recommend you apply for Tourist Visas before you arrive.
- Travel Insurance is compulsory on this program.
- We recommend you visit your local travel clinic to find out what vaccines you should take.
Here’s what your First Week looks like:
Arrival Day: You will be picked up from the airport and taken to our beautiful volunteer house in Fort Kochi. All the other volunteers stay in the same house. On your first weekend you will get a culture orientation, area tour as well as basic project training.
Monday to Friday: Early mornings you will walk to the Yoga Class that starts at 7:00 am usually (your yoga class could be in the evenings on some days). Breakfast will be at home and you will go with the rest of the volunteers to the projects between 10:00 to 12:00 pm. Lunch will be between 12:00 to 13:00 pm. Lunch is usually between noon to 13:30 pm after which you will begin your second volunteering session*. You will be free by 16:00 pm and in the evenings you can engage in culture activities or relax.
*Volunteer sessions are subject to change. During holidays in April, May and December we work only in the mornings. Please note that our volunteer programs are evolving constantly and we may change programs based on community needs and place you on projects where we have availability.
What Happens When I Arrive?
Living Arrangements for Yoga Volunteers:
Our gorgeous volunteer house in the heart of Fort Kochi, a quaint little town in Cochin, Kerala. You will be in shared rooms and this makes it easy for developing new friendships and you’ll never feel alone on your project. Rooms come with a fan and en-suite bathroom but private rooms are also available if you would like an upgrade. WiFi will also be provided throughout the accommodation so that you can stay connected with loved ones back home.
All houses come with a kitchen area and all meals are served with seasonal produce only. Our in hours chef makes delicious local Keralan meals for you to enjoy. Most are infused with coconuts and will have a very tropical taste. Our volunteers really love trying the local cuisine but if it’s western food you prefer, feel free to visit the local cafes and restaurants for other options. We highly recommend a light vegetarian diet for our yoga volunteers.
Daily project transport such as tuk tuks are also pre-arranged for your convenience. To attend yoga class you will need to walk to your class (no more than 10-15 mins).
Please note that during busy seasons we may provide alternative housing near our volunteer villa. If we do this we will inform you before hand.
With such a beautiful setting at your fingertips, you’ll find plenty of amazing places to practice your yoga and find your own personal sense of peace. For sightseeing activities, we would also recommend exploring the beautiful backwaters of the Allepey where you can stay on a houseboat or heading down to Munnar for serene stay amongst the lush tea plantations. For beach relaxation or to take a dip in the sea, head to Varkala Beach and Kovalam Beach. If you decide to stay in Fort Kochi you can always goto the local temples in the area or enjoy the laid back vibe at one of the artsy cafes.
Volunteers Love Us!
‘My experience in India was absolutely fantastic. Having never done anything like this before, Volunteering Journeys made sure I settled in well and supported me throughout my time. Being placed with an amazing family gave me the chance to experience Indian culture first hand. I was part of the Disabled Childcare Programs for two weeks. Although short, I felt the time I spent was so valuable for the children. If this is something that you are interested in I would 100% recommend it. The memories, friendships and experiences you will develop will be ones that you will never forget.’
‘The teaching experience was second to none. I was overwhelmed by the respect and politeness all the children have, which made it some much easier to work with them, even with the language barrier. The amazing thing about the schools I visited was that all the children are like little sponges, they absorb everything you say, teach and do! It’s quite outstanding how much they gain from just a small conversation in the playground or in the class room.
So in general if you are questioning whether you want to volunteer and you don’t know what company to go with, it has the be Volunteering Journeys. You will be well looked after, gain an immense experience and make friends for life!!!’
