In this year 2020, I will share excerpts of my soon to be released book, Cleanse Your Body, Reveal Your Soul. In addition, I will share ideas and tools to consider adding to your daily or weekly rhythm of self-care. It begins with small steps; this is how change happens. That small shift changes the direction of health for you over time.
I spent most of January 2020 in India on retreat. I found that I needed it and also welcomed this special time. Being in India for the medically supported cleanse has been a yearly ritual now for several years. This cleanse called panchakarma has been lifechanging in the deepest way possible. New shifts happen each time as well as new perspectives. I am more aware of how to work with the essence of who I am, my life force or prana (in Ayurveda) or chi (Chinese medicine). By calming my senses, I am more able to access this life force present in all of us. This creates a sense of calm and well-being.
A new sense of physical strength, rejuvenation, and mental clarity
I feel a new sense of physical strength and rejuvenation. Whatever physical aches and pains I have had are typically wiped away for a good period. This is even truer as I have become more diligent in the daily life self-care known as Dinacharya in Ayurveda.
My mind is clear and calm. I experience a level of emotional well-being that I cherish. I have the awareness of how to support the boundaries which are life-affirming for me. My soul is so much less restless as the trajectory sought is more in line with my mind. My mind is more focused and in line with my heart.
The rhythm of the day in India
Releasing, cleansing, purging has always been amazingly supported in the Vinayak Panchakarma Chikitsalaya clinic. The rhythm of the day has been predictable and surprisingly busy.
Before dawn, I wake up. Preparing for the daily morning walk at 6 am with my friend and lover of beauty and ritual worship, Martina, I sort out how cold or if it is rainy for our 45-minute walk. January has proven to be a colder, wetter month than the last few years here in Nagpur, India. The good news via the weather app is that there is no rain, but it remains close to 46-50 degrees. There is no sunshine on this walk as the sun rises closer to 7 am here in the winter.
Greeting each other at the stairs, we brace ourselves for the cold. My puffy jacket has proven to be necessary often. We are greeted by the guard as we walk out. As we are putting on our outdoor shoes located under the awning, I smell the air. There is less smoke in the air from the typical fires burnt on cold nights. Unlocking the gate to start our walk, I hear little noise as the street is deserted. There are other local walkers, wrapped warmly, who greet us with a ‘Namaste’ or ‘Good morning’. We return the greeting with ‘Namaste’.
Streetlamps are still on this street. Since my last visit, construction on the street and sidewalk have been completed so it is more pedestrian-friendly. Yet, we walk on the street along with the locals. As we turn left at the next block, streetlamps are not on. Walking on this street here is easier as it is flat, unlike the sidewalks which are elevated about fifteen inches off the ground so the drops for the driveways are difficult to gauge in the dark.
Sharing about our dreams and sleep, I have begun to understand how much processing happens throughout our day and night during this time. Dreams about my mother who past almost two years ago were quite vivid for me. I miss her.
Stopping at the local Hanuman temple, we share prayers and a small offering to this amazing diety whose piety and bhakti we can only hope to emulate. Ganesha has a special place here as well as in our hearts to support the removal of obstacles within us.
It’s time for yoga then breakfast with the bodywork of the day soon after, so we keep up our pace to return to the clinic. I will share more about the process in future blogs.
Netra basti procedure
We both had a netra basti one evening. This procedure takes melted ghee placed over the eyes, held in place with help of a dough placed around the eye orbital area. By moving our eyes back and forth while they are open, then resting as needed for four minutes, there is much nourishment and easing of eye tension. The ghee helps to remove toxins. COMPLETE rest is expected afterward so I go to bed early. It is usually a deep, restful sleep. My eyes feel nourished and moist.
Sensory calming and minimizing noxious exposure to each of the senses happens to be one of the MAIN goals for being in this medically supervised retreat. This can be done at home as well which I do in various ways and share these ideas with others.
IDEA FOR SELF CARE in DAILY LIFE
Treating yourself to a fast for a day or two every week from those forms of stimulation that are most toxic for you is a gift to support your senses. There is less numbing needed when we are aware of the sensory overload we experience in our daily lives.
A Story to Share
I have worked with a middle-aged client whose trauma was a shooting in a public setting. For years, she kept getting triggered by having the television on the news in her home throughout the day. I encouraged her to take a news fast for two weeks. She then was asked to limit it to headlines with one news show that she chose to watch when she felt strong enough to do so. She has been ever so grateful for the prescription as she is no longer triggered daily by hearing about each shooting that may happen in a public setting. Being less stressed, she and her children are able to share about their day at school and will watch a show after eating their meal together without the television. Her children seek her out more now as well as she is not so upset on a daily basis as before. She is much happier and more focused on improving her well-being.
What would be that toxic exposure for you to fast from and create a new sensory calm in your life?