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Loving yourself during the Pandemic—Silence and Abhyanga

by Michael Ketterhagen

The time after rising from bed in the morning is a very important time for all people, especially yogis wishing to fulfill their goal of becoming one with the Divine Source of Life. During this time, we can enter the chaotic violence of the pandemic world by worsening our stress and anxiety or by calming those emotional reactions to our current life. We can enter our day with a calm, loving attitude or fill our life in the coming day with the flow of adrenaline and urgency.

Often in our current times we are violently awakened from sleep listening to a loud, jarring alarm or to a radio station blasting music or the morning news, instead of letting ourselves gently stir from sleep naturally without an alarm or within the gentle promptings of soft music or chimes. We usually follow up the hectic arousal by turning on one of the many screens that are available to us—our phone, the i-Pad, the TV, or the computer. We push ourselves into the electromagnetic frequencies of the world and the messages that populate those wave lengths.

The first step for a person wishing to be loving and kind to themselves is to limit one’s screen time at least until after one has taken the opportunity to meditate, reflect, and gently walk one’s mind into the day. This gives us the head start at beginning our day with our internal wisdom and peace. This internal world is the world of the Divine. It is the ultimate guide for us humans, otherwise we are pulled in many different directions and truly become scattered in the way we live our lives. It takes a lot of energy and determination to pull one’s self away from the clamor of the day and into the true director of our lives.

Then, after we brush our teeth and shower and massage ourselves with loving oils, we are ready to sit in meditation. We are then ready to go more deeply inside and experience deep stillness before the monkey mind starts to take us all over the place.

This is truly loving ourselves, especially through the self-massage (abhyanga) with an essential oil mixture. In Sanskrit, the word for “oil” and “nurturing, motherly love” is the same, “sneha.” Every time we give ourselves a bodily massage with a nurturing, essential oil mixture we are loving ourselves.

During this time in our lives, every morning each of us needs a peaceful entrance into our day and a gentle self-love with a fragrant oil massage. May your day start with loving yourself!


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