Saturday, 15 March 2014

My First Time.

'New Year Resolutions' by Dawn Ritchie

For many of us, we have been brain washed to think that we should start the New Year with a clean slate. It is the time to reminisce unaccomplished resolutions and to add new ones to the list. Why are we conditioned this way? Is New Year the only "right" time to drop an old habit or start something new? As I mentioned in my first post, a fresh start begins within you and does not depend on the date, actually. Change happens by choice.

This year, I was also given an opportunity to begin with a clean slate on the 31st of January along with my 'Mystery Man'. A detox day conducted by a very dear teacher/friend, Navanesan (Nava) at the Kelab Komuniti Cyberjaya. Before I share my views and thoughts, lets get into details on what we actually did on the day. My day began at 5 a.m. because we had to be at the location at 6.30 a.m. I have to admit I had mixed feelings about it. For almost a week prior to the day, I was nervous yet excited every time the thought of it came to my mind. To be precise, the thought of intestinal cleansing was mind boggling. Thinking about drinking liters of saline water(not tasty!) and frequent trips to the loo was pretty intimidating. Finally, I told myself to WOMAN UP and JUST DO IT! Around 6.30-ish we were given a short briefing by the master himself. When he finished, I thought 'Oh dear, the adventure begins here'. It started simple, of course.


'Pouring olive oil into a spoon' by Classy Sassy & Trendy Inc.
The actual practise has no connections with its name. We had to swoosh 1 tablespoon of virgin, cold-pressed sesame oil for about 10 minutes. So lets make it simple for your imaginations by renaming it as 'oil-gargling'. I was okay with the oil taste but Mystery Man felt like throwing up the entire time. That's an expression I don't get to see everyday. While the oil was still in our mouth getting swished around, we were ushered to a little garden nearby. I will discuss the technique, do's and dont's and the benefits of this practise more detailed in another post.

'Walking on soft, green grass' by Weed Man Lawn Care
We continued to walk barefooted on the damp grass/soil. A little prickly here and there, tingling the soles of my feet. According to Nava, some of the benefits of walking barefoot on grass and soil covered by morning dew are;

  • Retains the curvature of the feet and prevents flat feet due to the irregular surface of soil
  • Balances our aura because we are connected to the five elements. Earth (soil and grass), water (morning dew), fire (rising sun), wind (fresh air) and the open sky.

With the oil still in my mouth and walking about slowly on the grass, I got to experience the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen in my life. The air was cool but I could feel the warm light from the sun. The garden is located near a lake, the soft rays of the rising sun made the surface of the water to twinkle like crystals. The clear sky was filled with transcending colors from baby blues to hues of pink and lilacs and golden yellows mixed with soft oranges. Nature's form of art. The choice of location was just perfect. There couldn't be a better way to start my day.

'Pouring water Motion' by Sarah
Finally, we were allowed to spit the sesame oil which had turned cloudy. Then, we were each given a mug to be filled with warm saline water while the instructions for the next practise were given. This was a tough one for me. The warm saline water had to be gulped, 1.5 liters to be precise. 'Bottoms Up'. Oh yes, it gets more interesting from here. After gulping, we had to stick in two fingers and press the back of the tongue to force ourselves to vomit the water. This is called Kunjal (regurgitative cleansing) or in simple words, forced vomiting. Apparently, the vomiting will be easier if your are more relaxed. Well I couldn't be relaxed and vomit at the same time. Too difficult. The taste of the salty water was making me vomit even without having to press the back of my tongue. I even had tears in my eyes at one point and that's supposed to be normal. Aaahh the joy of vomiting. That was quite an experience. The immediate result from this practise is the removal of excess phlegm/mucus and it is an excellent practice for anyone suffering from gastritis and ulcers.

