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.
-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 🙂