Now I have completed the preparatory procedures (Purvakarma) for stage one, I’m ready for the main procedure (Pradhanakarma) which is called Virecana.
The main objective of this is to expel morbid substances, dissolve systemic physiological and emotional toxins (amas) from the circulating channels (srotas). It creates a healthy environment for the subtle transformation and nourishment and also provides the best healing opportunity.
Virecana is a therapeutic purging which helps to expel toxins from the central part of the body (liver, gallbladder, pancreas and intestines – the Pitta system). It is very effective for releasing digestive and metabolic load produced by different forms of food, emotional impulses or reaction.
I am told to welcome this awakening phenomenon!
The evening prior to Virecana, I am given a prepared herbal powder to take with a glass of warm water just before I go to bed. It tastes pretty foul so I drink it quickly then brush my teeth before hopping into bed – not quite sure what to expect.
I awake around 5am and perform my daily routines. At 7am I meet Dr Rumee who shows me into a therapy room where she takes my blood pressure (now down to 100/60) and pulse as well as asking me a few questions on how I slept and how I’m feeling and so on.
She then gives me a stomach massage and Paru, one of my regular therapists, gives me a foot massage – so far so good I’m thinking! After the stomach massage I have a couple of hot water bottles placed on my abdomen (hot fomentation) then I am shown some special exercises to perform. Next I am given a rather nasty tasting herbal concoction to drink, worse than the night before. Shortly after downing two glasses of this it certainly had the desired effect!
I am told to rest for much of the day which is easy as I’m feeling quite drained. A thermos of cumin tea is sent up to my room for me to sip on along with hot water. I am supposed to have breakfast at 10am but I fall asleep in my room so I’m woken around 11am with a bowl of of very watery and plain rice soup (congee). I’m not particularly hungry but they encourage me to eat some. I snooze on and off then lunch is sent up around 1pm which is not so watery rice soup.
For the next three days, my diet of rice soup gets thicker and thicker and gradually spices are added then finally on the third day, there are vegetables added then at dinner, lentils (kitchari). I also have a bowl of boiled apples each afternoon which I find very enjoyable.
That evening there is a huge thunder storm which feels quite fitting somehow to how I’m feeling after quite a grueling day. I feel very cosy and snuggled up listening to the wonderful sounds of thunder rolling in over the mountains and at times it was difficult to tell the difference between the lightning and the New Year’s Day fireworks going off down by the lake.