This morning at around 6:45am I cycled over to meet with Dr A for my first day of Panchakarma. Day 1 of Panchakarma is the preparation period that leads up to the main procedures and is basically a detox phase to prepare the body for what’s to come.
After taking my pulses Dr A brought out a regular mug of hot water and a small, glass mug, half full of a yellowish liquid. She handed me the glass mug. I sipped. The liquid was warm and oily and was in fact ghee (clarified butter) with herbs mixed in. I noted a slight after taste. I sipped again. This time not just an after taste, but the first hint of a gag reflex. Uh oh, my gullet was already not liking this. I put my mind elsewhere, finished the concoction and took a slurp of hot water. I continued slurping and managed to keep the concoction down while Dr A advised me about what to do and not for the day. I’m guessing her advice is based on general Pancharkarma principles as well as the individual she’s working with.
Today I am to drink plenty of warm-to-hot water. But, unlike my usual practice, I’m not allowed to cool the water down with cold water, but rather just let it cool naturally to a quaffable temperature. Also not allowed is day-time sleeping. When I told Mr D about that his first response was, “But you don’t sleep in the day.” Obviously, perverse as my nature tends to be, today I really bloody want to!
Around 11am, and because I was feeling too fragile for Indian traffic, Mr D dropped me at Dr A’s clinic for food. First things first, she felt my pulses. She said, “You’re not hungry yet”. Bugger, clearly my pulses do not lie. Shan’t be able to pull a fast one with Dr A then. In truth I agreed with her.
What had spurred me to return to Dr A for lunchtime food was my behaviour at home, that and the fact I’ve normally had some kind of breakfast by 10am. All morning I seemed to have an internal ghost attempting to go about it’s usual habits of grazing. I felt an energy in my hand, without my hand or arm actually moving, drawn to the biscuit barrel. I passed the fridge and almost reached out to pull the door open. I explained this to Dr A. “Your mind is hungry, but not you.” Ya see – those blasted food habits are not just about the food, but have become a physiological expression. All that reaching out and grabbing the nearest thing, the body swerves towards the kitchen, the mindless munching.
Nevertheless, and despite this only being day 1, I wasn’t ready for food so Dr A and I sat on her porch chatting for a while. Around an hour later we went inside and she gave me lunch. That was a runny, soup-like mixture of white rice, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin seeds and some other spice. Something else to slurp, which I dutifully did until I was too full to finish what was left. I’ve come away with a food box of the remaining runny soup in case I get hungry, properly hungry, possibly around 4pm. My next visit is scheduled for 7pm.
In the meantime I’m still fighting off the urge either to crawl on to the sofa in front of the TV or go to bed with a book. I’ve also got a slight headache shifting in and out – a bit like the unpleasant (and unusual) chemical smell occasionally wafting in the direction of my office just now. So I’s off for more hot water and something else to distract me from sleep and chocolate and coffee and…