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Updated: Apr 15, 2020

Hello and Welcome to my first post here on the Varnish Blog!

This is all very new to me, slowly navigating myself around it all and realising we are all capable of so much more than we believe.

After having the studio closed coming onto three weeks I'm realising I am missing work way more than I expected. Missing the beautiful relationships with clients of many years and the relationships forming with new clients. I've always cherished my work interactions but having time to reflect has strengthened the responsibility and support we all have and share to each other as a community.

I thought I would share some of the things that I'm finding imperative to my well being during this time and give you all the opportunity to connect, comment and ask anything I might be able to help you with.

First of all I'm lucky enough to be hunkered down with my Partner who is an essential service as a Team Leader & Care Worker and we have his client coming to hang out with us a couple times a week which is great, it also means I need to take extra care and to only go out if truly necessary with all precautions in place. We also have my son & his partner downstairs and we also keep our distance but we spend time together talking from upstairs to downstairs, so having these guys close is a blessing & a comfort.

Some other things I'm finding really helpful are my morning Abhyanga, live stream yoga, getting dressed as if I'm going to work (that is getting a little less!!)face time coffee & lunches, eating well, zoom meetings, learning through small courses and not putting to much pressure on myself to be super productive.

Here I'll share the Ayurvedic practice of Abhyanga. Many of my clients have taken on this nourishing practice without fail everyday. I've been guilty of not practising what I preach and only getting it in once or twice a week and that's ok too, better than not at all. With the extra time now I've been able to do it daily and the difference is significant. I use traditional Black Sesame Oil, which I'll have available here on the online store which is launching soon (exciting!!) Using an oil specific for your type/dosha is recommended and I'll speak about this in an upcoming post. Only using Organic oils are recommended.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda literally means “the science of life” and originated in India as the traditional healing system over 5,000 years ago. Considered one of the oldest forms of medicine, this ancient science works both as preventative & curative medicine, which promotes daily self-care as a means to acquire perfect health. According to Ayurveda, we create our state of health based on how we interact with our environment. By making choices that support our inner nature we can live harmoniously and in balance.


The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age. Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89.

Abhyanga is the Ayurvedic term for lovingly oiling the body. Practicing abhyanga regularly provides a profound feeling of stability, strength and well-being. This is in such a literal sense that the Sanskrit word sneha translates to “oil” and/or “love”, therefore, snehana “to oil oneself”, also means “to love oneself”.

Regular massage & loving touch detoxifies the body’s tissues, increases circulation, enhances immune function, nourishes the skin, improves skin tone & balance, calms the mind and nerves, benefits sleep patterns, counteracts the effects of aging and cultivates self-love.


· Put about ½ cup oil in squeeze bottle.

· Place the bottle of oil in a pan of hot water until the oil is pleasantly warm.

· Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room, on a towel that you don’t mind ruining with oil accumulation. Make sure you’re protected from any wind.·

· Massage the oil into your entire body, beginning at the extremities and working toward the middle of the body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Taking the time and care to individually massage your finger and toes

· Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side. Massage the body for 5-20 minutes, with love and patience.

· Give a little extra time and attention to massaging the oil into your scalp, ears and feet, at least once a week. Apply oil to the crown of your head and work slowly out from there in circular strokes. Oil applied to the head should be warm but not hot.

Enjoy a warm bath or shower.

· You can use a mild soap on the “strategic” areas.

Be careful to wash your feet first and to be careful not to slip

· When you get out of the bath, towel dry. Keep a special towel for drying off after your Abhyanga because it can eventually get ruined, due to the accumulation of oil

· During the menstrual cycle. Some women don’t like to stop Abhyanga during their cycle, if you choose to do it during your cycle, it is best to only apply the oil gently and for only about 5 minutes.


  1. · Over swollen, painful areas or masses on the body, without the knowledge and consent of your health-care practitioner

  2. · Over infected or broken skin

  3. · When there is high ama (toxicity, often indicated by a thick, white coating on the tongue), great physical discomfort, or acute illness. It is best to check with your Ayurvedic practitioner to see if you have any contraindications, before practicing Abhyanga.

  4. · When you have acute fever, chills, or flu

  5. · When you have acute indigestion, or directly after taking emetics or purgatives.

My other non negotiable during this time is my daily yoga practice to keep me stable & steady. The live stream & online yoga classes I'm doing is Traditional Tantric Hatha Yoga at The Practice Bali

Hope that helps and I would love to hear the difference it makes if you take self massage on board and add it to your morning routine.

Stay Safe & Well

Helen x

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