Self-massage has an incredible ability to help cleanse the lymphatic system, increase circulation and nourish every inch of your skin. As a ritual it can help to ground the body and the mind.
Abhyanga is a sacred self-massage. It’s the Ayurvedic practice of anointing the entire body with warm oil. Based on ancient Vedic texts, and emerging science, abhyanga may be one of the most delightful ways to build vitality and ground from the turbulence of seasonal and life changes.
Interestingly, the word Sneha translates to “oil” and “love” in Sanskrit.” So in Ayurveda, there is an inherent connection between oiling the body and enveloping it in love. Both experiences can give a deep feeling of stability, warmth, and comfort.
While a full abhyanga practice in the morning can be a divine way to enter the day, here is a shorter 5 minute practice to consider adding to your daily routine.
Performing a 5 minute Self-Massage or Abhyanaga
Time: Best performed in the morning before showering or evening before sleep
Oils: Always use organic and cold-pressed oils if possible infused with herbs. Sesame, olive and coconut oil are beautiful options that you might have in your house.
Warm 3-4 tablespoons of oil in an oil warmer, warm water bath or take your oil and as you add it to your palms, warm in your hands.
Head: identify the crown of your head- gently massage that area, take a deep breath and recite an affirmation or intention.
Ears: Massage lobes and outer ears. Avoid going too deep into the ear. Use your hands to cup your ears, close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Joints: Focus on the knees, elbows and shoulders using gentle circles and if you have time, massage your limbs.
Stomach: Ayurveda believes that almost all ailments start in the gut. Start on the right side of your stomach and move down to the pelvis.
Feet: A magical addition for a before bed routine, massage underneath the feet and between to toes to soothe those tired feet and invoke a feeling of rest.