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Do you know what is virechana?

Do you know virechana? Actually, let's start at the beginning... You know Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. It's a medicine where we will treat the body, mind, emotions and spirituality as a whole. Where we will use plants to balance our being.

Each of us has a dominant type, which is called a dosha. Pitta (fire-water), Vata (air-water) and Kapha (earth-water). And when one or more is out of balance, that's what causes disease.

For this retreat, we will do an Ayurvedic treatment called virechana. It is in fact a cure, a detox. It began with a presentation of this treatment by Dr. Satappa. It was with him that I did my first virechana in 2018. A very wise man, a great yogi.

First meeting with doctor Satappa

Virechana is one of the panchakarma treatments. With this treatment we come to remove all the toxins from the body, even those that are hidden in a corner for a while. This will help balance the doshas and can help resolve some imbalances in us. The doctor also asked us if we have any more specific concerns that we would like to address this week. He can then suggest specific treatments.

During the first consultation, the doctor takes our pulse, asks us questions about our physical, emotional and spiritual state. With this it can tell us our currently predominant dosha which is out of balance. In my case, it's vata. We'll see if the virechana will rebalance all that.

Doctor Satappa gives us explanations before the first intake of ghee, gheetapana.

To start the treatment, you have to drink ghee, gheetapana, for the first 4 days. The doctor has prepared an appropriate mixture for each of us with herbs to treat our imbalances. Ghee, clarified butter, is made with the milk of Indian cows. This ghee has the property of being able to pick up all the toxins. So, we drink the dose in the morning, bottoms up. If ever we are nauseous, we are offered to chew a leaf of tulsi (sacred basil) or to suck on a cardamom. Afterwards, it is necessary to stay active, in order to allow the digestion of the ghee. So we're going to take a long walk. Then we will have an adapted yoga class, because several types of postures are to be avoided, such as forward bends and inversions. You also can't lie down, sleep or go in the air conditioning. Also, one should drink small sips of hot water every 5-7 minutes, until the ghee is digested. The doctor comes back around 1:30 p.m. to tell us if the ghee has been digested and thus announce that we can eat.

Our melting potions of ghee

Walking on the beach after taking ghee.

One morning we walked to a nearby cow farm.

You can imagine that we don't eat just anything. We have a choice of fruits, either papaya, mosambi (large sweet lime) or watermelon. These are the fruits that have the best properties to facilitate detoxification. One afternoon, the kitchen had prepared a fresh mosambi juice for us. Great excitement on our part for this surprise! But the doctor wasn't ahahaha. "Who asked to have this juice made?" We asked if it's ok to drink it, and he replied: "If you still have teeth, you should eat the fruit...." This will be the last juice for the rest of the detox, I believe!

We are also prepared ganji, local boiled brown rice. If we want to enhance our dish, we can add lime and salt. We are allowed to drink coconut water too. And we will have 8 days of this specific diet.


Sivaram serving us papaya

After taking the ghee, we will have 2 days of abhyanga massage (deep oil massage) followed by sweating, over 2 days. This will help drain toxins into the digestive system. Then, a day of rest, then it's the famous day of the purge!!! To do that, we'll drink a small laxative potion which will allow us to evacuate all these toxins. Generally a person visits the toilet between 5 and 15 times.

During the treatment, we pass through various phases. Some more difficult than others. Some people have a lot of energy, others less. Some are nauseous, others are not. But what is certain is that we will see a great difference in the end. The complexion of the skin is clearer, more radiant, the eyes are sparkling. We feel better lighter... I'll tell you about it after the treatment on how I will feel this time.

Typical schedule during virechana

See you soon,



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