The benefits of shower rituals are plenty. As with any meditation or action to prepare you for a certain activity, shower rituals allow you to enter a relaxing, renewing mindset. How often do we find ourselves preparing for the day or winding down from our busy schedules without a grounding tool to center our minds? With the assistance of soothing essential oils and moisturizing products, shower rituals open up the opportunity for you to immerse yourself fully into a soul and skin-renewing experience.
When you think of rituals, you might be tempted to envision chanting or crystals – but the fact is, rituals can be as simple and mundane as lighting a candle or having a cup of tea after your bath. Try adding this Ayurvedic pre-shower ritual to your morning or evening routine at least once a week, and if you like it – as many days a week as you wish!
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient traditional system of healing and balancing lifestyle elements with origins in India, and includes guidance for healthy eating and living through physical as well as mental nourishment. Familiarizing with Ayurvedic techniques can help us attune more to the needs of our bodies, so we can give our bodies what they need – which, in turn, manifests in our overall health and skin.
This soothing shower ritual is based on the Ayurvedic practice of abhyanga which involves a warming body massage that is followed by a shower. A wonderfully enriching act of self-care!
Don’t resign massage for a once-monthly splurge at your local spa; you can massage yourself whenever you’re feeling the need for soothing touch and muscle relaxation any time you need. The benefits of this type of massage are many: it improves circulation, releases muscle tension, helps to relax your body and mind, all of which help you get a better night's sleep at the end of the day and softer, smoother skin.
How to do the shower ritual.
Before beginning this (or any) shower ritual, make sure you are hydrated – drink a glass of water or cup of hot herbal tea!
You will need:
A gentle brushing tool – if you do not have a brush specifically for body brushing, you can use a hairbrush or even just the tips of your fingers.
A bottle of infused oil – traditionally in Ayurvedic dic body-brushing rituals, sesame oil is used. You may use the nourishing oil of your choice, like olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, etc. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils as you wish.
A towel or rag you don’t mind getting oily
Follow these steps for a calming, restorative pre-shower ritual:
Warm a bottle of the oil by standing it in a pot or large bowl of hot water.
While the bottle is warming, start your dry skin-brushing bodywork. For 5 minutes, use gentle, upward strokes to brush the skin starting from your right foot and work your way up the body. Repeat this action on the left side.
Once the oil is warm and you are done dry-brushing your body, apply a thin layer of oil over to your entire body. While your skin absorbs some of the oil, practice a breathing ritual to calm the mind.
Start your personal massage! Beginning with the feet, gently rub your skin in circular motions, working your way up towards the center of the body. As you move over your calves, switch to longer massage strokes to release the muscle and fascia. When you reach your abdomen and then chest, massage the oil in with larger clockwise strokes. Use as much oil as you need and spend time on the areas with more nerve endings, like the bottoms of your feet, palms, and fingertips. Follow the sensations of your body and give more attention to where it is needed.
Relax in a calm space for approximately 10 minutes, whether that’s in your bathroom near the shower or in a meditative space elsewhere, and allow the oil to fully absorb and penetrate the skin.
Finish the ritual with a warm bath or shower and revel in the renewed feelings you experience.
This is a perfect ritual to practice as many times throughout the week as you like, but adding it to your schedule for at least once a week will identify a time for you to relax, renew and cleanse as part of the weekly cycle.