THE MOON, OIL AND LOVE IN AYURVEDA
Ayurveda has long had a love affair with oil.
If you have ever had an Ayurveda body treatment, you may recall that you were anointed with copious amounts of special oils.
Two of the key lifestyle practices in Ayurveda are daily self-application of warm oil to the body and application of nasya (special herbal oil in the nostrils).
In Ayurveda detoxification and rejuvenation programmes (panchakarmas), sesame oil, herbal oils and liquid ghee (clarified butter) play an important role.
In addition, Ayurveda values internal lubrication of the body through the ingestion of oils as a powerful treatment.
The term for this therapeutic application of oil, internally and externally, is “snehan”. In the classical Ayurveda text Charaka Samhita, snehan is defined in this way:
“That which induces snehana (unctuousness or oiliness), vishyanda (liquefaction), mardavam (smoothness), and kleda (moistness or dampness) is called snehan.”
Commonly used oils are sesame, herb-infused oils, ghee, and even occasionally animal fats including bone marrow fat.
Snehan has the following benefits:
- Alleviates Vata dosha (a medical humour of Ayurveda) which has these attributes:
dry, light, cold, rough, mobile and clear.
Too much of the Vata attributes in our body and mind can create symptoms such as:
insomnia, dry stools or constipation, nervousness, anxiety, dry skin and hair, brittle nails and bones, chronic conditions of the bones and nervous system, debility and fatigue.
Oil has the opposite qualities to Vata dosha and so is a fantastic antidote to all these conditions listed above.
- Promotes body strength and longevity.
- Gives good complexion and lustre to the skin.
- Softens the body tissues adding suppleness, especially in old age.
- Helps release toxins from deeper body tissues into the gut for elimination.
- Nourishes the body tissues, giving clarity to the skin and supporting ojas (constitutional strength)
- Relieves conditions pertaining to female health.
- Helps to release and eliminate old fats holding toxins when taken internally and thereby plays a role in weight loss programmes.
- Calms the nervous system and mind.
Snehan can be a treatment in its own right, or used as part of a more complex treatment programme alongside steam treatments, and cleansing and rejuvenating therapies. The fact that snehan is always performed first in such programmes confirms its importance in Ayurveda
Having such nourishing, strengthening and soothing benefits for body and mind, it is perhaps no coincidence that the word “snehan” also means “love”.
When we take time to anoint ourselves with oil, or when we put time aside for someone else to oil our body, then we experience self-love and nourishment at a deep level.
Oil penetrates into tissues that have become hard, rigid and dry and this softens not only the physiology but also has a psychological and spiritual effect. The places where our minds and hearts have become inflexible and hardened are soothed and softened.
Snehan in Vedic communities, is a prescribed and valued full moon treatment for women. Read why this is below and please do:
- Join me for a Pampering Full Moon-Love Day
- Book a Full Moon Abhyanga (warm oil) Body Treatment to experience first-hand the benefits of full moon snehan.
To join the next Ayurveda Full Moon Women’s Pamper and Nourish day, or to book a body treatment please CONTACT ME
OIL, WOMEN, SELF-CARE AND THE FULL MOON TIME:
To traditional Vedic societies in India, Mother Moon was (is) feminine. She shines her light into the womb of all female species on the planet, strengthening their creativity and reproductivity in body and mind.
This means that when the moon is at her fullest and her light shines most strongly into the body and psyche of women, women can align with the full moon to draw on this energy more fully through specific full moon practices. These practices help to heal, strengthen and nourish the feminine body, mind and heart.
And so, the full moon is seen as a great time for women to come together, to draw on the energy of the moon with full moon practices. Also to celebrate the fullness of the female heart and spirit which Mother Moon is mirroring and enhancing. Full moon practices are:
sacred chanting, special breath and meditation practices, nourishing foods and drinks, and beautification practices to honour not only the body but also spirit of womanhood.
In addition to adorning the body with beautiful clothes and jewels, snehan is a perfect beautifying, sensual practice for the full moon time.
Treat yourself to a full body oil treatment, ask a friend or sister to anoint your body, or perform self-anointing using plenty warmed oil. Leave the oil on your body for 15 -20 minutes and then take a warm bath. Feel this bath softening and replenishing not only the body tissues but also your psyche.
Know that snehan will always strengthen and nourish your whole being – body, mind and heart. This is even more the case when as a woman, you align yourself to the abundant energy and light of Mother Moon in the full moon time with wonderful snehan treatments and practices.
PLEASE AVOID SNEHAN DURING: Fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, obesity or anorexia. During menstruation and the new moon time, oil the body only very lightly.
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