The horizon in a darkening finery of oranges and gold. Twilight painted in fading light and brushed amber memories on quiet waters below. In the patina of eventide, weariness descended on a day past. Hushed anticipations grew with thoughts of warm fires, cozy beds and the excitement of new dawnings ahead. This long day and flight were nearly through.
Merri and I approached Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada, just as the sun slipped beneath the sea. The Cessna 185 settled gently onto smooth water. From that time, and those days we bring you a health tip.
Merri and I sat while the pilot pushed the little plane higher, despite its full load and awkward pontoons, so we could see the spectacular sunset panorama better. Golden lights muted the darkening Pacific islands below. Then we descended with the sun onto a sheltered bay… having flown from Florida to Atlanta, Portland, Vancouver and then at last to Salt Spring Island by float plane. The trip had taken 16 hours and we were ready for its end.
Yet our bodies felt good. Our spirits were high! We have studied the physical and emotional aspects of long trips for years. Our travel plans are a science. We use a special routine so we are still bright, happy and full of stamina when we arrive. Besides this trip was an adventure of a lifetime. We felt the extra excitement.
Over the years I have written often about Merri's and my semi-annual trips to the Ayurvedic health spa run by Dr. Jay Glaser. Merri and I travel too much and work too hard. We need this R & R to keep our energies high and minds clear. We learned years ago that we can't keep drawing money out of our health bank without putting some back in. We have learned that a busy schedule and hectic pace, need a regular deep rest and some form of cleansing.
One Ayurvedic system of health-tune up is an ancient cleansing therapy from India called Panchakarma. This was a twice a year routine for us for seven years. Every spring and fall we took this break and as fall approaches this message is meant to remind you of the importance of a twice yearly cleanup!
This trip to Salt Spring Island, however, was different as we decided to take an even deeper healing technique called Kayakalpa, a once in a lifetime treatment of rejuvenation. In the process of trying many different healing technologies, one puzzling point was that the healers often disagreed on how to maintain health, yet each looked and seemed to be in excellent health. In other words, each system seemed to work despite the fuss over which was better than the other.
Many years passed before I realized the problem. Most of the Master healers have learned their skills through generation after generation of oral tradition. Without a printed focus these healing systems have altered ever so slowly and slightly. Thus after dozens, even hundreds of generations of passing down the knowledge, each practice become part dogma and part truth.
So when we learn from a Master or take a treatment, we try to not only listen, but to spot what is being said and done that matches what others have said as well. What we hear that is the same from differing practices is more likely to be a truth. Then we put it to the final test and try it to see if it works for us in today's world. Some stuff we have learned works well if a person lived in a cave or forest with loads of time. But our lives are enmeshed in the busy, Western world.
One practice that permeates every healing practice, we have heard or seen from the Andeans, Amazonians, Tibetans, Indians, is that all have one form of cleansing or another. This message looks at a far less enjoyable yet even more powerful and ancient cleanser, castor oil. This is one of the most horrible tasting, but most powerful digestive tract cleansings we have experienced and regularly use. This is an excellent tonic everyone should consider taking at the beginning of each fall.
In Ayurved, the taking of castor oil on an empty stomach is called a virechana.
Many whom I have shared this tip with have told me tales of how their mom or grandmother used to make them take this when they were ill. A virechana does not have to wait for a health imbalance to begin. This technique can correct imbalances. To take a virechana, eat a light lunch, skip dinner or have a small snack and before going to bed to take the caster oil. I take (at 150 pounds) six teaspoons. Merri at 113 pounds takes four, but you may wish to start first time with less (one or so).
I take mine mixed in a bit of orange or lemon juice and try to just slug it down. Ugh! It is also easy to take a lemon and sink your teeth into it and soon as it is down. This helps. You may wish to begin on the lighter side rather than heavier and don't do until you have a night when you do not have to sleep through. Chances are (though not always) you will be up at least once in the night.
We normally awake feeling much lighter and brighter, full of energy. Yet sometimes we awake after a virechana feeling very dull and loggy. We often try to take this on a night when the next day we can have an easy one. The day after the virechana we always eat very lightly, just juices or light easy to digest food. Always the next day we feel wonderfully great!
Another help I find in virechanas is they reduce my hunger. As a former fatty (I used to weigh 220 pounds), my weight seems to run away with me if I am not careful, so this has become a great weight control device for me.
Castor oil is a powerful cleanser and in another message we will look at its entirely different cleansing capacity when taken with meals.
You can learn more about virechnas from Dr. Jay Glaser or read the book, Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Every three weeks for years, we took this type of cleansing. It helped me in many ways…and Merri and I experienced the memory of being there on that beautiful island with the Tibetan master who was gruff and stern with us but steeped in the ancient knowledge of Kayakalpa (Sanskrit: Kaya-body, kalpa-transformation). He left these deep impressions in our minds and bodies and memories of the seasonal transitions.
Until next message, good health to you!