Sa Rak San mountain in South Korea, 2003
I'm currently blogging from King Spa Sauna in the burbs of Chicago. The ritual of bathing and purifying is an ancient right of passage for many cultures. Modern Korean bath houses are out of control. There's free Wifi (I'm bloggin'!), a 24 hour restaurant, 9 sauna igloos, a movie theater, a TV lounge, and all the hot tubs, filtered water to drink and matching uniforms you'd ever, ever want.
As a Korean yogini, I come here with reverence for the ritual of cleansing. In Korea, whole families bathe as a way to bond and as a way to clean off old, unlucky skin. Yogically, cleansing techniques are called shat kriyas. There are 6 major ways to cleanse the body and although I'm not going to swallow cloth to pull out of my bunghole any time soon, I follow some of these yoga cleansing techniques at the Korean bath house.
Korean and yoga cleansing techniques aren't far off! I cleansed my nasal cavity with a neti pot. Koreans love hocking loogees, right from the back of the throat. To treat my skin, I do an oil rub, abhyanga, before I enter the sauna to drive the oil into my skin. Koreans have aunties wearing black bras and panties scrubbing off every level of skin until you almost bleed.
So, I can easily feel culturally Korean while using Ayurvedic/yogic cleansing techniques, here. Bonus: the place is practically empty, so I can go upstairs to the meditation room and actually meditate. Go King Spa and yoga!
Mia Park is a ParaYoga teacher in Chicago, IL, specializing in teaching Basic Yoga for Advanced Misfits, as well as teaching people how to cut through the junk to shine on.