Take Care of Your Tired Yoga Body
Last week, I talked about upping my discipline so as not to slack off on practice days I "wasn't feeling it." I stayed true to my word and did my full practice every day last week except one, when I only had the time for Half-Primary. Since my teacher recently added many postures onto my practice, it was a heavy week for me. By Thursday, I was really feeling it--sore and achy all over. I wondered how I'd ever be able to practice the next morning... and that's when I remembered the magic of oil baths and epsom salt soaks.
I used to incorporate these self-care practices regularly, but I'd gotten away from it over the past several months. When I went back to them last week, I was amazed at how much they helped me recover! I went from stiff, sore, and uncomfortable to relaxed and ready to practice again the next morning.
Below is an instructional video on how to do an oil bath, known as Abhyanga in the Ayurvedic tradition.
An oil bath is basically self-massage. It seems many yogis use castor oil, but I personally use an Ayurvedic blend I purchased from Banyan Botanicals. Since castor oil is potent stuff, it's only recommended for use once a week. But as I understand it, you can use the milder oils like sesame and coconut (or the blend I have) more frequently--maybe twice a week--if you want to.
Ayurvedic tradition says you should pick the right oil for your dosha, so if you try it, you may want to determine that first by taking the dosha quiz.
I like to follow oil baths with an epsom salt soak for about 20 minutes. I just add 1-2 cups of epsom salt to a warm bath. Epsom salt is fairly inexpensive and totally worth it if you're feeling sore and tired from practice.
Whether you take a bath or not, you'll probably need to soap yourself--and the bottom of your tub--really well to remove the excess oil after you're finished!
I have a suspicion oil baths and epsom salt soaks will be a regular occurrence in my life from now on...
What else do you do to help your tired yogi body recover? I'm up for more suggestions!