People spend money on several holiday trips in India and abroad in order to get their minds off for some time. They believe that leaving behind the hectic schedules of their life can help them find a balance and bring the spark back in their life. While, this might be partially true, there is an ancient Ayurvedic way to rejuvenate your body each time you wake up in the morning and it refreshes the body like nothing else. Such a beautiful and soothing experience is that of the Abhyanga.
The Art of Self Nurture
Abhyanga is a Sanskrit name for an ancient Ayurvedic ritual. This serene ritual involves massaging the entire body with warm oil, generally medicated, from head to toe in order to bring peace and tranquility. Not only this, Abhyanga results in multifarious benefits to your body. It is re-energizing along with being recharging you from inside out. This is possible because it does two things simultaneously. First, it absorbs multiple nutrients from the oil deep inside the skin of your body. Second, it continuously eliminates the coagulated toxins that reside within you. It brings down the doshas, rejuvenate skin, soothes the skin and curtail the ageing process. The entire method is time tested and has absolutely no side effects.
Which oil should you choose?
The self-oil massage or Abhyanga enhances your endurance and energy and allow you to work on your optimum level. It strengthens the mind and body, resulting in the enrichment of your soul. Oils that are used in performing the Abhyanga varies from person, season and dosha or defect from which you suffer. It is quite simple to find out what oil would suit you.
It is found in a person if they have dry skin and generally feel cold. Such people usually suffer from fear, nervousness, insomnia and anxiety. To make sure that vata dosha leaves your body, Abhyanga should be performed daily by using the king of oils, that is, sesame oil. You can also use almond oil for the purpose. It would bring the balance back by gradually diminishing the negatives. Ashwagadha oil is better suited for the people who feel exhausted most times of the day. It increases stamina and strength of one’s internal organs.
Short tempered and frustrated people usually feel warm and uneasy. They experience inflammation, which shows that they suffer from pitta dosha. To perform Abhyanga, cooler oils such as sunflower oil or coconut oil are to be used. These provide the body with specific, concentrated coolness and calms your mind. Along with daily morning Abhyanga, one might apply these oil on the scalp and the tips of their feet at night. This results in comfortable sleep overnight.
Overweight individuals who are lazy and sluggish, have the deposits of toxins in different parts of their body and suffer from kapha dosha. It is vital that you toxins leave your body as soon as possible so that fresh energy and regulated blood circulation replaces them. Warm sesame, mustard or olive oil is best for this body type. It is rejuvenating and goes deep within the skin by slow massaging with immediate release of toxins, resulting in purification of your body.
Benefits of Abhyanga
- Drastically slows down the ageing process.
- Pacifies multiple Doshas in your body.
- Results in better and deeper sleep at night.
- Improve your vision.
- Makes hair stronger, thicker and silky.
- Softens and nourishes skin, reduces wrinkles and blemishes.
- Lubricates the joints and increases blood circulation.
- Imparts firmness to the limbs and tones the muscles.
- Calms down the nerves of an individual.
- Strengthens body’s endurance and tolerance.
- Eliminates impurities and toxins efficiently.
- Improves mental alertness, stamina and performance.
- Aiding in detoxification from deep within.
- Stimulates internal organs of the body.
- Stiffness and fatigue are removed.
Steps to follow to perform Abhyanga
- Warm ¼ cup of oil at a comfortable temperature. The temperature should not be very hot. You can use small pot, crack pot, plastic flip flop or a squeeze bottle for easy use. The bottle can be placed in a hot water pan for the oil to be hot at the desired temperature.
- The room should be warm and ventilated. You can sit or stand while performing Abhyanga.
- Start by putting some warm oil on the crown of your head and gently message it in by making circular motions. Massage your scalp lightly with warm oil for about 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly come down to the temple, cheek and the entire face. Put the oil and massage in the similar fashion as before. Do not forget the ear lobes as they are vital re-energizing points present at their end. Use finger tips or cotton ball to apply oil at the ear canal opening.
- Now massage the oil to the limbs in straight up and down strokes and the joints with circular strokes. Remember that the massage should always be directed towards the heart.
- The chest and abdomen should be massaged in the same way, clockwise in circular motion. The abdomen should follow the path of the large intestine by going right, downwards, left and then upwards and so on.
- Always end the Abhyanga by massaging your feet for a couple of minutes. The feet have some important and revitalizing points which can provide the maximum relaxing effect.
The warm water bath puts a refreshing end to Abhyanga exercise. Apply a gentle soap while bathing and make sure you don’t scrub harshly. After the bath its best to pat dry yourself. You can also keep a special towel for Abhyanga as the towel would eventually contain an oil accumulation. You can wash this towel later with baking soda and vinegar.
In this fast moving life, one might inculcate Abhyanga as a way of life as it benefits the mind, body and soul of an individual. It revitalizes and energizes our body to relax and calm while working at its peak performance when required. It is a wonderful combination leading to balanced, happy lifestyle and must be practiced daily so as to reap its benefits.