Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Saturday Practice

Saturdays are considered by most Ashtanga students to be a well deserved day of rest in a 6 day a week practice schedule, but here in Mysore, many students have a special Saturday morning practice: the castor oil bath.  It is a time consuming and messy process, but one that has definite benefits.  I don't personally partake in the oil bath every week, as I am quite sensitive to the effects, but this morning I spent the better part of an hour in the bathroom covered head to toe first in castor oil and then a mud like paste of soap nut powder and green nut powder mixed with a bit of water.  It is a really good thing that the Indian bathrooms are fully tiled and easy to spray down for clean up purposes... in a western style bathroom it would be a bit of a disaster!  The whole purpose of the castor oil bath is really to reduce heat in the body, to lubricate the joints, and to take care of inflammation, so with the weather getting warmer and my practice building in intensity, slathering myself in castor oil on a Saturday morning feels like the right thing to do.  If you want some really great information on the whole process, click here.  It is an article that I found extremely helpful when I started taking oil baths because the directions are outlined very clearly.
Anyways, after emerging from my hideously pink bathroom, the effects of the oil started to really take hold.  If at all possible, I try and lie down for a solid ten minutes after having an oil bath, just to get my wits about me, as this process of bringing the heat up and out through the crown of the head leaves me feeling like my body and mind are two completely separate entities.  An ethereal state to say the least, possibly bordering on stupid-head (just like I get from waking up at stupid-o-clock!).  This sensation was especially strong today, and most of the rest of the day (after a trip to the secret breakfast place) was spent either napping or crocheting or reading on the porch swing.   There might need to be a whole post just about my porch swing; it is pretty well the only furniture in the house, so it gets a lot of love and attention.  More on that another time.  Hopefully the rest I have managed to get today will serve me well in practice tomorrow... led intermediate, which has included the first few postures of third series the last few weeks, will undoubtedly be challenging. 

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