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Updated: October 24, 2013 19:48 IST

A new way of life

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Carina Miorin, a german studied ayurveda in Kerala
Carina Miorin, a german studied ayurveda in Kerala

German national Carina Miorin’s passion for ayurveda brought her to Kerala six years ago. Today, as an ayurveda practitioner, she speaks about her joy in learning Sanskrit and a new culture

Six years ago Carina Miorin from Ravensburg, Germany, made a unique academic choice — to study ayurveda in Kerala. It caused consternation among her family and friends but she was convinced about her choice. Today at the completion of her Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), at the realisation of a dream, she is busy enjoying every bit of her internship at the District Hospital in Kacheripady.

Carina is perhaps the only foreigner to have pursued a course in ayurveda in Kerala. “I believe there were an Iranian, who quit soon after joining, and a Russian who has recently come on an exchange programme to Thiruvananthapuram,” she informs. Carina’s other distinctions are of having completed her course with flying colours, of topping the Sanskrit exam and winning the first prize for a flute rendition in the western music category at the Ayur Youth Festival in Cherthala. “I played a French composition and an Irish melody,” says Carina, disclosing her other love, music.

Relaxing after a day’s work where she “must have seen least 100 cases”, Carina looks back at her singular choice and journey.

Her tryst with India began in 2003 with a sabbatical year of voluntary social service in Varkala and in parts of Tamil Nadu. It brought her, for the first time, in contact with ayurveda. A nagging skin condition that had raged for seven years was healed. She wished to discover this indigenous system of medicine.

Making friends

Back in Germany she opted for Cultural Anthropology and Indological studies which introduced her to Sanskrit, but found the going tough. She quit and began working on her desire to learn this science of alternative healing. She applied for the course, pursued it with the German Embassy and reached her destination.

“Kerala is easy to an outsider, green and tranquil, but the course was not easy,” says Carina about her graduation from Sree Narayana Institute of Ayurveda Studies and Research in Puthur, Kollam.

Her period of acclimatisation was fraught with loneliness and frustration. There were times when, alone in the hostel, she would be depressed and wondering about her choice.

“But I never cried,” she recalls with a smile and talks about her friend Athira G. from Alappuzha who would tutor her daily, after class, and with whom she spent many Onams. “Socially Westerners are raised differently. We are quite independent and though close to our family we draw support from our friends.”

Here Carina missed hanging out after class with pals, enjoying the odd glass of drink and her music classes. There were boys in her class whom she did not speak to in all the five years!

But she made up for that with a few good friends like Athira. Some of her teachers too have left an indelible mark in her heart, like Unnikrishnan sir. “He never taught from the text book. He made us all think. He was a real inspiration,” she says. Carina would wish for a more flexible pattern of education here and has surprised even herself by studying in a completely foreign environment.

Food was never an issue, nor was homesickness, but learning Sanskrit was. Yet she gave her heart to the subject and discovered the richness of a new language and culture.

“The original texts are written in Sanskrit and it is deep in philosophy. It teaches a way of life,” she says and wonders at the coincidence of her taking Sanskrit classes way back in Germany. “There is a reason for things to happen. Kerala has become a part of me,” she says.

The next big decision that Carina is faced with is about practising ayurveda in Germany. She speaks of a “pharma lobby” that tries to scuttle the practise of alternative medical therapies. She is aware of the problems of providing the efficacy of this Indian system of healing in western life. Practising ayurveda there will require Carina to undertake a course to get a license, besides “importing the medicines”, which, too, would need official permission.

Indigenous system

Yet all this does not deter her. If she has come so far, disproving her detractors who jeered at her “mad” choice, she is ready to spread the goodness of a healing system she feels is holistic.

proud of u carina.very happy to say that u were my college mate.u
deserve this for v experienced ur dedication n hardwork in
person.gudluck .u wil succeed for sure

from:  Dr.Aarathy Ananth
Posted on: Oct 26, 2013 at 10:37 IST

I admire Carina for her determination and devotion. I appreciate it will
be difficult for people of the west to take ayurveda treatment mainly
because of their food habits. Yet, I wish Carina success in introducing
this ancient system of medicine to Germany and other western countries.

from:  Venugopal
Posted on: Oct 26, 2013 at 09:08 IST

Ms. Carina's choice is something like strenuous journey. However, her 'will' is fulfilling all the requirements and she going to be Ayurveda Practitioner in her own Country, which would require lot many efforts from self & permissions from the Govt. of Germany as well. Of-course, nothing is impossible in this world, if the WILL works against it.
Wishing Ms. Carina tonnes of luck to meet her target at the earliest possible time.

