Insulate this winter with sesame oil!
Ayurveda recommends daily oil massage before your shower - this practice has so many health benefits which we will discuss below, but one benefit I learnt through self-practice was it keeps me warm!
So as the weather changes, it's starting to get cold here in Australia, with gusty winds that can chill you to the bone! I am always looking for ways to keep warm! This is especially noticeable if you are a Vata constitution or suffering from a Vata imbalance which I have a tendency toward.
My go to oil for summer is coconut oil - it smells great, its light and it is cooling for the body - the perfect antidote for a hot dry summer... however as soon as it cools down my coconut oil sets solid and I know it's time to change my oil to something that is more suitable for the cold winter climate... I am looking for an oil that is heavier, more nourishing and warming... the best oil is sesame oil!
Now sesame oil can have a nutty aroma which I quite like but aim for a cold pressed organic oil - I find it has a less obvious aroma! If you are ready to take it a step further why not add some warm woody notes or calming essential oils or use a herbal oil to really pacify your Vata!
moisturised skin less prone to cracks, dehydration and dryness
improved lustre and complexion
improved circulation leading to cell nourishment and detoxification
reduced stress and anxiety by taking time for self-care
supports healthy microbes on the surface of the skin
Heat your oil either by standing bottle in hot water or using an oil burner and candle. I have also used a baby bottle warmer if you have one! Oil can heat up quickly so take care and always test temperature of the oil before applying to the body
Take a small amount of oil and massage your stomach - start at the navel and work in a clockwise circular motion (following the direction of the colon), gradually make the circular movement larger to cover the entire abdomen.
Take some more oil and apply using long strokes on your arms and legs. Starting from shoulders or hips and work away towards the fingers and toes. Massage in the direction of hair growth. After the long strokes be sure to spend some time massaging the joints - knees, ankles, wrists and elbows - with nice circular movements.
Follow oil massage with shower
Ayurveda recommends daily oil massage or abyanga - however if you are running short on time make sure you at least apply oil to the soles of the feet, the ear and a few drops to the crown of the head every day!
If you have a Pitta constitution or Pitta imbalance, like a tendency to red, hot, irritated skin you may find that the warm oily nature of sesame oil is not required and may further irritate so in this case stick with warm coconut oil to cool and soothe the Pitta.
If you have a Kapha constitution or Kapha imbalance look into dry body brushing as an alternative or use a light warming oil like mustard seed oil.
This is just one little tip I wanted to share but there are so many little changes we can make to our diet and lifestyle at this time of year to keep warmer, more nourished and grounded which in turn prevents Vata imbalances.
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