Ayurveda Intro

Practice Abhyanga, an ayurvedic practice of self-massage with oil.  You can explore a full body abhyanga practice and/or nightly self-massage of your feet with sesame or coconut oil.  If you do the full body massage, really pay attention to the outlines of your physical body and be attentive to your solid form.  For the mini-massage, take time before bed, soak your feet in a tub with warm water, when you are ready to get out, dry your feet and then apply warmed oil.  Use long sweeping motions to apply the oil and perhaps be with a sense of gratitude for all that your feet do for you each day including how they connect you with the support of the earth.

Ayurvedic Self-care: Abhyanga from An Intro to Ayurvedic Lifestyle by Dr. Marc Halpern

Ayurveda teaches us that oil helps to build ojas.  Ojas are those factors within the body that help to stabilize the body and mind and help build immunity.  By caring and nurturing ourselves, self-esteem is improved.  Self-massage is a type of self-love.

The oil that are used for self-oil massage vary.  For winter, you might choose sesame, almond or coconut oil.  Place cold-processed, organic oil in an 8oz container.  A small glass bottle is best, but you may use a bpa free plastic container.  Place bottle in a small pan of hot water to warm, or submerge in hot water in your sink.  When the oil in the bottle is warm, remove from pan or sink and use warm oil for massage.

There is no standardized order in which you must massage your body.  However, it can be helpful for those who are feeling scattered or irritated to begin with the head and end at the feet.  For those who are feeling tired and lethargic, you might begin with the feet and work up to the head. 

When applying the oil, it is important to use long strokes and some friction in order to help the oil absorb into the body.  If you’re feeling particularly scattered and spacey, use as much oil as you can tolerate.  Everyone else, use a lighter amount of oil.  The oil should be left on the body as long as possible to allow for absorption. 

The oils that are used for self-massage are best chosen for the dosha that you are looking to manage or reduce.  (Refer to your Banayan Dosha quiz results).

For Vata Imbalance:  Sesame or Almond Oil

For Pitta Imbalance:  Coconut or Sunflower Oil

For Kapha Imbalance:  Safflower or Mustard Oil

-Michele Vinbury


Michele Vinbury