Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ayurveda: Part One

A typical day at our Ayurvedic clinic...Week 1

The days start early apparently around here. The door bell (which is startling and sounds like an obese hungry gecko) starts at 6am and doesn’t really let up. Very active mornings. We tried to ignore it the first few times from our bed thinking they could come back later. But then I remind myself we're at a hospital, not a resort (even though it feels like a holiday), and many visits is just par for the course and the whole reason we're here anyway. Besides, it’s getting light outside and it's the only time of the day that is below 30 degrees ( abt 88F) and I want to soak up the cool morning.

6:00am: Our medicines arrive from the pharmacy. We both drink the dark bitter liquid concoctions and then see who can make a funnier grimaced face.

It's barely dawn. I sit on the veranda and do my meditation to the symphony of the birds and the chatter of the occasional donkey.

6:15am: Our medicated water for the day arrives. Tastes like water with the slightest bit of a kick of something. Another boy brings our tea. Another brings the paper.

7:00am: I try to squeeze in a walk. For our first 7 days, the doctors prescribe Abhyagam (preparatory treatment of simple oil application rubbed all over the body for 45 blissful minutes). During this week, we can take walks in the garden and go to the temple. Once our main intensive treatment starts(will describe that in the weeks to come), we will be restricted to our cottage and veranda. Forced rest, relaxation and healing - sounds pretty good to me.

7:45am: Our medicinal oils arrive: plastic bottles filled with mystery liquid...some smell funny but not bad. Some smell pleasant and coconuty. All are dark in color. I can't wait for my treatment later this afternoon. Am so curious.

Blood pressure ladies stop by to do the needful.

8:00am: Our breakfast arrives at our cottage. Today I chose Pongal (a soft rice dish with veggies served with the usual chutneys).

8:30am: Priest comes by to bless our cottage and leaves us an offering: flowers and sandalwood paste on a portion of a banana leaf. He is slightly chubby, jolly and shirtless wearing a white skirt with bright orange trim and shawl. His forehead is decorated with colored paste in a special religious design.

9:00am: Doctor T arrives to discuss our ailments and go over our treatment plans. She is calm and exudes a wonderful energy. We feel taken care of. The goal: heal our ailments by balancing our dosha's through diet, external oil treatments and internal medications. Ayurveda is holistic as it views man in his totality (physical, emotional, mental, cellular, spiritual, genetic, etc) within a wide ecological spectrum and emphasizes the view that ill health or disease is brought about by an imbalance or disequilibria of man in his total ecological system.

10:00am: Nutritionist visits us. We are on a restricted vegetarian diet during our time here. The food is strictly Ayurvedic in preparation and selections, and it is simple Indian food with very little spices: usually a bland thali meal with chapatti or kichadi or it's idly or dosa with chutneys. I have enjoyed the clean and basic food so far. (It's only been one week though. Not sure if I'll feel the same 2 weeks from now.) It's nutritious and my entire body thanks me. Food is very much part of the treatment here. The clinic’s farm, herbs and veggies come from Kerala, the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. All are naturally grown without chemicals.

Man with large metal kettle stops by. Palak Soup. Yum.

11:30am: Homemade buttermilk with turmeric and cumin is delivered. It was, well…interesting - not terrible and I can see myself tolerating it and maybe even liking it. You can definitely taste the turmeric which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. Came with roasted papadums. One of Mahesh's favorite snacks. Gobble gobble.'s not even noon and it's been a full day already. I am loving every minute of it.


♥ Braja said...

Shireena, you must send me the details of this place so I can book in there. Seriously....

Shireena said...

Will email you...