Self-Massage (Ahayanga)

Before you begin, warm the oil to skin temperature. The easiest way to do this is to keep a small plastic squeeze bottle filled with oil, and set the bottle in a bowl or cup of very hot water. Wait a few minutes for the oil to reach skin temperature. While the oil warms, lay out a towel to protect the carpet or floor from any oil that may spill.

When you are ready, start the massage at your head. Drizzle a small amount of oil onto your scalp and massage it in with the palms of your hands. Use a clockwise, circular motion. Then gently massage your face and ears. If you have oily skin, avoid those areas that are prone to breakouts. Massaging the ears is excellent for balancing Vata.

Drizzle some oil in your palms and massage your neck, then move to your shoulders. Use a circular motion on your joints – shoulders, elbows, knees – and long up-and-down strokes on your limbs. Be gentle on your torso. Use large, clockwise motions to massage the chest and stomach area.
Reach around to massage your back as best you can without straining.

Then massage the legs, ankles, and knees. Using the palm of your hands, vigorously massage the feet.
It is best to leave the oil on the body for 20 minutes before washing it off in a warm, not hot, shower or bath. You can use this time to meditate or do your Yoga exercises. If you don’t have time to wait, that’s fine. It’s much better to do a quick massage than none at all.

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