Pancha: Conducting the Experiment

Lad (1998)[1] describes that traditional panchakarma includes five “actions”: internal oleation (daily ingesting increasing amounts of liquid ghee) while eating a doshic diet; external oleation and sweating (massaging oneself with coconut oil and then breaking a sweat before showering) while eating a monodiet of only kitchari and vegetables and drinking only cumin, coriander, fennel tea; and purgation (using triphala daily and then at the end of the cleanse, ingesting castor oil to invoke rapid intestinal evacuation). While I did indeed, follow Lad’s guidelines for these five cleansing actions, I also came to include several other components to my daily panchakarma routine. First, I added ten minutes of “prayer salutations” in the morning, that is, I practiced a prescribed asana sequence that invoked union with the Divine. At the end of the sequence, I paused and spoke my heart’s prayer for guidance for my panchakarma as well as the heart wish that my work would help relieve my and others’ suffering. I also practiced jala neti each morning and ate meals without distractions. In the evenings, I meditated for twenty minutes. Further, after completing the panchakarma process, I embraced a sense of rejuvenation, returned to eating a doshic diet, and took Shatavari daily for the week.

[1] Lad, V. (1998). The complete book of ayurvedic home remedies. NY: Three Rivers Press.