I chose to practice panchakarma as my experiment, to try and balance my vata-pitta nature.
For the first three days I practiced internal oleation. The first day I used ghee, which gave me terrible stomach cramps. I contacted Beth, who suggested sesame oil, which was much better. During these 3 days, I also practiced tratak meditation using a ghee flame. This I found very calming and beautiful.
On the fourth day, myself and three classmates practiced Vamana Dhauti, with instruction and guidance from Santosh. This was quite an experience. It was fairly intense, yet left me calm and feeling in somewhat of an altered state for the rest of the day. I took a 3-hour nap this day, which is very uncharacteristic for me. I did have, what I believe was, a somewhat delayed effect from this practice. On days 6-9 I developed what I believe was a vata aggravation. I had a constant, mild-to-severe headache, which after looking in the Ayurvedic Home Remedies book, I found was a vata-type headache. I also became irritable and felt a general sense of imbalance. This, I know, was also a result of me keeping up such a hectic pace in my life since this course began… typical vata-pitta.
On days 4-6, I ate kitchari. On days 5-12, I practiced abhyanga using sesame oil, each night following a hot shower. I did the foot and scalp massage with sesame oil each night as well. I found this practice very calming and warming.
On day 12 I received a Marma massage from Beth, which was lovely and calming. I felt a fairly dramatic shift in the pranic flow during and after the massage. I felt like it really opened my breath and my heart.