Butter Yourself Up

Self-abhyanga is simple to do, is deeply nurturing, and restores balance when your skin needs soothing.

Here’s how to treat yourself:

  • A warm room (ideally, the bathroom)
  • 2 to 3 ounces untoasted, organic sesame oil
  • 1 small glass bottle with cap
  • hot tap water (in a bowl or sink)
  • 1 old towel or mat that you don’t mind staining
  • paper towels

Warm It Up. Pour oil into bottle and cap tightly. Place bottle in hot water until oil is warm.

Rub It On. Undress completely and stand on towel or mat.

Pour a little oil into your palm. Test it first on a small patch of skin; if you experience any irritation, try a different oil, such as coconut or sunflower.

Apply the oil to the crown of your head, using your fingertips to move outward in circles. (If you’d rather not get your hair greasy, you can massage without oil.)

Apply the oil from head to toe, working downward until your entire body is anointed. Massage it into your skin for 10 to 12 minutes, giving each part of your body adequate attention. Use long strokes up and down your arms and legs, and circular strokes over your joints, chest, and abdomen.

Soak It In. Sit quietly on the edge of the tub with your eyes closed for a few minutes, breathing deeply while your skin takes in the nourishment.

Wash It Off. Pat any excess oil from your skin with paper towels. Be sure to dry the soles of your feet before stepping into the tub or shower, so you don’t slip.

Cleanse your skin with warm water and a gentle soap. If you have oil in your hair, apply a mild shampoo and rinse well. Pat dry with a fresh towel. (Don’t put an oily towel or mat in the dryer; it could cause a fire.) Dress, smile, and greet the day—grounded, warm, and balanced.