Heading south with my mother and Breast Wishes Board Member, Arleen Shabel, I have time to reflect on our shared experiences in India. For Arleen, this is her first time and though this is my third, it is still an experience in firsts for me. It’s the first time I’ve been to the Taj Mahal which truly does deserve the hype, though the Udaipur City Palace we went to yesterday moved me more deeply, both spiritually and aesthetically. Gorgeous use of inlayed stones, miniature paintings and Hindu spiritual dieties. This city deserves it’s reputation as being one of the most romantic, the Venice of India, built on lakes, and my mother and my favorite city so far. We did some heavy shopping here too, she getting a custom tailored salwar chameez, the modern woman’s daily wear with a long tunic, pajama bottoms and a long scarf. We purchased from a local village’s NGO store with very distinctive hand blocked print textiles, dyed and loomed fabrics. Arleen got some bling with local gems including real emeralds, rubies and diamond dust which were so inexpensive because they are semi-precious versus being polished completely. We educated ourselves in the miniature painting art, Arleen purchasing a beautiful picture of Krishna and Radhe with such exquisite details of peacocks, trees and mountains in the background. It really spoke to her as well as a murti or spiritual statue of Ganesh, the elephant headed diety who is the removal of obstacles. Can’t wait to see what Dad says when Ganesh arrives in a month!
Previous to the Tauck tour, I have been studying Ayurveda in Pune with Breast Wishes Advisors Dr. Vasant Lad and Nomi Gallo. This was with 15 other students, all of us ranging in backgrounds and levels of knowledge of Ayurveda. Being in India, we had the opportunity to be in the exam rooms of Dr. Lad’s Pune city clinic and the agricultural community we were living about an hour outside of the city. Indians barely flinched as the group enthusiastically jumped up to look at a client’s tongue at Dr. Lad’s urging. Who knew you could tell so much about a person, just by “reading” their tongue!
“Ama” or toxins are obvious in a white residue on the tongue and depending upon where it is, one can tell which organs are congested. In a relatively short time, my colon ama cleared which corresponded with clearing extreme constipation. The pulse is also a tool widely used to understand organ and nuances of unbalance. “Prakriti” is the constitution we were born with and “vikruti” is our current state. Usually, these two are not in harmony and Ayurveda works to bring vikruti back into balance utilizing diet, massage, pranayama (breathing exercises), yoga and herbs. Some of the herbal combinations available in India are unique and can not be purchased in other countries because they use metals such as mercury, gold, silver, and other compounds such as sulfur. These are prepared according to ancient texts, frequently being bathed in different substances including cow’s milk and urine, that remove the toxicity and create potent healing and anti-aging medicine. Herbal combinations for widely prevalent American diseases such as diabetes, heart issues, epilepsy, mental illness and cancer all have protocols in Ayurveda though it takes time and consistency to be effective.
Prevention is a big component of Ayurveda and Dr. Lad recommends daily doses of neem and turmeric in capsules for breast cancer prevention. A great breast massage oil for lymph congestion is mustard, castor and flax seed oils. I noticed how it broke up and smoothed out nodules of my lymph in just a few days. More Ayurvedic tips to follow in our newsletters, forums and Breast Wishes short films.
Right now, I am headed to Varkala in the southern state of Kerala to embark on a Panchakarma treatment, a detox that works from the bone marrow out. I have left my Mom and make myself nervous at what lies ahead, mustering my spirit of adventure and shlepping abilities. More on the treatment…
From India, Lexie Shabel, Executive Director and Founder of Breast Wishes Fund