“One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is taking care of ourselves with nature. “Krystine St-Laurent
Before you start reading this article, start by doing this little exercise:
- take a deep, deep breath;
- hold for 4 seconds,
- exhale for 4 seconds
- and take a short break of 4 seconds.
I call this 16-second breath of happiness. It not only allows us to bring us back to the present moment but also to breathe in the crisp, fresh air and the unique scents of fall!
Perhaps you had already noticed that the change in color of the trees has already started, and that autumn, a favorite season for many, is starting to settle down comfortably? Already, the nights are getting longer, the temperature is cooling off and nature is changing to slowly prepare for its dormant season.
Sleepiness, softness, cocooning: this is what this season brings, dominated by the elements of wind and space, and therefore linked to the dosha Vata. We are absolutely and completely influenced by these elements, and becoming aware of them helps us navigate through the (still quite drastic) changes from the Pitta season (summer) to the Vata season (fall-winter).
Take care of yourself
According to the philosophy of Ayurveda, one of the most important gifts to give yourself is to massage yourself, to oil yourself, to hydrate your skin and body every day. Whether in rituals or in the daily routine ( dynacharia ), self-massage is recommended and is even part of everyday activities, just like eating, sleeping, moving, and eliminating. Systematically working on three systems (circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous), self-massage is extremely important to soothe Vata and, in general, to soothe the head, heart (emotions), and the whole body.
In the Ayurvedic tradition, the oils are adapted according to the dominant doshas. Sesame oil is also popular because it can be suitable for everyone. Personally, I prefer blends of several oils, and above all, infusions of native plants grown here, in Quebec. This is how I translate the vision of Ayurveda with our North American reality: consuming plants through the skin and giving ourselves precious moments, every day, to envelop us and do us good. A philosophy which also pushed me to create my own line of Ayurvedic treatments.
The benefits of self-massage with oils
Nourishing, emollient, antibacterial, antioxidant, protective, lubricating, vegetable oils in the topical applications (on the skin) have several virtues that deserve to be known. And these virtues are enhanced when infused with medicinal plants.
In the West, oil body treatments are becoming more and more popular, but they were not part of our collective culture until recently.
The benefits of self-massage are numerous:
- Lubricates the joints;
- Helps slow down the effects of aging;
- Helps to release stress;
- Improves muscle tone and elasticity of the skin;
- Soothes the nervous system;
- Useful in cases of insomnia helps prepare the body for sleep;
- Helps to dislodge impurities under the skin and in adipose (fatty) tissue;
- Stimulates lymphatic circulation and helps in the elimination of waste;
- Help to anchor us in the present moment;
- Help the release of oxytocin (hormone also called the hormone of happiness ).
Evening self-massage ritual
If you feel like you’re running out of time in the evening, instead of not having a self-massage, why not put the attention on your feet and hands? This is how I created the 5 x 60 self-massage, 300 seconds (5 minutes) of pure happiness to come and soothe us and rock us to bring us to sleep. Paying attention to the extremities, this self-massage is ideal and can even be done while watching a movie or TV series.
Hands: Start by applying a small amount of oil and rub your hands together. Then, with light pressure, massage the center of the hand from the inside to the outside, noting the slightly more sensitive points. Take the time to dislodge the tensions between the fingers and to oil the top of the nails also in order to nourish them.
Feet: The feet are in dire need of oiling and massaging; they are our roots. Take the time to feel the most sensitive points, massage it gently then put on stockings to let the oil penetrate deeply,
Ritual for the face
You probably hydrate your facial skin every day, but have you ever taken the time to incorporate a little self-massage session during your hydration ritual? Pure happiness, simple and convivial, the facial massage activates the circulation in the muscles and the skin, facilitates the elimination of cellular waste and other residues found in the different layers of tissues, promotes relaxation and relaxation of the skin. tension, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, in addition to bringing radiance to the complexion.
I propose, in my book Nature & Ayurveda, a facial massage ritual that we share with you here:
- Remove all traces of makeup and impurities (wash your face);
- Rinse your face with cool, clear water, and leave the skin slightly wet;
- With a gentle infused herbal oil for the face (you can use our Smoothing Oil ), start by massaging the neck using upward movements. The mixture of oil and water allows the fingers to slide gently without pulling on the skin in addition to bringing a little invigorating freshness;
- Continue with gentle movements on the chin, the outline of the mouth, nose, cheeks, then the forehead, paying all your attention and a lot of compassion towards yourself;
- Using your fingertips, massage the eye area from the outside above the eyes;
- To finish, lightly pat the skin, which activates the circulation and brings a toning effect;
- Let the oil penetrate for a few minutes and continue with your usual care or makeup.
Regenerate with a nose treatment ( Nasya )
The nose is the first place where the impurities in the air, the various aggressors (pollution, bacteria, viruses, etc.) are filtered. A large amount of air ( Vata ) passes through the nasal passages every day. According to Ayurvedic tradition, daily lubrication of the walls of the nose helps to reduce accumulated tension and stress, keeps the protective barrier (mucous membrane of the nose) well hydrated, thus preventing infections and reducing allergy and allergic reactions. hypersensitivity. Also, during seasons when the air in homes tends to be dry, oiling the nose is a good way to prevent bleeding from drought.
In Ayurveda, it is proposed to oil the inside of the nose by inserting a chosen oil directly into the nostrils, with the head thrown back (nasya). Some people may find it uncomfortable or feel insecure to do it this way. In addition, you must be sure that the oil chosen is specifically indicated for this type of treatment.
For the purposes of this article, I’ve simplified the technique to make it more accessible. You can practice this ritual before or after oral care.
- Blow your nose to clean it well;
- Apply a few drops of oil specifically designed for nose care or a neutral oil on your fingertips;
- Insert the oil into each of the nostrils by gently rubbing the wall;
- Take the time to hydrate each side well;
- Take a deep breath to get the oil in well.
And There you go! A simple and beneficial ritual to include in your routine, morning and evening!