Yoga Journal

An integrative path

WEARING ONLY A MUSLIN loincloth, I lie on a hardwood table stained the color of mahogany from years of oil massages. A warm breeze flutters a sun-bleached crimson sari mounted lengthwise on the wire-screen wall that separates the treatment room from the garden and coconut palms outside. Krishna Dasan, the Ayurvedic therapist working on me, glides an oily satchel filled with freshly cut leaves, garlic, and lemon in long strokes from my chest to my legs. Sometimes along the way, detecting a stubborn area of muscular tightness, he stops and rubs back and forth over the stuck area for a number of staccato strokes before resuming longer ones.

When the bag cools, Krishna hands it to his assistant, Shashi, who puts it back in turmeric-infused oil bubbling on a single-burner gas flame and hands Krishna a hot one. After pounding the satchel once or twice on the table to cool it and remove excess oil, Krishna traces firm circles on either side of my chest. The air is fragrant with a smell

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