I'm going to skip ahead with my story, and then work my way back to the beginning, but I have to share.....
Have any of you had an Ayurveda massage? Let me paint a picture for you:
Imagine a huge, [in-ground] pool of warm oil....
And your swimming in it.
Only you're not swimming,
Because you're on a table,
Being aggressively stroked by little Indian hands,
So you're sliding.
Yes, you're sliding in an in-ground pool of oil.
And it's glorious.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that you are completely naked....
...as in as-naked-as-the-day-you-were-born!?
I didn't want to fess up about it last year, but now I don't mind sharing....when I was in Goa (Jan 2013) I received a tantric massage from a tantrica. It was totally fucking weird, duh, but I was laughing to myself as I was getting my rub down today, because it wasn't too different from the erotic massage I'd received one year ago! This afternoon, after my consultation, I walked into the room and got completely undressed, which just seems so odd because this culture is so incredibly conservative (I was scolded on the train today but an older Indian woman because my tshirt slipped down and started to reveal my shoulder....meanwhile I was in long pants, sneakers, a tshirt, and a scarf in 95 degree weather!). Aysho had me sit down on a chair and then she drizzled oil into my hair, proceeding to give me the BEST head massage ever (as I sat there, in the middle of the room, on a chair, butt naked). Then I was put onto a table where I held on for dear life so I didn't go sliding off the table and across the room, for the next 90 minutes as I was doused with oil and rubbed down. I really enjoyed the bit where she used an herbal compress and HOT oil to pound my body and scrub, pound and scrub, pound and scrub. Perhaps the most interesting part of the massage though was the shower afterwards. I stood, naked, as little Aysho scrubbed me clean. She used a paste made of chickpea powder and water, which was brilliant in removing the oil...leaving me with super soft skin. She scrubbed every inch of me, and then washed my hair...which was glorious. Once I was clean, dry, and no longer naked, we hung out and had a little girl talk. Aysho is 19, has a boyfriend, doesn't want to get married anytime soon, and she's convinced that if I had black hair that I could be an Indian. "The shape of your face, your beautiful teeth, your long hair....everything about you, very Indian. Very beautiful." She even mixed up pigment to give me a proper bindi on my forehead, proclaiming "There, now Indian woman".
And so....I can't say that I would necessarily recommend an Ayurvedic massage, nor would it ever replace my love for deeper (both physically and energetically) massages like Thai and Shiatsu, but it serves a purpose. I don't have the time to do a full "panchakarma" cleanse, which needs a minimum of three weeks, preferably five. But I am doing a mini week-long Ayurvedic treatment which involves daily massages, a few enemas (done with warm oil and hot compresses on the belly!), some supplements and medicines, and a few other oil-based treatments.
And now, I'll start at the beginning. I got lucky. After a few days of music making in Marari with John de Kadt, I hopped a train just after dawn to the hip beach town of Varkala. My tuktuk driver and I covered every inch of this damn county....the north hill, the south hill, black beach, back to the north hill, and eventually to Odayam Beach. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but I knew that I would know once I arrived. And so it was. I walked into Sea Splendour and instantly had a good feeling in my belly. I checked out the rooms and then cruised upstairs to have a peek at their small restaurant. Sitting at a table was an older [German] woman whom I later came to know as Ula. I asked her what she thought of the place and she lit up, grinning from ear to ear, shaking her head ecstatically, proclaiming that this was the best place in all of Kerala! Say no more. I paid my tukky, carried my bags to my room, and I was home. Ula has been staying here for the past three weeks, and has spent up to 3 months here in the past. She has been traveling to India for the past 28 years, and owns a store in Germany that sells Indian treasures. Though most of the coastline has been bastardized with bad music, all-night raves, cheap shop after cheap shop, and quasi-hippie bullshit....Odayam is still a slice of heaven. The North Hill was infested with hippies and hipsters, overpriced juice bars, yoga shalas and discos. I wasn't really sure what I was going to be doing in Varkala, but I knew that I didn't want to be involved in that scene, and was looking for something shanti shanti close to the beach. As I sat talking with Ula, she told me all about the Ayurvedic treatments that she'd been getting done from an Ayurvedic doctor up the street, and she highly recommended it. There are many charlatans in this country, preaching that they practice "Ayurveda", but most are false prophets...it's hard to find the real deal, and I find that you only come across these gems by word of mouth. Within the hour I was having my consultation (I'm Pitta-Vata, which I already knew) and was lining up a weeks worth of treatments. All ten treatments add up to be 10,000rs is $160usd. That's a lot of money, but think about it, each treatment is an hour and a half....and $160 is just a bit more than what you'd spend on ONE massage back home. In the end, quite a deal. And the luxury continues....I'm spending 800rs ($13usd) night on one of the nicest rooms at sea Splendour, which is a lot for India, because I'm worth it! Yahoo! After my treatment I felt inspired to explore the coast with a run...and so I ran a mile or two and then dove into the sea to cool down as the sun was setting.
I'm really looking forward to this week of shanti shanti rest, relaxation, yoga, and healing. Life is good. I know that the universe is lovingly guiding me always, and that I am exactly where I should be.
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