Category Archives: Ayurveda

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A New Day’s resolution, and abhyanga.

As I said, these last couple of posts went up the wrong way around. Nonetheless, Happy New Year, lovely readers. Here are some photos from our Christmas week out in the desert.

I’m not really one for New Years resolutions- for the past year or so I’ve been practicing something I’ve come to dub ‘New Day’s resolutions’. As in, why the hell wait until January 1st to start something you’ve always wanted to start, or change something you’ve always wanted to change. Also, there’s the overwhelming-ness of having a list of things to start doing. New Day’s resolutions (NDR from here on, because typing it repeatedly gets annoying) are only allowed to be implemented one at a time, and only when the previous one is such a part of daily life that you don’t need to berate yourself into doing it, can you start a new one. As you can see, I’ve gotten pretty specific with the rules of these things…

As it so happens, I started a NDR that happened to coincide with the end of the year, and it has to do with nourishment. In brief, I am going to sleep more, worry about things less, and eat more fatty nourishing things (those of you who know me are going ‘what the hell? Rebecca needs to sleep MORE and eat MORE fatty things?’). I think it’s just something that we nurturing healing folks forget quite often- to rest, recharge, and make sure you are nourished before putting all your energy into helping others. Selfish? I don’t think so. A burned out, stressed out healer isn’t really worth much…

One of the things I’ve been doing lately to nourish myself better is a hot oil bath. It’s an ayurvedic thing that I first heard about while I was in India. Oil baths are reported to heal or ease a number of ailments, including stress issues, inflammation, joint pain, dry skin, and sleep disturbances. I’ve done it on occasion in the past, and have been doing it regularly for a few weeks now, and so far I’ve noticed a significant difference in my sore joints (a number of injuries), dry skin (it’s Winter), and sleep issues (the more stressed I am, the less deeply I sleep- I think this is common for most of us, no?).

You can do it with castor oil. This is my favourite, but I don’t recommend this to be honest- the first (and last) time I did it, it took me about 3 weeks to get the oil off the bath, let alone out of my hair. If you’ve got a drainage system that can handle using soap nut powder, then that’s the best way to get it out. But I live in a house that was built in the 20′s, and soap nuts ain’t going down my drain. I’ve tried using Dr. Bronner’s to wash it out, but it didn’t work. I was greasy for days. And don’t get me started on the shower. But sesame oil works really nicely, as does coconut oil. Both of which come out with regular old castille soap. You can also use infused oils- I love the ones from Banyan Botanicals, though they do get a little pricey, and regular oil works really well on its own.

Here’s what you do:

Abhyanga: Oil bath

You’ll need

1 old towel that you don’t mind being greasy and gross forever

about 16oz oil of your choice- I recommend castor (see above warning) or sesame

(optional: candles to light in the bathroom, you know, to make it more relaxing and pretty and stuff)

 

1. Warm the bottle of oil by submerging it in a pan of very hot (not boiling) water, for about 15 minutes.

2. Lay out a towel, remove all bath mats that you actually like from immediate area.

3. Starting at your head (and making sure that the oil is quite warm but not too hot), pour some of the oil onto the top of your head and hair. Massage it in, over your face and scalp, concentrating on sore, tense areas. Do this for about five minutes.

4. Add more oil, and brush it down over your body. Spend a few minutes massaging it into each area, then add more warm oil, and repeat. Eventually your entire body will be covered with oil (including the soles of your feet and in between your toes).

5. Lie down on your towel, relax for 15 minutes.

6. Shower it all off. I recommend Dr. Bronner’s soap.

7. Make a hot cup of tea, and relax for the rest of the evening. You’ll FEEL super relaxed, so it won’t be hard.

 

DISCLAIMER: If you have a physical practice of some kind, please take it easy the next day. I blew out my LCL the morning after an oil bath because I was so much more flexible than before!

Also, this process can be addictive.

 

So. Here’s to a New Year, a new day, and taking better care of ourselves. How about you guys? Any resolutions for the New Year? Any for the new day? Please share!