What is Pancha Karma?

 

The mental health benefits of panchakarma are numerous. Panchakarma is a science of the body and mind that is 5,000 years old. It has continually helped people to maintain optimal health and prevent illnesses of the body and mind. This includes cancer, failure of all the organs of the digestive system, depression and anxiety and other severe mental disorders. The list of disorders is too many to list here. Pathology develops and progressively damages the entire body over time. The body works optimally when all the cells in all the systems are able to support each other and communicate their needs. When communicating effectively the cells deliver to one another the needed nutrients, enzymes and vitamins that all the organs, muscles and nervous system, etc., need to function at their optimum level. All the systems of the body are a functioning unit and work together to run smoothly much like an automobile. The idea is that if one organ is upset than a ripple like effect take place in the entire body.  As we have all experienced with our automobiles when one part is breaking down the car can no longer function well. Panchakarma is a holistic system of healing that incorporates the mind, body and spirit and the treatments involve every area of the body. For this reason the treatments can take up to one month followed by a period of recuperation.

 

In specialized medicine a physician is generally trained in one area of the mind and body. The spirit is left to religion and/or other alternative methods of healing. To treat the mind and body medicines are dispensed that minimize the pain but also have side effects that create problems in other areas of the body. Side effects like nausea, anxiety and insomnia can all be debilitating.  Specialized medicine treats the symptoms after pathologies are progressed (i.e. cancer, depression, alcoholism, etc). In holistic medicine the goal is to cleanse the body with natural herbs, soothing food that aid in digestion and developing a spiritual lifestyle. Therefore we maintain our health daily attending to the mind, body and spirit.  A spiritual lifestyle can consist of prayer and meditation. Many use yoga principles to live for the benefit of all beings. That is respecting the environment, caring for animals and treating all human beings with compassion and loving-kindness’. Specialization often takes into account only what is happening to a specific area of the body and mind. In holistic treatment the mind, body and spirit are seen as interrelating and interdependent parts that affect the whole person. Therefore when one area of the mind or body is suffering it upsets the balance in other areas of the body and mind. Panchakarma takes into account the whole person, consisting of mind, body and spirit.  The panchakarma practitioner sees the body as the vehicle that carries the stress. The stresses from emotions stay in the memory of cells of the body preventing the organs and nervous system from interacting and communicating with each other. Stress ties us up and diminishes the ability of all systems of the body and mind to communicate with each other. The body experiences the same frustration as the mind becoming scattered and disconnected. The body is remarkable in that it can take abuse and function in a limited capacity for many years but eventually organs and muscles and joints and the mind wear out from not receiving the nutrients from the digestive system. Normally the cell walls of the intestines deliver the nutrients from food but stress causes the walls to have ama (a sticky substance) which builds up and prevents vitamins, minerals and nutrients from passing into the blood stream. When the digestive organs are deprived of the nutrients than other parts of the body suffer. (i.e.) The gall bladder makes bile which is delivered to the intestines for breaking down foods in the small intestine. When the gall bladder cannot get the minerals and vitamins it needs to produce the bile the food becomes a toxin in the small intestine. As a result this buildup of stress in our organs causes more stress on our emotional state. The ability to handle normal emotions becomes so difficult that we begin to question ourselves. Many times in a negative way.  The panchakarma practitioner understands how physical and emotional stress is stored in the body and needs to be released.  A whole series of massages is part of the process that begins to release this physical and emotional stress. When the body begins to heal in panchakarma treatment, the toxins that are stored in the cells are released over a period of time (several weeks to months). Most toxins in the body are created by the food we eat and our reactions to the challenges of life. The food we eat (i.e. eating too much saturated fats) can prevent the digestive organs from making enzymes that enhance the digestive process. When food in not digested efficiently toxins build up on the walls of the stomach, small and large intestines, the liver and all the organs of digestive system.

During and after panchakarma treatment the body begins to heal, and the mind and spirit begin to experience a clarity that can be profound. Mentally one can begin to assimilate input coming from all six senses with a clarity that surpasses ones previous capacity. As the mind and body connect better and heal interdependently the spirit of the person opens to new possibilities.  The most profound is thinking of self less and have a greater concern for the welfare of others.

