Abhyanga – Self Care

Photo by Elina Fairytale

Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic practice that can be performed as a service by an Ayurvedic practitioner, or that can be part of your self-care routine.

Why is self care ahimsa? To me, it’s sort of like the airplane analogy where you’re supposed to put on your oxygen mask before helping others. For one, if you aren’t practicing ahimsa with yourself, then you probably aren’t practicing it with others either. Secondly, we can’t show up for the cause if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. However, this does not mean that self care in and of itself is a complete ahimsa practice. It starts with self-care, but it does not end there and should be joined with an aligned action in the outside world.

While all practices are rooted in Ayurveda, I have found that there are a couple different approaches including the quickie “scalp, ears, bottoms of feet” self-massage that could realistically be incorporated into a busy life on a daily basis. I was first introduced to Abhyanga during Iyengar Yoga Teacher training in support of the deep learning and practice that was expected of us as Iyengar teachers. It was a combination of self-massage with oil (using long strokes on bones and circling on joints), a meditation, shower/bath, and savasana (for longer Abhyanga practices). You can choose a tridoshic oil from the Ayurvedic system, or an oil that is of a food-grade quality (one that you would consume as a food as well).

Abhyanga – Self Care Resources