Thursday, May 31, 2012

himalayas come to us

this hair cut happens five weeks into our panchakarma at vaidyagrama. what's cool about this is that during the main treatments we are not allowed to cut hair, shave nor trim nails. really. i have never seen hwubby with a beard till then. that jew-fro is growing wild and happy. so why is that? according to ayurveda, the knowledge of health, wellbeing and longeity, nails and hair are wastes. their growth is part and parcel of the elimination and cleansing and purification process.

so on this sunday a barber from a neighboring village comes in and does his thing. i love it. when doctor harik comes in the next morning he says, nice cut, it's a boy cut. well, exactly how i would have liked it. what about hwubby. check this out.
gorgeous, huh. by the way, the guy he is with is shankar bhau. by-by the way, bhau is their endearing way of calling a friend 'brother.' sharkar bhau is the priest in a distinguished temple 11,000 feet up on himalayas. on november 15 of each year he would close the temple for winter. the last thing he does is to put enough ghee in a lamp so that it will keep ablaze thru out winter. this man, i'm telling you, is overflowing with joy and devotion. he blesses the mala that is around hwubby's neck. hwubby loves, loves, loves him. so do i. when he hums a vedic mantra i can feel the power that flows through five thousand years, that sources from before time and will go on as long as there is time. ever fresh. ever full. ever potent. he makes the prasad for the new year day puja. as i type this i am tasting the sweet vibration in that heavenly sweet.

see how fortunate we are. we don't have to go to himalayas. himalayas come to us. so let's chant.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

prasad. blessed sweets

there are a handful times during our six and a half weeks in vaidyagrama when we actually had food that was sweetened with sugar. NO, not meals. definitely, absolutely not in the daily food. doctorji says, we don't cook for the tongue, we want your digestive system to rest and your liver to work as little as possible during panchakarma. so food in vaidyagrama is what in the west would label as 'high carb, low protein.' I am not exaggerating when i say one patient said, you are starving us. the truth of the matter is, according to ayurveda, i'm told, the ideal food protocol during panchakarma is this. two meals a day. boiled veg. kanji, meaning rice and water. it might sound unbearable. but i have to say, it really grows on me. after a short while i have to beg dr harik, pls, may i have kanji three times a day? no kidding. hwubby says, you have to understand how much suk wah loves to eat.

i discover that the natural flavors and tastes of veg comes through delightfully and enticingly by boiling them. this has made a huge shift in the way i cook now.

for those who are concerned with protein deficiency, don't you worry. there's plenty of mung. now at home we are eating mung in one form or another everyday. it's a must-have for hwubby's breakfast.

in addition, one of my daily meds is a cup of hot milk, that is freshly drawn from a cow on the grounds, and comes with a sweet med. on that note, we are so lucky in east bay. raw milk is available in berkeley bowl. it's at arm's length literally.

all right, what am i talking about? yes, divine sweets. periodically brahmin priests come to the grounds to perform pujas. The core purpose of any puja is to invoke grace, express gratitude for blessings bestowed upon us, pray for harmony, wellbeing for all, strength and courage to move through obstacles, both within and without. most of all we ask for divine guidance to connect with our own love, our divinity, within and see the same love and divinity in everything, everywhere in the universe.

it is the tradition to offer sweets that are specially made for the puja. here, if i recall correctly, it's rice, nuts, pure sugar cane juice, cardamom, ginger, turmeric. an offering to cows on that day in the year when we express our thanks to these phenomenal beings who work hard, serve mankind with quiet steadfastness and make miracle food from humble source. no exaggeration.  they eat grass and produce milk.

anyhow, such is the power of blessed food. it is infused with the nectarean vibration of the hours of vedic chants. truly sweets from seventh heaven. no wonder even doctor ji allow us to partake it during panchakarma. unless you are going thru some intensely intense treatment, like drinking ghee.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

washing clothes. yogic realizations.

big time realization comes anytime anywhere, particularly when i am not expecting it at all. case in point. washing clothes. washer and dryer are beautiful things. but when i have to - actually i choose to - wash our own clothes in vaidyagrama something comes to me in a recurring way. hard stains fade a little on the first scrub, then a little more on the second scrub. you get the pic. sometimes they need to be soaked and let time do the magic. by the way it's really amazing between time and water what miracles can happen. anyway what looked hard and stubborn the night before becomes that much easier to remove.

as i reflect on it i realize the whole thing works kind of like these old habits of mine. okay, there are so many of them. just pick two off the top of my head. addictions to sweets and negativity. they are hard and stubborn stains. stains in the body. stains in the mind. can they be removed? yes....eventually. panchakarma  scrubs the inner oven and pipes, expels the toxins that dust up the mirror of the mind. is there a pill for it? no, there is no quick fix. in the beginning it's hard, can be unpleasant. how hard? how unpleasant? depends a lot of the state of my mind and body. given these habits have been working their butts off for so long they have become hardset stains. the good news is even before the stain is completely gone i am already enjoying the benefits as it gradually fades. negativity is no longer gripping. instead of half a bag of marshmallows i chew up just four. as hwubby says, when they come i am aware of them sooner, they don't take over the driving seat and control how i speak and act. better yet we have the spiritual practices to redirect attention to what we really are. courage. strength. love. fully having the power and capability to choose what is in my best and highest interest.

all this from washing clothes. seriously. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

marshmallows today

the thing i really love about this treatment/program in vaidyagrama is they are equally hands on about medicine and food. doctor actually comes into cooking class to make sure the students, such as me, do not twistarm the kind and sweet cooks into making something not according to the ayurveda way. it felt hard in the moment. what do you mean i can't have sweet after supper?

as i look back now i can see that the docs and cooks and therapists are up against some very entrenched habits in me, like addicting to sweets and overeating.

it's just over three months after panchakarma. i can already see the old habits hovering, looking for a comeback. all right, let me confess, i had three marshmallows this afternoon. all right, actually four. come on, folks. look at the bright side. i could have downed half a bag. am i making progress? you bet. am i there yet? in the words and cadence of my dr harikrishnan, he would pause momentarily and say, eventually, after several courses of treatments.

okay, doctor. we are coming back.