I have personally experienced the benefits of panchakarma. I went to India for my last panchakarma and had a series of treatment lasting 21 consecutive days. That was 6 months ago and I’m still feeling more balanced mentally and emotionally that I have ever experienced previously in my life. I have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress from the Viet Nam war and growing up in a family where many abuses occurred. I became a survivor of many emotions that were trapped inside throughout my childhood. As I grew older anger was part of my everyday existence that was difficult to control. I focused my life on achievement in order to compensate for the confusion I felt inside. I found that drinking at a young age settled all the emotions inside that I didn’t know how to express. I used drugs and drank daily until the age of 26 when I went to AA and have remained sober. Sobriety stabilized my life and helps me to pursue goals that gave me more purpose. I still suffered from mood disorders and had periodic breakdowns. I went through many relationships and struggled with intimacy. In spite of these handicaps I achieved a master’s degree in social work and began a counseling career that I thourghly enjoyed. Helping others eased my pain that I felt in my personal life. When alone I felt lonely and dreamed of having love in my life. When opportunities for love came I would regress to angry feelings and would leave for greener pastures. Deep inside I feared abandonment and compensated by being very controlling or at times placating my lover regardless of how I felt. I feared being abandoned so much that I couldn’t be emotionally honest. When I discovered meditation about 10 years ago I began to feel calmer inside. I was so intrigued I went on many long term retreats for 5 years or so. About 6 years ago I started doing Yoga along with daily meditation and started seeing more improvement in my emotional state. I still found myself stressed in personal relationships but valued being alone now. That was such an improvement from the lonely guy who craved love and didn’t enjoy being alone. I now understood that happiness and love have to come from within first before love of others can be fruitful. I met a friend 7 years ago who is now my partner in a yoga studio. He had been practicing daily with pranayama (controlled breathing to enhance our mental and spiritual state) and I joined him. He was already going to India once a year to receive panchkarma and is now practicing giving panchakarma locally. I got involved with him and started learning about living and eating aryuvedically along with doing periodic panchakarmas. To bring you up to the present we went to India last March together. Since I’ve returned from India my mind and feelings are congruent most every day. When I observe I’m getting anxious it is easier for me to breathe and relax. I am connecting with others with a greater ability on an emotional level. My expectation of others has diminished. These are some of the personal gains I’ve received from doing panchakarma.

About the author

William McDonald, LCSW is a Co-Founder, Partner, RYT 200 Yoga Certified and Life-Coach at Sattvic Space. William has over 20+ years as a New York Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specialized in post-traumatic disorders, addiction recovery and marriage counseling. William is trained in Gestalt therapy, psychodrama and healing the inner child. William has also been part of the NA, AA and SLAA 12-step recovery communities for over 20 years. His passion is in the integration of Western psychology and 12-step healing modalities with the ancient Eastern forms of healing of yoga, meditation, and Pancha Karma.

William is a RYT 200 Yoga Certified and Life-Coach at Sattvic Space. William has over 20+ years as a New York Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specialized in post-traumatic disorders, addiction recovery and marriage counseling. William is trained in Gestalt therapy, psychodrama and healing the inner child. William has also been part of various 12-step recovery communities for over 20 years. His passion is in the integration of Western psychology and 12-step healing modalities with the ancient Eastern forms of healing of yoga, meditation, and Pancha Karma.

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Being an Ayur-Yoga instructor, Maury was introduced to the practice of mantra and meditation over 30 years ago, after the death of his mother. The practice then saved his life after the tragic loss of his son. He has made countless trips to his Ashram in Rishikesh, India to study Ayurvedic healing, meditation and Ayur-yoga. Maury is also the co-founder of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme). iBme is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of teens, parents, and professionals. Through mindfulness retreats, iBme helps participants cultivate awareness, compassion, and kindness for themselves, others, and the natural world.

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Charisse Minerva has a diversified background that crosses health/healing, science, arts (performance & visual), education, contemplative practices, and community development. With decades of experience she brings them together as Art Therapy. Her classes offer multiple layers of satisfaction; fun, healthy, healing and strength building (physically, musically, artfully, emotionally and spiritually).   Come have a great time growing together.

BS: MCV/VCU

MA: NYU Tisch School of the Arts (Dance Anthropology)

Urban Arts Center (UAC) Director: 15 years

Performance Companies: Dance, Theatre, Music

Mindfulness Teacher/Trainer: All ages & levels

Drummer/ Percussionist

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Carol has been practicing yoga for over 10yrs.  Her first contact with yoga was to improve her athletic performance, and later to release back tightness and also to find peace of mind. She holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science, and completed her 200hr Yoga teacher certification from Sivananda International Yoga school, and is currently working on her 500hr Advanced Yoga Teacher under Lisa Asha Rapp.  Carol has 13yrs combined teaching experience as a Physical Education teacher and also Yoga.  She teaches Yoga at TNCC as well as at Sattvic Space. Carol holds a special interest in Integral Yoga for wellness, healing, therapy and improving ones overall quality of life.  Passionate about yoga as a whole, she looks for opportunities to teach yoga as it applies to our daily lives; empowering students to overcome their difficulties through the breath.  She likes to challenge the limitations of the mind through yoga, so that in the end it brings peace, calm & serenity. “Yoga is a way to free the mind”

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Dr. Abha Gupta is an Ayur-Yoga instructor with Sattvic Space.

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Terri is a LifeForce Yoga Level I instructor with over 20 years of experience in mental health and social services.

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Dr.Dilip is one of the foremost experts in Yoga Therapy combining his 45-year experience in Conventional Western Medicine with his extensive knowledge of Integrative Medicine, including Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy. 

Dr. Sarkar’s passion for yoga and the Ayurvedic healing modalities came after suffering a near fatal heart attack. Dr. Sarkar was an Associate Professor of Surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, and Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Chief of Staff at Portsmouth General Hospital. He is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner who is passionate about the integration of Yoga Therapy, Mind/Body Connection, Ayurvedic Wellness, Integrative Nutrition, and Integrative Medicine.
He currently is President, Board of Directors, American Heart Association, Hampton Roads, Virginia; Chairman, School of Integrative Medicine, Taksha University, Hampton, Virginia; President, Board of Directors, International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).

