Today I would like to share something very special with you. It is something that I have discovered is crucial for mothers, especially us mothers in the West. It is called Self Abhyanga, or Ayurvedic self massage. It is the most incredible thing that you can do for yourself.
In India, this is part of the culture. Unfortunately, most of us have not been taught how to really, really nurture ourselves. Especially as mothers. We give so much to our children and if we do not replenish ourselves, we end up functioning from a depleted space. Not good for our wellbeing in many ways. Our health suffers and our spirit suffers, we end up with a depleted life force.
The reason this is so special is because it pacifies Vata Dosha. In Ayurveda, Vata is the element of air and space. Think of the wind blowing on a cold day. Vata is cold, dry and changeable. Most people in the West are dealing with too much Vata. Do you ever get cold? Have creaky joints? Live too much in your head – with the fairies? Can’t make up your mind, go from one idea to the next, all the time?
This is Vata being overactive.
The way to balance any element is to give it its opposite. So, if we are feeling like we have too much Vata, we do not help ourselves by eating raw salads and not wearing warm enough clothes. We need to give Vata warmth, stability and mostly LOVE.
Lots and lots of love and nourishment.
We can perform the self massage with warm sesame oil. This is particularly beneficial for Vata imbalance as sesame oil is very warming and nourishing.
(You can use other oils like coconut, but coconut is very cooling, not what you want for Vata imbalance)
It is a practice that you can perform before you have a bath or shower. You start with your feet and move all the way up towards your head. It is a really, really nourishing practice and I really, really, really recommend it! My children LOVE doing it before bed, they are so peaceful afterwards and sleep beautifully.
It is good to use black sesame oil if you can get it at the supermarket.
I personally love the Vata body oil from Rasasara. You can get it here.
The reason oil is so good is because Vata is dry. And that is why we need to increase our essential fatty acid intake and not be afraid of fat (the good kind, of course).
Here is a beautiful video from the Mudita institute where you can watch someone perform a self abhyanga. My children get me to put it on for them.They do their own self massage and I clean up the kitchen after their dinner.
I highly recommend watching the video to get a real sense of how to perform it and to understand how profoundly simple it is.
I would love to hear if you do this practice and whether it has benefitted you? I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It is exactly what this mama needs to soothe her soul and to send her off to dreamland.
I normally run a bath, put on my oil and climb into the bath while I listen to a guided meditation for about 20 minutes.
Bliss, I tell you!
Wishing you a beautiful day, wherever you are and here is to more and more mothers modelling how to nurture and honour ourselves. It is how we change the world, one oil massage at a time!
Blessings to you.
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