Monthly Archives: March 2014

How to do a Self Abhyanga (Self Massage)

As the weather cools down enjoy this Ayurvedic Ritual to help you stay warm and supple.

Massage is the oldest healing modality on the planet. In the ancient science of Ayurveda there is a practice of self-massage that helps to ground and nourish us. It is ‘Self Abhyanga’  or ‘Self Warm Oil Massage’ (massaging the body with large amounts of warm oil).

I really encourage you to try this as not only will it keep you feeling warm and looking young, it is also a delicious, calming and relaxing experience. It is a simple self-care exercise that you can introduce into your weekly or even daily routine.

There are numerous benefits to Self Abhyanga including the following:

Soothes Vata Dosha
Helps build resilience to stress
Increases energy and removes fatigue
Helps to eliminate toxins by stimulating strengthening lymphatic flow
Strengthens and tones skin and body
Grounding and nourishing
Helps with insomnia

Here’s how to do Self Abhyanga:

This massage is best done before your shower, either in the morning or before going to bed.

Select your oil – As a general rule of thumb go with Coconut oil in Summer and once the weather becomes cooler and coconut oil begins to solidify switch to Sesame (Melrose Organic is a good one) or Sunflower oil. For an extra dimension to the experience, you may like to add an essential oil of your choice to your massage oil.
Warm the room you are in and warm the bottle of oil in a bowl of hot water.
Stand on a towel that you don’t mind getting oily.
If you prefer the oil warm, sit the bottle in a bowl of hot water. Pour a small amount of oil into the palm of you hands and begin with a head massage, slowly massage oil […]

Manipura Chakra – Spark the Fire Within

Manipura can be broken down into two words, Mani= gem and Pura=city, it is often referred to as ‘city of jewels’ or ‘lustrous gem’.

On a physical level this Chakra is located around our navel and on an energetic level it is the third Chakra in the Chakra System. It is the seat of our personal power, our ‘get up and go’, our self-esteem and our ability to make things happen.  As energy is built on the stabilizing and grounding power of the earth element in Muladhara Chakra, we add the energy from the flow of water in Svadhisthana. These two elements working together allow the transformational power of fire in Manipura to work its magic. Added to this we have consciousness flowing down from the realm of the higher chakras, directing our intentions (more on these Chakras in future posts). Manipura Chakra is our Power Chakra the reality around us radiates from this lustrous gem as transformation takes place. It is from this place we make our intentions real. At times we may feel ‘stuck in a rut’ or a sluggishness or inertia has set in, we may need to focus on this Chakra.

If you find your ‘get up and go’ has got up and gone, please try the following Yoga and Meditation exercises and see if it makes a difference. If you have any success, please let me know in the comments below.

Yoga

Any exercises that work on our core can be stimulating to our Manipura Chakra. One pose that springs to mind is Navasana also known as Boat Pose. This pose is an advanced pose and not usually a favourite in Yoga classes but it is definitely powerful and works on the Manipura […]

Breath of Fire – Kapalabhati Pranayama

Do you need more fire in your belly, more ‘pep in your step’? Do you feel tired and sluggish? A bit of ‘Skull shinning’ breathing maybe just what you need!

Kapalabhati is translated as  ‘Skull Shinning’ and this breathing technique is also known as ‘Breath of Fire’ as it helps to spark the fire within.

This type of breathing is sometimes performed in Martial Arts and plays a big part in Kundalini Yoga. Note: this is an advanced breathing technique please don’t attempt until you know the basics of Yoga.

Benefits

Benefits lungs and respiratory system
Increases oxygenation of the blood helping to detoxify the body more effectively
Balances the nervous system
Increases vitality and clarity
Reduces sluggishness or fatigue
Improves concentration

How to do it

Sit comfortably, keeping the head and spine upright.
Close your eyes or keep your gaze low.
Place your hands on your lower belly.
Start by breathing in through the nostrils (mouth is kept close) and then making a forced exhale through both nostrils, as you exhale draw the belly button towards the spine. I like to imagine a conveyor belt of candles moving slowly towards my face, and I need to extinguish each candle with an exhale through the nostrils. You do not need to force the inhale, the inhale will happen naturally.
Take a couple of rounds of 30 breaths, eventually you may work your way to 108 breaths (108 is considered a sacred number in many Eastern traditions as well as yoga practice).
Notice the effect this pranayama has on you, you may feel a slight tingling sensation around the front of the skull, hence the name ‘skull shining breath’.
For more advanced versions using breath retention, please work with your yoga instructor.

Contra-indications

Do not do this if you are pregnant or menstruating or […]