Feb. 7 (Day 5):
Wow. Has it really been five days already? It’s weird; the days sort of melt together here. I have absolutely no idea what day of the week it is.
It occurs to me that I haven’t told you about the dining experience here at Kalari Rasayana. When you enter the dining room for the first time, you might be thrown at first as it looks more like a classroom than a restaurant. Each of us has our own wooden table, one that looks quite a bit like an old-fashioned school desk. Add to this that everyone is facing the same direction…towards the lake. This is all by design, in order to help you adhere to the strict rule of silence in the dining room at all times.
Additionally, computers, books, and cell phones are forbidden in this room in order to focus on and appreciate every bite of your food. Even more importantly, there is nothing will distract you from actually feeling that moment when you are no longer hungry — instead of simply eating until you are full. It’s a subtle change, but there is a difference.
The symptoms of the detox are starting to show up for me today: headaches, light sensitivity, nausea, pain. The doctor warned me that as the Ayurvedic medicines were increased, the symptoms would intensify. Since I knew to expect this, it’s been totally manageable.
Yoga was at 5:30 this morning. The heat and the exercise combined with the shakiness and nausea almost did me in. Did not want to eat breakfast at all, but did it anyway because I needed something in my stomach when I took the medicines. Good news is it’s 7:30 now, so I get to rest until my doctor’s appointment at 9:45.
On a happier note, I’m feeling very clean and soft. (In all fairness, that’s only partially due to the treatments — and partially due to the three showers a day where I spend what feels like hours scrubbing my body and hair to get all that sticky oil off of me.) By the time I leave here I will either have the most beautiful hair and skin of my life…or I will have scrubbed it all off.
Dr. Sankar taught me something interesting today.
In Ayurveda, there are three bio-elements that make up a person’s constitution. They are called doshas.
Vata = air and space
Pitta – fire
Kapha – earth and water
Dr. Sankar explained that these three bio-elements have influence over different hours of the day as well as our physical bodies. The hours of the night are believed to be ruled by vata (air and space). Just like the air flows through and around everything with no limitations — during the night, our minds are full of endless possibilities as well. There are no boundaries to reign in our minds at night; that’s why dreams can take you anywhere. The flip side of this, however, is that when you are awake during the night, you can’t focus your thoughts…everything past, present and future floods into your head. As a result, once you wake up, it’s difficult to focus your mind enough to fall back asleep.
Pitta (fire) is also present at night, helping your body rejuvenate. But once you wake up during those nighttime hours, the excess of pitta energy feeds anxiety and stress. Pitta spins that worry around and around in your head when you’re lying awake in the middle of the night. It focuses you, not on the 10 things you got done that day, but the 20 things you didn’t.
The morning hours are ruled by kapha (earth and water). Kapha is a much more grounded and stable energy. As a result, morning hours are always the best for thinking clearly. As such, the Ayurvedic belief is that the early hours of the day are the most productive. Those morning hours are when you think the most clearly and make your best decisions overall.
Dr. Sankar’s advice for those of us who have trouble sleeping? “If you wake up in the middle of the night, what you must do is tell yourself, ‘This will become clear to me in the morning.’ Then get back to sleep so you may dream some more.” I thought that was pretty great.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
“Do not swim in the troubles…surf in the troubles.”
— Dr. Sreelal Sankar