My second kidney stone, this year, came to say hello or rather came to scream hello as we were beginning our Ayurvedic portion of the program. I called one of our teachers, Susan, crying in tremendous pain; and she came to bring me ayurvedic herbs that instant. I felt so grateful for level of care I received.
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I already felt taken care of on deep level, deeper than physical. I felt ready to trust this ancient medicine. So, as we came up with our experiment I was willing and utterly excited to do a cleanse. My eagerness was tamed my Susan. She suggested that in my recovery I should do something more gentle, a self care practice. I decided to follow a vata-pacifying routine created through the resources provided for us: notes in our manual for asana, Susan’s suggestion of ingesting warm foods and liquids, and the structure of my morning from Vasant Lad’s book, The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies (1998). If I could not do a cleanse, I would do many little things (Note: some of these practices I had already started before the experiment, but the experiment helped me make the ritual more concrete and specific, which held me more accountable). My morning was structured as follows:
Bedtime between 10-11.
Rise between 7-7:30. Before the experiment, my sleeping patterns varied widely. I loved to be social and carefree which involved being available for people late at night. I generally went to bed between 10:30 and 1:30 with no consistency and would rise anywhere between 8 – 10. The worst part was I felt tired all day. After speaking with Beth about prakruti and vikruti, she came to the conclusion I am vata imbalanced. I agreed. A regular sleep schedule was a must. This seemed like a reasonable change. What I found was getting up at seven condensed my tiredness to the first ten minutes of the day (that part is still very difficult) but for the rest of the day I had more energy!
Prayer. I slowly and intently said the prayer in the book as if it were my own words. Some words I changed to make it be more of my own voice. This helped me to set a kind loving intention for the day.
Splash. I would splash my face with cold water, swish with cold water, massage my eyes, blink and look up, down, left, right, diagonally, and rotate my eyes clockwise and counter clockwise. This helped wash away sleepiness.
Water. I drank warm water instead of cool.
Squat. I sat on the toilet, Indian style and wiped with water. This is a bit of a challenge due to my tight calves.
Brushed. Flossed. Followed by tongue scraping. I used a spoon to perform this. I noticed a white film concentrated on the back of my tongue every morning. Also, there was scalloping more on the left edge of my tongue.
Swish with oil. I found that gargling would make me gag. I just stuck to swishing. Lots of white goo would came out with the oil.
Oiled my body. This was my favorite part, a practice I had started before the experiment. I warmed the sesame oil and lathered it on. This felt nourishing.
Oiled the nostrils. I did not notice anything significant about this exercise, but I have grown rather fond of the smell of sesame.
Bath. I would just let the water warm me up and not use soap. A yoga therapist suggested this. My skin felt very lubricated and ready to be stretched in asana.
Asana. I made up a routine for myself each morning which included the following poses in various orders: Tadasana (mountain), Uttanasana (standing forward fold), Dandasana (Staff), Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold/western stretch), Janu Sirsasana (head to knee), Upavista Konasana (open angle), Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana (three limb intense stretch), Vrikshasana (Tree), Navasana (boat), Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), Halasana (plow), Apanasana (knees to chest), and Savasana (corpse). And a few vinyasas. This practice felt calming and grounding.
Pranayama. I completed Nadi Shodhana. This felt balancing.
Meditation. This was the other practice I had started before the experiment. For meditation, usually I would concentrate on my breath, specifically the sensation of movement it created in my body in the nostrils and belly. Sometimes when I did not feel up for meditating I would chat OM or a mantra to get me into a more meditative space.
Breakfast. I ate warm foods mostly. Steel cut oats with apples cooked in. Eggs. Quinoa.
My experiment was successful. When my day finally started 2 to 3 hours after rising, I felt a steady stream of energy. My lethargy lifted. This was the most significant result from my self care practice. Overall, I felt well cared for, nourished, and replenished. As I stepped into the world, I had more to offer to people because I had taken the time to offer to myself. I continue this self care practice every day. I omit asana, pranayama, and meditation on the weekends because we do them in training. I intend to continue this practice of self care and integrate more ayurvedic practices to have a healthy life. Maybe, one day do a cleanse! Also, I am predicting that the kidney stone dissolved.
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