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Bodytree: Adivasi Ayurveda Part 2

April 2, 2008

On my first couple of days at the Bodytree I still have to get used to the rhythm of life here. But soon I almost can’t imagine that living any other way would be something I wanted or needed.

Ana and I are staying in very cozy, separate rooms in the guest and student living house. A lot of the walls around Bodytree are painted with tribal motifs alongside silkscreen prints of Che Guevara and Mahatma Gandhi. Kerala is run by a freely-elected communist government and is the only democratic-socialist state in India. Literacy is the highest in India. My room has a mosquito net instead of a glass window, which would be overkill since the temperatures here never drop very low. The big open window lets cool mountain air in at night. My window is facing the kitchen building and courtyard. Every morning I wake up at around 6 a.m. with the natural alarm clock, the rooster. By around 7 a.m. it is safe to peek into the kitchen and get some chai. Good morning and Hallo and big smiles and round-sounding words echo forth and back in the dark smoky kitchen. We are still all a bit shy around each other. Malayalam means “the language between the mountains and the sea.” People are already busy reading the newspaper, preparing breakfast and some of the medicine waters we receive as part of our ayurvedic treatment every day.

One of the medicines Ana and I drink every morning is fresh turmeric water with honey and some medicinal wine. The wine makes you feel a bit tipsy when you drink it on an empty stomach. Turmeric along with dried ginger and garlic, says Dr. Vijayan, is one of the three important herbs in ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric is an antibiotic and regulates stomach disorders. We take it for the entire two weeks we spend at the Bodytree. It is not an herb that should be taken every day for a long time, but once in a while for two weeks is good. When Hima brings us the drink she usually asks: “Sleep, toilet, dream?” asking about how we slept and if we had any dreams and if we are going to the toilet in the morning. I have been sleeping great, have been having weird dreams and have been constipated since we left Goa. Traveling and change of place always does that to me.

Morning time is the best time to do yoga, try to meditate a bit and read some paragraphs of this book that I really like – “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat Zinn. The world is still peaceful and the mind not so full of chatter yet. So I try to get into a little routine after I get up, get my chai and turmeric water and before I am up for treatment at 9:30am. Ana is usually still in her Yoga practice when I go to the treatment room.

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