Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ayruveda Diagnosis

I love random happenings...

Two days ago, Stephanie and I were wandering around Rishikesh when a plump, jolly, older man approached us with a BIG smile. "Where you from!?!?!" He almost burst at the seams when Stephanie said she was from Florida. 25 years ago Satish moved to Florida from India... It was at that moment he took us under his wings. His wife passed away a few years ago, so he spends 3 months in Rishikesh every year. Satish was ECSTATIC we also were staying for three months., and told us how we'd be spending our days - we would take long walks together for our health, he would show us the local canteens which are dirt cheap yet the best food in India, he would teach us about his country and culture, and more. How could we refuse to have our own Indian dad here in Rishikesh???

I mentioned in passing that I was interested in learning about Ayurveda. Ayurveda in sanskrit breaks down to: āyus, meaning "longevity", and veda, meaning "related to knowledge" or "science". It is a traditional Indian system of medicine which has been around for 1,000's of years.

Satish grabbed us by the wrists and took us to a charitable hospital and straight into a doctor's room. We met Dr. J. P. Rathi, who is an Ayurveda doctor in Rishikesh, and after talking with him in broken English for about 40 minutes we had an appointment for an Ayurveda diagnosis the next day at 12 for only $5.

After our meeting, we went around the local bookshops to pick out a book on Ayurveda. Stephanie and I spent the rest of the evening, and the next morning studying up on the art of Ayurveda healing, so we could better understand Dr. Rathi's teachings.

Dr. Rathi led us to a rooftop where he would explain to us the history of Ayurveda. He explained to us patiently about the four vedas, three gunas, and the three dosas: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water), Kapha (water and earth.) It was all extremely interesting, but I started to get a little nervous when he spoke of pancha karma - which is how to clean and detoxify the body. They can do so (depending on the illness/disease) through forced vomiting, enemas, catheters, strapping leather around your head while dripping oil on you... or the way I would prefer - oil and herb massages.

After his lecture he gave us a diagnosis. He chanted a mantra, took our pulse, checked out our body type, asked a few questions about our sleep patterns and bowel movements... then gave us our diagnosis. He said I am definitely 101% a Vatta-Pitta. Vatta probably 65% and Pitta 35%. While Stephanie was a Kapha-Vatta. He gave us suggestions on how to live accordingly.

I'm still clueless, but at least am beginning to understand the basics around Ayurveda, and can't wait to read up more on my airy fiery ways.

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