Series — Weaving Ayurveda into your morning routine | Showering
I’m bringing to you all a five part series, giving you step by step ideas of how to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your morning routine. Whether you apply all five daily, pick and mix which ones you use or just apply them all once a month as a part of a self-care day, any inclusion of these practices at all will benefit your morning in some way.
From helping us become more present and aware of the seemingly mundane tasks we usually perform ‘just because’, to becoming more aware of our bodies and how to care for them, taking the time to properly prepare for the day ahead can make a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.
Just as a note, none of these posts are sponsored - the products I mention are ones that I genuinely use and recommend, and I have no current affiliation with the brands.
So here is the second instalment, showering.
Another simple task that we all take for granted, showering is such a good opportunity for us to connect with our bodies and give ourselves an extra dose of vitamins and health boosting activities whilst not adding that much more effort.
We’ve all been at that point where we lie on the bed for a while, knowing we need to get in the shower but the thought of peeling yourself off the duvet just makes you stick to it even more. But once you’re in there, you can’t make yourself get out. The feeling of the hot water on your skin is just bliss, and we’re gonna enhance that good feeling and make it last from before entering the shower, until a looong time after you’re out.
Here are some steps you can follow to make yourself feel like you’ve been on a spa day, without leaving the house or denting your bank account.
01— Dry brushing
The perfect way to start your body cleansing process, dry brushing doesn’t just exfoliate the skin. It helps to detoxify the body, by stimulating blood flow and encouraging lymph flow and drainage. It also stimulates the nervous system, making your body feel all tingly and awesome.
It’s a super simple process that you’re gonna want to do more and more often once you’ve tried it. Start at the toes, brushing quite hard against the skin (you should feel the bristles invigorating you, but it shouldn’t be too painful). Work in upward strokes moving up the legs and onto the thighs. Continue all moving upwards until you’ve covered the whole body - making sure to change direction when you reach the chest.
The brushing should all be directed towards the heart, with the exception of the stomach. Here you should brush in a circular motion, moving up on the right side, and down on the left. This also helps with digestion by massaging the intestines. Be careful to brush more gently on the softer areas of skin - like the breast and chest. Look after those tatas.
If you choose to brush the face, be much more gentle with the action. Move upwards under the chin and then use circular motions on the rest of the face.
After this, you should feel energised and tingly - the skin might be slightly pink but don’t worry, this is a good sign. Obviously anything more dramatic and you’re not quite doing it right… No one wants to exfoliate their skin off completely.
Abhyanga - or self massage - is one of my favourite parts of this process, for obvious reasons. Taking the time to massage and moisturise every inch of your body helps you to really appreciate how awesome it is, and keeps you in check with what’s going on. If you do this regularly, you tend to notice any changes in your skin (rashes, bumps etc) that can be a great early alert for something you may need to consider changing.
Sesame oil is a great one to use as it is perfect for soothing all the doshas (read more about doshas here) and really warms the body up. You can add your favourite essential oils to really nourish your skin and set your mood. If I’m settling down for the day, I’ll add lavender - whereas if I’m starting my day and want to feel energised, I’ll use a citrus oil like lemon or orange.
Warm your oil slightly, by pouring about 1/4 cup into a container and sitting on warm water for a few minutes. It should be around body temperature, so not too hot to touch!
Set your environment - light candles, burn incense, play music… anything that makes you feel super chilled.
Massage the face in a circular motion, focusing carefully on each part. The forehead, cheeks, chin, nose… Take your time and move slowly.
Move to the shoulders, using long strokes on the arms and making sure to really rub the oils into your elbows and any dry patches.
Massage the stomach, moving slowly in an anti-clockwise direction. This can also promote digestion and help with bloating.
Move down to the legs, using long strokes again and noting any dry areas.
Move on to the feet and spend a few minutes massaging the oils in to every part. Our feet work really hard for us so we should show them some love back! This can help with any aches and pains, and keep those cracked heels at bay.
I love to meditate for about 15 minutes after my massage, letting the oils sink in and really take advantage of that relaxed, grounded place I’ve created for myself.
A lovely, warming shower after a self massage makes your skin feel like bliss. It may sound odd to shower after moisturising, but this is actually really great for the skin. The warm water will rinse off any excess, but the majority of the oil will be absorbed deep into the skin cells where it will work its magic.
Take some mindful minutes while you’re in the shower, focusing on how the water feels against your skin. Turn around and feel it massage your shoulders and back. Small moments of pleasure like this can help to keep us calm and feeling grateful throughout the day.
Take care to avoid using too much soap, as the oil will stay on the skin if it isn’t washed too harshly (we want to keep it there to nourish and protect our skin).
When you’re done, dab the skin dry rather than rubbing, being conscious that keeping this oil on our skin will feed us with goodness for hours, and protect us against the weather and other outside factors.
Spending some time with our bodies like this is a nourishing, self indulgent (in the best kind of way) practice that helps us to appreciate ourselves, as well as being incredibly stress relieving and calming.
Whether you apply this daily or once a week, it’s a great routine to bring into your life - and I promise you’ll want to make the time to do it more often once you start!
Keep your eye out for the next in the series, which will be focusing on skin care and the natural ways we can really nourish ourselves and get that glow.