Saturday, January 7, 2012

bowel talk

let me get this straight off the bet. bowel talk is big here. in fact, when dr harikrishnan comes at seven thirty in the morning, he asks four questions before he examines tongue and reads pulse. how’s sleep? bowel today? how’s appetite? urine normal? by the way chinese medicine is like that as well. when do you poop? what’s the poop like? consistency, color, odor? there’s a sheet that we have to fill in everyday that is titled ‘recording of bowel movement details.’ bowel talk is serious business here. not an evening program goes by without a mentioning from dr ramkumar or a question from someone going through panchakarma about bowel in one way or another. i’m not kidding. like i ask, is egg ayurveda correct? ramkumar says, among other things, egg increases constipation. one person asks, what if we make an omelette, or scramble egg? dr chuckles and says, doesn’t matter how you cook it, it’s still egg. the poor guy has been on seven days of drinking ghee, meaning seven meals of rice porridge. i can’t blame him for having thoughts of an omelette.
i don’t give it any thought to take psyllium everyday. but dr ramkumar says, in an evening program, from ayurveda’s point of view, if your body is strong, digestive fire is strong, you ought to be able to get out of bed in the morning and have bowel without using any external stimulant. in fact this is one of the fifteen major health indicators. i can say this much. if i don’t poop early in the day my meditation takes on a different quality and i  feel kind of off and stuffed and heavy and dull by the afternoon. on this note ramkumar tells a poignant true story. he is speaking to this person, a go-getter, a big busy guy apparently. the person believes he is healthy. ramkumar asks, at night can you go to bed and fall asleep quickly. the man says, no, that's the one thing i cannot do. then ramkumar asks, in the morning can you get up and get out of bed right away, feeling rested? the man says, no, i am not awake until i have coffee. ramkumar asks the third question, can you have bowel in the morning not taking anything else, not even water? the man says, i don't want to hear any more from you.
psyllium has its rightful place in the universe but if i can’t poop without taking it on a daily basis, it’s dependency, it’s attachment. we chinese say, you can’t just treat the headache or footache. in the same way, ayurveda doesn’t treat constipation. it treats the person with this condition of constipation. when i tell dr harikrishnan i have been having bowel by seven thirty, before he comes, for four days, a big smile flashes across his otherwise usually serious expression. indeed i have been feeling lighter, clearer. i feel free.

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