Abhyanga, the practice of anointing oneself with warm oil from head to toe, is the highest manifestation of self-love.
A daily Abhyanga practice balances the doshas and improves well-being and longevity. Sneha is a Sanskrit word that means “oil” and “love.” It is thought that the effects of Abhyanga are similar to those of being saturated with love.
Abhyanga, like the experience of being loved, can provide a deep sense of stability and warmth.
A daily Abhyanga practice balances the doshas and improves well-being and longevity. Regular Abhyanga is incredibly grounding and relaxing for Vata dosha imbalances, but it benefits everyone. Find out what dosha type you are here.
Benefits of Abhyanga
● Stimulates the body’s internal organs
● aids in the body’s elimination of impurities
● It moves the lymph, which helps with detoxification.
● Improves stamina
● It relaxes the nerves.
● Sleep advantages—better, deeper sleep
● It nourishes the entire body and slows the aging process.
● Provides muscle tone and vigor to the body’s dhatus (tissues).
● It provides firmness to the limbs
● It keeps the joints lubricated.
● Improves circulation
● Improves vision
● It makes hair (scalp) grow lushly, thickly, softly, and lustrously.
● Skin is softened and smoothed; wrinkles are reduced and disappear.
● Vata and Pitta are calmed while Kapha is stimulated.
Abhyanga Routine and Oils
Spend 15 to 20 minutes lovingly and patiently massaging your body. Based on the doshas, the following recommendations for frequency and oil type:
Use sesame, almond, or sweet almond oil, such as the relaxing Aswagandha oil, 2 times per week. Essential oils can be added a few drops as: (vanilla, lavender, lemongrass or Sandalwood, rose and sweet orange).
Apply a coconut, sunflower oil, such as the soothing cold pressed flaxseeds oil, 2 times per week ( you can also add a few drops of essential oils of lavender, patchouli and Sandalwood or roses)
Use safflower or cold pressed olive oil can be mixed with avocado oil, 1-2 times per week ( essential oils can be added a few drops as: rosemary, basil, eucalyptus, peppermint, cedar, myrrh)
Steps to Follow for Self-Massage:
Warm the oil (pour 4 cups of mixed oils into a mug and warm it with a coffee cup warmer). Put a drop on your inner wrist to test the temperature; the oil should be warm but not hot. In a warm room, sit or stand comfortably.
Spend a few minutes massaging your entire scalp, which is home to numerous additional crucial marma points—points of concentrated vital energy—by first applying oil to the top of your head (adhipati marma) and working your way out in circular motions.
Face: Massage your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws in a circular motion (always moving upward). Massage your ears, especially the earlobes, which contain vital marma points and nerve endings.
Massage in the direction of your heart at all times, using long strokes on the limbs (arms and legs) and circular strokes on the joints (knees and elbows).
Broad, clockwise circular motions should be used to massage the abdomen and chest. Follow the path of the large intestine on the abdomen, moving up on the right side, across, and down on the left side.
Finish the massage by massaging your feet for at least a few minutes. The feet are an essential part of the body because they contain nerve endings from vital organs and vital marma points.
If possible, sit with the oil for 5-15 minutes to allow the oil to absorb and penetrate the deeper layers of the body.
Take a hot bath or shower. Use mild soap on the “strategic” areas and avoid vigorously soaping and rubbing the body.
When you get out of the bath, gently towel dry yourself. Instead of rubbing vigorously, blot the towel on your body.
The ancient natural treatment approach known as Ayurveda has been used for thousands of years. It’s based on the principles of balance and harmony within yourself and between you and nature.
The body is more susceptible to colds, flu, and other respiratory infections during winter and springtime. This is because the body needs more care during these seasons.
The skin also becomes dry and flaky, leading to rashes if not properly moisturized. By understanding the impact of the seasons on your constitution (prakruti), you can take steps to support your health and prevent illness during this time of year. With the right tools and practice, it’s possible not just to survive but thrive in 2023.