A regular practice of giving yourself a full body oil massage is an essential part of yogic health. Ayurvedic medicine complements and completes yoga and is the traditional healing system of India. As old as yoga (5000 years old!), Ayurveda uses the same Sanskrit language as yoga.
Snehana is the Sanskrit term for massaging herbal oils into the skin. The root of this word highlights a vital aspect of this practice. Sneha means love, and the literal translation of
snehana is to love your own body. So as you do this, you really need to feel affection for your own skin and what’s underneath. Abhyanga is a broader term and refers to any massage treatment that uses oil, and here I will be describing how to administer a self oil massage. Abhyanga is also a Sanskrit word and with ang meaning “movement” and the prefix abhi meaning “into” or “toward”, Abhyanga literally translates as moving into the body. Moving what into the body? Energy, love, prana.
One of my clients suggested I was highlighting this because of Valentine’s Day. The connection is apt. If you have someone in your life, this practice is wonderful to do with a partner. Whether with a partner or alone, practicing love toward your body with the practice of abhyanga is a perfect way to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day.