Each day, at the end of my shower, I indulge in a 2-minute long “spa treatment.”
It’s the highlight of every morning.
And incredibly simple!
Here’s my “top secret” recipe : )
I keep a small bottle of sesame oil in the shower
It stays pretty warm thanks to the Caribbean temperatures around here.
At the end of my shower I pour a little bit into my hands and spend a minute slowly rubbing it in.
The technique is called Abhyanga – and is an ayurvedic treatment for pacifying Vata.
The obvious question that follows is: what is Vata?
Vata is one of the Ayurvedic constitutions that is characterized by the following qualities: Cold, light, airy, dry, irregular, rough, moving, quick, changeable.
The postpartum period is governed by Vata.
This means it is a period of life where lightness, dryness, roughness, and constant movement dominate, sometimes to the point of disregulation.
Some of the experiences tied to Vata derangement include irregular sleep patterns, anxiety, joint pain, digestive discomfort and generally feeling a bit unstable.
Sounds like many postpartum stories I’ve heard!
Vata needs to be moisturized, smoothed, and brought to steadiness.
All ayurvedic postpartum treatments therefore focus on pacifying Vata.
Qualities of warmth, oily, and slowness are key.
Abhyanga is one of the simplest techniques to practice to pacify the postpartum Vata that our bodies naturally produce.
Here’s some basic instructions:
- Keep a small bottle of cold-pressed sesame oil in the shower – NOT toasted sesame oil, or you will end up smelling like a deep fried delicacy when you come out!
- Turn the water off (but stay in the shower) and pour a teaspoon of oil (rub bottle between your hands to heat if you are in a cold climate) and rub your hands together
- Gently pat the oil on the fleshiest parts of yourself (thighs, buttocks, belly, breasts) to transfer the oil from hands to skin – be careful not to drip oil on the shower floor or this could get dangerous!
- Begin on one area of the body (I start with thighs) and make slow small circles with the palm of your hand over the area, rubbing in the oil into your wet skin.
- Work your way through the whole body, gently rubbing the oil in with smooth circular motions. There can be an urge to move fast and furiously (that’s vata!) but allow yourself to be fully present for each stroke before moving on to the next.
- Step out and pat yourself dry with a towel.
The whole process described above adds on an extra 2 minutes to my shower, but of course, you can always go for longer if time permits.
Try it out and let me know how it goes!