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Abhyanga - How To Incorporate This Ancient Wellness Ritual Into Your Life

Abhyanga - How To Incorporate This Ancient Wellness Ritual Into Your Life


When we began putting together our inspirations for the Body Oil, one of our main inspirations behind the product was abhyanga - an ancient Ayurvedic massage therapy that involves a self-massage using a dosha specific herb infused oil and is one of our greatest allies to holistic wellness and self-care. A daily Abhyanga practice soothes and nourishes the nervous system, improves the circulation of blood in the body and heals + hydrates the skin from the inside out.

The Sanskrit word for oil is Sneha (also a popular Indian name for girls) - which literally translates to ‘love’ or ‘affection’. Succinctly put by Yoga Journal, “the essence of who we are is love, just as the essence of a plant is its oil. If we keep extracting something to its purest essence, what remains is love.’ In other words, when we are practising the art of Abhyanga, we are intentionally practising the art of self-love - love for our body, mind and spirit in its purest form. The art of abhyanga has several benefits, but one of the most important ones includes the reduction of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Incorporating abhyanga into your daily wellness rituals can be as elaborate or brief as you want to make it. No matter which one you choose, always make sure that you practice the art with intention and remain mindful of the present moment to reap in all the benefits that it has to offer you - physically, mentally and spiritually.

How to practice abhyanga

Choose your oil

While there are plenty of options available depending on your doshas and your skin type, an oil which generally works across all categories would be one that combines the power of the sesame, safflower and Ashwagandha oils.

Warm your oil

Place the bottle of oil in a pan of hot water until the oil is pleasantly warm (about ten minutes). 

Remove all clothing and jewelry

Make sure that you are protected from any wind before you begin your self-massage. Sit or stand in a comfortable place and keep an old towel at your feet to avoid getting oil everywhere.

Begin the abhyanga

Starting from the top of the end, pour the oil directly onto the crown. Generously massage the scalp before making your way down to the neck - of the one hundred and seven energetic points of the body (also known as marmas), over thirty seven are located on the head and neck.

Continue onto the face and the rest of the body

On the arms and legs, use long back and forth strokes while on the joints, use circular strokes. On the other belly, use circular motions in a clockwise direction (if you are looking down at your belly) - this helps nourish the long intestine and stimulate proper digestion.

Try to spend at least 15-20 minutes massaging your entire body, paying close attention to every single part of your body.

Rub off excess oil before you take a shower

After twenty minutes, rub off any excess oil using a towel and step into the shower. Make sure you shower with warm water - this will cause your pores to open and allow the oil to penetrate even deeper into your skin. Gently wash off with soap and water - don’t worry if you are not able to wash off all the oil in one go; the body will likely absorb it over time, especially if you have extremely dry skin.

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Soha Joshi