Oil Bathing: Abhyanga

One of the best self care practices that my teacher has taught me is oil bathing, or Abhyanga in Sanskrit. Sometimes when I would have a bath, my skin would end up being so dry and I would have to lather on lotions. Now I actually put oil on my entire body BEFORE I get in the bath and my skin feels so much better and I stay warm and relaxed longer. It also helps to move lymph towards the centre of the body to be processed as waste. So here is what I do:

Coconut Oil, Lavender Oil, Oil Bathing Instructions, Abhyanga

First I boil a small amount of water. I pour that water into a big jar. In a smaller jar I add coconut oil and then put the small jar into the big jar so that the coconut oil melts and gets warm. Then I run my bath water. I normally add a few drops of lavender oil. Once the coconut oil is warm I start apply the oil at my feet and working up using long strokes in the direction of the centre of my body. Once I get to my torso then I will go to my hands and apply the oil towards my shoulders and down my neck and back towards the centre. Once I am covered in oil then I simply get in the bath and enjoy! The heat opens my pores and the oil absorbs in as it’s hydrophobic. Once I get out of the bath most of the oil has absorbed and my skin feels moisturiser but not greasy.

You can also do this before you get in the shower in the morning. It can be great for energizing the body and keeping it warm and moisturiser throughout the day. It can be really nice for people with bad circulation! If you find that you are someone with super dry skin then you may need a heavier oil. You could use almond oil or sesame oil instead of coconut. I have naturally oily skin so the coconut is light enough for me.

You can spice it up by adding different essential oils to the bath like lemon-grass or tea tree.

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