How to do an Ayurveda Abhyanga massage at home

alignyo yoga news: DIY Ayurveda abhyanga massage from Ali Cramer
Get the benefits of an Ayurvedic abhyanga treatment at home.
Yoga Lifestyle by Ali Cramer

Ayurveda practitioner Ali Cramer is helping us demystify Ayurveda by making yoga’s sister science easy and approachable enough to start incorporating into your daily life. This week, she shares how you can do Abhyanga, an Ayurveda oil massage, at home. Interested in becoming an Ayurveda practitioner? Check out Ali's upcoming 50-hour intensive training at Laughing Lotus NYC.

With Vata Season (fall through early winter) moving in, the air is getting colder and drier, and I don't know about you, but this is about the time of year where my skin needs a little extra TLC! Ayurveda has a great practice for this, it's Abhyanga, a special type of oil massage.

In India, even the babies get massaged daily, and the word for oil, sneha, is the same word as love! So show yourself a little love and oil up. Below, we’ve outlined the best carrier (base) oils and essential oils for each dosha.

For all doshas, slightly warm the carrier oil before adding a few drops of the recommended essential oils. You can oil up and then take a shower after (without soaping up your body) to let some of the oil sink in. If you're really dry, skip the shower and just apply the oil to your skin, giving it time to soak in. Coat yourself all over, working the oil into your skin with long strokes in the direction of your heart. 

Vata

For Vata skin, the best oil is sesame as a carrier oil (make sure it is not toasted sesame oil). You can add a few drops of essential oils that are soothing, grounding and calming like lavender, cinnamon, rose, geranium, musk, jasmine or sandalwood. 

Pitta

The best base/carrier oil for Pitta skin is coconut oil. Fiery Pitta types will do best to add a few drops of calming, cooling essential oils: lavender, sandalwood, rose, vetiver, mint, chamomile or lemongrass. 

Kapha

Use almond oil as a base/carrier oil if you have Kapha skin. Add a few drops of warming, stimulating essential oils like cedar, cinnamon, eucalyptus, musk, patchouli, sage or pine. 

Related:
Ayurveda 101
Why you should use a dry skin brush
Ayurvedic spices to add to your diet now
Make Ali’s Red Lentil & Quinoa Kitchari

About the Author

Ali Cramer

Alison Cramer is the Co-Creative Director at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center NYC and one of the core teachers for their acclaimed Teacher Training Program, both at the 200- and 500-hour level. Ali has taught workshops and retreats on Yoga and Ayurveda both nationally and internationally and continues to be inspired by this Practice and Community both on and off the mat. Her passion for Yoga and Ayurveda led to the creation of a 100-hour Ayurveda and Healing certification program at Laughing Lotus NY, where she acted as both Director and Teacher. Ali recently returned from Africa, where she was honored to be chosen as the lead teacher of the very first Yoga Teacher Training in the Sudan. Find out about her upcoming yoga and Ayurveda trainings at Laughing Lotus here.

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