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The Abhyanga and I





The Abhyanga and I - our first encounter

I discovered self-massage, abhyanga, many years ago. I don’t really remember the context, I think I may have read about it in one Ayurvedic/yoga book or heard one of my friends from the yoga studio talking about it.

What I remember with precision is that I fell in love at first sight or rather first touch with it and that every morning I started oiling myself with unroasted sesame oil with a few drops of essential oils in it, which I made vary to my biggest pleasure depending on how I felt, or the season. It was not only a new way to discover my body and take care of it but also a way to connect deeper to nature through the plants, to discover their wisdom directly by applying it to me. I felt their strength and wisdom with me all day long. I felt also more peaceful because I could feel the contour of my body and felt therefore more embodied. I personally have never been as tanned as at this time, my skin absorbing the sun and never turning red. I felt more happy and sensual. That was my first encounter with Abhyanga.


I started introducing Abhyanga to some of my friends, two of them are part of the G(u)ardeners, and I could see such a deep joyful change in them. Simply by taking 10 to 15 minutes in the morning to massage themselves, I saw them more relaxed, more connected, and happier, which encouraged me to keep spreading the word.




Loving yourself fully

While doing one of my modules for my advanced yoga teacher training in Delight Yoga in Amsterdam, I had the immense chance and honour to be taught by Tory Hyndman, an ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher. She shared with love more details about the abhyanga massage, especially on the touch, a touch of love, a touch which is not trying to fix anything, a touch which is all-embracing. That was a big revelation for me, until now I had been focusing while massaging myself on areas of my body with contractions, trying to unknot them but now with this new information, my touch changed, it became love. I was not trying to unknot anything but just embracing what is. The abhyanga ritual became deeper, a moment of embrace, where even part of my inner child could rise to my consciousness under my hands and unfold without any effort. It was at this time that I wrote the Body to Heart booklet that we now share with the G(u)ardeners. At this time the knowledge of the gesture that allows energy to flow and the wisdom of the touch of love met. Not only this way of massaging had been a deep way to embrace and melt deep parts within me, but it has changed my touch to others, to food, to life! I became much more connected with everything and my sensuality complexity transformed. I didn’t touch to create a reaction in the other one but to listen, to love. I also started massaging friends and could see the beautiful effect of just feeling complexity welcome!




Keeping the connection to the body during illness

Telling you that I have been massaging myself for all these years every morning would be a lie, like everything in (my) life, things come and go, but the Abhyanga is definitely a ritual which comes back very often for me.


It has been such a friend for me in difficult moments of my life. I had a ski accident a few years ago which kept me from walking for two months. Massaging myself during this time didn’t only help me to lubricate my joints that were not moving much and keep a bit of tonicity, but to embrace the drastic body changes that this accident created during these months of immobility. Touching myself with love and compassion every day, while seeing my thighs losing most of their muscles, and my back becoming tense due to the lack of movement, played a key role in the acceptance of the situation as well as giving some release and joy. This is why I think the Body to Heart booklet is a wonderful gift for a period of convalescence.




A companion that brings acceptance whenever the body changes

I have been sharing and teaching Abhyanga to friends and students going into transformation phases, such as pregnancy, or after pregnancy. The changes during pregnancy, but also often forgotten after pregnancy, are huge! I often talked with women who felt empty after the birth-giving for months or even years. There is a physical aspect in this but also a psychological/emotional one. There is a need for re-embodying oneself within a completely new body, or person. The Abhyanga touches upon both. Most of the women I shared the practice with, shared afterwards that they couldn’t stop massaging themselves for hours while they thought they couldn’t give themselves even 10 minutes due to a lack of time. They shared that they felt the void within them and that slowly by massaging themselves they felt their body being theirs again, something they hadn’t felt for months or years. It gave them more energy, it gave them back their own inner seat. This was additional motivation for us to create the Body to Heart booklets and offer them to our friends who are pregnant or have given birth.




How Abhyanga supports me during pregnancy

Recently I became pregnant, I never thought I was attached to my body's appearance, but when it started changing, I noticed a grieving within me and questions such as “Will I have my flat nice belly back after pregnancy?” I also felt an unease as the changes were so quick that it was difficult to keep updating my own version of myself within me. I decided to order a nice special pregnancy cream and oil (see in the recommendation section below) and massage myself not only once but twice a day! That was the best gift I could have ever given to myself! The magic touch of Abhyanga worked once again, I started embracing my changes, even loving them! By seeing and consciously touching my body twice a day, I could finally incorporate those changes, I felt my body much more now as well. Since during pregnancy, the centre moves as the baby is growing, feeling my skin gave me the sense of being centred that I was missing. It made me more confident as well as feeling somehow « protected » as if the oil was a layer on my skin allowing me to stay in my bubble, which I feel for me important during this pregnancy. This experience motivates me even more to share about this beautiful practice.



My dream is that everyone knows about it especially every woman as the body of women is changing so much every month, year… Abhyanga is a beautiful ritual to embrace these changes with love, and kindness and to ensure you keep a sensual relationship to life.


My recommendations for a beautiful Abhyanga ritual:

  • Guiding book: Body to heart - The G(u)ardeners

  • Oil: Unroasted sesame oil or, depending on how you feel any other organic oil (see recommendations in booklet 'Body to Heart'); I also love Kama oil, or adding a few drops of the magic oil of Ismini from Minimuc, and for pregnancy in particular, the Gemini pack from Pai Skin Care which is at this moment in time my favourite.

  • Candle: I feel that massaging myself with a candle really makes a difference, my favourite one is the one of Ismini from Minimuc made of beeswax. This one allows you to know without a clock how long you are massaging yourself. The small one lasts 30 minutes so after it burns down halfway, you know you are at 15 minutes, etc.

Ps: Except for our own booklets we don’t receive any money for sharing these products we just do it because it took us time to find the ones we love, and we love to share :)


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