voluntary-ish vomiting at ananda

It’s usually a latte, not two force-fed litres of warm salt water that I’m craving first thing in the morning. But at Ananda in the Himalayas it turns out not all mornings start with yoga on the palace roof and breakfast on the terrace.


My fourth day of Yogic Detox and kunjal kriya loomed on my itinerary like a storm cloud. I had purposefully kept my head in the sand about it, but had an inkling it was going to be … a challenge. There it was, scheduled for 9am, with instructions not to eat anything beforehand. The signs were there.

A panchakarma (detox) treatment, kunjal kriya or purging by vomiting is a challenge, both physically and mentally. The trick is not to be tempted to déjà vu the last time you up-chucked (when you were likely genuinely ill, whether self-imposed or not).

It was over 12 hours since I’d eaten supper when I hesitantly showed up at the spa. My yogini slash detox-enabler Deepti smiled away my nerves and led me to the treatment room. Not to the bed, however, but to the corner where the sink was. My heart sank.

The instructions were: drink as much of these two litres of warm salt water as possible, as fast as possible. When you feel like the level of liquid has reached your throat, throw up. Simple enough…

Although I’m vata-pitta and this is usually prescribed for releasing excess kapha, I suspected it would still be beneficial to me. Kind of a shower for my insides, for better digestive and respiratory health. I had read that it is good for congestion, colds, sinuses, asthma, under active digestion, acid and gas. A search on the Internet added psoriasis and epilepsy, and also insanity. Sounded about right, I thought, eyeing the door.

But I stayed. And while it sounded simple enough, drinking that amount of fairly innocuous warm water proved to be tough – like a pie eating competition but with liquids. I started well, downing glass after glass, then had to pause a couple of times between glasses, then between every few mouthfuls. Finally I couldn’t drink any more.

“Lean over and stick your fingers down your throat,” said Deepti.

The moment of truth.

The water was only too happy to come back up and wave after wave of mostly completely clear water splashed into the sink. It took five or six throat ticklings to ensure that all the water had come up, and by then I could feel the strain in the muscles of my throat and stomach.

But I stood up, and smiled. Another purging experience demystified, although not one I’m keen on repeating daily at home as some suggest. I can’t say I felt particularly sane, but bizarrely I did feel like breakfast. Now, where’s that latte?