Easy How-To Warm – Oil Self-Massage Abhyanga
Self-Love isn’t cheesy or egotistical. It’s honest, heartfelt acceptance of who you are. While it can be challenging, you’ve got it in you. Seriously!
Embracing a Lifestyle of Self-Love has given me the:
- Fearlessness to pursue my dreams
- Ability to ask for what I want and get it
- Belief that I have unique, desirable and powerful gifts to offer the world
I practice self-love with self-massage, aka Abhyanga.
In Sanskrit, abhyanga means self massage with warm oil. Snehana is the sanskrit word for oil but it also translates to love.
When we touch our skin, we have the opportunity to practice ahimsa, non-harming. More so, we have the choice to face ourselves fully, to practice acceptance, to embrace our beauty and our mess; we have a choice to love.
Injesting Through the Skin
If you’re a daily lotion go-get-’er, with seldom self-touch henceforth, then you may feel quite hesitant. I hear ya sister! I used to oggle over the perfumey body lotions, too. Until I understood that my skin, like my gut, takes into my body, my bloodstream, everything I put on it! If you want to investigate how your go-to products hold up to being hazard-free for your body, search the EWG Cosmetics Database to get the real scoop!
Before massaging, know that it’s ok to start where you are, even if where you are is just an intention to practice.
If your intention is rooted in love you’ll approach your practice of oil-massage mindfully aware of your own tenderness. You’ll be open to being compassionate with what you feel when you place your own hand on your arm, foot, head or belly. You’ll carry out the action of self-massage with kindness, gentleness, and in full acceptance of whatever experience you have, even if you slip into rushing, or get agitated or bored, and skip out early.
If even considering self-massage seems like a huge deal for you, you’re surprised you’ve read this far, or you have had some trying experiences with touch that leave you nervous, confused or longing, know that you are in good, courageous company. This practice is meant to cultivate safety, ease, nourishment, and enable us to embrace the the truth: that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, perfect, whole and beautiful creations. We are all equally valuable and beautiful in our uniqueness– yes, you are, too!
Love Through Your Hands
During Abhyanga, our personal laying on of hands, like a prayer of gratitude for who we are, affirms our belief of this truth, and frees us to love ourselves more fully, which, my friends, opens up a world of opportunities that will astound you!
If your hesitation is anxiety provoking, take your time. You may read about abhyanga many times before you practice it fully. You may practice on just one hand for months before exploring other parts of your body. Begin where you are, as you are. Your sisterhood of courageous self-lovers is alongside you.
Ok, so here we go, let’s get our self-love on.
How To Practice Self-Love with Self Massage
Abhyanga Oil Massage
Quick & Easy On The Daily:
- Choose A Time. Before or after you bath? After you rise or before bed?
- Warm Your Oil. Store it in a glass or BPA-free plastic container. Place container in bowl of hot water for about 5 minutes to warm before your massage.
- Apply As A Moisturizer. Cover your body evenly.
- Massage One Body Part, 1 Minute. You might start with your head, ears, hands, low back or feet.
- Clean up excess oil. Send dish soap down your drain if necessary, use designated towel* to make skin clothing-ready if not showering after. Choose a towel that you’ll keep just for this practice and never put in the dryer to avoid dryer fires!
- Observe the impacts. Check in with yourself at the end of the day or beginning of the next day. What’s different from the day before? How was your sleep? Your emotional state?)
Once or twice weekly make a date to go deeper with your self love practice. Here are the steps to take this self love with self massage practice even further:
- Believe You Deserve Love. Pause to affirm why self-love matters to you. Write an affirmation you will see regularly. Something like, “I love the skin I’m in,” or “I’m cultivating a practice of self-loving awareness.” & post it on your bathroom mirror.
- Be Accountable. Put it in your calendar or tell a friend or loved one your plan.
- Beautify Your Space. Clean away the clutter, light a candle, warm the room and your oil, and lay out your towel beneath where you will sit for your massage, in order to catch excess oil. (Traditionally, Abhyanga is practiced before heating the body in the shower or sauna to open the pores and let the oil seep in. What’s most important is that you’re warm enough before, after or during your massage for the oil to be absorbed. I find it especially nice in the winter to apply oil after I shower and leave the thin layer on all day. It’s like a little blanket of love.
- Acquire the appropriate oils. I recommend sesame in the winter, or if your skin tends to be dry and rough. For warmer bodies or slightly oily skin, choose coconut. If you’re oil averse, simply use your bare hands. No matter what choose high quality organic oils. Remember, your skin has to digest them!
- Apply Love. Use long strokes on your long bones, circular motions on your joints.
- When in doubt or anxious, start with the crown of your head, and slowly move toward your feet, letting your breath and body guide you.
- When sluggish, unmotivated, or in the morning, move from toe to head.
- During a cleanse, start with your appendages and move toward your navel and downward in the direction of elimination.
- Bask In Your Love Be still and observe the impacts of your self-massage. Notice throughout the day how loving yourself impacts your interactions with others, the way you order your day, the words you speak in jest, how others look to you, and how you’re attachment to what other’s think, shifts. Accept your experience as true to this moment, whether it was wonderful or challenging, or both.
Self Massage Warning
If you encounter resistance, start with an accessible body part, like your fingers. Let the practice of loving all of you take as long as it needs. We have resistance for different reasons. If there is pain in your past that arise, be gentle. Perhaps you simply sit and enjoy the warm room and deep breathing the first few times you practice.
Let the practice be about cultivating beauty, connection, and appreciation for your body, mind, and spirit.
Read through these tips to uplevel your practice.
For a successful self-loving self-massage endeavor, remember to set an intention of love, pay attention while you practice being kind to yourself, and let the process unfold in it’s own time.
May you leave your cozy bathroom, singing:
And perhaps, like me, love for yourself will shock you, and call you into your life’s work of living it.
Enjoy the experience!