Many of us love a good skin care routine, however for some reason or another, we often forget to care for the entire body, instead just focusing on the portion we see in the bathroom mirror – the face & neck, and maybe on a good day, the décolletage. These areas are only a tiny portion of the much larger whole, one easily forgotten or seen as too much effort…
In the depths of these Winter months, the Vata in all of us is exacerbated, we are quite literally drying from the inside, out. Beginning to include your entire body in your skin care ritual is a great way to pacify this overflowing bucket of Vata – it’s as easy as daily (or as often as you can) black sesame oil self massage.
Black sesame oil is an Ayurvedic staple. In India, this oil is applied to babies from birth, with the practice of abhyanga (self massage) continued through to old age. Warmed and slathered on the entire body, from head to toe, black sesame protects and nourishes the skin. Soothing and reducing for the effects of Vata, it is known to promote stability, strength & softness. Owing to its warming nature, black sesame is indicated for those who run cold, experience dry skin, or are currently living in a cooler climate.
— How To —Always warm the oil before applying to the skin, pre shower or bath (before your yoga practice is great too). The warm water will open the pores and the oil will penetrate deeply. We invite you to take a few moments to be at one with yourself. Reconnect, be present with your body, touch and feel every part – often we wash ourselves without being present or connected.
Using long strokes on the limbs and smaller circular strokes around the joints. Apply at least a palm full of oil starting with the head, oiling the ears, nostrils the scalp, nape of the neck , décolletage and centre of the chest or heart. Oil the feet, and pay special attention to the hips, buttocks and lower abdomen, known as the seat of Vata. Once you’re in the warm water, continue to massage the oil into yourself – do not use soap to remove the oil – just soap the intimate parts to remove oil. As you towel off, gently pat your body dry and avoid getting dressed immediately, this way the oil can continue to penetrate the body.
For best results, once a week, apply the oil and allow yourself a 15 min rest or meditation (in a warm place and warm robe) before you shower or bathe. This practice allows the nerves to calm and for impurities to be softened and carried out of the body. It helps with pain management, strengthens the nervous system and enhances immunity. Be sure to apply the oil with patience and kindness, this is not a rushed practice, in Ayurveda it’s known as ‘snehana‘ or ‘self-love’, and is literally an application of love.
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