Abyangha: the Art and Practice of Self-Massaging with Oils
Abyangha is an Ayurvedic practice of daily self-massage with oils. It has so many benefits for the body and spirit, including amplifying skin health and moisture and strengthening the circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems.
On a more esoteric level, it protects us from negative outer influences and strengthens our natural boundaries and preferences. As you see, the practice of caring for the body includes more than the physical, as “matter” and “spirit” are inextricably connected. When we care for the body, we care for the soul.
Now, I apply oils daily and though it takes effort and a bit of discipline, I am so pleased by the benefits. I have a young son and carving out this self-care ritual is an act of love for myself and also challenges my creative thinking skills.
Here is my daily routine:
I have a yogurt maker that I keep in the bathroom and store my oils in. I plug it in at night so that in the morning the oil is a perfectly warm temperature. This not only feels so good but it also helps the pores to open up and better receive the oils.
How to Apply Abyangha Oils
1) Set your intention. This body care stuff is a healing and sacred act and taking a moment to remind yourself of that is powerful.
2) Start with your feet and legs and massage the abyangha oils up towards your heart. Keep the flow towards the heart for your whole body. Meanwhile, whisper sweet nothings to yourself, about how beautiful, strong and healthy you are and how the oils are doing their job perfectly.
3) Work your way up massaging each part in turn with the same process:
~Belly, hips, thighs and buttocks
~Chest, breasts, neck (don’t forget the back of the neck)
~Out to the arms and hands
~Face and ears (those ears have mad sensors and it’s good to stimulate them!)
4) Take a moment at any part of your body that is in need of extra special healing and love and once again, set your intention that this part of you is healed and operating at full vibrancy (it’s inherent in our DNA you know).
Now you get to let the oil soak in for a while. I make abyangha part of my daily practice (sadhana) and so I take this time to meditate, pray and otherwise revere the sacred. You could also wear a robe and do whatever you do in the morning. The oils will stain clothing so wear something particularly for your abyangha practice. Give it a minimum of 15 minutes soaking time if you can for maximum benefits.
Next you shower and this washes off the excess oils yet leaves your skin moisturized.
One of the really fun things is creating your own oil blends to suit your skin type, the season and temperature and any current healing needs you may have. A blend that I made recently was designed to be very rich and nourishing to bring my dry and somewhat neglected skin back to vibrancy.
Here is the recipe for that:
Love Myself Abyangha Oil
Avocado oil 4 ounces
Macadamia nut oil 4 ounces
Ylang-ylang essential oil 30 drops
Sandalwood essential oil 10 drops
This yellow-green, thick and rich oil goes on very smoothly and feels delightful. Being heavy and warming, it is perfect for “recovering” skin: cold, dry, ashy, uneven tone to restore moisture, pliancy and even tone.
When I first started using this blend, I double dipped applications (morning and evening) and when my skin responded noticeably after only two days, cut back to once per day.
Abyangha is good for everyone, from babies to elders. It is particularly valuable for maintaining youthful skin, as one of the keys to healthy skin is oil which keeps the cells plump.
**Check out Ayulina for authentic Ayurvedic products made by Dr. Lina, a licensed Ayurvedic physician and all-around beautiful person! I’ve worked with Dr. Lina personally and know her skill and expertise in Ayurveda and formulation. Ayulina carries everything from abyangha and herbal oils to products specific for dosha and other natural skin care items.
Peace to you and let me know how it goes.
I made a video showing you JUST how easy this is to make!