Monday, March 8, 2010

Ayurveda: Part Two

......................................A scene from the gardens near the hospital temple: the sacred cow.


So as a continuation of my last post, here's the latter half of a typical day here at the Ayurvedic clinic we're staying at for the next month.

12:30pm: Lunch was chapatti thali meal (as I said earlier meals are vegetarian). One bowl was very bitter (a black spiky gourd in a balancing sour buttermilk sauce), and I so enjoyed it. Being American and having grown up with a very Western palate, I was not used to certain rasas (tastes)...that is, until I met Mahesh and was exposed to a whole new world (on many levels). Some may feel the food served here at the hospital is bland, but I feel it’s good and pure (emphasizing the Ayurvedic balance of tastes) and though simple, it has enough flavour in my opinion.

3:00pm: Another kashayam (bitter liquid herbal medicine). Cheers!

My first Abhyagam treatment: We have our own private treatment room in the back room of our cottage. Imagine a super hard wooden table that is slightly curved down the center. There's a rope hanging from the ceiling, which will be used next week during intensive treatment to hang a pot of oil for the Dhara. A variety of very "experienced" pots and pans and stools of different sizes are strewn about.


So there I was...in my little loin cloth and my lady therapist in her simple blue sari uniform. I began by sitting on the edge of the table. She started by saying a humble pooja and blessing the prescribed and personalized oil. Then she applied it to me my head and hair. I then laid on my back. She applied LOTS of oil and rubbed it in and all over. This treatment is more of an oil application and not a massage. Soaked with the medicated oil, my body was sliding all over the place. Oil was warmed up quite a bit and sticky and a bit smelly (but not in a bad way, just very natural), and was bright red! So much oil.

It was nice once I just surrendered to the fact that I was just going to be very oily and slippery for the next hour. I tell my body to absorb the oil and imagine it penetrating through the skin, tissues, muscles, organs and even my bones and circulating through my blood to every corner of my internal body...cleansing and purifying and stimulating prana.

After about 45 minutes of application and rubbing the oil on me, my therapist gave me a bath in the bathroom adjoining our treatment room, which basically consisted of her using a pitcher and pouring warm water all over me while I stood and sat. Then she used gram powder (which is basically ground moong dal) to remove the oils. My skin felt soft and smooth after. I was relaxed and felt rejuvenated by this very new experience.

5:30pm: Dr. K visited. Feel pulse - check. Inspect tongue - check. Examine the fingernails - check. Observe the eyeballs - check. It may seem simple, but a very experienced doctor (in most traditional and holistic branches of medicine) is able to tell volumes by this simple examination.

6:00pm: Kashayams again. Bottoms up. Aaaaack!

6:30pm: Soup man arrives.

6:40pm: Mosquito Man with smoking coals came and smoked our cottage. Bless him!

There's such a beautiful rhythm around here and we're loving the routine.

6:45pm: Took a walk through the street of the small village streets. A couple of women with their pails stood near the communal water pump. Each block or so has one or two pumps. A tiny little toddler in a black and red dress watches us with her big eye-linered eyes and flashes us the biggest smile. A child's smile always moves me to no end. She gets so excited that she falls down and looks towards the women sitting on the curb nearby and then begins to cry. Her gold anklets and bracelets sing as she ran to mommy's open arms.

This place is very raw, wild and authentic...well off the tourist path. The people seem gentle and genuinely spiritual. The dress is traditional and extremely modest. Coverage right down to the ankles has been difficult for a Pitta like me, but I compensate by drinking fresh coconut water daily. Nearly everyone is Hindu and a vegetarian.

7:30pm: Dinner was dosa (like a big, non-sweet rice pancake), served with sambar and chutneys for dipping.

8:00pm: Our bedtime medicines arrives. Mine was a lehyam (a dark black paste). The texture was like rich fudge brownie batter, but oh, the taste was far from chocolate and was a bit difficult to swallow, but it's growing on me day by day. It's redeeming qualities are the flavours of cinnamon and cloves.

11:00pm: Dr. R. visited. We waited all day for him. He is the famed medical director of this hospital and quite a remarkable man with a distinguished and holy presence to put it mildly. He arrived with an entourage of about 5 disciples who respectfully stood, hurriedly took notes and handed Dr. R his blackberry, files or answered his questions. His spirit was tangible, and his energy felt beautiful and positive. Mahesh and I both felt comforted and cared for in almost a fatherly way. He would often close his eyes and tilt his head back as if to go to deep inside himself or another plane or dimension for answers while feeling our pulse. He asked deeply intuitive questions as if he were clairvoyant. His wisdom moved us.

We peacefully drifted off to sleep internalizing the intense, yet very spiritual and uplifting experience.

2 comments:

♥ Braja said...

Can I come? :))

Shireena said...

=) It's no health spa - but it's amazing!