Ayurveda - needing some TLC
A few weeks ago now I became painfully aware that I needed to step out of my denial and do something about the inherent tiredness I was feeling.
I'd seen a visiting Peruvian healer who highlighted to me low kidney energy, and the impact this was having on my wellbeing I knew this really, just like I knew that there were things I was doing that actually weren't supporting my wellbeing at this particular moment in my life - like prolonged sea swimming (making me too cold and further stressing kidneys) and eating far too many nuts (also stressing kidney energy).
This made me increasingly aware how we do things thinking, on one level that they are good for us, but knowing, on a deeper level, that they are actually not. So that was the sea swimming put on hold, and a change of diet required. The Peruvian healer shared wise words, "get more out of the head and into the heart". My sentiments exactly! he also encouraged rest.
Not long after that I saw the wonderfully intuitive visiting Ki massage practitioner and osteopath Jo de Diepold Brahman (every one should see Jo, she's incredibly attuned!), and we looked at the tiredness from another angle...and that was enlightening as ever as it highlighted the energy centre imbalance and the carrying of old memories and stories that one re-plays over and over until that stuff is finally dealt with. Sigh. She also highlighted the need for rest.
So this found me eleven days later having a Skype call with an Ayurvedic doctor in Purley Okas - not my usual doctor, Dr Deepika, as she's now busy doing the trainings, but another lady, Dr W, who has joined her from Sri Lanka.
I discovered Ayurveda not long after I started teaching yoga back in 2006. I befriend a British girl on a retreat in Bali, who had been seeing Dr Deepika for a few years. I was curious. I knew I needed healing and I loved the idea of trying something so connected to yoga. When i was back home in Guernsey I made contact with Dr Deepika and travelled over to meet her at her clinic, maybe 25-30 minutes from Gatwick. There began my love affair with Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is truly inspiring, the most ancient and authentically recorded health system in history, over 5,000 years old, it was created by yogis who spent their lives studying nature and the human condition. Meaning “the science of life” it is exactly that, viewing health in four dimensions of physical, sensory, mental and spiritual and is centred on preventative medicine and bringing a person back to balance. It shows how an imbalance in one part of a person’s being will affect them in another, i.e. if a person isn’t being true to their life path (dharma) then physical and mental illnesses can arise which cannot be effectively treated with modern medicines but can be helped by Ayurveda.
Ayurveda uses elemental medicine which means that they balance out earth, fire, water, air and ether in the body. These are divided into three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are the basis of a person’s constitution and also the factors that can create imbalances. Ayurveda places great emphasis on diet, lifestyle, yoga, meditation, massage and herbal medicines to bring a person back to health and keep them there.
I've seen Dr Deepika a number of times over the years - in person and through Skype. I've followed an Ayurvedic diet as much as I can too - although there have been periods were I have been swayed (yes, even me) by Western approaches to nutrition, and gotten myself in a fix until Dr Deeika has given me a good talking to and got me back on the straight and narrow (well actually not so straight and narrow, that's the joy of Ayurveda).
So, for example in the Ayurvedic world too much juice will make you damp on the inside and might lead to damp conditions like thrush (yep, that certainly happened to me), and then all the sauerkraut and gut "friendly" foods, can agitate people like me, with all that vinegar and salt, so that we become imbalanced, too much fire and drying out. It;s truly fascinating - especially when you switch to an Ayurvedic diet and realise how nourishing and kind it is to your constitution (dosha then).
I did a ten day Panchakarma at the Ayurvedic Home in Kathmandu (Nepal) once. This was an incredible experience. Panchakarma is most definitely the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance and well-being. It is one the most effective healing modality in Ayurvedic Medicine. It promotes detoxification and rejuvenation and is recommended on a seasonal basis, as well as when an individual feels out of balance or is experiencing illness.
Panchakarma essentially removes the excess doshas and correct imbalances in them as well as eliminating the harmful ama (waist matter from toxins that can create dis-ease) out of your system through the body’s own organs and channels of elimination (colon, sweat glands, lungs, bladder, urinary tract, stomach, intestines, etc). Panchakarma purifies the tissues at a very deep level. It involves daily massages and oil baths, herbal enemas, nasal administrations and - from experience - is a very pleasurable experience.
I did a three day Panchakarma when I needed to sort myself out after a failed IVF round, and to prepare for our final round of IVF. This was a treat in itself - two nights and three days away from the family, and spending much of it in silence, bliss for me!
I accredit the Ayurveda for helping me with lots of my healing - of cysts on the ovaries and PMS, and also helping to support the IVF in helping me get pregnant. I've also learned a lot about energy from working with Ayurveda and of course health and wellbeing. Dr Deepika has been, and continues to be a spiritual teacher for me too.
My favourite treatment is Shirodhana, which involves warm oil being poured on the third eye. I find it deeply relaxing and soothing, helping me to let go and drop in on a deep level, and leaving me feel restored afterwards. I enjoyed two of these treatments from trained Ayurvedic practitioners offering their services at Satsanga, where we stayed for the Goa retreat. It was sublime as ever.
So to cut a long story shorter (hopefully - I need to get to bed!), I ended up going over to the Ayurvedic clinic a week ago or so for a Panchakarma, and timed this with a night in Gatwick (of all places - my first night away from my still-breast feeding throughout the night son, Eben (poor Ewan didn't get much sleep!)) so I could also say goodbye to my brother who was flying back to Australia first thing in the morning, so he went one way and I went another, back to Guernsey.
I'm on Ayurvedic herbs too and back on the diet and I feel so much better already. Admittedly I still need to do a little bit more resting, but i feel grateful for having Ayurveda in my life and for my body creating the conditions for me to tap into it again...and over the shifting Equinox too, not that was good coincidental timing!
I've had some Reiki and massage since being back home to compliment the Ayurveda and I've managed one tiny dip (tea bag) in the sea, but you know what, I need to keep warm for now, until I feel fully restored again, there will be plenty of time for swimming (it's freezing right now in there, like hurts its so cold!).
So if you're in need of some TLC, then I wholeheartedly recommend the Ayurvedic Clinic, it's brilliant!!! Incidentally, Dr Deepika specialises in fertility so if you have these issues, it's well worth checking her out if you;re having issues there. Her website is http://www.theayurvedicclinic.com