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Sue began practicing yoga in 2001 as a way to stretch and relieve stress.  After developing a regular practice, Sue noticed great improvement with back pain.  In order to share the healing effects of yoga with others, she decided to become a yoga teacher.  Since her certification as a yoga instructor, Sue has been teaching Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin style classes.

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Jerusha, received her certification as a Holistic Health Practioner from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and American Association of Drugless Practioners. She is a registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance and a certified Reiki, Neuromuscular Massage Therapist and Integrative Nutrition Specialist. She has training in Art Therapy, Pastoral Care and is currently studying for her PhD in Holistic Health and Integrative Nutrition. 

Jerusha is a believer in the philosphy of Buddha, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” and Jesus, “What you do for the least of them; you do for me also.” With each student/client she uses a combination of different modalities to treat the whole person; not just symptoms or ailments. Jerusha’s in-depth training in spirituality, mindfulness meditation, Neuro-Linguistic (belief) repatterning and Yoga Therapeutics are a rare combination of healing modalaties to create a wholeheartedly blessed person; living an exuberantly passionate, authentic life.

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Nada

TJ Williams (Nada) lives in the D.C. Area. She is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner – Dhanvanatari Ayurveda, Norfolk, VA,. She also has completed: Advanced Clinical Internship – Ayuskama Ayurveda Institute, Rishikesh, India and Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor – Kerala Ayurveda Academy, Fremont, CA. She is currently enrolled in Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner – Kerala Ayurveda Academy, Fremont, CA (Pending – Feb 2017). Nada is the founding Director of Y.O.G.A. – Your Organization for Global Ayurveda, A Non-Profit Organization for the unification of Ayuvredic practices globally.

Nada is also a Musician/Composer, Spiritual Enthusiast, Vedic Chanter, Ordained Clergy ( Vaidyacharya) with the Church of Spiritual Humanism.

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Neve has been a yoga practitioner off and on since 2003. After several car accidents, it became apparent to her that she would be practicing yoga the rest of her life in order to self-heal daily. She received her RYT 200 teaching certificate in Hatha alignment-based yoga at Health Advantage Yoga Center in 2012. Neve has studied many different styles of yoga under various senior teachers. She is drawn to Ayurveda and Tantra as they teach all of life is sacred. With 14 years of teaching experience in various physically related activities, Neve enjoys guiding her students along the yoga path of self-discovery. Her classes tend to be more playful in nature yet with an element of reverence for the Divine.

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After spending 25 years dedicating her life to corporate America in varied fields such as banking & finance, information technology and business development; Denise made the switch to her lifelong passion of helping others take a leadership role in their health. Denise is trained to focus on preventive healthcare with a specific focus on diet and lifestyle utilizing the principals of Ayurveda in a way that is practical and easy to comprehend.  She also provides a variety of body therapies designed to correct imbalances and promote harmony of the mind and body.  Her desire is to take the principals of Ayurveda back to corporate America to provide modern ways of implementing this ancient science for coping with modern day stresses and health challenges. 

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Aruna currently offers Hatha and Yin Yoga. She completed her yoga teacher training at Chesapeake Hot Yoga on June 5, 2006, Yin Yoga training in March, 2012 and her 500 RYT course in Multi Style Yoga in March 2012.

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Mary/Archa came to Sattvic Space after graduating from Vijaya Stallings class in Ayurveda. She then went on to complete an Associates degree in Ayurveda in 2015. As a citizen of Portsmouth where she was raised, she is thrilled to have a yoga and Ayurvedic center near her home. Mary is a retired nurse and counselor and has been a volunteer with Sattvic since its conception in 2013. She met Maury Cook in 2008 when they completed 200-hour yoga training in Norfolk. She has been active with Maury teaching Pranayama practice and volunteers to help with Ayurvedic treatments and decorating the Space with flowers from her mother’s garden.

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Christal is a native New Yorker who made Virginia her home after completing her enlistment in the Navy. She has been a dedicated practitioner of yoga for many years and completed a 200 RYT certification. Christal holds a Bachelor of Arts of Sociology and minor in Women’s Studies. She is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher with yoga alliance and is continuing her yoga education with a yoga therapy concentration, through Amanda Hamp CYT, 500 eRYT of National Yoga Academy. While maintaining her studies, Christal also assists NYA in teaching/guiding new 200/500 RYT programs/teachers. Lastly, Christal is a lover of life, animals, friendships and of course, yoga.

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Alfred, our Art Director, has been drawing since he could pick up a pencil. By elementary school, he was accepted into Old Donation School for the Gifted. In the Marine Corps during war-time deployments, he completed several mixed media murals in remembrance of fellow Marines who sacrificed their lives. Alfred completed his degree in Graphics Design and specializes in original hand-drawn, computer-enhanced designs. As a published artist, he is known for detailed illustrations found in several books. But his true passion is fine art, including acrylics as well as pen and ink. He also enjoys teaching art to kids of all ages, and spends his time managing, renovating, and beautifying Sattvic Space.

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