Abhyanga is basically the art of self-massage, an extremely popular Ayurveda based therapy that incorporates warm, aromatic oils, rhythmically massaged into your body, which loosen toxins, relax the nervous system, and provide rest, nourishment, and rejuvenation. It improves blood circulation, tones and moisturizes skin, works up the lymph system, and calms the mind and nervous system.
Winter is a time when the Vata or air element and Pitta or fire element is aggravated in nature, a time known as Prakopakala in Ayurvedic sciences. When the pitta is imbalanced, it can quickly translate to digestive issues and pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, a common complaint this time of the year. Abhyanga is a detoxifying warm oil massage.
Here are some of the critical benefits of Abhyanga that are likely to make this practice an indispensable part of your daily routine going forward. In Ayurvedic sciences, Abhyanga is recommended as part of one’s Dinacharya or routine that is aligned with nature, fosters good health, and slows down aging and effects of stress and environmental pollutants on the body.
Here’s the best thing about Abhyanga-it takes not more than 10 minutes. If you have time on hand or want to indulge little extra, you can go up to half an hour over the weekends. You can also check out state of the art panchakarma centers like this one, where you will be treated to the entire package-a quiet and heavenly place for the finest Ayurvedic spa and massage treatments, the center has all the ingredients-spa retreats, Panchakarma, finger licking delicious fare, Yoga and Ayurvedic Dosha balancing treatments with the idyllic views of the hills-that go into making a perfectly relaxed and rejuvenating vacation with quality soul-time.
What You Need For Abhyanga
- Soft cotton towel
- Some warm water
- Paper towel
- About half a cup of Dosha specific massage oil
For Vata Dosha, you can try Shankara’s Calming Body Oil
For Pitta Dosha, you can try Shankara’s Soothing Body Oil.
For Kapha Dosha, you can try Shankara’s Energizing Body Oil
For Tri-dosha, you can try Shankara’s Sundarya Body Oil.
Don’t know your dosha type, take a quiz here.
Here’s your step by step guide on how to Abhyanga your way to bliss every morning:
- Heat half a cup of oil just enough that it is warm when you are applying it to your body.
- Settle down in a warm place. Turn up the room heater if that helps.
- Take some of the warm oil in your hands and begin by massaging the abdomen in the clockwise direction.
- Then move on to the chest, back, both the shoulders (right and then left) and then the neck.
- Apply the oil on to your legs in long straight strokes.
- Around the joints circle with your oiled fingers.
- Wherever you find the body is stiff, rub in with the warm oil gently and with love.
- At the end, massage your face, top of the head and ears. You can apply some oil into the ear cartilage and nostrils too.
- While giving yourself a head massage, you can begin with applying oil from crown of the head moving outward covering the entire scalp with your fingertips.
- Let the oil sit for another ten to 20 minutes.
- Then you can follow it up with a warm bath without using soap.
- You can shampoo your hair to remove the excess oil.
- You can air dry your skin but during winters you can pat yourself dry with the towel.
- Since the towel is going to be oily, do not put it in the machine to dry. Instead hang it out for drying.