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Writer, artist, and environmentalist Morgan Rae shares her abhyanga practice with us  - an intimate ritual she discovered  as a way to slow down and heal from chronic health issues. Traditionally completed with sesame oil - Morgan opts to use our Shea Butter for its hydrating, balancing, collagen- producing effects on skin.... we are in love with her radiant energy and intention!

A note from Morgan

When my chronic health issues reached a debilitating point that made it nearly impossible to move through life anymore, I knew I had to find ways to slow down and nurture my body at every level. When I discovered sacred abhyanga, a self-massage technique found in Ayurvedic practices, I fell in love. Not only could I feel the physical benefits enhancing my life, but I could see the ways in which taking the time to spend 15 intimate moments with myself everyday was healing me spiritually and mentally as well. When I started using Sun Potion Shea Butter for the self-massage I felt an even deeper connection to the practice. I love the way it slowly melts in my hands and seeps slowly into my skin. I think it adds to the sensual and sensory experience and is truly a direct portal to self-love, healing, and divine inner connection. 

Abhyanga is an ancient Ayurvedic practice of massaging oil into the body daily. The science of Ayurveda believes that there are seven layers of tissue on the body, each successive layer more potent and life-giving. For a self-massage to reach the deepest layers of tissue, the oil should be massaged into each area of the body for about five minutes. To cover the whole body with this level of care and intention, the ritual should take about 15-20 minutes in total. There are several benefits of daily abhyanga, including: 

~ imparts color and strength to the body 

~ decreases, or slows down, the effects of aging 

~ increases longevity 

~ benefits sleep patterns and facilitates a deeper sleep 

~ imparts a firmness to the limbs 

~ imparts tone and vigor to the tissue of the body 

~ stimulates internal organs and increases circulation 

While the self-massage is traditionally done using sesame oil, I find that shea butter gifts the skin extra hydration and nutrients. Shea butter reduces wrinkles and allows the skin to retain the hydration because of the combination of minerals and fatty acids. The cinnamic acid found in shea butter is highly anti-inflammatory and can help soothe skin conditions and acne. Shea butter also helps boost collagen production naturally which leads to stronger, brighter, and younger looking skin. Daily self massage with shea butter will leave your skin feeling hydrated and revitalized and your body at peace. Using Sun Potion Shea Butter, I invite you to perform this transformative self-love ritual after your bath or shower daily. 

To me, a ritual is all about taking the time to create space. When doing sacred abhyanga, I hold divine space by lighting a candle, cleansing with palo santo or sage, and putting on music that taps me into my divine and most authentic self. There is no better way to show yourself love than taking the time to slowly nurture your whole body. I firmly believe that self love is the sacred portal to deeper understanding, compassion, and reduced stress. It invites grace in. It teaches us that we are welcome to exist vibrantly in the world just as we are. Abhyanga has health benefits that will noticeably change your skin, but the real change doesn't lie in the massage, it lies in the decision to intentionally create space for yourself to exist in a fully nurtured environment for a moment. It is okay for your ritual to look different than mine - for you to diffuse oil, choose silence over music, or take it extra slow. This is about you. 

Once your space is set, begin your ritual: 

Scoop out the shea butter and warm it up in between your palms. Begin massaging the butter in your feet and work your way up your body if you are feeling heavy and want to release stagnant prana and become energetically lighter. If you feel you need grounding, begin at your chest and work your way down the body. Get more shea butter as needed, and apply as thin or liberally as you want. Only you know what your skin needs and I believe this practice is intuitive and individual. Whether you decide to move root to rise, or vice versa, end the massage with clockwise circles on your chest over the heart. Drawing your renewed energy into your heart will end this sacred self-love ritual with a feeling of wholeness and well being. 

As you move through the massage, I invite you to repeat this mantra: 

" I am a divine vessel worthy of nourishment, peace, and vitality.

when I take time to offer myself love and care,

I am better able to love and care for the world around me.

It is okay for me to release what weighs me down and call in something new.

I am safe, I am loved, I am healthy. "