Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ayurvedic oil drizzling

I’m on to my third day of oil drizzling. The treatment rooms are in a separate building near the cottages. You can see it to the right in this picture from my veranda.

My treatment usually happens in the late afternoon. First Dr Asha gives me an oil massage using warm oil infused with particular herbs to support my out of balance doshas. For the first seven days the massage was followed by a body dhara with warm medicated water. For the body dhara the doctor uses a vessel like a bulbous vase with a hole in the bottom to pour the water in a specific pattern over the body. They tell me it is designed to open up blockages in the channels that eliminate toxins from the body. It feels very yummy and relaxing although it took a while to get the temperature just right for me. The first one was a bit too hot and left me rather drained and dehydrated. Once the treatment is over the lovely washer lady (mine is called Vigaylakshmi) comes in and washes off all the oil with a special body scrub. It’s like being a baby again being washed and dried and once you get over the strangeness it is also extremely relaxing!

After the series of body dharas were competed I had one day of basti. The oil massage came first as per usual and then I was put in the steam box – like a little sauna with a hole for your head to poke out of – for a few minutes and then back into the treatment room for the basti. The basti is effectively an enema with medicated liquid but there are a variety of different types of basti and their intent and effect are quite different from traditional enemas. This one was apparently designed to give me specific herbs to be absorbed by the colon.

And now I’m on the oil drizzling (or body dhara with oil) which is very similar to the other dhara but with warm oil. As the oil is much more viscous than the water the warmth spreads deliciously and lingers on the body. It is very relaxing and very very oily!

When I’m not in treatment the big decision is whether to do nothing or very little! After my morning routine of herbs, nasya (warm medicated oil in the nostrils to eliminate kapha – mucous – from the head) and yoga – either in my room or with the teacher, the day is punctuated by the delivery of meals, drinks and a visit from the coconut man. He is in the picture above too and he brings around young coconuts and cuts them open to give us the juice and the delicious soft young coconut flesh. Mmmm!

Here is one of the breakfasts – I call it wiggly iddlies but that’s probably not the name!

I have a variety of ‘doing very little’ options. I’ve got some great books - both fiction that I brought with me and some on Ayurveda and tantra from the library here. I’m really enjoying colouring in the mandalas in the book that I got for Christmas and I’ve been getting creative with papier maché, inspired by the desire not to waste the Indian papers that get delivered each morning.

There is a TV in my room and I occasionally watch a movie. One day when I didn’t have treatment (there’s no treatment on Sundays) I went for a short walk in the evening. But I got back so hot and bothered and dehydrated I decided not to do that again!

The other guests here are lovely and every now and then someone pops by for a chat. I quite often go up to the canteen for a more social dinner with a couple of the women who are staying upstairs in the hospital. One is also English but living in Oz and the other is Russian and living in UAE. We have quite a giggle together.

On Saturday there was a big event. Puja was held in the temple for the healing of the patients. It was very spectacular and included some special mantras designed to remove any negative effects of the planets on our healing. This picture shows the Brahmin priest (who is also a doctor at the asram) in front of the image they created representing all the planets.

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