Rituals of Self-Care for Stressful Times – your SV Ayurveda Newsletter Nov 5, 2020 – #43, Vol 10

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SVA Rituals for Self-Care
An Abhyanga A week
Oftentimes we get so caught up in our daily race for things and events that we lose perspective. Specially when life gets stressful – collectively – the way it has in these unprecedented times. Feels like no matter which way we turn there is no exit! Now more than ever, it’s good to take a moment to re-adjust our focus and remind ourselves: we live in a cosmic reality that pre-existed us and that will continue to be here long after we’ve gone… This reality supersedes us. Our lives are a small part of this reality, and our bodies are a material expression of the same elements of Nature that make up this reality. We run on the same laws that Mother Nature put into place to regulate the “rising” of the sun and the cycles of the moon. All we have to do is stay in-sync. Maintaining our relationship to the world we live in does not have to be a big deal. It can come down to very simple daily principles. Such as following the daily cycles of the sun for eating and sleeping. Or staying in sync with seasonal changes for diet.
 In Western culture, we have lost sight of rituals that help us reset our bodies and maintain our health and happiness. Our seasonal and annual rituals sadly amount to nothing more than commercialized holidays! But for those of us who have been blessed to have the wisdom of Ayurveda, and specially the SVA teachings of Vaidya Mishra in our lives, we know how small yet significant dietary and lifestyle changes can bring about great(er) balance and bliss.
Now more than ever, we need to refer back to these rituals to help us surf the big waves of these transformative times. Start with something as simple as a weekly or biweekly self-oil massage. Nothing helps calm the nervous system, settle the mind, soothe the heart, like a warm oil massage. The ayurvedic texts and ancient rishis were unwavering about this. 
Nowhere is the science of ayurvedic transdermal healing better illustrated than in the chapter on Abhyanga. Abhyanga is the time-tested ancient method of massaging the body with warm herbalized oils to make the limbs supple, relax and energize the mind, building resistance to physical and mental stress. With unique SVA formulations, you can now safely supplement your body with Magnesium, Vit D, Turmeric, and many more unique herbal and floral synergies.
Massage, when done right, relieves fatigue and stress, relaxes the muscles, calms the mind, improves circulation. It is ideal to get a massage a week, or even two! But if you can’t afford to get the time for one, or can’t seem to find that perfect therapist who does not leave you bruised after a too deep-tissue massage session, why not do it yourself? That’s right, you can do this yourself in the comfort of your own home each morning, or at least once, or twice, per week. The benefits are innumerable. Here are some: 
  • transdermally nourishes the body with minerals and nutrients – depending on the oil you are using; 
  • pacifies all the doshas; 
  • relieves fatigue; 
  • provides stamina, and induces deep restful sleep at night; 
  • enhances the complexion and the luster of the skin; 
  • promotes longevity; 
And even more benefits:
  • Improves circulation
  • gives mental clarity
  • Increases Longevity
  • Decreases the effects of aging
  • Reduces Stress
  • Strengthens Immune system
  • Rejuvenates skin to make it smooth and support fat metabolism
  • Softens and moisturizes the skin
  • Lubricates the joints 
  • Calms the nerves 
  • Tones the muscles
What does the sourcebook of Ayurveda, the Carak Samhita, say about self-abhyanga?
snehābhyaṅgādyathā kumbhaścarma snehavimardanāt| 
bhavatyupāṅgādakṣaśca dṛḍhaḥ kleśasaho yathā|| 
(ca. saṁ. 5/85)
With proper oil, abhyanga gives the skin firmness even as it makes it soft. In the second sentence we read that all body parts (anga) become more efficient, firm and more tolerant against physical stress.
tathā śarīramabhyaṅgāddṛḍhaṁ sutvak jāyate| 
praśāntamārutābādhaṁ kleśavyāyāmasaṁsaham||
(ca. saṁ. 5/86)
So the first line of the verse says “doing full-body massage gives more strength and better complexion to the skin. The second line tells us that abhyanga pacifies all vata disturbance and gives more endurance for exercise.”
sparśane’bhyadhiko vāyuḥ sparśanaṁ ca tvagāśritam| 
tvacyaśca paramabhyaṅgastasmāttaṁ śīlayennaraḥ||
(ca. saṁ. 5/87)
Here Carak explains that if there is sensitivity of skin created by vata dosha imbalance, then it will get pacified, and acquire better tolerance to touch pressure. In addition, massage nurtures all six layers of skin. The health of the skin, its lustre and suppleness improve even more with regular weekly massage. Overall, all vata-pacifying health benefits accrue with daily or weekly oil massage sessions.