'Neti_Pot_' by aromaticsalt

We went back into the hall to continue with the slides and Nava continued to discuss on the practises. Around 8 a.m. we were ushered to another garden area and this time we were facing the lake directly. The sun was gloriously shining upon us and the warmth from the rays were pleasant. We brought along the mug and neti pot. Our mugs were filled with warm saline water again. Jala neti is my personal favourite and I continue practising it daily since the day I learnt it. I experienced amazing changes after just 3 days of practise. My breathing passage feels clearer every morning and flow of breath into the passage is much smoother now. That is the immediate result that you will experience. I got rid of excessive phlegm which was bugging me constantly. And the most life changing result from Jala Neti is I am free from insomnia. After the second day of practise, my bed time got adjusted by itself and I slept soundly from that day onward. Now that is a great achievement in my book and I would recommend Jala Neti to anyone. I will dedicate an entire blog post on Jala Neti alone because it deserves the attention. Its already in my list and will be posting it very soon.

'rock salt' by sunshinecity
The highlight of the detox day was the Shankhaprakshalana (full intestinal wash). It was physically and mentally challenging for me, probably  because this was my first time trying it. It was also the longest practise for the day. This time we were given generous amount of saline water to drink. For every 500 mililiters of salt water we drank, we had to perform the following sequence of asanas in a flow.

  • Tadasana
  • Tiryaka tadasana
  • Kati chakrasana
  • Tiryaka bhujangasana
  • Udarakarshanasana
The purpose of these dynamic poses are to induce the movement of water along the intestinal line and to fully cleanse them. After about two to three rounds of drinking and performing asanas, you will feel the urge to go to the washroom. But the number of rounds of salt water drinking and the frequency of the washroom trips varies according to individuals. The discussion on Shankhaprakshalana is very lengthy and will be done later. At last, everyone completed the process. Oh gosh! We felt drained!

Just in time for LUNCH! Excitements under control please. The feast for the day was rice and mung beans porridge called Kicheri with ghee/clarified butter. Did I mention that this was our food for the next 3 days(minimum) without salt. The expressions on the Mystery Man's face was priceless. For some people its just too difficult because the tongue is desperate for anything but bland. Like it or not, this was our meal for the the coming days. Eat, Sleep and Kicheri. The reason is simply because to protect the stomach and intestinal tract until a new protective lining is produced. The clarified butter coats the intestinal walls whilst the rice and mung beans are easily digestible and acts as sources of energy and protein. In the actual practise, Kicheri is supposed to be consumed for one month to allow our body to recover naturally.

After lunch we were allowed to rest for about 20 minutes with a yoga nidra audio like a lullaby. The funny thing is everyone was fast asleep in about 1 minute through the audio and not to mention the loud snoring around the room.

'Candle' by Jochen Ziegon
Alright, getting back to the next practise. Trataka or better known as candle gazing is a very simple practise that can be done everyday. A burning candle is placed at eye level in a pitch black room. The best time would be at dawn or dusk.  We had to gaze at the flame without blinking for about one to two minutes. When the eyes become tired or begin to tear, gently close them. Repeating the steps three to four times. If tears begin to roll down your cheeks, its a sign your tear ducts are functioning well. Trataka helps in relieving depression, anxiety, insomnia and improves memory. 

The last one that I want to mention is another personal favorite of mine that I practise daily without fail. It's called eye washing and yes, you wash your eyes, literally. We are given a 'mighty' eye cup which is filled up with room temperature water. The eye cup is brought in contact with the eye ball and continue to rotate and blink. Repeat the steps on each eye for about three to five times. The benefits of eye washing are reduced eye strain, removal of dust, removal of excess of body heat and helps with migraine, headaches and sleep disorders.

The remaining two practices that we learnt were basti and nauli. But I am not getting into too much details on it here as this post is already long. Let's save that for another time. I apologize once again for not getting into too much details for each practise because I am saving it for single posts on each one.

Overall, it was a pretty interesting day although we were super tired when it ended. We definitely learnt a lot and we went back feeling different inside and out. The next day was just spent resting and recovering. I would recommend anyone to spend a detox day because the experience is very personal and you wouldn't know it unless you try it. So what's your first time?

~M~

Check out Nava's detox sessions and more on his work right here: http://www.yogaforbeginners-kl.com/