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During my 50 days spent in South India, I had the opportunity to experience the beauty of this authentic wellbeing practice, its benefits and it’s deep process of detoxing, physically but also emotionally. I went through a one week treatment at Erandia Marari Resort, in Kerala. More about the experience there in the previous article.
Ayurveda states that a system of health that only takes into account the structure and functioning of the physical body, cannot effectively address human health in it’s totality, because obviously we are much more than this material form.
Ayurveda defines ayu, or life, as the intelligent coordination of the four parts of life: atma (soul), manas (the mind), indriyas (the senses) and sharira (the body). Each of these four aspects has specific functions which contribute to the wholeness we experience as life, and Ayurveda focuses on maintaining a balanced, integrated relationship among them.
In this philosophy, it is believed that we are created from the five elements, and from here, there are three types of energies, or doshas. When there is balance between the doshas, there is health.
A dosha, according to Ayurveda, is one of three bodily Bioelements that make up one’s constitution. The three bioelements are always fluctuating in the body. They are highly unstable and changes with day and night, and with food. The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily bioelements or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata – Air – Breathing
Pitta – Fire – Burning – Digestion
Kapha – Water – Growth – Reproduction
Panchakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance and wellbeing. It is said that the five procedures of Panchakarma will eliminate the dosha imbalance from the body, but only if this treatment is administrated to the patient for at least 14 days.
Panchakarma’s main procedures are designed to restore all impurities from the body, but it can only achieve this goal if the body is ready to let go of the accumulated toxins stored deep within it’s structures.
All procedures begin with a prayer to Lord Dhanvantari, and it is my favourite part. The patient and the therapists get into a special mood, and are channelling a specific healing energy that will help during the treatment.
The first step of Purvakarma is called Snehana, or Oleation. It consists of two types of procedures, external oleation, where medicated herbal oils are vigorously massaged into the body, and internal oleation, where medicated oils are ingested.
The oils depend on the type of person, but mostly there are 4 types of substances: vegetable oils (taila), clarified butter (ghee), animal fats (vasa) and fat from the bone marrow (majja).
Sesame oil (til) is the primary vegetable oil used for external application. It is sweet, bitter and astringent in taste, warming in action and easily penetrates and nourishes the skin.
Herbalized Ghee, the main substance used for internal oleation, is made by processing butter to remove all its milk solids, proteins and water, then cooking it with numerous prescribed herbs. By itself, ghee has remarkable properties as a nutritive and medicinal substance.
The external oleation, or Babya Snebana, employs a specific form of massage to apply the herbalized oil on the skin, but it should not be confused with the typical massage from the West.
In traditional Ayurvedic massage, two technicians work on both sides of the patient simultaneously, employing a series of perfectly synchronized directional strokes. The direction of the strokes is very complex and has a deep meaning in the flows and circuits of the five different energies in the body.
Another common procedure in Ayurvesa is Shirodhara . Shiro means head, and Dhara means the dripping of oil like a thread. This treatment drips warm oil in a steady stream on the forehead, particularly on the region between the eye brows, and it is said that it quiets both mind and it also calms the central nervous system.
Pinda Swedana – Bolus of heat.
During this procedure, a bolus of hot rice that has been cooked with special herbs is soaked in herbal milk. This hot bolus is then rubbed vigorously over the entire body, focusing on the muscle tissue and joints. This also helps to move the toxins from the tissues of the body but it is also beneficial in the case of different muscle diseases.
There are numerous treatments that can be prescribed in an ayurvedic centre, everything being part of a complex prescription that is made after the initial consultation. The diet is also specifically made for your type of constitution and for your energetic needs. Besides external treatments and diet, there are also internal treatments and medications.
During my stay at Erandia Marari, I got also the opportunity to learn a few things about this beautiful sacred science, but I also received a few tips from the doctor, in order to live a balanced and healthy life.
I have experienced this practice “on my own skin” and I loved it, It has helped me to clean physically but also emotionally. And I am extremely grateful for that.
I am following the three principles from wherever I am, and I am understanding way better my emotions and thought, knowing that all has an explanation through the three doshas philosophy.