Yoga and Volunteering in India
Rejuvenate your mind, body and soul with our yoga and volunteering program in India. Set in the stunning coastal city of Cochin in the Kerala region of South India, you will get to escape from the daily grind of everyday life and you will get to immerse yourself in a whole new culture, meeting amazing people along the way. Not only will you learn the wonderful art of 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 poor, disadvantaged families through important volunteer projects arranged by our team here at Volunteering Journeys. Our volunteer projects range from education and empowerment to specialist psychological or disabled care, 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 Cochin, you will receive daily morning 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. You will also have the option of a ‘sattvic’ breakfast every morning after your yoga class to give you nourishment and rejuvenation.
In addition to the daily yoga classes, you will also take part in any of our volunteer projects of your choice in the area. This includes English teaching in local schools and community centres, women’s empowerment projects where you will teach English and other life skills, volunteering with children, or working closely with disabled kids to provide them specialist and psychological care.
During Evenings you can practice yoga on our amazing rooftop or go for Ayurveda massages at one of the local massage centres. You can also learn Ayurvedic cooking or massage therapy.
All The Details
Kochi, Kerala, India
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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 between 7.30 – 8.30 AM everyday
- Accommodation in the heart of Fort Kochi – with WiFi and Kitchen facility
- Use of rooftop for personal meditation and yoga practice
- Experienced bilingual local staff team
- Breakfast and Lunch- home cooked Indian food
- Location orientation – a walking tour of Fort Kochi showing you the local sights, restaurants and cafes, ATMs and amenities.
- Project training with the local Program Manager
- Project resources – e.g. school curriculums and books, past volunteer notes
- 24 hour support in your location for emergencies
- An opportunity to participate on a sustainable on going project that needs you
- Auto Rikshaw to the project site – these local three wheelers are the best ride in town!
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
*We provide basic resources, school books, online resources, and use of our computers for further online research for project ideas. Please bring your own resources from home if needed. Photocopying and printing or buying materials you need for projects is at your own expense.
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.
Midhu Anthony: Kerala Program Coordinator
A young mother of two, Midhu wanted to give back and be involved in her community. As a local she is culturally aware and will give you all the little do’s and dont’s of Kerala! Midhu is instrumental in preparing everything for our volunteers arrival, health and safety, accommodation, food, housekeeping and departure. Midhu will be taking you on a walking area tour of Fort Kochi when you arrive. She also helps Geetha on the projects from time to time. Midhu is a pro at making South Indian ‘˜filter coffee’ so if you meet her do ask her to make you a cuppa!
- The nearest airport for this program is Cochin International Airport (COK)
- If you wish to book flights to this destination you can contact our dedicated account manager at Flight Center UK by clicking here or call +44 0808 260 9972
- We recommend you apply for Visas before you arrive. Our Kerala Volunteer Guide will give you guidance on how to get your visas.
- Travel Insurance is compulsory on this program. You can get in touch with our team if you need travel insurance organised.
- Vaccinations are important. We recommend you visit your local travel clinic to find out what vaccines you should take.
- We work with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for travel to India. Goto www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo to find out how best to avoid trouble when abroad. Packed with essential travel advice and tips, the website also offers up-to-date country information.
- We understand it can be difficult to pay for your flights, program fees and other travel costs. Many fundraise for their journey. If you need ideas and a platform for fundraising ideas Click Here
- For support on any of the above email us firstname.lastname@example.org
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. One of our local team will come and meet you and give you a house and area orientation. We will show you the yoga centre where you will go for Yoga every morning.
Monday: 07:00 to 08:00 AM Yoga Class. After a lovely home cooked breakfast you will begin your training session with the Program Manager. You will be taken to the project sites to get introduced to the project you choose to work with. Lunch will be between 12:00 to 13:00PM. After lunch you will sit with our Program Manager and go over your volunteer work plans for the coming week and plan lesson together. You can meditate and practice yoga on our rooftop in the evenings.
Tuesday to Thursday: 07:00 to 8:00 AM Yoga Class. You can choose to have breakfast will be at the yoga centre after class where you can try ‘Sattvic’ breakafast. Lunch will be between 12:00 to 14:00 PM. Post lunch you get time for some more volunteering and finish by 16:00 PM. Evenings will be free for your relaxation or to practise yoga on our rooftop.
Friday: 07:00 to 08:00 AM Yoga Class. After breakfast you will be volunteering between 10:00 to 12:00 PM. Post lunch you will sit with your program manager to go over your week and to plan out the following weeks volunteering activities. Evenings are free for you to explore the area.
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 city by houseboat or taking a temple tour of all the beautiful temples in the area. For beach relaxation or to take a dip in the sea, head to Varkala Beach and Kovalam Beach.
What Happens When I Arrive?
Living Arrangements for Yoga Volunteers:
We arrange safe, comfortable and convenient housing for our yoga volunteers and because we encourage community living, you will be in a shared house or flat with other volunteers within the program. This makes it easy for develop new friendships and find likeminded people to share your travels with ‘“ and you’ll never feel alone in your volunteering project. Rooms are shared and all 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 or flats come with a kitchen area so you can prepare your own food but breakfast and lunch will be supplied by us and will consist of tasty local dishes! 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. You have the option to eat special ‘Satvic’ breakfast after your yoga class.
Daily project transport such as tuk tuks are also pre-arranged for your convenience.
Health and Safety :
When you join our programs you can be assured we have carried out Risk Assessments to identify potential safety and health risks on projects and in the community. We share this information with you in our pre departure documents and on arrival. Our local staff are well trained and we provide 24/7 emergency numbers to all participants. Please read our Health and Safety pages for more details.
We protect the safety of children and vulnerable adults on our programs by police verification and a reference checks on all participants. Please read our Child Protection Policy for more details.
Volunteering Journeys Foundation:
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Volunteering Journey’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through supporting local charities, local organisations and community projects in the places that we work in. 100% of each donation goes directly to support our projects. Go to our Donation page if you want to support or fundraise for our Kerala Program.
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.’