Finding Ease with Self-Abhyanga
Try this incredibly relaxing practice!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share with you a practice that I’ve been doing for years: self-Abhyanga.
Abhyanga is a type of massage that involves applying warm oil to the body. It is a traditional form of Ayurvedic bodywork that utilizes medicated oils suited specifically to support your constitution and specific needs. Getting an Abhyanga by a practitioner is an incredible experience that I highly recommend! But you can also bring this practice to your own home.
The Sanskrit word for oil (“sneha”) translates to love. Massaging yourself with warm oil is an incredible way to nourish yourself and practice self-love.
There are many benefits to this practice, including:
Calms muscles and nervous system
Improves circulation and lymph drainage
Improves sleep patterns
Softens and strengthens skin and hair
Nourishes the whole body
And all you need is a good quality oil. My favorite is Banyan’s Daily Massage Oil. You can also use a good quality olive oil or sesame oil.
Want to try it out? Here are some basic steps.
Prepare your oil. I like to grab a small jar and a large mug or bowl. I add hot water the large mug or bowl and the oil to the small jar. Then I put the small jar in the mug/bowl and give it a few minutes to warm up.
Prepare your space. Be mindful that oil has a way of getting everywhere. I use an old towel that I don’t mind getting oily. Make sure your space is quiet and warm.
Prepare your body. Choose what part of your body you want to massage, such as your feet, hands, face, or entire body. Remove any clothing that will get in the way.
Massage yourself! If you’re doing your entire body, you can start at the top of your head and work your way down. In general, you can do circular strokes over joints and long strokes over long bones/areas. Pay extra attention to lymph nodes under your arms and at your inner thighs. Give a little extra love to areas that are achy and sore.
Sit and rest for 10-20 minutes. You can listen to relaxing music or meditate.
Take a warm shower or apply a warm wash cloth. If you oiled your entire body, you can take a warm shower. If you oiled a specific part of your body, you can apply a warm wash cloth.
For more tips, check out this helpful video.
If you’re getting over an illness or have an acute injury, skip this practice until you’re feeling better.
I used to do self-Abhyanga almost every day when I was a lot more physically active. These days, I typically do it a couple times a week.
Got any questions? Comment below or send me a message.