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Netra Tarpana! An Ayurvedic Eye Bath

The overuse of computer screens, detailed work, long hours on the phone, insomnia and stress leads to dryness, strain, burning hot sensation in our eyes and maybe diminished vision. Ancient Ayurvedic treatises have prescribed classic recipes to soothe, heal and nourish the eyes with a treatment called "Netra tarpana" or "netra basti" which means immersing the eyes in a ghee bath, 

 This is a classic Ayurvedic therapy, offering unparalleled nourishment for the eyes and one of my firm favourite Ayurvedic therapies! I yearn for it ever so often and whenever I am tired, have had a long week or back from extensive travels and especially when I feel the need to replenish my energy levels and soothe my brain ;) 

Netra tarpana is therapeutic and effective for a number of reasons and here are some of them:

  • The process of Netra Tarpana brightens and strengthens the eyes, improves vision, calms the brain and nervous system, promotes sleep and relieves insomnia.
  • Relieves eye disorders like dryness itching and red eyes and eye strain with overuse of phones computers and reading in poor light.
  • Ghee rasa is madhura or sweet and its virya potency is sheeta or cooling.
  • Triphala is Ayurveda is a panacea for so many ailments and is tri-dosha balancing and pacifying.
  • Ghee lubricates and nourishes the tissues, ducts and nadi or energy meridians in our body.

Here is a step-by-step guide which you can do with the help of a partner or friend at home! 

Ingredients:

  1. A best friend, partner or helper!
  2. Black gram or urad dal atta: kneaded into a hard dough.
  3. 100gm A2 organic ghee: Fresh from a sealed bottle (Ensure there is no contact with any water) or organic certified A2 triphala ghrita. 
  4. 1 tsp certified organic Triphala powder (Use this only if you have micro mesh filters and can sterilize equipment, otherwise plain ghee is also good enough.)
  5. Sterile sealed gauze pads.
  6. Gloves. 

Method:

To begin with, please wear sterilized gloves.

Then warm the ghee infused with the Triphala powder, in a sterilized glass beaker in a bain-marie for 10 mins and then filter the ghee. Let the ghee cool down but only until it's a warm body temperature.

Alongside, make sure your entire eye orbital area is clean and free of make up. Spritz it with Purearth rose water and let it dry naturally to prepare the eye area for the treatment.

Ask a friend to make a large goggle shaped wall with the black gram dough around the occipital bone for both eyes, making sure it is tall enough to immerse the eyes in a pool of ghee. Place the dough and press it into the skin to seal. The dough acts as a sealant to keep the ghee inside and prevent leaking. 

Gently and slowly pour the warm ghee from the beaker into the inner corner side of the eye, filling the area enough to immerse the eyes. Once the oil is poured, open both eyes slowly (I know it sounds scary, but trust me it feels amazing!). You will feel the ghee absorb into the eyes and a sense of calm and relaxation spreading all over you. You may also feel the release of pitta heat indicated by a mild burning sensation in the eyes. Do not worry at all! This happens if you have tired eyes or eye strain. It is like putting eye drops, which may cause a burning sensation if your eyes are strained and hot. Keep the eyes open.

Whilst the Netra Tarpana, I also like to do my eye exercises (I'm sure you're thinking what is she talking about, but I assure you this therapy works wonders). With eyes wide open, rotate eyeballs clockwise, anti-clockwise, left to right, up and down a few times. Repeat this twice. If you feel any burning sensation, don’t worry, it only means you have pitta heat that is being released. Breathe slowly and deeply and remain there for 15-20 min.

To remove the ghee, you need to close your eyes and ask your friend to soak and wipe off the ghee with the sterilized gauze. After which, you can remove the dough, it will come off easily and in case any bits are left, they can be taken off with the ghee. Do not wash the eyes immediately, allow the ghee to remain.

I also advise to avoid reading, tv or eye strain after netra tarpana. Instead, you can meditate, do pranayama and stay quiet for a while after.

I usually recycle the ghee and use it on my hair and limbs before a shower to nourish my body!

While the procedure and thought of netra tarpana sounds daunting, I'm sure the benefits have overwhelmed you and urge you to try it out!

Do let me know if you try it out and how it goes!


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