This is #3 in my series on India. If you are new to my blog and would like to start at the beginning, just follow the link below.
What to say about that? Well, I smell strongly of unpasteurised milk, slightly fermented, heated and spiced with turmeric. It’s in every pore of my skin after being doused in it for thirty minutes straight. Dressed in my birthday suit, I obeyed instructions from the small Indian ladies assigned to deliver my first Ayurvedic treatment. I sat upright, I lay down, I crumpled awkwardly on my side and I slipped and slid to achieve the turns necessary for this treatment. Designed to calm my overactive pitta and vatta doshas, I’ll be back here for three days. Dr Ayurveda confirmed today what I had already self diagnosed; a fiery pitta dosh with a dash of vatta derangement due to grudgingly residing in a hectic city. Pitta is my ‘prakruti’, while vatta can and has fast become my ‘vikruti’ when not kept in check.
The treatment was conducted on a hard, wooden slab carved much like an autopsy table. A quiet, older lady collected the drained milk at the foot end before two girls scooped it back up and continued to slosh it on me, pouring in tandem from spouted, stainless steel pots. Working in a fast symmetrical choreography, they rubbed lightly on each major joint; phalanges, elbow, shoulder, hips, knees and ankles. They seriously tickled my feet. This is to be my treatment for at least two more days. I don’t think I like being hot milked very much, but I will endure.
However, the treatment really begins tonight; a lady has kindly agreed to switch rooms, giving me the only private bedroom in the whole place. Out of seventeen people, I am the lucky one. I will sleep well tonight and can calm my thoughts. Today I have been on the verge of tears several times and had a lot of my mind. The treatment has helped me feel better, to remember me of who I am. Internally, I’d had a good laugh at my milk-covered self, but I am in pain. Hopefully the 5:00pm yoga class will bring me back to balance and undo the aches gained from awkward positions held during the unusual treatment. Dr Ayurveda also gave me some herbal tablets to take for anxiety and I look forward to seeing how they affect my sleep.
This evening, a dance performance from a local pair, a young woman and man. Illustrating the stories of gods and goddesses, their movements were precision exemplified. Asymmetry, facial expression and hand mudras were the most interesting features, but the costumes kept my attention when the choreography became repetitive. Carefully pleated and edged, the woman looked resplendent in a red, gold and white dress. Her male companion wore a gold body suit with a camp, sequinned shoulder piece Ru Paul would approve of. The classical Indian music was hypnotic and built to several crescendos before the power began to falter. All lights and music went out and I looked up to the sky; a heavenly light blue hovering above the cricket song-filled evening.
Vatta – the airy dosha. It’s a bit tough to admit, but I’ve got a bit of an airhead in me, sharing space with my pitta core. The general consensus is that:
“Vattas love excitement and new experiences. They are quick to anger but also to forgive. When Vatas are in balance, they are energetic, creative, and flexible. They also take initiative and are lively conversationalists. When unbalanced, they are prone to worry and anxiousness and often suffer from insomnia.” – The Chopra Centre.
Prakruti – your true constitution. Literally translated from the sanskrit, it is your ‘original creation’.
Vikruti – the problem or imbalance concerning your dosha/s that draws you away from your prakruti.
Mudra – a hand gesture that communicates symbolically. Dancers can tell entire stories just with their hands. Not even joking.
Want to keep reading…?
5. India: Pitta