Simple Ayurvedic Practice to Stay Healthy this Autumn
In Ayurveda, there is one highly regarded practice called abhyanga. Not only does it strengthen your immunity, but it also keeps you younger, warmer and calmer. What's not to love, right?
Before I explain how to do it, here is a more comprehensive list of benefits of abhyanga according to Ayurvedic doctors:
・abhyanga lubricates the joints (particularly useful if you have cracking joints or a predisposition towards arthritis)
・improves the health of the nervous system and makes you feel grounded. That way abhyanga is particularly relevant during turbulent times and in Autumn (you'll find why if you keep reading)
・improves blood and lymph circulation
・helps you sleep better
・improves skin health and leaves your skin luxuriantly soft and moisturised
・nourishes and strengthens hair
・cleanses and detoxifies the body from the inside
And the best thing is, abhyanga is pure pleasure!
So what IS abhyanga? It's therapeutic oiling of the skin that your body will thank you for. If you don't believe me, just give it a try for a few weeks, 4-5 times a week (you might want to start easy and just do it once or twice a week) in September-December as these are the seasons your body needs it most. And you'll know exactly why abhyanga is such a big deal in Ayurveda from your own experience!
How to do it
1. Get an organic cold pressed oil, preferably food grade. The most universal choice of oil for abhyanga is raw, un-roasted sesame oil. A luxury choice is cold pressed raw almond oil that your skin will fall in love with.
2. Pour some oil into a smaller glass bottle, close the lid and warm up the bottle in hot water.
3. In a warm bathroom and standing on an old towel, apply warm oil generously all over your body, moving from the feet up to the scalp. On muscles use long strokes and on joints, face and belly - circular movements. Remember to thoroughly massage your feet.
4. Let it absorb for 5-20 minutes (you can continue self-massage as the oil is doing its work), then take a warm shower or bath to wash off excess oil. Don't use soap, perhaps just a very mild one and only on areas where you must, if you know what I mean.
5. Don't rub yourself dry, but just tap the excess oil and water off with another old towel, and let a thin layer of oil remain on your skin.
When to do it
There is no one right time of the day to do it. I like my morning abhyanga ritual on the days when I have a flexible schedule. Evening abhyanga, however, is a good idea if you would like to enjoy the full range of its sleep-enhancing benefits.
Say bye-bye to colds and their friends - you don't need them this season. And enjoy your new skin, calm and grounded mind, and a warm feeling all over for the rest of your day or night.
PS so, why is abhyanga so relevant from September to December you might be asking? In Ayurveda, these months are considered to be Vata months governed by air and space elements, meaning, you are most susceptible to colds, flu, unsteady mind, erratic moods and generally feeling un-grounded. And these are exactly the things abhyanga is designed to help you deal with.
Don't take my word for it, but just do it and see the results for yourself. Your health and your body deserve this delicious treat.