Ayurveda Daily Journal – Day 3

Feb. 5 (Day 3):

I can hardly describe how peaceful it is here. The lake reflects everything around it. Close to the shore, the water is a deep green, reflecting the color of the thousand coconut trees that edge the property. Farther out towards the center, there’s a low, flat bridge where lazy trains seem to glide their way across the water. Near that bridge, the water reflects the pale blue of the sky, so it looks like a swimming pool more than a lake. But at sunset, the lake is surreal. In the setting sun the sky turns the lightest shade of pink. When it does, this crazy, magical lake turns pink as well. If it were a painting, I wouldn’t believe it.

Pokikizhi is the new treatment I had for the first time today. (Podi means “powder’ and kizhi means “pouch.”) So…You are lying on a table in your paper loincloth again. A third, new therapist (an apprentice) heats four muslin bags filled with medicated powder in a big, cast iron skillet. Then the two regular therapists, Greeshma and Reshma, take the pouches and begin the work. One takes your left side and one takes your right, and they sort of punch you with them all over, top to bottom, for an hour. Heat and punch…heat and punch. It hurts a bit, but also feels kind of good; the heated pouches feel great when they rub them on your spine. (No punching there.) Another bonus? No stinky oil this time…Hallelujah! The purpose of all this pounding is to relieve joint pain, reduce inflammation, increase metabolism, ease symptoms of prolapsed discs and even paralysis. Maybe I’m vain, but the best part for me, honestly? My skin felt like silk afterwards. I mean it…I kept petting my arms all night because they were so soft.

In my meeting with Dr. Sankar this afternoon, he said I was doing so well that he is going to start me on the more aggressive Ayurvedic medicines tonight. When he explained that these are all extremely bitter and unpleasant, he just smiled and said, “Welcome to Ayurveda.” I didn’t know whether to laugh…or punch him in the head.

“First we try something, and we learn a bit. Then we try something else, and we learn a bit more. We try…we try…we try. And then…we know.” — Poornima Sreelal


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  1. Suzann

    Trains.. my Sweet spot.. I grew up on the other side of a vacant lot where trains passed at least twice daily.. everyday. To many their noise is irritating , to me it is relaxing.. Yhe beauty of the lake seems contrary to what I’ve read about extensive water pollution in India. You paint a beautiful picture..The treatment is indeed unique and if not for your positive tone, I would worry about your well being!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grace Birdsong

      There’s a lot of pollution around the big cities like Bombay, but there are gorgeous beach resorts here like Goa. (Google some photos; you’ll be amazed!) The lakes in Kerala are beautiful. You can google Kerala backwaters for images of the rivers and lakes here. You’ll be shocked. In fact, if you are already worried about my health, the next phase of treatment (the ghee) will really freak you out! Can’t wait to hear your reaction on that!


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