Having just been to a very inspiring massage course at Weleda head office last weekend enjoying luxurious foot baths and lovely enlivening massages with the Weleda body oils I wanted to share with you my experience.
For me this weekend was a very personal discovery of how some of the Weleda products have been present and supportive in my life on levels that go far beyond skincare; and the meaning of the ‘therapeutic effect’ of the ingredients has become very real and tangible.
Linking my experience with the teachings of Yoga and Ayurveda that say that we all come under the influence of ‘Vata’ as we get older and indeed as we are moving into autumn and winter – i.e. we are more prone to dry skin, more vulnerable to feeling anxious and troubled by small things and more in need of warmth – we are advised that skincare becomes more important and that applying oil onto the whole of our body helps profoundly to ’pacify’ the influence of ‘Vata’ and supports the process of rejuvenation, rasayana, meaning literally ‘returning of life juices’!
In other words, and words often used by Rudolf Steiner, to be healthy we need to continuously restore balance in our lives (or balance our gunas as we are inclined to say!), and our daily routines are part and parcel of this living process. Drawing once more on Sanskrit, we learn that here ‘imbalance’ is called ‘prajnaparadha’ which literally means ‘an offence against wisdom’.
Ayurveda also reminds us that a daily routine of abhyanga – self massage of the whole body with warm oils is an act of self-love and self-care, maintaining health and contributing to restoring it when imbalances have occurred.
Significantly the Sanskrit word sneha means both “oil” and “love,” and the effects of abhyanga are similar to being saturated with love. This can give a deep feeling of stability, warmth and comfort – certainly one I experienced many times when using body oils in such a way. Sneha—oil and love—are both sukśma, “subtle.” This allows it to pass through minute channels in the body and penetrate into deep layers of tissue.
Having reflected many times on the importance of passing on precious wisdom held in the world of yoga I feel the same is true here for the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and the profound benefits from nature that are harnessed in the Weleda products on all levels of our being.
What I learnt in more depth at the recent training course is that the fact that Weleda oils are based on plant oils is not just coincidental or a mere attempt at providing natural (and even vegan) products. Weleda’s principle is to work ‘in harmony with nature and the human being’ and according to the anthroposophical way of looking at the function of different parts of the plants it is the seeds and flowers that are responsible for rejuvenation and reproduction, obvious really when taking the time to think about it, and it is this part of the plant that is transformed into the body oils. When applying the Weleda oils it is this rejuvenating energy of the plant that penetrates deeply into the subcutaneous layers of our skin which in turn are responsible for rebuilding and rejuvenating our skin.
In my early twenties, not having been a very stable young person, I was given the Weleda Calendula Massage Oil as a gift and continued to use it for many years to come, asking for it as a gift for all my birthdays and Christmases, not really being aware of any more than liking its warming effect and its enlivening citrus scent. When smelling the oil at the training, blind, not knowing which oil it was, I was met by a warm, comforting sensation in the midst of which was a central, supporting axis of citrus scent. It so reminded me of our concept of ‘axis and form’; and the support I received, albeit unconsciously, over the years from using this oil became all too apparent. A huge ‘lightbulb moment’! Looking at my favourite oil now it still makes sense, as it has become more complex but in essence very similar.
I wanted to share this with you as many of you have seen me bring Weleda products to various events, and many of you love using them and have been very appreciative of me offering them out. I rarely get a chance though to let you all know why I love these products so much, how much is behind them, in them, around them, and most of all, how very linked they are to what we do with our yoga.
If my experience with the body oils has inspired you and you’d love to try one out and use it in a daily abhyanga routine please send me an e-mail so I can sort out an order –this is also a good place to remind you also that if you don’t like it you can just let me know within 30 days and you get your money back without any quibbles.
Looking forward to imagining many of you creating a new nurturing habit this autumn and winter and finding ‘your’ body oil the way mine found me so many years ago!
With joy, Sabine