In one of my previous posts I mentioned the importance of establishing evening routines, in order to improve the quality of our sleep. Creating daily routines is a great way to structure our day and include some self care during our busy days. I have recently started incorporating Abhyanga self-massage to my evening routine and I can already feel the difference it makes for me. It is an act of self care and appreciation and a great way to ease into your night routine in a relaxed and refreshed way.
You might ask yourself, what is Abhyanga actually? Abhyanga is an ancient Indian Ayurvedic massage therapy. This massage is performed by using warm oil, which is massaged into the entire body before bathing. It includes the preparation of specific warm oils, infused with herbs, that are blended for your Dosha type. It is believed that an Abhyanga massage can give one the feeling of saturated love. It is a great way to give yourself a feeling of warmth and stability. Performing a daily Abhyanga massage can help balance out the doshas and promote longevity and well-being. It is said that daily Abhyanga massage can especially help regulate a Vata dosha imbalance, but really it can be beneficial for the other Dosha types as well.
If you have a Vata dosha you might want to perform this massage using warmed sesame oil. It is grounding, warming and relaxing. Use organic and untoasted semame oil. Almond oil is another good option for vata imbalances. For Pita doshas a good choice of oils are sunflower or coconut oil, and for a Kapha dosha – olive and safflower oil.
What are the benefits of Abhyanga?
The purpose of Abhyanga is to restore the flow of vital energy, or Prana, in the body. The massage helps to unblock energy where it is stored and remove accumulated toxins. It is a detoxifying massage.
It also nourishes the body and acts as an anti-aging agent. It increases circulation, firms the limbs and lubricates the joints. It calms the nerves and promotes better sleep. It also softens and smoothens the skin, and helps against the creation of wrinkles. Abhyanga pacifies Vata and Pitta, and stimulates Kapha dosha.
How to perform Abhyanga self-massage?
You will need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of oil. Heat it gently by placing the cup in a bowl of hot water. Prepare a towel for the massage that you won’t mind getting ruined from the oil. Apply the oil generously on your entire body, massaging it gently into your skin. Start from the feet and making circular moves with a gentle pressure continue up to your abdomen and middle section of the body. Here you can make bigger circles as you continue with the self-massage. Continue with the massage until you have covered your entire body. Give yourself about 15-20 minutes to lovingly massage your entire body. Once you’re done, carefully step (be careful not to slip!) into your bath or shower and rinse off the oil with warm water. Use soap only on the strategic places. Leaving the skin still soaked with oil with give it a nice glow and softness. Tap yourself dry with a special towel, which you will keep for your abhyanga massage, as it will accumulate oil with time. Put some soft clothing on and cotton socks to keep the warmth you have just generated. Enjoy this relaxed state!
Have you already tried Abhyanga? What was your experience with it?