Monthly Archives: March 2013

Saturday Tradition

This is the third time I have tried to sit down and blog…but I am having a really tough time. I feel like I have all these emotions swirling around..but I don’t know why and I don’t really know how to feel about it. This is when i know I just need to sit with it and observe. I am thinking that it may be from my castor oil bath I took today…It had been a while so maybe I am just having intense side effects from it. Its an ayurvedic tradition and many Ashtangi’s take oil baths on rest day (saturday) to alleviate any muscle and joint soreness, to release any excess heat in the body, and it can also release pent up emotions. I need to be better about doing it once a week, but it really is a time commitment and you want to make sure you don’t have anything to do that day because it can make you verrrrryyyyy slleeeeeepppppyyyy.

So what is an oil bath? I was introduced to it in Mysore when Sharath would talk about it during conference. Its actually not filling up a big jacuzzi tub with warm water with some oil in it. You can really use any kind of oil like castor, coconut, sesame, ect. But an oil bath is really when you stand in the tub (no water yet) and cover yourself head to toe with the oil, and let it sit for about 10 minutes or so. (You can increase time the more you do it) Then you rinse…which is the “fun” part. I swear by them because they cure dry skin, dandruff, makes your hairy shiny, acne, muscle/joint pain, and really relaxes you. So if you are interested in trying this is my routine that I have adopted from others:

1. You want two old towels…ones you don’t mind throwing away eventually. One to lay down on the ground and one to use after you shower off the oil.

2. Oil: you can really use any….I’ve used coconut and castor and I like both. You want to fill your sink with warm water and set the bottle of oil in it for a few minutes to warm it up. It will make application much easier.

3. Application: the WHOLE body especially the scalp. This is where we contain and release most of our heat so its important to get plenty oil on the scalp. Make your way down the whole body.

4. Sit or lay down on one of the old towels. I like to turn the lights off and sometimes play some soothing music. Sharath says that the first few times you should only leave the oil on for about 10 minutes because your body isn’t used to it, and it can be intense. But you can increase as you do it more, like I said.

5. After ten minutes or so its time to rinse. And this is where it gets tricky as castor oil or any oil can be a pain to rinse off. Here is what I have found most successful to get oil off skin:
– Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castille soap
– Baking Soda
-Loofa or pummus stone
SO I usually combine castille soap and baking soda together on the loofa and just scrub down. It may take two times…you want to leave some oil on for a moisturizer.
-Shampoo OR
-plain bar of soap
To get the oil out of your hair I have used both shampoo and bar of soap. If you are going to use shampoo, scrub hair with it BEFORE you use water…this allows optimum oil absorption. Or you can wet your hair and use a plain bar of soap. Again this may take a couple times.

6. Put some old comfy clothes on and just take it easy and drink some water. You will definitely feel sleepy as the oil pulls out toxins as well as emotions.

7. When washing the oily towels do NOT put them in the dryer because I have heard this could be a fire hazard with the oil on them. Machine wash and hang dry.

So, there you have it…Ally’s guide to an oil bath LOL. But really, they are incredible and have SO many benefits. I think I feel emotional today due to the lack of consistency I have with them. Though I practice 6 days a week, emotions can still get stuck in your muscles and joints that I guess oil can get out. So, all I can do is sit, observe, appreciate, and move on. I will definitely be more consistent with my oil baths and I urge you to try! One time during a conference, Sharath jokingly (and somewhat seriously) said that oils baths are the reason people say “Oh wow, Inidans have the nicest skin!” with his big, sweet grin. 🙂 I believe it! Enjoy 🙂


This is the brand I use!
This is the brand I use!

TIme for spring cleaning?

Since I have gone and come back from India, I have learned how important it is to respect your own space and to keep it CLEAN, keep the energy light and positive. This means our living space, our bodies, and even our public spaces; like what kind of environments we put ourselves in and the people we surround ourselves with.

Living space: I have learned from living in a tiny apartment at school, that keeping the spaces I use the most is a key part of my daily sadhana (practice). Each day I make time to tidy up the kitchen, living room, bathroom, but most importantly my bedroom.  Since this is the space i use for meditation and asana practice, I have become quite the clean freak. I vacuum every couple days, I always make my bed, keep things off the floor, constantly getting rid of unnecessary clutter, and I burn candles daily and sage smug weekly. I know, it sounds like I have developed OCD but hear me out. Comparing your mind to your bedroom- when your mind is cluttered with unnecessary thoughts, emotions, and feelings it is impossible to feel any peace or to relax. The clutter brings a heaviness and many times stress. Just as your bedroom- you collect random crap, things are all over the floor, your dresser tops are a mess, and it smells. How can you rest in a space so chaotic? You can’t. Like I said, my room is a space where I practice my meditation and asana, which are very personal practices. Why would I want heavy energy looming over my head? I don’t even do homework in my room anymore because I do not want to produce anxious and stressful energy! Seriously. Keep your space clean and light, make time everyday to tidy up. This will start to overlap into your mental space, you’ll feel much more peace, joy, and a since of lightness.

Your body- shower. eat clean. stay active. Our bodies are a vessel for the Devine within. Also, its the only one you’ll have…why wouldn’t you take care of it? (Still working on this myself)

Public spaces- this is what this post was all about really.  Like I mentioned above, your public spaces can be the environments you regularly put yourself in and the relationships you have.  It is just as important to keep these spaces clean, with positive flow just as it is with your personal spaces. My last post was about alcohol and my intolerance to it in many ways. So obviously I won’t be hanging out at bars because that kind of energy does not serve any purpose to me. Another example: malls. Mother fudging malls. My hell. Too much energy exchange and it leaves me feeling depleted and just plain ol’ pissed off. So, I avoid malls at all costs. Everyone has different environments where they flourish or shrivel up, like me…I love old bookstores, markets, and health food shops…like LOVE THEM. These places energize me because I really enjoy myself in these settings. So, be mindful what atmospheres you put yourself into, be aware of how or if your emotions change with your environment…you could solve many issues. Lastly, the relationships your are emotionally involved in need to be kept clean and light.  We tend to forget that sometimes certain relationships need to be tidied up, or if they are not serving your well being, you need to let go. This lesson is one of the hardest, I am learning.  Remember my post about how people can be a lesson, blessing, or both? Well this is where that comes into play. Treasure those who are a blessing or both, but if you hold on to those who have crossed your path to teach you something, they become bad habits, even burdens.  Relationships/friendships can have negative energy, and we must be aware of that.  Notice how your emotions change with the people you surround yourself with. If you have someone where you feel anxious or even angry, then its time re-evaluate. These people, though they may not know or ever know, could drag you back into destructive behavior and bad habits. If that is the case, its time to slowly let go, and this is something I have been feeling lately myself. If you have tried several times to try to tidy up a certain relationship and it still doesn’t feel clean, then it will not serve you. Be mindful who you share YOUR energy with, if they deplete you rather than uplift you, move on. Remember your self-worth, and make your physical AND emotional health your top priority.

So, keep you space clean. Listen to your body, but more importantly your heart because ultimately it knows best. Surround yourself with those who uplift you, support you, and make you feel good. We all deserve that.