PANCHAKARMA 1: THE BEGINNING
I woke up in Kozhikode, North Kerala on a Monday morning to a delicious breakfast, my first beloved chai, puri, bhaji and coconut sauce and have been dreaming of food ever since. I would have eaten my way to Kannur if I had known that this was the end of my culinary satisfaction, I’m drooling as I write!! I’m having medicated ghee in the morning, so appetising Peira covers my eyes and nose before giving it to me. 250ml of ghee, all I can say is thank God for ginger tea. I am allowed plain rice gruel mid-morning and at 6pm.
I am hoping this snehana, internal oleation, will be for only three days. It’s not the worst thing I’ve lived through but it’s not a pleasant experience. The first day I had 125ml., slept all morning, felt good but ravenous and at 4pm. the doctor relented and sent me to the restaurant for chappatis and potato bhaji, HEAVEN!!
Snehana day two was a different story. I swallowed 250ml of ghee and with the firm admonishment not to sleep nor leave my room but to rest I was abandoned on my bed, where it appears I will be camping for the forseeable.
The ghee made me nauseous, every smell, smoke from the furnace, herbs from the medicine factory, soap….. noxious waves of weakness assaulted me. The bitter regurgation of ghee and a heavy head finally led to an all sound, all light, all smell overload and a headache so painful I finished with earplugs, a blindfold and, figuring I wasn’t completely breaking the rules by sitting, abandoned my self to sleep.
No-one caught me sleeping and I felt better for it. 5 30am is an early start, it’s hot, humid and no aircon is allowed during snehana, so I am only sleeping 1-2 hours at a time. Tonight I will cheat, I’ll chill the room down just before bed, don’t want to chill the ghee down to solid and cause congestion, then I can cuddle my quilt and SLEEEEP.
I spent the rest of day two trying to stay awake, reading the fabulously written The Alchemy of Desire by Tarun J Tejpal, watching reruns of Shetland on Netflix. Then my efforts at a little gentle movement, Yoga, a walk around the building and garden, doing some washing, pranayama, another walk, all of which were sanctioned, You must rest! I’m champing at the bit really, all of India is waiting to be discovered outside my window and I have had a tantalising taste on my way here!! So this is a really, really good excercise in slowing down, doing nothing and not dying of anxiety in the process.
Last night I woke twice dreaming of forgetting how to do someting essential and basic, this is the out of control anxiety from the lack of sleep, confusion and memory loss of hyperthyroidism. I’m looking forward to the dhara treatments and real food I will have once the snehana is over and I have traversed the challenge of Vamana and Virechana.
Kind and fun and hardworking Deu, I love you, but after today, I hope tomorrow morning will be the last ime I see you coming at me with Ghee.
panchakarma in a nutshell
Panchakarma is a therapeutic method in three stages: preparation, the main event, and a recovery period.
the main event- panchakarma
Panch means five and karma means action so this part of your panchakarma consists of fve principle actions treaatments. You may or may not receive them all, the doctor will decide which ones are suited to your case. don’t freak out yet it"‘s not as awful as it sounds as you are well prepared beforehand and the methods used are so intelligently thought out they are really quite gentle. Honestly my personal experience is that the ends really do justify the means here, the benefits far out weigh any inconvenience or aversion to the idea of it.
recovery- paschatkarma and rasayana