abhyanga · personal yoga practice · transitions · women's ritual · yoga

Rituals of Self-Care: Abhyanga

This cool September morning~ after my usual cappuccino and treadmill routine~ I followed the urge of seasonal inclination and grabbed a large jug of tridoshic oil from my closet. I pulled a cotton rug and old towels off the bathroom shelves, and poured about a cup of the earthy, fragrant oil into the bowl of a small warming device. I found my vetiver body scrubber, disrobed, and performed my first abhyanga of the season. This ayurvedic self-care ritual involves dry brushing the skin (long strokes on limbs, circling strokes over the joints), then bathing, then massaging warmed oil all over the body. I reserve one towel in particular to then gently pat any unabsorbed water and oil from my skin, as this particular oil is quite dark and will stain clothing. Because I have a quiet day ahead of me, I purposely left a lot of oil on my skin and dressed in old clothes and fresh socks, letting my body slowly soak in this nourishing treatment.

imagesThe Sanskrit root word for both ‘to be loved’, and ‘to be anointed’ is the same: sneha (स्नेह). Snehana is the act of anointing oneself with oil, in a gesture of self-loving care.

  • What are your daily rituals?
  • Which of these rituals do you just do, which do you revisit, and which need to be altered or dropped altogether? 
  • Which ones are chore-like? Which are centered purely on pleasure?



One thought on “Rituals of Self-Care: Abhyanga

  1. That sounds really good. I’m going to get my wife to read your post. She just might try this. And if she does it, then I might even do it. She is the more intrepid one in these matters. Thanks for the soothing post.

    Liked by 1 person

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