FYI: Castor oil is tough to get out of your hair.
So, since I’ve decided to commit to Ashtanga, I thought it would be appropriate to get traditional and do a castor oil bath today. Traditionally, Saturday is taken off of a regular asana practice (moon days and “ladies’ holidays are as well). Instead, we dry brush, which I highly recommend doing daily, and oil up and relax in Savasana for 10 to 15 minutes.
I’ve done this before, as an addition to my practice and just for general health, but I don’t typically stay and relax for the whole time. I usually oil up and then do random busy-work (and sometimes edit…shhh!). It was definitely more enjoyable to lie and soak it in.
Unlike the traditional ritual, however, I did practice beforehand. I had this mental debate of “does the castor oil bath ‘count’ as my practice or not?” and decided that:
1. My shoulders were stiff and I wanted to do at least some sun salutes.
2. The castor oil was going to feel wonderful, but I was agitated and need some sweat to help me clear my head.
3. My practice is my practice—whatever that happens to be on any given day.
4. I should probably not Instagram my castor oil bath!
A few things to know about castor oil if you’ve never used it:
1. It’s incredibly sticky; the texture is closer to honey that what most other oils feel like.
2. It penetrates deeply and can affect your muscles, your GI tract and other organ function. For the most part, this is a good thing. This is one of the reasons to do it. If you are pregnant, it’s not a great idea. Castor oil packs can be used to induce labor, and could cause uterine contractions.
3. Dry brushing beforehand (while good for the lymph tissue in its own right) will help the castor oil sink in and, among other things, leave your skin feeling amazing.
4. It will not come out of your hair easily. If you do rub the castor oil through your hair, which I recommend, leave your shampoo on a little longer than normal. You will probably have to wash twice, but your hair will be super shiny.
I keep castor oil around for lots of things and it’s part of my massage kit in small amounts. One of these days I will write up a post on how to use oil to cleanse your face (I promised Lynn Hasselberger!).
Bonus: Weekend Practice Playlist
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