BACK TO LIFE POST-PANCHAKARMA: PART II
WHEW. Thank you guys so much for all of the positive feedback, questions and comments on my Panchakarma Part I recap. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a bigggg part of why I decided to try this experience was so that I could see what it was all about to be able to share the deets with you guys.
Especially for those of you who have struggled the way that I have to find balance, to heal gut and hormonal issues, overcome an eating disorder, and to feel totally and completely as healthy as you deserve — I did it for you. I did it for me, first and foremost, but I did it for you too.
A lot of you asked me how expensive the treatment was, and I’m not going to lie — it’s not the most affordable thing in the world. It’s an investment. But if I am going to invest anywhere, it’s in my health, happiness and wellbeing. If a full Panchakarma is something you’re interested in and you don’t want to break the bank, there are definitely options. You can research more one-on-one experiences with a practitioner in your area who can give you a better deal than doing it at an Ayurvedic spa or wellness center. If you’re super serious about it, you can also consider going to India where doing a Panchakarma is much more well-known and normalized and it’s way, way more affordable. However, that does require a plane ticket to India. 😉
When you think about all that goes INTO the experience, it makes sense why it is an expensive treatment. The time, first of all, of two separate Ayurvedic practitioners to do the abhyanga massage (but if you’re trying to save $, I’m sure you can do the treatment with just one person doing the massage instead of two). Also the herbs and oils needed for your specific dosha imbalance, the oil and time for the shirodhara treatment, ingredients for the daily kitchari, powder for the exfoliation, and all that jazz. Not to mention the energetic time that goes into it if the practitioner is also leading you through meditation, restorative yoga, and available for all of your questions throughout.
It’s a big dealio! You can equate it to going on a wellness retreat. In fact, I was telling people I was on a retreat… because it was most certainly the easiest way to explain where I was going for the week. I was on retreat from technology and regular life, food and routine in order to dedicate this time to myself in a big way. Thank god people in the western world are familiar with the term “retreat” or I would have had some serious confusion (more than there already was) about where I was off to for so long!
Now, let’s talk about the experience itself.
In my first post I didn’t quite get around to telling you what I DID every day during my treatment. So let’s get into it.
Sans phone, I woke up every day without an alarm. I was sleeping so, so incredibly soundly that I would fall asleep around 9:30pm every night and be in a super deep sleep until around 8:00am.
Each day when I woke up, I was able to be in my thoughts, feel what my body was feeling, and check in about how I was doing. There was no phone to reach for, no annoying alarm to shut off, no obligations or unread emails to get to, no coffee to make. I could simply just be.
When you’re able to JUST BE like that when you wake up, it’s unbelievable the things that can happen.
For one, your brain feels relaxed. Your body feels relaxed. You think about yourself, what you want to get out of bed for each day, what your body needs in that exact moment.
For me, it helps me feel so much more creatively stimulated and alive. When I immediately hop on my phone when I get out of bed, I’m inundated with other people’s info. Their photos, text messages, experiences from the night before. Heck, I even scroll through Instagram when I wake up and sometimes get inspired to make what someone else had for breakfast that day.
Nothing wrong with that inspiration, but it takes you OUT of your body first thing after waking up. I don’t know about you, but I want to be in my body… Listening to it, listening to my own thoughts, letting my own creativity flow freely, letting my own thoughts be my guide.
So after waking up and cuddling with Huddy for a while, I headed into the kitchen to take my tablespoon of melted ghee, and make a cup of warm ginger tea. I fell in LOVE with Yogi Tea on this detox, by the way — I had been a fan before, but now I am drinking the un-caffeinated varieties all. day. long. The inspirational quotes on each tea bag make me super happy. <3
While I sipped my tea I would usually do some restorative yoga on my mat and stretch it out. I also kept going straight for my book — I Know This Much is True — that I was obsessed with and read cover to cover during my Panchakarma. Then, after waiting about an hour from having the ghee — I made breakfast.
Breakfast each day was a more sweet variety kitchari recipe — I’ll share it on the blog ASAP. Basically, it was just your standard kitchari (basmati rice, yellow mung beans, and Banyan Botanicals kitchari spice mix) and I added cinnamon and the tiniest drop of maple to it to make it a little more oatmeal-like. I needed something like that for breakfast to balance out my savory kitchari dishes later in the day. I’m normally such a SWEET fanatic, and I knew if I completely banned that type of meal from my diet for the 2 weeks I’d probably overdo it when I re-introduced those foods post-cleanse. It was def a good decision for me.
AFTERNOON / TREATMENT TIME:
Then, at 11am each day I arrived at the North Hollywood house to get my treatment. We began each session with a meditation — we worked our way through each of the five elements over the five days — that I would later journal about to explore the topic further.
After meditation, it was time for the abhyanga massage part of the treatment. That was my favorite part, because we all know I love a good massage… Like love, love. Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic massage performed by two people at once in synchronicity with one another (in my case, Anjali and Joy) with hot herbal oils meant to balance out your dosha by removing toxins from your organs and moving them into your colon so you can get rid of them!
