Abhyanga ~ Ayurvedic Self Massage
Exploring and practicing the ancient self care ritual.
One of the things I have had to learn as an adult is the importance of self love for our well being. Self love can come in so many ways like being conscious in the way we eat, being mindful in what we put on our bodies as far as products, keeping our spirit’s fulfilled, and making sure we are being touched. If you are a mama like myself, you expend lots of energy in caring for others. Getting consistent massages is a luxury for most, so looking into this Ayurvedic practice of self massage can become a regular self care ritual. I use my body oils, but an organic sesame is what is traditionally used. I like Banyan Botanicals Sesame Oil.
I realize more and more how having a beauty and self care ritual has brought me so much healing. Many years ago I was in constant pain and didn’t even know it. I wasn’t in my body enough to realize that all my auto-immune issues were making living so much harder than it should have been. Today when I feel my shoulders get tense, or my belly feel upset, I take a moment to look into the reason why and then I go to my arsenal of tools to help relieve it.
This self massage technique isn’t exactly muscular, but works on a cellular level. It nourishes the body, spirit and mind and also detoxifies the body. I like to do this before I dry Brush followed by a hot bath.
Here are the benefits of Abhyanga as seen on The Chopra Center Site:
There is no greater expression of self-love than lovingly anointing ourselves from head to toe with warm oil—this practice is called Abyanga. The Sanskrit word Sneha can be translated as both “oil” and “love.” It is believed that the effects of Abhyanga are similar to those received when one is saturated with love. Like the experience of being loved, Abhyanga can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth.
A daily Abyanga practice restores the balance of the doshas and enhances well-being and longevity. Regular Abyanga is especially grounding and relaxing for Vata dosha imbalances, but everyone can benefit from this practice.
“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age”
Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89
(One of the Great ancient texts of Ayurveda)
Benefits of Abhyanga
Nourishes the entire body—decreases the effects of aging
Imparts muscle tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body
Imparts a firmness to the limbs
Lubricates the joints
Stimulates the internal organs of the body
Assists in elimination of impurities from the body
Moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification
Calms the nerves
Benefits sleep—better, deeper sleep
Makes hair (scalp) grow luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy
Softens and smoothens skin; wrinkles are reduced and disappear
Pacifies Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha
For The Abhyanga you will need:
~ A pot of warm water to heat the oil
~ A towel to sit on
~ A bottle of body oil sesame, sunflower or almond
~ Apply the warm oil generously on your body
~ Massage the oil into your body, beginning with the limbs. Use long strokes on the arms and legs, and circular
motions on the joints. Massage areas like under the arms and neck where the lymph nodes reside.
~ Massage the abdomen chest in broad clockwise, circular motions. On the stomach follow the path of the intestine moving up on the right side, then down on the left.
~ Apply oil to your crown chakra on your heard and work in circular motions.
~ Apply oil on fingertip and massage the ears.
~ Massage feet but make sure to wipe off oil before you walk.
~ Try sending loving intentions and smile to your organs as you are massaging.
(Women on their moon should refrain from this. Pregnant women should first seek a doctors advice)