There I was, a naive and bright-eyed 20 year old in the middle of Kathmandu, Nepal ready to take on the world. I was studying abroad and couldn’t have been more excited to be out of the country for the first time. We had all chosen topics for our independent study projects, mine being the study and effects of yoga as medicine in urban Nepal – I was pumped.
I had run around town seeking the perfect gurus and medical facilities where I could spend my apprenticeship. And boy had I found it. Dr. Yogi K. Sharma’s Yogic Hospital and Institute. Yes, I had definitely struck gold.
After a few weeks of getting acquainted with the Institute, the daily practices and the staff, it was time for my practice to get a bit more clinical. I was going to be introduced to the yogic cleansing techniques, the Shatkriyas, as they referred to them there. Clueless and overly enthused, I followed Jyotiji, a nurse, to the back to get started.
As students, we were taking pretty intensive language classes each morning. Though we definitely weren’t fluent, most of us could hold a conversation. But Jyotiji, she spoke quickly and with little intonation. I had a hard time keeping up and she didn’t see a need to slow down on my behalf.
“On the table,” she spat quickly in Nepali. “I’m going to cover your eyes.” Amazing, I thought to myself lying on the table full of glee, visions of soft enchanting music playing as would happen in some American spa. I am really getting to the heart of it, I thought to myself awaiting my cleanse. With a moist towel and some type of clay, she gently covered my eyes. Completely black.
“Now take down your pants,” she said bluntly.
A long pause. Did I hear her right? I cleared my throat, hoping she would repeat what I had misunderstood her saying. “Pheri bolnus? Say again?” I asked quietly and politely after I realized she was waiting for me to make a move.
Without hesitation, she repeated it again, “TAKE DOWN YOUR PANTS.” Clear as day. My visions of lavender oils, trickling fountain sounds and cushy slippers crumbled, and suddenly I pictured being on the phone with my Dad and him asking something along the lines of: “Well, why the hell did you pull your pants down for some random woman in the middle of Asia in the first place, Brie? My God.”
Completely unaware and regrettably amenably, I did as the woman told me, hoping for the best case scenario. Lord knows what that would be, I thought to myself trying to pick at the corners of the now dried clay around my eyes to at least see what the hell was going on.
“Ek, dui, tin! One, two, three!” She shouted and then shoved it up my bum. I howled like a hurt puppy and all the other nurse and doctor conversation in the room stopped. I definitely didn’t see that one coming.
I started to panic. What the hell had she just inserted? It was still there, my God, it was still in me. She began speaking, “Pani ayo? Did the water come?” I felt my intestines fill with God knows what, lying there, a blindfolded fool. At that moment, my language failed me. She repeated again and again, getting louder each time: pani ayo? Bhaini, pani ayo? Little sister, water come?” What the eff was she saying?!
I lay there questioning myself, bum exposed.
At that point she could tell I was worried. I wasn’t answering, and shock and fear look the same in any language. She pulled off my blindfold and I ran to the bathroom to “finish my cleanse.”
It wasn’t until later that night after reading about the kriyas and about basti, that I realized what she had done. It was only at that point that I could convince myself to go back the next morning. Nothing like an unexpected enema to teach you how to let go…
Brie Doyle is a Boulder native can’t seem to find another place she’d rather live. But she’s been fortunate enough to try many places. From NYC to New Zealand, SE Asia, Japan, Nepal and India, she has traveled the world seeking adventure and stories to share. Pre-babies, she was a middle school teacher and a yoga teacher, but now that she is pumping out children, she stays at home and writes. She has written two novels, one based in India, one based in New York, and she is furiously seeking publication. In the meantime, she can be found making light of life on her blog.
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