Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 6: Saturday, rest day

I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I managed to sleep in today. Success!

I'll also be doing my best to take the day off practice, and have been contemplating Guruji's prescription for an oil bath:
Oil bath is a traditional, weekly Ayurvedic home remedy still practiced widely in South India. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois routinely recommends oil bath to his yoga students especially for the relief of back and knee pain as well as stiffness. Weekly oil bath reduces excess internal heat (pitta in Ayurveda) particularly in the joints, liver, and skin. This heat is generated by poor lifestyle, including consumption of oily, processed, and difficult to digest foods, alcohol and tobacco, in addition to stress, air pollution and inadequate sleep. This imbalance increases with the heat generated by yoga practice and hot climate. Eating an over-sufficiency of healthy foods that are deemed "heating" in Ayurvedic terms, also adds to this imbalance.

Excess heat can be felt in the joints as pain and stiffness and in the back, often in the lower right-hand side and hip, as a nearly debilitating pain. This heat also contributes to a short temper, burning anger, red skin, pinkish acne, and redness in the eyes. When a daily ashtanga yoga practitioner still carries extra weight, especially around the middle, has difficulty with weight loss or with digestion, and has a regularly sluggish bowel, these are all signs of surplus heat.
Castor oil was traditionally used, but that can prove to be very messy and (apparently) nearly impossible to remove from your body without the mysterious "soap nut" and "green powder" mixture. The alternatives include using baking soda to remove the castor oil, or substituting almond oil, which can be removed with regular soap and water:
In India, oil bath is customarily taken with castor oil that is later removed from the skin and hair with a special herbal paste made of equal parts soap nut and green powders mixed with water. Castor oil delivers the best results, but is nearly impossible to remove without these powders. Guruji suggests that, after leaving India, the yoga student can replace castor oil with almond oil, which easily washes off with bath soap.
I'll be giving the almond oil option a try this morning, then spend the rest of the day relaxing, reading and most likely watching the UFC fights from last night. I'm not sure what Guruji would think of the last bit, but  I'd like to think he would appreciate the dedication, focus and challenges required in martial arts.

The above quoted text was borrowed from a super helpful article which includes step-by-step instructions for enjoying a safe, beneficial oil bath at home. Read it here.


I'll leave you with some inspiration in the form of a video I found last night featuring Sri K. Pattabhi Jois leading a master class that includes Chuck Miller, a yoga legend who will be coming to Vancouver in a few months. I'm hopeful that I can pull that workshop off, as my own teacher quotes him all the time and I'm sure I'd learn a lot from studying with him directly. I really love his dynamic transitions during this part of the the series (he's the guy with the beard):




  1. Oil bath is most useful for everyone body health. Lots of people are following this method to cool their whole body health.Oil bath is traditional followed in the olden days. It reduce the body heat and also gives good energy to the skin. It also supports to shiny the skin. Weekly ones taking the oil bath is really helpful to the whole body health.

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  2. It diminish the body warm and furthermore gives great vitality to the skin. It additionally backings to sparkly the skin.
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