from:  K S Rao
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 16:53 IST

Congrats Dr.Carina. Great job. Wish you the very best in your
career as an Ayurveda practitioner in Germany (or perhaps in

from:  shiva
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 11:13 IST

It is heartening to note that a german student completed BAMS in kerala which reinforces the efficacy of this alternative healing system from India for chronic diseases.
In this regard, I would like to know the details of any Ayurvedic or alternate system which can offer relief for the heart related problems of my son suffering from Marfan's syndrome. mail me at

from:  gs reddy
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 11:06 IST

wow! It is couragious and inspiring. Keralites should understand the difficulties faced by this lady in pursuing our course and culture. How can we make them feel at home? Over doing that also need to be avoided. Glad to know one German more appreciated our culture. Let many more follow. Good luck Carina in your future practise.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 09:49 IST

Great. All the Carina. Good Luck

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 08:42 IST

Congratulations you have decided to take the offbeat track and God's
blessings be with you. Wishing you all success. I am personally a strong
believer in Ayurveda and alternative healing.

from:  Balaji
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 07:56 IST

excellent article. i know how difficult it will be to live in a land where the problems arise starting from the communication itself ! I lived in Germany for 7 years and i know how it was staying alone and starting to make friends ! At the end of it, i really enjoyed learning and working there. i am sure Carina Miorin would have enjoyed what she learnt in the school. hats off to her. and good luck

from:  ramesh
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 07:13 IST

i really appreciate this girl for taking her own decision and stand
against all detractors. All women should stand up with their leg and
achieve what they dream of. This girl is a role model.

from:  john
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 04:44 IST

Having being away from country for 9 years, I can understand how Dr.Carina
must have felt being alone and living in totally un-western culture in
little town of India. Good job and bring Ayurveda to Germany, Government
and college in Kerala might want help in anyway to help Dr.Carina with
legalities. In a way that will be helping Ayurveda to be known and
recognized in Germany. In US Ayurveda is known well and even a college
in California.

from:  rahul
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 02:14 IST

Surgery is the boon of allopathy. Along with good effect, side effect comes free with allopathic medicines. But Ayurvedic medicines work wonderfully well without side effects provided you are treated by a qualified competent doctor. I appreciate China in this respect. The Chinese population which has migrated to USA has popularised their herbal medicines. India has lagged behind in this.
Infact, Ayurveda has been neglected in India itself. This should be looked into.

from:  Garudachar navile
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 01:26 IST

Dear Carina,

As you say in German, "gut gemacht", I really appreciate your courage for taking the road less (un) travelled and showing us Indians the value of our own heritage. It is a matter of shame that we have not given the due place for Ayurveda in our country, in spite of its effectiveness and time-tested authenticity. Perhaps at least now, as "foreigners" come here and master "our" traditions, let us all wake up and do something to save our age-old medical practices

from:  Dinakaran
Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 00:54 IST

How dedicated and determined she should have been to study Ayurveda and
Sanskrit living in Kerala, a totally alien land for her, without any
acquaintances, friends or relatives. She deserves all admiration.

Posted on: Oct 25, 2013 at 00:09 IST

"There is a reason for things to happen" .. Catherine , hats off to u
, ma ..what a decision .. must have come from ur heart of luck
i don't have words to appreciate ur boldness to come to India that
too Kerala , our God's own country and learn Ayurvedic & Sanskrit ,
which is world's one of first five languages . God bless u Catherine.

from:  sivasubramanian
Posted on: Oct 24, 2013 at 22:50 IST

This shows true individuality and courage. There are many of us who
venture abroad in search of higher education and material wealth. Here
is a foreigner who came to India to acquire ancient wisdom and spiritual
knowledge. India and the West are complementary representing Spirit and
Matter - 2 sides of one reality as Sri Aurobindo says. Kudos to Carina
for following her dreams and Athira, Unnikrishnan sir for their
encouragement and support. Thanks to Hindu for this inspiring article.

from:  Krishna
Posted on: Oct 24, 2013 at 20:33 IST

Lovely, at a time when many Indian students come to Germany for higher studies its great to know that Germans also go to India for education. German is quite similar to Sanskrit in its grammar and word structuring, it also has the "sandhi" and "viched" that Sanskrit has.

from:  Nitya
Posted on: Oct 24, 2013 at 20:28 IST
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