“There is no greater expression of self-love than lovingly anointing ourselves from head to toe with warm oil—this practice is called Abyanga” ~ Sandhiya Ramaswamy
I try to practice abhyanga as often as I can, but during the month of April I make a concerted effort to practice it daily. This is such a good way for me to practice gratitude towards my body; I thank it for all of the amazing things it does on a daily basis that I take for granted. I used to only pay attention to my body when I hurt something. When my back would go out, I injured my knee, or I had frozen shoulder I would then understand how much I count on my back, knees, shoulder and every other joint in my body. It was then that I would pay attention to those areas and give them extra love and support to heal. However, doing a daily self-massage allows me to give thanks to my body and take time to appreciate it.
So, what exactly is abhyanga? Abhyanga is a Sanskrit word and is an Ayurvedic massage technique using warm oil to increase circulation, enhance the immune system, reduce stress, and promote sound sleep. I usually do the self-massage techniques in conjunction with my daily bath. You can use any of the following oils: almond, coconut, safflower, sesame, grapeseed or jojoba. If you want specifics about the practice and how to apply the oil there is a great article and video with the steps at The Benefits of Ayurveda Self-Massage “Abhyanga”
Living in the desert southwest, my body drinks in the oil. The oil makes my skin feel soft and rejuvenated and it lubricates my joints. We push and abuse our bodies everyday and this practice relaxes me and reminds me how important it is for me to take good care of my body.
When was the last time you appreciated your body?
What steps can you take to nourish your body like with a self massage?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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