Today I dive even deeper into Ayurveda. This is the sixth post in the Panchakarma series.
If you missed the previous five posts you can catch up by following the links below:
- My Panchakarma healing journey begins
- Arrival at the Panchakarma Retreat
- Panchakarma – Snehana
- Pokhara Exploration
It’s Easter Day at home but feels far from it here after just having celebrated the New Year. I start the morning with a lovely long walk around the lake to discover more new areas in this fascinating city.
I have a full day ahead with private Yoga and Ayurveda classes in the morning then almost 3 hours of treatments in the afternoon.
The Ayurveda class that Dr Rumee leads along with Dr Samichha is excellent. Although I’ve been immersing myself in Ayurveda of late, with books, podcasts and other online resources, I learn many new things to further my knowledge in this absorbing field.
Aside from the history and what Ayurveda actually means, I learn about the five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth; how these five elements work with our five senses; the three biological humors also known as doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha); and their characteristics and functions as well as their relation to the five elements.
The marathon of treatments this afternoon starts with a Citz Bath. The purpose of this is to clean and rejuvenate the basic energy points by sitting in warm herbal liquid. This bath is both cleansing and therapeutic in nature. It is followed by another 90 minute oil massage of which I’m getting very accustomed to.
Siro Dhara in Ayurveda
Next on the agenda is a Siro Dhara. My first ever and it is pure bliss where I spend half an hour drifting between consciousness and unconsciousness.
Siro Dhara helps to achieve a total sense of balance by using the flow of natural oil on to the forehead. This is a distinctive Ayurvedic treatment that calms the mind and relaxes the central nervous system. In Siro Dhara, a continuous flow of Ayurvedic herbal oils or therapeutic liquids are dripped onto the forehead.
A metal vessel, known as a patra, is suspended directly above the forehead. The oil or therapeutic fluid is poured into the pot and seeps through a hole onto the centre of the forehead, also known as the ‘third eye’.
This classical treatment is meant to be maintained at a certain rhythmic speed while awakening the third eye. This treatment can initiate miraculous healing.
The many benefits of Siro Dhara include:
- Helps to evoke deep cognitive memories and restore good health.
- Enhances memory, clarity, comprehension, concentration and creativity.
- Very good for relaxation.
- Assists meditation and gaining benefits from meditation.
- For headaches, migraines and sleep disorders.
- For stress, and anxiety.
- Rejuvenates the senses and mind, and improves brain functioning.
Week 2 Already
It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for a week already. Another great start to the day with a longer than usual morning walk further down lakeside. I discover even more new areas including the Tal Barahi Temple, the Royal Palace and an army base (not that I can see over the walls of the latter two).
Seeing the army base reminds me of something interesting I read in the Lonely Planet about the Gurkha soldiers. It might seem like an odd leftover from the days of the empire, but the British army maintain a recruiting centre on the outskirts of Pokhara (not this particular army base I walked past this morning). Every year hundreds of young men from all over Nepal come here to go through a rigorous selection process to become a Gurkha soldier.
Prospective recruits must perform a series of backbreaking physical tasks, including a 5km uphill run carrying 25kg of rocks in a traditional doko basket. Only the most physically fit and mentally dedicated make it through and it’s not unheard of for recruits to keep on running with broken bones!
Gurkhas are still considered one of the toughest fighting forces in the world. They have carried out peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Sierra Leone. These soldiers form elite units of the Indian army, the Singapore Police Force and the personal bodyguard of the sultan of Brunei.
The primary motivation for most recruits is money. The average daily wage in Nepal is under $2, but Gurkha soldiers earn upwards of $1500 per month, with a commission lasting up to 16 years and a British Army pension for life, plus the option of settling in Britain on retirement.
Back to my day after that brief interlude into military trivia!
I’m very excited as I have two days ahead of a normal food diet which includes fresh fruit, porridge and pancakes for breakfast and dessert for dinner along with the all the other yummy food they always serve. Yay, no more rice soup – for two days anyway!
More Ayurveda Treatments
My treatments in the morning include another Citz bath, another 90 minute oil massage (Abhyanga) and a Pinda Sveda. Yet another type of Ayurveda treatment to experience.
A Pinda Sveda is a dry type of sweating. In this treatment, hot sand is prepared in boluses (soft, round balls wrapped in a cloth), which are used to stamp on the desired body part after my oil massage. This is performed by two therapist and it treats the following conditions:
- Swollen and inflamed joints.
- Joint pain, arthritis and deformity.
- Muscle aches, cramps and lethargy.
I only have one of these treatments during my stay which I’m quite pleased about, once was enough!
I have the afternoon free so I ask them to set me up a place to do yoga and the only free space is the rooftop. There’s a nice breeze and a pleasant view of the lake.
Later that afternoon, as if I’m not getting enough treatments here, I take myself off into town to get a pedicure. That was quite an experience, I must be used to the efficiently run ‘happy house’. I have to say it was the worse pedicure I’ve ever had! Oh well, my toes look pretty, at least they do if you don’t look too close.
That evening we have a group meditation on rooftop after dinner lead by Dr Samichha. A very pleasant way to end the day.