We cannot imagine our day without bathing. Bathing is part of everyday routine, and we spend a couple of minutes a day bathing. Many of us think bathing is for personal hygiene and cleanliness. But there is more to this simple everyday routine than hygiene and cleanliness.
Prerequisite of performing pooja and various rituals is bathing because bathing, when done properly, purifies a person not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. In order to facilitate bathing, ponds or wells are arranged since ancient times in all sacred places of worship, and these ponds are consecrated by mantras to facilitate healing experience. In Indian tradition, a person is not supposed to do anything important like eating or cooking or work without bathing. It makes sense because during sleep, the body releases several toxins as part of repairing and rejuvenation process, and these toxins are present in the body when a person wakes up from sleep. Bathing removes these toxins and prepares the body and mind for important activities.
In ancient cultures of India and Greece, bathing is considered as a sacred activity. Ayurveda has prescribed elaborate guidelines for bathing and considers bathing as a form of meditation. And there is altogether a branch of healing called balneotherapy, which is a complementary medicinal system that heals diseases through bathing. Such is the importance of bathing.
The common bath taken at home every day is done by applying soap on the body and washing it with water. With the addition of some more steps to this simple form of bathing, bathing can heal our body, mind, and soul and can become a healing experience. Below are some pointers on enhancing the bathing a healing experience.
10 tips to enhance bathing experience:
1. Do not bathe in a hurry. Take your time and enjoy the process.
2. Be mindful while bathing. When you practice mindfulness during bathing, it becomes a beautiful meditation and calms down your thoughts and emotions.
3.Use cold water for a morning bath. Below are the benefits of showering with cold water.
1. Reduces stress levels
2. Increases will power
3. It improves alertness and helps you stay active throughout the day.
4. Strengthens immunity
5. Improves blood circulation
6. Rejuvenates the body and mind
7. Improves the health of skin and hair
8. Improves the health of skin and hair
Note: Cold water bath needs to be avoided when there are any serious health issues or fever.
4. One problem faced by beginners is they are not used to cold showers, and they find it challenging to take a cold shower. So, how to overcome this challenge? Below are the steps for cold water shower for beginners.
1. First, pour the cold water in the navel region and let it go down through the legs.
2. Pour the water behind at the base of the spine and let it go down through the legs.
3. Pour the water on the head.
After this, take the entire shower. Doing the above three steps helps the body get used to temperature gradually and does not shock the body.
5. Use hot water for an evening bath. Below are the benefits of showering with hot water.
1. Relieves the stress of the day
2. Relaxes the body and mind
3. Removes toxins from the skin
4. Enhances mood
5. Improves the quality of sleep
6. Helps in falling asleep quickly
6. Ayurveda recommends oil massage before bathing. Oil massage is called “Abhyanga”. You can massage your body with cold-pressed sesame oil or mustard sesame oil. Use only cold-pressed oils as refined oils are loaded with unhealthy chemicals and defeat the purpose of massaging. Use mildly warm oil for massaging your body. You can spend 15 minutes massaging your body and taking a shower.
You can practice this every day if your schedule permits it or at least once in a week. If you are in a hurry, you can just massage your scalp, forehead, temples, hands, and feet with oil for 5 minutes and take a shower. Below are the benefits of abhyanga.
1. Increased blood circulation
2. Removal of toxins and impurities from the body
3. Calming of the nerves
4. Softer, smoother skin
5. Increased levels of stamina through the day
6. Improved sleep quality
Ayurvedic texts summarize the benefits of the abhyanga: “Give yourself a full-body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing; pacifies the doshas; relieves fatigue; provides stamina, pleasure, and perfect sleep; enhances the complexion and the luster of the skin; promotes longevity; and nourishes all parts of the body”.
7.Commercial, off-the-shelf soaps carry several unhealthy chemicals like parabens, fragrances, SLS, SLES, triclosan, etc. Avoid using these soaps as they are toxic and harmful to health. Choose eco-friendly soaps that are free from any kind of toxic chemicals.You can also replace soap with bathing powder. Bathing powder is also called as sunni pindi or ubtan. You can easily prepare a bathing powder at home or buy in a store.
8. Take a saltwater bath. Saltwater bath removes all the stress and diseased energies from your aura. It is an excellent self-recharging tool you can practice every day. Saltwater bath enhances your physical, emotional, and mental health. After you wash your body with soap and water, rub your body gently with fine salt. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes and then wash off with water.
To further enhance the effects of saltwater bath, you can use salts that are infused with aromatherapy oils. These bathing salts deeply rejuvenate and refresh you. Aromatherapy oils have multiple healing experience and rejuvenating benefits for body, mind, and soul. Below are the benefits of using bathing salts on a daily basis.
1. Stress reduction
2. Enhanced self-healing capability of the body
3. Improved immunity
4. Mental clarity
5. Emotional strength
6. Purification of chakras. Chakras are mentioned in several yogic texts, and it is said that there are seven chakras in a person. These chakras play an important role in the well-being of a person.
9.Chant a mantra while bathing. Before you start bathing, you can consecrate or charge your bathing water with the divine power using any mantra you like. Just direct your two hands at the water and chant your favorite mantra or any mantra you know like Om Namah Shivaya or Har Har Gange or Amen or Om etc. In Hinduism, there is a specific mantra that is recited for consecrating the bathing water. It goes as below.
“Gange Cha Yamune chaiva Godavari Saraswathi
Narmade Sindhu Kaveri Jalesmin Sannidhim Kuru”
Meaning of this mantra is– “Oh rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri, please enrich the water I am bathing in, with your presence.”
10.You can practice gratitude for your entire body while taking bath. Express gratitude to God or Universe for your health.
These are some pointers to make your bathing a sacred and healing experience. This simple everyday routine of bathing, when done properly, brings you many benefits and keeps you healthy on all levels.
Use your bathing time to recharge yourself!