Tales of (Chosen) Hardship 2: – Panch’ing my Karma


Ahhhhh Rishikesh, Where the Beatles used to come to get away from it all and introspect on the meaning of life and practice their Sitar playing.  Where the bendy come to get even bendier and the masses come to get blessed by Mother Ganga.  The Land of Gods.  Spiritual Disneyland.  Soothing balm for the spirit.  Peace and quiet for the seekers of bliss. 


If Woolworth’s had a spritual pic and mix, it would be Rishikesh, and you’d get to try before you buy, just one pink shrimp candy whilst nobody is looking… Purify your body and mind by any means known and unknown to man.


Orange clad Sadhu’s pepper the pavement & are scattered throughout the town, with their begging bowls rattling to the Rupee beat of “Ram Ram”, “Hari OM” and “Namaste” to elicit some alms.  Where ashrams, temples and guesthouses stumble up the sides of the himalayas and the Ganga carresses the shores and your sores amidst her celestial waters.


And in between practicing Yoga (Savasana nicely demonstrated by me and my yogi friends here), reading lots of books, hanging out with my TTC yogi buddies, visiting the Sivananda ashram, practicing Reiki and generally strolling around town, I decide to Panch my Karma.  Not content with the self-harming of getting up at 5.30 every day for yoga, I decided to also undergo an ayurvedia cleansing treatment after a consultation with an ayurvedic doctor.


My Pitta Kapha constitution is out of whack, like a Pitta without Humus my body is out of balance and I have a 7 day treatment to address this fire element (pitta) imbalance.  Starting pretty promisingly with a full body oil massage I am yet again reminded of the ingenunity of Mother India’s children when I’m put in a cupboard for the closing steam treatment, which is powered by a pressure cooker.  Remarkably effective feat of lateral thinking.


Whilst it wasn’t as relaxing as the salon/spa massage treatments we’re used to in the land of media and free lunches, it was still pretty nice and certainly beat all but one of the other treatments…. nil points definitely goes to Oleation, the drinking of herbs and Ghee…. 225ml’s over 3 days.  Yes butter is nice spread thickly on fresh bread or snuggled under a nice spread of marmite.  But would you ever drink it?  I kid you not it was all I could do not vomit and I’ll never be able to go into an indian sweet shop again. 


The herbs pull out the toxins out of the tissues within the body and draw them into the stomach area in preparation for purgation… a word that does not need translating and saw me camped out in a guesthouse for 6 hours waiting for the 4.5 litres of water to pass through me.  Incredulously, for once I did not need the toilet and left the guesthouse full to the brim of water and after a crispbread was shuttled off home to await further purgation.


And when I wasn’t feeling physically drained and experiencing lighter brighter sights and bolder louder noises from the herbs (no not those kind), I was having hot oil dripped into various orifices…. nose, ears and to complement the end of the purgation… bottom…


But an experience and whilst I didn’t feel it then I feel pretty good now, I’m not sure if my pitta is with humus or just salad, but I’m hoping it’s with or it’s going to get a whole lot more imblanced when I touch down on British soil for another flying visit in May!


So I’ll skip on up the hill to the Woman in White and listen to her wise words whilst you settle into your tuesday morning breakfast and a barrage of emails. 


Love you all




Em x

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