A different way to do the Saturday Ashtanga oil bath

On Friday, following the post-Savasana chant that ends the Led Primary practice at Omkar 108 (which chant? this one), Jörgen Christiansson asked if anyone in the class had ever taken a oil bath.

Image via skincareihub.com, and believe me, I could have gone racier

“You mean a castor oil bath,” someone behind me asked.

Yes indeed. The infamous Saturday Ashtanga oil bath.

Jörgen’s version was slightly different from what I’ve heard before, so, I’m passing it on. It goes like this:

First time, liberally cover your head in oil. Hang out for 10 minutes. Then get in the shower (the most likely and convenient place to finish the process) and cover the rest of yourself with the oil. Rub it in, focusing on the joints.

Well, you probably know that part. What was different was the long time leaving the oil on the head.

The second time, Jörgen added, you leave it on your head for 15 or 20 minutes before moving to your body. And you can build up from there. (You start shorter, he noted, because the bath can have such a strong effect that you’ll catch a cold or get a headache otherwise.)

Jörgen also talked about the pros and cons of castor oil. The pros are that it is the traditional oil and, I suspect, considered the most efficacious. The cons? It’s thick and messy and will clog the heck out of your drains! (Note: Apartment dwellers, go with castor oil. House owners, and not just “holders”, maybe choose almond oil. That was Jörgen’s suggestion; I’ve also heard coconut oil suggested.)

So, there you have it. If you are doing oil baths, give it a try and let us know if the effects are any different from what you are used to experiencing.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

3 thoughts on “A different way to do the Saturday Ashtanga oil bath”

  1. As a homeowner who does this every Saturday..first I put coconut oil in my hair before putting the warmed castor oil on my scalp. This was a tip my teacher gave me to help with the clean up, it does really make it much easier and is great for your hair too. Getting it off your body gently has been trial and error, I find lemon castille soap works best for me with scrubby gloves. That really gets it off and breaks up the oil in the drain too. Finally I clean the shower out with Dawn dish soap because of the grease fighters. Been doing this for awhile without any troubles! Hope this is helpful:-)

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