Feb. 4 (Day 2):
It’s 8am, and I am sitting by the lake, in my little wrought iron, garden chair and writing. The magic of this place is undeniable. The Muslim “Call to Prayer” is piped over loudspeakers from a couple of miles away, and the quiet sound is hauntingly beautiful. Since the musical chanting whispers into my ear all day and into the evening, it makes this place feel like it’s constantly being blessed. With all the patients abiding by the rule of silence, the only thing to disturb the constant prayers is the peaceful sound of the birds. Herons poke around the grass and chase each other in the shade of the palm trees all around me. This place feels as timeless as Venice; I just love it.
I should clarify one thing about the rule of silence. There is a strict rule of silence in the dining room, and they are very serious about it. It turns out, however, that you can speak (in quiet tones) in the waiting room of the doctor’s office or in the reception area of the facility (even when walking the grounds as well, if you are respectful and quiet).
It’s strange how quickly you get used to navigating the heat. I’ve learned the reason the day starts so early is that you can enjoy hours of time outside before it gets too warm. Yoga is at 5:30 each morning, and all appointments and treatments are all over by about 3:30 in the afternoon. As a result, you can rest in your room when the sun is at its peak. There’s also a nice breeze that comes off the water until about 2 o’clock in the afternoon which also helps. And, I would never have believed it, but drinking warm water helps keep your temperature constant so you feel better in general. They’ve added cumin to mine which gives it a nice taste and is supposed to ease my stomach as well.
Dhathupushti Uzhichil was the very first Ayurvedic treatment I had here at Karlari Rasayana. (dhathu means “tissues” and pushti means “rejuvenation.” Uzhichil means “oil massage.”) Let me tell you…they aren’t kidding. This is the oiliest you will ever feel in your life.
The procedure: After you get your tiny paper loincloth, they sit you in a chair to massage both your front and back at the same time. This is designed to coax the toxins out of your body through the lymphatic system. So, they untie your paper panties letting them fall onto the chair. Then one of these sweet, little ladies massages ALL of your chest and stomach, and the other massages ALL of your back. (This, I must admit, made me really uncomfortable. I’m hoping I get used to it.)
Anyway, after the chair massage, you lie face up on the treatment table and pray for a towel to cover up with — which of course, never comes. (Modesty left the building a long time ago.) After pouring what feels like pints of this warm Ayurvedic oil all over your body, (in your hair, on your face, all over your feet) they start mashing it into your tissues. The purpose of this is to allow the medicinal herbs to enter your body through your pores. At one point when they start pounding you to relax your muscles, the oil flies all over the room. (This must be what a turkey feels like when it’s being smashed with butter before making its way to the oven for Thanksgiving.)
The massage itself is amazing. The pressure is great; they are basically squeezing your arms and legs as they slather on the oil. After it’s done, you feel like you’ve had a workout, but you’re incredibly relaxed at the same time.
I spent another hour with Dr. Sankar today, and I’m starting to notice his sense of humor more. His tone of voice never changes so you really have to pay attention, but then you’ll realize he’s said something really funny. Usually, it’s about how bad the ghee treatments will be. Whenever he mentions them, he just gets this devilish, little smile on his face. He cracks me up.
Also, I have a bit of a headache but the doctor said that’s normal. He said that I can expect everything to feel worse for the next five days while the first stage of detox kicks in. I can hardly wait.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
“Even when you are multi-tasking, you are still only doing one thing at a time. When you spear the lotus with a thread, the needle still only goes through one petal at a time.” — Dr. Sreelal Sankar