DIKSHA: "Ayurvedic Bootcamp"

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If someone asked me what I did in India for 41 days, I probably couldn’t explain it without sounding totally crazy, but I want to for all the people in this world who have experienced mental illness.

I’ve suffered bouts of depression/anxiety for parts of my life. It’s genetic. I was bound to develop it pretty easily, especially post high school stress, sickness and bullying.  

Anti-depressants were never my thing. I tried them and all they did was mask everything and cause further side effects. They are not actually removing anything from your physiology, more adding further toxins. I was determined to cure it naturally, to break the family genes. And boy, have I had a lot of work to do. 

Daily meditation, living a healthy lifestyle, herbs and Panchakarma (Ayurvedic detoxification program) have done a lot for me, but there was something else the doctor told me to do.

Diksha

Diksha is something you do with your guru to speed up everything in life. Evolution, power, strength, healing, and of course, the ability to heal others. It’s all about purity. Purifying the physiology more and more and more. 

The human physiology has many layers, and slowly we peel them back one by one. 

What does it involve?

Diksha begins on Dhanvantari day in India. Dhanvantari is the God of healing and a favourable day to start. The guidelines went a little something like this:

-       Strict Dinycharya (morning routine) waking up generally between 3:30 and 5:30am to get everything done. This involves brushing your teeth and scraping your tongue, drinking hot water, taking your herbs, self-body massage, 13 Surya Namaskaras (yoga sequence), pranayama (breathing), meditation, shower (cold water for me).

-       Sleeping on either a grass mat or a natural fibre mattress every night.

-       Attending puja ceremonies twice a day. These go anywhere from 1-2 hours.

-       Wearing nothing but brand new, clean white clothes, towels and bed sheets every day. We had to wash everything every day for 41 days.

-       Reciting mantras all day, generally for about 6 hours.

-       Taking silence at least one day per week.

-       Eating separating from everyone at the clinic.

-       Eating no wheat, no rice, no meat. It was a strictly 100% vegetarian diet.  

-       Eating only one meal a day, lunch. Generally only milk for breakfast and dinner.

-       Not speaking to anyone else really aside from the others on Diksha.

-       Not sitting on any cloth chairs or cloth surfaces – not couches!

-       Washing your hands and feet every time after using the toilet. 

There are a lot of rules to get used to during the first diksha and if you innocently make a mistake it's ok. Just correct it once you know.

Everyone around me seemed like seasoned diksha professionals. It seems so easy for them. For me, it was one emotion after the other. I don’t think I have ever cried, laughed, felt angry and extreme happiness all at the same time before. Endless sleepless nights, nights of intense dreaming, past memories, purification at it’s very highest.  

“Just enjoy it all.” The doctor would always say to me. 

All I wanted to do was escape my body and the clinic. 

The results

The biggest thing I have noticed is the physical and mental strength I see in myself. So subtly has it changed over the course of the 41 days, but by the end I could really notice it.  

I found my voice again. Words were naturally rolling out with no fear as to what people might think of me for saying it.

My body is stronger. Self-Abhyanga I know plays a big part in this, but the strict diet and exercise also has contributed. Doing Surya Namaskara (sun salutation) every day is so powerful, especially in the morning if you suffer depression! It changes your whole outlook.

My choice in music has changed from sappy songs to music with vocal strength.  

I’ve come home and I want to play sport again. My energy levels and motivation is high.

The biggest thing of all is the clarity of mind and purity of body. The heaviness feels gone and I feel light. 

Every time I go India, it blows my mind how powerful Ayurveda really is. In cleansing the body, in preventing disease, in living in tune with yourself, the seasons and the universe.

Trusting the process isn’t easy. There were many days it seemed easiest to quit, but I’m so glad I didn’t.

This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but completely worth it.