After a 14 hour drive to PA last Thursday, three days of training, and a similar drive ahead of me, I decided to indulge in an Ayurvedia massage and Shirodhara treatment. While massage is pretty mainstream nowadays (for good reason!), Shirodhara is less familiar. Shirodhara is it’s own experience, but following a massage, it makes the experience complete. It is a massage for the brain.
|This is not me. But, the treatment looks|
I had an amazing, vatta-balancing massage and ended on my back. Neema (my intuitive Ayurvedic therapist, and co-student at my training this weekend) covered my eyes with cotton. My head tipped slightly back, she positioned a pot of warm oil several inches above my forehead, the spigot aimed at the hairline. With a word to ready me, she opened the spigot, and warm oil began to flow, touching down, then flowing toward the back of my head and into a pan.
While the oil was warm, and only touching one spot, my whole body sprang into alertness. After a few breaths it calmed, and after a bit, Neema slowly moved the stream to first contact the center of my forehead. Then she sat quietly by my head.
I’d like to say that I immediately went into a deep state of bliss, but that wouldn’t be true. Although I’ve had this treatment once or twice before, it’s still fairly new, and my mind stayed active for awhile. “What should I be thinking about? Should I be more relaxed? Should I be meditating right now? If I leave right after lunch, I’ll get home about....2:00am? What is for lunch? Is Neema meditating? How big is this pot of oil?”
Thankfully, it was a big pot. Gradually, my mind slowed to match my heavily relaxed body, and all the sensation, all the focus and energy, gradually gathered at the tiny point where the oil met my forehead.
That spot, the center of the forehead, or third eye, was abuzz. I think I have a pretty active third eye (judging by the way people are looking at me sometimes I think it must be glowing), so it jumped to the ready for this treatment. The rest melted away, and all the hype was right in that one spot.
After a good 30 minutes, the oil drained. As the last drops touched down and the stream ended, I felt a literal sucking sensation, from the ends of my hands and feet, right to that third eye and out. I’m a great visualizer, so I envisioned that all my bad habits, limitations and samskaras were being sucked right out of me. I’m sure that was true, as now I find I am perfect in every way. Hmmm.
Neema took some time to massage the oil into my scalp, wipe away the excess, and sent me off into a steam room for a final cooking. After 20 minutes I emerged, exfoliated and showered, ready for a sattvic lunch and a 14 hour drive. Which, amazingly, ended up being only 12 hours. I’m certain it was my newly-honed mental focus that allowed me to cut through any traffic and obstacles and get me safely home, in bed, by 1:00am.
If you'd like to know more about Shirodhara, here is an interesting link. And, if you think you'd like to try it, there are practitioners closer than Pennsylvania. One, Monica Yearwood, an Ayurvedic therapist that has presented at Focus Yoga, practices in Chicago.