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Monsoon is the Right Time

It’s been raining steady since yesterday afternoon here in Kerala, as, in this season of monsoon, it should every few days or so. Now it’s 9 am, and in my house we have been current illa without electricity since about 5 am.

The rain whether drizzling or pelting forms a blanket of soft vibration over the landscape, softening the sounds of regular life, turning down the dial on the intensity of normal activity. This sensory insulation makes monsoon the season traditionally considered best for internal focus, a naturally supported time to turn inside for meditation and spiritual study, as well as for taking Ayurvedic treatments.

Every year, the hot temps of  April and May cool when–around June 1st–the southwest monsoon winds bring “mazha.” Rain! When it finally arrives to quench the parched soil, monsoon makes the world perfect for taking Ayurvedic treatments. The softened environment renders mind and body more receptive to the qualities of the therapies. As the outer world blurs and recedes from the senses a bit, one’s attention shifts from the usual outward flow of energy, to an inward, more personal awareness. Quite naturally, one discovers less preoccupation with mental constructions about the future, and more experience of a gentle and present physicality. This state of awareness and receptivity promotes deep cellular and energetic integration of the benefits of Ayurvedic treatments.

The moist qualities of monsoon also help soften and ripen the seven tissues of the body the dhatus during poorva karma, the preparatory phase of pancha karma involving snehana (oil application) and svedhana (steam treatments). When the tissues are well prepared soft, moist and pliable the Ayurvedic techniques used for eliminating toxins and excess doshic energies from the body and mind are accomplished easily, effortlessly, and completely.

Monsoon is nice for yoga practice, too. The body becomes more supple, more flexible, and the cool temps invite a vigorous practice. Not everyone is doing yoga here, though. There’s a lull over the village. Hari my friend in the back house is napping, no doubt. Lots of locals find themselves sleeping off the really rainy days during monsoon season. It’s as if an order has been issued by the queen: No one’s allowed to do much!

But if you are spiritually inclined, and not sleepy, a rainy day is a gift from the Gods, a chance to fall fully into internal surrender. Monsoon’s gray skies transform everyday bright-and-punchy-Kodachrome India into a more muted, watercolor world where layers of mystery loosen and separate, floating apart to be more clearly revealed. I notice on these quiet, saturated days, that my breathing comes to the fore of my awareness. If I let myself, I could easily be lulled to sleep by the mystical softness enveloping me, and by the gentle rhythm of Ham (inhalation) and Sa (exhalation). But after years of japa practice and no small measure of grace, the syllables of my mantra arise automatically with every breath, and meditation meditates me, the only interruption the occasional subtle crackling of the oil lamp on the altar table.

It’s a respectable 78 degrees out, but local people consider this  a time to protect oneself and one’s family from the direct affects of water on skin. Letting rain drops hit one’s head is be strictly avoided. Stepping outside at all requires a head covering of some sort. (Any sort! Come on over to Kerala during monsoon, if only to admire the inventive variety of head coverings people devise. Umbrellas? OK. And amusing hats are one thing. But look also for dish towels, shopping bags, hankies, the husk of a coconut, the corner of a sari… Even interlocked fingers make a popular shield from the rain. Anything goes!)

The moisture makes thin hair full and wavy, and wrinkled skin plumb and glow like a peach!

But best of all is the natural invitation monsoon brings us to surrender our excesses and our toxins. To let everything flow–let everything go–in our transformative pancha karma process.

Rain, rain no need to go away. When we live in harmony with the qualities of the season accepting her benefits, and balancing any excesses monsoon time is the right time for so many good things.

We welcome you to experience monsoon at Rasa Ayurveda,

Niika Quistgard, CAS

Founder & Director