Winter Bathing for Mind, Body & Soul
By Jen Padgett
Winter bathing rituals can be traced back to ancient cultures. Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical system in practice today, guides bathing as a purification process for the body, mind, and soul. Hindus who bathe in the River Ganga perceive its waters to be holy nectar. The Romans bathed communally in bathhouses constructed on natural hot springs. They used public bathing rituals more like we use the pub today: to relax, socialize, and make business deals. Japan’s bathing culture of cleansing the spirit and maintaining health and wellbeing began with Buddhist traditions in the 6th century. Today, bath time has become more private and personal.
Winter time is my favorite time to take baths. I have an old cast iron tub made in 1906 that I found on Craigslist for free years ago when I decided to move off grid in the mountains. I had no idea how important a friend that tub would come to be at the time, but I’m grateful I picked it up, even if it did strain my back to do so.
It doesn’t take a lot to make bathing a spiritual endeavor: an essential oil, a prayer, and the lighting of a candle will suffice. Bathing has many health benefits, so if you aren’t keen on the idea of spiritual baths, the boost to your immune system and calming of the nervous system are worth the effort. Rosemary and lemongrass can be immune protecting and uplifting, and an arnica oil and eucalyptus bath with epsom salts can provide major pain relief.
What to include:
- Your favorite crystals – try rose quartz, smoky quartz, and selenite
- 1 cup rose water
- 3 cups salt – epsom, pink, or dead sea salt
- Bathing oils – phoenix or moon oil
- Incense or essential oil diffuser
- 1 cup of organic herbs for your bath tea – calendula, lemon balm, and lavender is a beautiful and fragrant blend
- Moon water – clean water infused under the full (manifesting) or new (cleansing) moon
- Loving intention
- A cup of herbal tea
Intentional Bath Ritual
By Alissa Maya Meredith
In advance, brew your herbal bath tea by filling a small pot with water. Add 1 cup of herbs after bringing to a boil, then turn heat to low for 15 minutes. Strain the tea into a bowl. Then close your eyes and send gratitude to the herbs for their wisdom and healing.
Start the bath ritual by creating a sacred space in your bathroom; light your candle, incense, or essential oil diffuser. Begin by closing your eyes and speaking your intention for this bath into the space. Take a few deep breaths and begin to feel loving energy build up in your heart. Next, scrub your bathtub so it is fresh and clean and filled only with your loving intention. Then fill it with water. Add salts, rose water, and herbal bath tea to the water. After getting into your bath, close your eyes and begin to see your intention coming to your mind’s eye (if you wanted to bring more money into your life, begin to picture what your life would look like with more money, or if you wanted to stop a “bad” habit, begin to picture what your life would look like without the habit). Stay in this space for as long as you need to. After your bath, journal your experience.
Jen Padgett is the owner at Aum Herbs and Alissa Maya Meredith is the owner of Akasha Apothecary. Both businesses are located at 125 Forest Street in Boulder Creek.