Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
February 14th is often thought to be for lovers, but a healthy relationship begins with the love you give yourself. Ayurveda returns us to pure love through simple, yet highly effective, lifestyle practices that nourish the body, mind and soul. Give yourself the gift of vibrancy, joy and health by embracing the following self-care practices.
1. Pamper yourself with roses.
Elevate the traditional Valentine’s Day gift by washing your face with homemade rose cleanser. Combine half a tablespoon of rose water and whole milk. Gently apply to your face, rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry.
2. Spend time alone.
It is important to spend uninterrupted quality time alone. Simply sit comfortably with eyes closed, and relax your body and mind for five minutes. You don’t need to engage in a lengthy, formal meditative practice in order to gain connection with the self.
3. Give yourself a massage.
Abhyanga is a relaxing, healing and nourishing self-massage with oils. Apply about a cup of warm oil (preferably sesame during winter, coconut in summer) to the skin for about 10 minutes. Use gentle, but firm strokes. Close your eyes and feel the love. Take a warm shower afterwards for total bliss!
4. Make it fine dining every night.
Turn an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one with beautiful and eye-catching table settings and choice utensils. Even if eating alone, music in the background, a lit candle, and centerpiece of fresh flowers and fruits add pleasure and enjoyment to the heart and senses, which together play an important role in digestion, too.
5. Take a healing bath.
Soak your muscles in a healing bath for at least 20 minutes, once a week. You can infuse your bath water with one to two full eight-ounce cups of botanicals such as fresh or dried flower petals, leaves, roots, or fruits. Ayurveda’s top recommendations include roses of any color, marigolds, jasmine flower, and amalaki, the Indian gooseberry.
6. Spice up your dreams.
To wind down your evening, drink a calming cup of warm spiced milk. The best spices to add for sleep are turmeric, cardamom, and nutmeg. For adults, the dosage of spices per cup should be no more than 1/4 teaspoon per glass of milk, which is brought to a boil, along with the spices. This delicious recipe ushers in sweet dreams every time!
While these Ayurveda self-care practices are simple, they go a long way towards supporting a vibrant you. Over time, you’ll discover that loving yourself does not need to be a rare luxury, like an expensive spa massage, but instead, a beautiful daily lifestyle dotted with self-loving rituals that lead you to richer, more meaningful and enjoyable relationships with your self and your significant others.
About the Author
Author of Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom (Sounds True, 2017), Acharya Shunya is an internationally recognized spiritual teacher who awakens health and consciousness through Ayurveda lifestyle and Vedic spiritual teachings. She is the founder of Vedika Global, a wisdom school and spiritual community, and is President of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. In 2015, Shunya was recognized as one of the Top 100 teachers of Ayurveda and Yoga in America by Spirituality & Health Magazine. For more information, please visit her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.