If you are planning to travel to India, most people would agree to make sure to start in the South. It’s less populated, more liberal and allows you to warm up to the perks and quirks of India in a much more mellow way. There is so much to see and do in the Southern state of Kerala, from trekking mountains, exploring tea plantations, floating through the backwaters, tasting their famous seafood and of course relaxing by one of Kerala’s beautiful beaches. Here’s our guide to getting the best of Kerala’s sandy shores.
I was lucky enough to sit down with the lovely Lorien from Wholesome Loving Goodness at a retreat recently as she shared her wisdom on Ayurvedic Science. Amongst the many amazing life hacks she taught me, a particular lesson stuck out to me – “Basically everything your grandma or great grandparents nagged you to do – that is what you should be doing.”
India’s Hijras became officially recognised by law in 2014 as ‘The Third Gender’, despite a 4000-year history in the country. Historically, Hijras were most commonly recorded as eunuchs, neither man nor female, which is how the term Third Gender came about. However, in modern times Hijras have since expanded to become a sect of the LGBTQ community and now include persons who identify as transgender or intersex. While some Hijras are happy to be in an anonymous gender category, other wish to identify as their chosen gender. With an estimated 2 million Hijras living in India, the complexity and diversity of understanding the needs and protecting the rights of this gender-variant subgroup continue to grow. Once celebrated in ancient Hindi texts such as the Kama Sutra and Mahabaratha, the existence of Hijras as empowered beings with special powers of luck and fertility can be traced back for centuries in India. Hijras traditionally played a valued role in their communities, using their powers to perform blessings at many sacred occasions, from births, weddings, and deaths.
Royal Mysore, the city of palaces, is a must see in South India. Aside from its famed palace, silk and temples, Mysore offers travellers a place to slow down their pace. Mysore is the second cleanest city in India and its streets still prioritise pedestrians, a nice change from most Indian cities. The roads are wide and reasonably quiet, with coconut vendors and cows being most of the crowd. Mysore is also the home of Ashtanga yoga, so it draws in thousands of yogis each year. Whether you’ve come to practice, explore or relax, Omology’s guide to Mysore has you covered.
2015 has been a huge year for Podcasts. After the success of Serial (season 2 out now!), more and more people are spending their idle-time opening their ears to the interviews, debates and story-telling that is available for audio download. Podcasts have become the perfect background noise for your summer road trip, to wind down your day or when cooking up a storm. Here are just some of the mind-expanding, heartbreaking and world-changing conversations that happened in 2015.
Rebecca Lolosoli grew up as part of the Samburu tribe in Kenya. Gender relations are complicated in this traditionally patriarchal society, which sees the men as warriors and protectors of women. Gender-based discrimination and violence in the area continue to place women in the status of second-class. Samburu culture has no age-regulation in marriage, which sees girls as young as 11 being sold for a dowry (of between 2-5 cows), to men as old at 70. Female Genital Mutilation is rife, and girls who refuse are outcasted and not allowed to marry. There are many harmful cultural practices that girls and women are subjected to in this male dominated society.
Everyone can agree that Christmas time is equal parts exciting and exhausting. The working year is winding down, the hangover from the Christmas party has started to heal, you’ve booked in some quality R&R and you’re running around like crazy on the hunt for the perfect present.
I did not want to go to India. Three is a crowd for me. So the thought of 1.2 billion people made me claustrophobic from 7890km away in Sydney. I am all for slowness, softness and a whole lot of personal space. Things I have since said goodbye to as my new adventure in the chaotic and colourful India begins.
If you have been to a yoga class, you are most likely familiar with the mantra OM (or Auṃ [ə̃ũ], Sanskrit: ॐ). You may have also noticed that we use this mantra in our name, which means it must be pretty important to us. So here it is. OM means absolutely nothing. The before there was ever anything, and there was literally nothing – no space, no time, no laws of nature…kind of nothing.
There are few moments I feel as balanced as just after a yoga class – body aligned, mind clear, ego humbled. It’s one of the main benefits of yoga and one that I’ve been touting to my boyfriend since we met. I want him to experience that same post-savasana bliss. But how do you get a non-yogi on the mat? I’ve been asking myself this question – and while he hasn’t invested in an annual membership yet – my partner will join me for the odd studio practice or at-home meditation.