Ayurveda is a medical science dedicated to longevity, for the sake of spiritual liberation. In last month’s article we discussed the powerful anti-aging herbal tonics, called Rasyanas.
In Part 2 we look at the ancient rejuvenation practice of Kaya Kalpa. “Kaya” means body and “Kalpa” means transformation. Kaya Kalpa is a set of specific therapies mentioned in Vedic texts, that can actually reverse the physical degeneration caused by age. The treatments literally transform old cells to new again. Kaya Kalpa is a true science of “rejuvenation” – to make young again.
Kaya Kalpa basically detoxifies all the impurities in the body, and then puts in deeply nourishing rasayana plants and foods back in. The main idea behind the therapies is to balance the decay of old cells with the growth of newer, younger, healthier cells. It is a reversal of metabolic activities in the body. The rate of healthy, new cells must form faster than the degeneration and death of old cells, in order to arrest the symptoms of aging. Through kaya Kalpa, one can actually suspend the ravages of time, and preserve healthy, youthful, supple tissues.
The concept may seem really simple, but it is actually quite an extraordinary process. Kaya Kalpa treatments are said to be over 10,000 years old, and its secrets have been highly guarded by the Siddhas. The science of life-extension was such an exclusive practice, that Kaya kalpa was only undertaken by royalty and rishis (holy sages). Only those with money, time to devote, and spiritual discipline could undergo such intense practices.
First of all, one is sequestered for about 90 days. The patient is to remain in a “Kuti” a specially built closed cottage or hut, where light does not enter. During those three months, they remain in the darkness, shielded from sunlight and outside visitors. There, they begin complete purification of the body through Pancha Karma detoxification techniques. Certain herbal pastes are rubbed onto the body to exfoliate, and than allowed to dry, drawing out toxins. Medicinal plants, leeches, sweating and vomiting therapies are used for further detoxification of every organ system. During this time, diet is very minimal, perhaps eating only once a day, or even fasting on liquids. Some yogis drank only warm cow’s milk, considered sacred by Hindu’s, during the whole process. Specialized salts were ingested to preserve the body.
After weeks of cleaning the body of all built up impurities, it is time to re-nourish tissues at the deepest levels. Abhyangha massages, mineral baths, shiro dhara, sacred essential oils and precious gems were used to anoint the body. At this time, the immune boosting rasayana herbs and fresh juices were administered. These tonics are full of antioxidants, fighting free radical damage. There are legends of rare, specialized rasyanas, such as the elusive “Soma” plant, found in the mountains of India. It is not quite clear where this creeper was exactly located, but apparently it was the secret ingredient necessary in the magical elixir of youth.
After their morning spa therapies, patients spent the majority of their time performing tapas, meditating, reciting mantras, and practicing yogic breath. This time of hibernation not only cleansed their physical body but transformed their subtle and emotional bodies as well. They release all stuck emotions, anger and grief. They clear karmas of past lives through inward reflection. They often had visions of God, bestowing blessings upon them, and filling them with light. Universal knowledge is revealed to them from the cosmos. They cultivate inner peace.
After the “Kuti-pravesika” (living in the dark cottage, sequestered for 90 days) the person emerges completely transformed. The old grey hair falls out and is replaced by black hair. Old teeth fell out, replaced by new teeth. Complexion becomes fair, wrinkles smooth out and skin’s elasticity is restored. Eyesight and hearing drastically improve. Age related joint/body pain is gone. Memory and concentration is sharp, and there is spiritual clarity. The normal gross, dense vibrations of the physical body are sped up to a lighter, subtler frequency.
If done correctly, the original manuscripts, written on palm leaves, claim that Kaya Kalpa can give immortality. It is possible, for we’ve all heard of beings, alive for hundreds of years, like Babaji, who still roam the Earth in their youthful, physical form. Kalpa is truly the culmination of all Ayurvedic knowledge and therapies.
Though most of us may not be able to undergo the classic ”kaya kalpa rejuvenation” as described by ancient texts, there are many aspects of this Ayurvedic anti-aging regimen that we can practice to stay young and combat the disease process. Starting with “Pancha karma” detoxification, then taking in the right foods and herbs to nourish us, while releasing negative emotional patterns, we can enjoy longevity and spiritual well being.
To learn more about Ayurveda Anti-Aging therapies, contact Avani Sukhadia