From France with a passion for Ayurveda
With love for Indian art and culture, this French woman arrived in India and later married a Keralite and settled down in Kottayam. An exponent of Ayurveda and holistic treatment, she is on a mission to promote natural lifestyle through Ayurveda and natural farming.
By Shalet James
Twenty-three years ago when a young French girl landed in India with a passion to study Bharatanatyam and Indian art history, she never thought that India would become her second home land in the future. To understand the Indian culture and art, she passionately travelled all around the country enjoying its splendid cultural heritage. For many, it would be almost impossible to get adapted to a culture and custom which are totally different from theirs. But, for Murielle, India was a cultural reservoir where she could build up her skills. Today, settled in Kottayam, Kerala, Murielle Ikareth is working in her favourite fields of Ayurveda, creative dance and natural farming.
Clad in a white top and a printed pyjama with a multi coloured scarf tangled around her neck, Murielle Ikareth’s face reflected vitality and gusto in whatever she talked about India and its culture. Her childhood dream was to serve the humanity and Murielle grew up with an ambition to become a nurse. After working as a nurse in a hospital for two years, Murielle realised that she is not enjoying her job as she couldn’t relate with the patients because of lack of staff. Later, during her studies at Banaras Hindu University, Murielle got a wide picture of India. Understanding the uniqueness of Indian culture, Murielle went about discovering the positives that India has possessed. She thinks that every country has its pros and cons. One thing that saddens her is that the people here at times forget the greatness of the country and live in the superficial world of consumerism.
Joe Ikareth, her husband, designed the costumes for one of her dance performance in Delhi. Being a native of Kottayam, he decided to settle down here. Today, they are happily living in a joint family with Joe’s parents and their two children, Theo and Tilotama.
The Director of Saaram Centre for Ayurveda and Arts, Murielle promises unique experience for the patients who come here. After gaining in-depth knowledge in Ayurveda through talking to Ayurvedic experts and reading books, she started this centre in 2008 with the help of her friend, Dr Anupama Krishnan, an Ayurvedic physician who influenced her. “It is not a spa nor a massage parlour as I sometimes hear. This is a proper Ayurvedic centre dedicated to holistic healing and life management,” says Murielle. The challenge was to stick to the fundamental principles of Ayurveda, yet being able to deal with the complaints of erratic lifestyle.
Apart from different types of traditional therapies, Saaram offers treatments to ease tension as well as natural beauty care. The word ‘Saaram’ means essence, strength and truth. “ I wish to awake awareness on the importance of a more respectful lifestyle,” she says. Murielle works to retain the greatness of Ayurveda, with an emphasis on preventive aspects and holistic approach through her centre which is regarded as women oriented Ayurvedic centre.
A contemporary dancer, Murielle has also been working as an artistic coordinator for events and workshops, mainly Kathakali, Bharata Natyam, Mohiniattam and Carnatic music since 2004. She also uses dance as a way of expression and organises worshops with the support of a few local NGOs working with women and children who suffer domestic violence.
“We have to be the change we want to see in the world,” she says quoting Mahatma Gandhi. Murielle explains, “We plant vegetables and fruits and feel really happy when we eat those vegetables grown in a chemical free soil. It is one of the most precious gifts which can be given to our children. India is an apt place where natural farming can be done. I don’t know why people are not interested in those natural ways. The food we eat is what give us health, we are poisoning ourselves and the Earth with industrial food.” She says the face of India will change if every state encourages natural farming.
Murielle is happy to help anyone who comes forward with a desire to live a more healthy life. She believes it is our duty to make the world a better place. Inspired by Pierre Rabhi, a French writer, a farmer and an environmentalist, who works hard for the development of agricultural techniques that take care of the environment preserving natural resources, Murielle Ikareth is striving to make realise her goal- finding the valued essence of Life.
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