At the end of each abhyanga was the shirodhara treatment — the hot oil poured onto your forehead that is meant to calm the nervous system among so many other healing benefits. I looooved the shirodhara, minus the one day that I had a weird allergic reaction to the orange oil on the towel they covered my eyes with (it felt like the whole top of my head was on fire — obvi we got rid of that thing immediately, lol).
Then was the exfoliation, on the days we were doing that, and the hot steam bath to get the oils deeper into my skin.
After that I showered, trying to get the oil out of my hair, to absolutely no avail. If you have sesame oil rubbed into your hair every day for 5 days, you are definitely not going to be oil-free for like 2 weeks, I’ve decided. But it’s a great hair treatment. 🙂
THEN Anjali made me lunch every day, which was always extremely delicious. Kitchari with cilantro and lime was our go-to, with different veggies on top each day. So, sooooo good.
LATE AFTERNOON & NIGHT:
I drove home in a zenned out, blissed out state of pure happiness, contemplation, reflection, and relaxation.
Almost every day on my drive home I cried for one reason or another… and I think that was so healthy. A Panchakarma is such a healing experience, and if we never deal with our past wounds then we can never heal from them. I went through something very difficult when I was 16 years old (that lasted for years after that as well) that, in my years and years of therapy, has been incredibly hard to let go of. So painful. It involves someone else’s pain as well, which makes it even more difficult for me — and without going into too much detail (although I’ve given a bit more in my book), the reflection I did during my Panchakarma brought me as close to letting go of that pain as I’ve ever been. I am so grateful for that. I feel at peace, or close to it at least, after a decade of feeling deep, sickening pain about the subject.
What a breath of fresh air. <3
I also discovered a lot of new awesome songs on my drives, because I wasn’t filling my time with talking on the phone like I ALWAYS do while I drive normally.
I got home around 3pm every day and usually took a nap on the couch while reading my book. I could barely keep my eyes open post-treatment! My body was in heavy detox.
Then I’d start reading again, heat up my kitchari and veggies for dinner, and sip on ginger tea before bed.
To be honest… I watched Bachelor in Paradise Monday and Tuesday nights (hehe). It can be super relaxing for me to watch TV because I don’t do it very often — so that was a fun little treat on those nights after all the reading, alone time, journaling, reflection and treatments of the day.
Then… BED! Where I slept like a BABY each night!
The third night in I did a home enema, and the sixth morning I drank castor oil as a massive full bod detox (basically a big time natural laxative).
That was my daily routine from Saturday – Wednesday, and then I slowly started talking to people, reincorporating regular life stuff, and getting back into the swing of things.
GAH! You guys! There might have to be a Part III to this post, because I am still figuring out what life is like post-Panchakarma.
For one, I have been extremely exhausted and sensitive. Even just going out to dinner with friends on Friday night in a loud restaurant was extremely jarring to my system. I felt like I was in a nightclub doing ecstasy… instead of at a sushi restaurant on my street eating veggies and steamed rice. #LOL
To be fair, I have a VERY sensitive system to begin with. I am a Highly Sensitive Person in every sense of the word, so it’s natural that as my body continues to heal and recoup from this massive detox, I am tired and a bit overwhelmed.
I have been trying to take it easy, but man my life has a lot going on. I am just trying to focus on teacher training, work and friends right now — not trying to overwhelm myself with a ton more than that, even though I am very inspired about some new projects I look forward to diving into.
My reflection during the cleanse brought me to a few exciting conclusions:
1.) I am so passionate about cooking and being in the kitchen, that I want to start doing a ton more recipes on the blog.
2.) Even though I’m very much no longer “vegan,” it’s okay for me to gravitate to being mainly plant-based. I feel my best when I eat that way predominantly, and lately it’s made me feel incredible. But don’t worry… No labels. I know things are changing in my body all the time. This is a *right now* kind of feeling.
3.) I have gotten far more spiritual as I’ve gotten older, and that’s cool. It’s awakening a whole new side of my soul and personality that I hardly knew existed. I have always felt like I go super duper deep, but man right now I feel deeper than life itself and it feels very, very refreshing.
4.) Letting trivial things go feels a lot easier right now. Friendships that do not serve me, people who’s choices I don’t agree with, people who have hurt me in the past — I just feel right now like it’s so much easier to let those hurt feelings go. People each serve a purpose in our lives (if they’re in our lives at all), and trying to expect something from them that they just can’t give you will only set you up for feeling sad and frustrated. On the slip side, feeling EXTRA grateful for the wonderful souls in my life who give me everything a girl could want and more.
5.) I feel so IN my body and so in tune with it. A.k.a my dream come true… Especially with my yoga training right now, I just feel so connected. So rooted at the core of what I really want to do and what my goals are. It’s an amazing feeling.
Oh & the sensitivity in my body is through the roof. Even having a tiny bit of coffee yesterday was a TERRIBLE idea. I was told that I was acting like I was on crack, and I felt like I was too. I need to learn to take it even slower reintroducing my body and myself into this crazy world post-cleanse, so that’s the goal right now. <3 Questions? Thoughts? Love you guys so much.