Which Oil to Use?
Over the years Vaidya formulated several SVA massage oils to address different constitutional types and their needs. You don’t need to use SVA formulations, as long as you have good massage oils appropriate for your constitution and the season, provided they do not have any chemicals or a chemical preservation system. You also have to make sure your massage oil has not been adulterated. Finally, there is a high chance that it is, or soon will be after opening, rancid and active with free-radical causing molecules in your body through transdermal absorption. 
Vaidya Mishra’s SVA massage oils undergo pranic prepping and preservation methods that stop oxidization without compromising the intelligence of the oil base or the herbal infusions. We have a wide range of oils to chose from: 
  • Vata Oil for Abhyanga
  • Men’s Rasayana Oil; 
  • Pitta Massage Oil;
  • Vata Abhyanga Oil with Magnesium & Vitamin D; 
  • Vata Massage Oil; 
  • Women’s Rasayana Oil; 
  • Magnesium Massage Oil; 
  • Magnesium Body Massage Oil – with Ashwagandha; 
  • Turmeric & Magnesium Massage Oil; 
  • Pitta Massage Oil with Magnesium;
Consult your SVA practitioner or follow the link to each product to find out which SVA Massage Oil is best for you. 

How It’s Done!
Warm your oil slightly in the sink by keepin under hot running water, or in a baby bottle warmer – this calms and pacifies the body and mind right away, also facilitating absorption. to give more comfort and absorption. Pour a little warm oil into your palms and apply it onto the area you are working on. It’s a good idea to start from the feet and the toes first. Work your way up, and massage your entire body, applying even pressure with the whole hand — palm and fingers. 
Finally, oil your head. Use one of our SVA oils made especially for hair and scalp. Warm it up as well. When massaging sensitive areas such as the abdomen or the heart, use very light pressure. Circular motions on chest area are best done clockwise; same for the lower abdomen. Do circular motions over rounded areas such as head and joints, and straight strokes on your arms and legs. For arms and legs massage outward from core to extremities. 
Leave the oil on for 20 minutes. Cover yourself. You may leave the oil on for longer but you must cover your head with a cotton scarf or towel and make sure you warm and stay away from cold drafts. The longer the oil is on, the deeper it penetrates. 
It is very important to follow your abhyanga with a relaxing warm bath (Vaidya has formulated lovely herbalized bath pouches) or shower to remove excess oil and toxins that got released through the skin. 
When you want to do an abhyanga, but don’t have time, do the quicky version: massage only arms and legs and your lower back. It is ideal to indulge in a full body massage, at least once a week; but if it is just not happening, it is then best to at least get a quick massage on your limbs and lower back.
Once you’ve completed your abhyanga and bath/shower, finish off by adding a drop of Karna oil in your ear canal (or apply a drop on a q-tip and apply at the entrance of ear canal); and do the same with one of Vaidya nasya oil for each nostril. Oil not only helps keep away impurities but will address dryness due to cooler temperatures, and help protect from airborne contaminants depending on the herbal synergy of the oils.
Precautions: Oil is slippery. Take extra precaution in your shower to avoid slipping after doing an abhyanga. Oils can be combustible on towels, clothing, etc. with oil residue. After washing, do not over-dry or over-heat them in your dryer.

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~ WHO is Shakti
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