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Abhyanga - The Self Oil Massage

What Is It and Why Would Should Do It Every Day
2 min

A daily Abyanga practice restores the balance of the doshas and enhances well-being and longevity. Regular Abyanga is especially grounding and relaxing for Vata dosha imbalances, but everyone can benefit from this practice.

Benefits of Abhyanga

  • Nourishes the entire body—decreases the effects of aging
  • Imparts muscle tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body
  • Imparts a firmness to the limbs
  • Lubricates the joints
  • Increases circulation
  • Stimulates the internal organs of the body
  • Assists in elimination of impurities from the body
  • Moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification
  • Increases stamina
  • Calms the nerves
  • Benefits sleep—better, deeper sleep
  • Enhances vision
  • Makes hair (scalp) grow luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy
  • Softens and smoothens skin; wrinkles are reduced and disappear
  • Pacifies Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha

How to Perform it

Choose the appropriate oil for your dosha (sesame or almond for Vata, coconut or sunflower for Pitta and safflower for Kapha, but if you do not have them, just use any).

Warm the oil (pour approximately ¼ cup into a mug and warm using a coffee-cup warmer.) Test the temperature by putting a drop on your inner wrist, oil should be comfortably warm and not hot.

Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room.

Apply oil first to the crown of your head (adhipati marma) and work slowly out from there in circular strokes—spend a couple of minutes massaging your entire scalp (home to many other important marma points—points of concentrated vital energy).

Face: Massage in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws (always moving in a upward movement). Be sure to massage your ears, especially your ear-lobes—home to essential marma points and nerve endings.

Use long strokes on the limbs (arms and legs) and circular strokes on the joints (elbows and knees). Always massage toward the direction of your heart.

Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side.

Finish the massage by spending at least a couple of minutes massaging your feet. Feet are a very important part of the body with the nerve endings of essential organs and vital marma points.

Sit with the oil for 5-15 minutes if possible so that the oil can absorb and penetrate into the deeper layers of the body. You can even do your yoga practice oiled(it can get messy, yes, but it is soo good to get messy sometimes!)

Enjoy a warm bath or shower. You can use a mild soap on the “strategic” areas, avoid vigorously soaping and rubbing the body.

When you get out of the bath, towel dry gently. Blot the towel on your body instead of rubbing vigorously.

Well, as with all things, full Abhyanga may be too much for you right now or may look like impossible to incorporate into your so filled with tasks morning. Do not worry! Just massage the strategic areas – the scalp, face, shoulders and feet! Even if you do it without the oil (not recommended, but oh, better do something than nothing), the effects are ammmazing!

About the author

Irina Bachvarova

Yoga Guru

Master in Sports Pedagogic and director at Bulgarian Ashtanga Yoga Academy.

Irina is the author of the first Bulgarian book for Ashtanga Yoga and trusted Yoga Guru for TV series, produced by Bulgarian National Television.

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