The college I graduated from was really awesome and offered spirituality and healing classes.
I didn’t find out about them soon enough so I went to very few. One of my favorites though was a course in Tibetan Medicine. We met every Wednesday for just a few months, but what I learned in that time has stuck with me ever since. The following are just a few little tricks I gleaned from studying Tibetan Medicine that have greatly improved my life and are really quite easy to implement no matter who you are or what your spirituality is.
Drinking water upon rising makes your whole day better.
I’m not positive that this was explicitly related to Tibetan Medicine, but my instructor mentioned quite frequently the effectiveness of drinking tepid or warm water in the morning just after waking up. This hydrates the body and helps to flush out any toxins that have accumulated during sleep. I notice I always feel best when I practice my morning water ritual. Spring water is best.
Tibetan prostrations will wake you up.
This was something that we learned the first or second day of class. A Tibetan prostration is exactly what it sounds like. One moment you are standing and then seconds later your face is against the floor. You then stand back up and repeat that action over and over again. I remember really disliking prostrations at first, but then thinking, “If my 65 year old professor can do this than I can too.” I then decided to do them every morning and felt lighter and clearer when I did. The perfect time to practice them is after your morning glass of water. They really help to wake up the body.
Exercising for your “constitution” makes exercise fun.
Your body type in Tibetan Medicine is called a “constitution” or the balance of the humors in your body. For simplicity’s sake- I am the equivalent of an air (rLung) type with just a bit of fire (Tripa). This constitution is a bit tricky, because, although I am mentally drawn to highly energetic activities, I am physically best suited for calmer activities such as swimming, ballet and yoga. After months of trial and error I’ve now settled on 20 minutes of yoga a day with one difficult 90 minute session of swimming or ballet during the week to satisfy my “fire” cravings. Discovering I needed less exercise than I initially thought was a major breakthrough for me and my body rewarded me for my efforts. My body now stays pretty much the same way all of the time, which is great since I’ve become very happy with it. It’s also really nice to have consistent energy levels and a predictable appetite during the day. I think this has to do with the fact that I am neither over-exerting nor under-exerting myself. You can easily discover your constitution by taking an online quiz from a Tibetan Medicine website and many of them make exercise, as well as dietary recommendations.
Being compassionate makes you happier.
I always thought I was a compassionate person. My understanding of compassion deepened however, when we had to read a book on compassion written by my professor. I was constantly checking myself and how I reacted to others. I made sure I was taking time to consider where they were coming from and how they might feel. Embarking on this path of awareness has really made me happy. I notice an obvious difference in my satisfaction with life when I choose compassion. Sometimes I make the wrong choice, but it is in those moments that another opportunity arises for me to try again. That is when I get to practice compassion towards myself, another aspect of this lesson I have yet to master.
A Tibetan Doctor can steer you away from trendy diets.
As part of our curriculum; we were all required to visit a Tibetan Medicine doctor. This came at a very important moment for me as I was a pure, 100% raw foodist back then and was beginning to have some health issues because of it. Tibetan doctors check your pulse to see what kind of energy balance or imbalance is occurring in your body and then they make dietary, herbal and lifestyle recommendations based on what they find. It almost feels as if they are making it up since they draw no blood and run no tests. They just ask questions while holding your wrist. I found out I was way out of balance from all of the raw food I was eating. It took me months to implement the doctor’s suggestions into my life, but as soon as I did I noticed a markable improvement. That doctor’s visit was the first step in healing months of damage I had done to my body due to raw foods.
Looking at your pee will reveal the secrets of your body.
Another thing Tibetan doctors will often do is what is called a urinalysis. A Tibetan doctor will smell the urine, check for sediments or film and swirl it around to check for streaks of color that might indicate the presence of blood. This helps the doctor to know what is going on with your body and how to best offer recommendations. Our professor invited a Tibetan Doctor to speak to our class about urinalysis during one of our sessions. She explained the process and mentioned that we could use some Tibetan observational guidelines to help us figure out when our urine is normal or abnormal at home on a daily basis. It’s been 4 years since I took that class and whether or not you believe it- I can glance at my urine and tell: when I am getting my period, if I am eating too much sugar, when I am getting sick (within 3-5 days before I get sick), when I am getting better and of course when I’ve eaten too many beets.
Chilling out can cure you.
A few years after the class I went back to the same Tibetan doctor for help with a myriad of symptoms I was having. I didn’t have to bring a bottle of urine, but she did preface our appointment with a questionnaire. I came in, paid her $60 and sat across from her at one of those cushioned, awful, doctor’s office chairs. She took my wrist in her hand, tilted her head back and forth and then said, “You’re stressed out.” Go home and relax and you’ll be fine. I said “Really? Is that it?” She glanced around the room and murmured “Uh, drink some water, yeah, that’ll be good.” the physically and mentally distraught part of me wanted to call bullshit, but I just said “OK.” I walked to my car, cried and drove away. I quit my job the next day and went to the woods for two weeks where I did nothing but watch movies and sleep. After all of that time chilling out I was cured.