Post seven in the panchakarma series is all about the Basti. Thank you if you’re still with me! If you missed the previous six posts you can catch up by following the links below:
- My Panchakarma healing journey begins
- Arrival at the Panchakarma Retreat
- Panchakarma – Snehana
- Pokhara Exploration
- Deeper Dive into Ayurveda
My morning routines are now becoming a habit followed by my lakeside walk. I’m starting to see the same people walking each morning as the sun rises. I’m not sure if they recognise me but it’s an interesting assortment including a couple of young Nepalese girls in tracksuits, a mother and small son, an elderly gentleman with a topi (traditional hat), a group of young girls and boys practicing karate (seven days a week I might add), a group of ladies in their saris always deep in conversation and a couple of young guys hard at it jogging. There’s even a group of dogs I see every morning including the cutest wee puppy! This morning they’re playing tug of war with an old sock or something.
Today is my last normal food day for eight days so I’m stocking up inside – might be a bad idea with what’s to come however!
My treatments today include yet another wonderful 90 minute Abhyanga with Penu then a Chakra Basti with Penu and Dr Rumee.
The Chakra Basti is simply amazing! This process provides subtle nutrition to the Chakra, it helps to improve the function of the Chakra and alleviates the diseased or stressed organ associated with the particular Chakra. It is followed by a gentle massage of the energy points.
The Chakras are the energy fields in the subtle body and govern the subtle elements, sense organs and organs of action. They possess corresponding energy fields in the physical body and the nerve plexus to govern gross elements and to maintain life.
In their heightened or spiritual function, they awaken the subtle sensory and motor organs to which they relate, giving us the experience of the subtle world and higher states of consciousness.
Physical diseases relate to imbalances in the outer Chakras which function through the various nerve plexus and endocrine organs. Psychological diseases involve imbalances in inner Chakra functioning.
There are five places for the application of Chakra Basti:
- Mooladhra Chakra (Root Centre)
- Swadhisthana Chakra (Pubic Centre)
- Manipura Chakra (Naval or Solar plexus Centre)
- Anahata Chakra (Heart Centre)
- Vishuddhi Chakra (Throat Centre)
My Chakra Basti today focuses on my Manipura Chakra. I have four of these treatments during my stay so will cover most of them. I also have a Siro Basti in my program which is the crown chakra, on top of the head, so my chakras will be well taken care of by the time they’ve finished with me!
The treatment involves the shaping of flour dough into a ring and placing it around the desired Chakra area, in this case my naval. It is secured into a dam-like structure and warm medicated oil is gradually poured inside. While this is going on I have singing bowls placed on and around me and Dr Rumee ‘plays’ these while Penu pours the warm oil onto my belly.
As I said before, this treatment is simply amazing, I thought the Siro Dhara was the pinnacle but I think this tops it. I’m not really sure how to describe how I felt but it was almost like I was transported to somewhere and I seemed to be floating on a cloud. I guess you had to be there!!
The benefits of the various Chakra Bastis includes:
- Improves and balances the function of the Chakras for subtle spiritual growth.
- Helps to improve the function of neurons and the endocrine system.
- Helps to pacify the disorders of those organs which correspond to the Chakras.
I’m so chilled out from the Chakra Basti that I spend the rest of the day lazing around reading but I do manage a short walk later in the afternoon before dinner.
Ahhh, the end of another fabulous day.
Now to the Real Bastis
Technically the Chakra Basti is a basti, however the next bastis I experience are the true Ayurveda basti treatments that are at the crux of my particular Panchakarma journey.
This Basti is the second main procedure of my Panchakarma.
I am to be given two types of Basti, one early in the morning and another on the next day in the evening. During these Bastis, cleansing and rejuvenation work simultaneously to clean and habour the function of the colon. This is a deep healing procedure that works into the subtle cellular level.
The morning Basti, Asthapana Basti, is cleansing and is an irrigation of a medicated concoction of herbs into the colon. The procedure starts with Doctor Rumee taking my blood pressure and pulse. On this first day my blood pressure is 100/60 and pulse 62. She then gives me a stomach massage for around 10 minutes then places a couple of hot water bottles onto my abdomen (hot fomentation). These both stimulate the stomach to help the flow of energy.
While Dr Rumee prepares my individual herbal concoction, my therapist for today, Sarita, gives me a foot massage, also lasting around 10 minutes. This is followed by the colon irrigation then I am to rest for 15 minutes on my right side before letting nature take its course!
After a while, I retire to my room with a thermos of Cumin and Ginger tea which will help with any stomach cramps. The rest of the day I take it easy and relax with some more wonderful afternoon treatments.
The evening Basti, Anuvasana Basti, is the irrigation of special herbal oils into the colon. The goal of this evening Basti is rejuvenation. It helps to improve tissue health and give the necessary healing information to all the tissues.
For the next eight days I have four morning and four evening Bastis on alternate days. I also have a special diet on these days as my digestion is weak so the food that is prepared for me will restore my weak digestion and soothe the alimentary tract.
The morning Basti day is very similar food to the Virecana food I had previously. Soupy basmati rice that gets thicker as the days goes on. Breakfast is a very thin rice soup with no spices and lunch gets a bit thicker with the addition of ghee, ginger and rock salt. In the afternoon I get a bowl of boiled apples with spices then a couple of hours later I am allowed Kitchari (rice, lentils and vegetables with various spices). This is always very welcome!
On the evening Basti days I get a light to normal food diet. Boiled apples and porridge for breakfast and lunch is lentil soup, rice, some sort of vegetable dish and a raw chutney.
Dinner is early so I have time to digest it, usually one hour before the Basti, and this is plain basmati rice with steamed carrots and zucchini. Later in the evening I then have a bowl of vegetable soup.
It’s not too bad but at the end of the eight days I’m very much looking forward to ‘normal’ food again!
The afternoon of my first Basti I enjoy more pampering of yet another 90 minute oil massage, then a Picu followed by the super relaxing Siro Dhara. This somehow makes the shock of my first ever Basti quite bearable.