‘I took a short sabbatical from work in November 2013 and decided to come to India. I was helping at a small school in Fort Kochi, teaching English, Maths, Science and the odd nursery rhyme. The school where I volunteered had amazing teachers and the kids were great. Ridhi and the team organised everything brilliantly – from cycling tours to the backwaters, to hosting me with a family that made my stay feel like home. If you’re going to volunteer in India then I highly recommend Volunteering Journeys’
“J’ai passé deux mois formidables à Kochi en travaillant comme volontaire avec Volunteering Journeys. Deux mois de ma vie que je n’oublierais jamais. J’ai rencontré des gens incroyables et participé à des projets qui me tenaient vraiment à coeur. J’ai pu voir l’aboutissement de mes efforts et le sourire sur le visage des enfants. Une expérience magique que je recommande à tous. Merci Rainbow”
‘I spent 3 wonderful weeks with the Volunteering Journeys team in Kerala, it marked the beginning of almost 2 months adventuring through India, and I can say without a doubt it was one of my favourite experiences of my time spent in incredible India! From the moment my plane landed and I was greeted by a friendly face and whisked away to a wonderful home, the local staff were incredibly welcoming, helpful, supportive and great fun to be around!
I spent my time volunteering in 2 local schools, assisting with English studies. The enthusiasm and joy with which the children approach their days will ensure you never want to leave!I cannot recommend Volunteering Journeys highly enough, it was such a joyful introduction to India – it’s culture, people and crazy beautiful way of life. You will leave with some fond memories and firm friendships’
‘I volunteered by teaching English both at a school and at an all girls’ orphanage for two months. It has been the best experience of my life so far. I really got to know the children I was teaching and seeing the children’s English improve over my time was an incredible feeling. From being introduced to yoga to tasting delicious flavoursome Indian cuisine and living in “God’s own country”, has left me eager to return. I have made friends across the World who made my time spent in Kerala unforgettable. I highly recommend volunteering with Volunteering Journeys; Kerala is beautiful and you will gain fun memories.’
‘I spent two weeks running an art workshop which was absolutely fantastic. The children were so enthusiastic and bustled about with paste and paint, putting together the most amazing creations. They were not used to producing collaborative work and were thrilled when their individual efforts achieved a glorious whole. Their personalities really shone through and I became very fond of them in the short time I was with them. Thank you to Volunteering Journeys for enabling me to have such a wonderful experience!’
‘There is some kind of magic that happens when you’re in India. The climate, the people, the warm welcome, the happiness in every person, the culture, it’s simply inspiring. On top of that having a group of friendly, thoughtful organizers guiding me through the program made my time volunteering with Volunteering Journeys one of the most memorable moments in my life.
If anyone reading this is considering becoming a volunteer, don’t hesitate, become a volunteer. It will be the most rewarding experience and adventure of your life. I assure you that you will have a vital impact on the community, the place and the children. I would recommend Volunteering Journeys without hesitation. Well organized and hassle free adventure. You get help and guidance with everything you need. Kerala was my destination. Safe, beautiful and very friendly. Just do it and have an adventure of your life!’
“Volunteering at the schools was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Once again the friendships you create are irreplaceable. Admittedly, the first few days were scary, in the sense that my partner and I were only 18 & 20 yrs old and we were teaching women and children a language that was not their first. However the persistence and willingness of Indians is not to be tested. Each of our students put in 100% and naturally we became very personal with everyone and these women and children taught us much more. We came out of this experience with more than we had ever anticipated. It can’t be put into words just how much we learnt from volunteering. Ever aspect of our lives and mindset has changed.”
‘I think it was quite an eye opening experience to kind of see how people live and enjoy their lives very differently to what we do probably in UK. Even though comparatively they didn’t have as much, the children still came to school with a smile on their face and they were really keen to learn. They were ever so happy and always had a smile on their face regardless of the circumstances that they are living in, and I think that was an amazing experience for us to take back. We have comparatively much more wealth in the UK and we have much more available at our fingertips. Yet we were quite not so happy’
‘We decided to volunteer as part of our family vacation. It was the perfect balance: making a contribution but not being asked to do too much, with Volunteering Journeys staff with us every step of the way to help, support, clarify, etc. I was also impressed that they didn’t feed us a line about how we were changing the world in a week; I knew going in that *we* would be the ones most changed, and the staff’s perspective’s was the same: we were making an impact by showing we cared and sharing experiences, which hopefully meant something to a lot of people.’