The Panchakarma Experience – Part I

As I listen to the layers of night sounds on the patio of my hotel room in Nyuh Kuning, I’m unpacking my things, and settling in to do a 15 day traditional Ayurvedic Panchakarma at the Amrta Siddhi clinic in Bali with Dr. Sujatha.  Why am I doing this? What exactly is an Ayruvedic Panchakarma? The main reason I’m doing this is because someone mentioned it to me one day after yoga and as soon as they said it something inside me  said “YES”. It was that loud and that clear and my whole body responded before I really even understood what it was. Once I did a little reading and asked around, things just fell into place.

What is Ayurveda?  What is Panchakarma?
Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical systems in practice today, dating back to time immemorial when Indian Seers received this body of knowledge in the form of the Vedas. Ayurveda is based on a profound and complete understanding of the whole human being. Its prime purpose is to secure a long and healthy life for each one of us so that we can participate in life to the best of our abilities. Understanding disease is based on 3 main functional patterns, or doshas, that work in nature and also in our bodies: Vatta, Pitta & Kapha. These doshas relate to the five great elements (Pritvi, Ap, Tejas, Vayu & Akasha) that exist in every life form and every object. Taken together they form a powerful tool to select the proper medicine, treatment, diet and   activities that will bring about healing to the patient. Medicines are made entirely from substances taken from Nature, like roots, barks, seeds or fruits and are prepared according to the ancient recipes.

Panchkarma is a 5-pronged method of treatment designed for “Shodhana”, the expulsion of disease-causing toxins or “Aman”.  The word Panchakarma means, “five actions”. It is intended for both the elimination of toxins and also for the replacement of the tissues. The process detoxifies and rebuilds the body and rejuvenates the patient. It detoxifies on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels. The different medical treatments include:
“Nasya” – Nasal Therapy
“Vamana” – Emesis
“Virechana” – Purging
“Basti” – theraputic enema – both herbal and oil
“Raktamokshana” – Leeching (probably won’t be doing this one)

I’m staying at a hotel near the clinice so I can walk there for daily massage treatments, yoga and they will deliver all my meals to my hotel. The doctor has prepared some medicated Ghee (clarified butter) that I’ll be taking for breakfast the first 5 days to loosen up all the toxins in my body.

Sitting on the patio of the Garden View Hotel I’m noticing a few things about the room that make me nervous, the main one being the bathroom looks like it hasn’t been remodeled since 1980. It’s a little scary. There’s a little bit of moldy smell in the room, but the patio outside is sweet. When I walk across the floor of my room in my bare feet I keep feeling sand on the floor and wonder where it’s coming from. Is it blowing in from the open patio door? I’m getting hungry for my first dinner to be delivered. What will the food be like?

Patio off my room

The clinic is in a small village about 10 minutes outside of Ubud. Dr. Sujatha who runs the clinic is from Southern India, near Mysore and trained in India before she came to Bali with her husband. She’s very bright and despite the challenges of having a small clinic in Bali it’s really growing. Next year they will be building a new clinic with live in accommodation and a kitchen to give classes.  She has a great reputation in the area. She explained to me this process changes your body on a cellular level, then replenishes and rejuvenates once you release and purge stored up toxins. I’m excited to see how the process goes.

Exploring Life in Nyuh Kuning
Balinese Prayer

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