With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, thoughts of hearts, chocolates, flowers and candle lit dinners may have infiltrated your mind. Yet, if you’re into Ayurveda, we would like to steer your Valentine’s Day thoughts over to oil! Think, all the warm, herbal, sumptuous oil that you can lovingly anoint yourself with. You see, in Ayurveda, ‘oil’ translates to ‘love’. The Sanskrit term snehana means ‘to oil oneself’ but it also means ‘to love oneself’; therefore, through oiling oneself, one loves themself, making oil the ultimate vessel for infusing yourself and the special people in your life with LOVE!
Ayurveda is all about the oil! Although we value all Ayurvedic oleation practices, our number one, can’t live without oil ritual. Abhyanga is the Sanskrit term for Ayurvedic massage. This type of massage works to rejuvenate and detoxify the lymphatic system, calm the mind and nervous system, stimulate digestion and elimination, moisturize and tone the skin, boost vitality and, as you may have guessed, cultivate self-love through the sense of touch.
Traditionally, abhyanga is performed with two Ayurvedic Practitioners working simultaneously, moving in unison as they glide and massage warm, herbal oil onto the client’s body. We highly recommend receiving an abhyanga from trained practitioners, as it is an incredibly nourishing, restorative experience; however, thankfully you need not wait until your next spa day to start integrating abhyanga into your self-care routine, as you can easily perform a self-abhyanga from the comfort of your own home. You can even get your honey in on the abhyanga fun, teaching him or her how to perform this massage and perhaps this Valentine’s Day, you both can give each other abhyangas to show your love.
Get Into the Ritual with These 5 Simple Steps:
Gently heat The afteroil in warm water in a heat proof bowl. Use at room temperature if you like it cool.
Sit on the bathroom floor on a towel or a stool to avoid slipping.
Starting at your feet, gently massage your body in long, upward circular motions towards your heart. Use small circular strokes around the joints. Delicately massage under the arms and on the neck. Hot tip: Try sending loving affirmations to yourself while practicing this ritual
Massage the belly in circular strokes to promote digestion. Don't forget your scalp and the outer edges of your ears!
Wait 10 minutes after the massage is complete. Towel off excess oil from your feet to avoid slipping and rinse in a warm shower.
Benefits of Self-Massage – Abhyanga:
Benefits of a daily self-massage with warm oil (abhyanga) include:
- Increased mental alertness
- Increased levels of stamina throughout the day
- Better, deeper sleep at night
- Softer, smoother skin
- Toning of the muscles and the whole physiology
- Calming for the nerves
- Lubrication of the joints
- Prevents aging of the skin and wrinkles
- Nourishes the body
- It is very relaxing
When to avoid a Self-Massage – Abhyanga
Besides all the benefits of self-massage, there are times when it is best to avoid Abhyanga:
- Directly after a meal
- If you are experiencing constipation, indigestion or gastritis
- If you have asthma or a fever
- Immediately after surgery
If you are pregnant or have heart problems don’t massage the stomach area.
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Love and light,