October Abhyanga

As the natural world begins to shift towards a time of retreating and regrouping, try this Ayurvedic daily self-care prescription, the Dinacharya, to reinspire your self care practice and stave off that cold weather lethargy;

Step 1. Wake up before dawn!

This might seem like a tricky starting point but according to Doshic theory between 6am and 10am is the time of the Kapha aggravation. If we don’t get up before this period we are subject to the kapha qualities of sluggishness and lethargy.

Step 2. Wash the night (and your previous day) away!

Splash cool water over your face seven times. This cooling element is said to prepare the body for a calm and collected day, whilst the seven splashes represents to integration of your 7 chakras.

Step 3. Scrape your Tongue, and Clean your Teeth.

Before taking a drink ayurveda recommends you scrape any sort of white coating on the tongue off as it represents undigested toxins in the body. You can purchase tongue scrapers online, or alternatively, most modern toothbrushes will have a textured pattern on the back of the brush designed to clean the tongue with.

Oil pulling can then be used to clean the teeth and detox the body, as the fat enzymes absorb bacteria and mucous to be expelled. (Go to a guide to oil pulling.)

Step 4. Give yourself a massage!

We all know the benefits of a good massage, yet it has probably never even crossed our minds that we would be able to gift those benefits to ourselves! If you know your dosha you can choose an oil to suit: To balance vata use ginger, cardamom, or orange; for pitta sandalwood or lavender; and for kapha eucalyptus and rosemary.

For a simple routine;

  • Start by massaging around the eyes and over the face including the ears.
  • Massage both the front and back of the neck and only as far as is comfortable to reach without strain the upper part of the spine.
  • Massage the arms and hands, using long sweeps over the muscle and circular movements over the joints.
  • Massage over the heart and the abdomen in a clockwise, circular motion.
  • Massage the legs, using the same movements as the arms
  • End with the feet.

For an extra invigorating effect lightly and quickly brush the skin. The aim here is to stimulate lymphatic movement which requires only a light touch, and always brush in the direction of the heart. This also has the added bonus of brushing in the oil.

Step 5. Meditate.

Whether for you that means some time sitting silently with yourself, or the moving meditation of a yoga practice… time to be with yourself with the simple aim of connection and of natural recalibration will reap amazing rewards throughout your day.

Step 6. Shower.

You are calm, you are collected. You are oiled and invigorated. Now, enjoy a shower and the rest of your day!