ishnaan – quirky kundalini lifestyle habits – part 1
When embarking on the path of becoming a Kundalini Yogini there are certain lifestyle changes one can consider embracing… Some are easier than others!
The first major lifestyle change I made was to experience Ishnaan.
Ishnaan is cold water shower therapy. It is recommended to start each day with this invigorating therapy. It’s easy and it’s inexpensive so a good place to start.
The Ishnaan shower is not like a regular shower, it is done with intention, as a therapy. This is not the time to shave your legs (well kundalini’s shouldn’t shave but more on that another time) and wash your hair, it is a quick shower.
Before the shower use a natural fibre body brush and brush every inch of your body, begin with the feet and in long strokes brush up towards the heart. This stimulates the lymph and also removes dead cells from the surface of the body. Follow this by rubbing the body (I prefer to think of it as anointing the body because it is a sacred practice and one should use the time to feel gratitude and pleasure for the beauty of the human body) with almond oil or any other natural oil that you like.
Begin the shower with the extremeties, wetting the hands and feet, then the calves and arms (avoid the upper thigh area as this can upset the calcium/magnesium deposits), use the hands to bring the cold water onto the abdomen and under the arms. Then turn around and run the back of the legs under the water and then the buttocks and finally the back. This should not take more than 3-5 minutes.
The science behind the ishnaan is that as the cold water hits the skin all the blood rushes to the surface of the skin immediately improving your circulation. This sudden rush of the blood also removes deposits and toxins. It also stimulates the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous systems. The skin becomes radiant and the glandular system is stimulated and we strengthen the aura and electromagnetic field. And best of all, it triggers endorphins, giving you that same feel good feeling you get after a workout (or yoga session!)
The first few times were challenging but I kept in mind the sacredness of the act and pushed through after a week or so I was feeling the benefits and began to look forward to my morning ishnaan before my sadhana (morning yoga practice). During the winter it felt too cold to do the ishnaan and so I stopped, after a few weeks something felt off and I realised that I needed my cold showers, even in the winter. So I made the bathroom cozy. My shower room in the studio is teeny tiny so I ran the hot water in the shower while I dry brushed and oiled, warming the room and then I switched the shower to cold and jumped in. The result was a cozy, toasty room to dry off in afterwards.
The thing about maintaining any lifestyle habit is to make it work for you. These habits are not meant to be punishment, they are meant to be pleasurable and enhance your life, not make it unpleasant.
As my dear teacher Pritam-ji says – find a way. Find a way. Find a way.
Stick to the basics so that you get the maximum benefit from the therapy and find a way to make it work for you.
So why don’t you try and start your day with Ishnaan? Commit to a week, 7 short days and see if you feel any differently?
Summer is a great time to get into this refreshing, invigorating habit.
p.s. Ishnaan should not be practiced during your moon cycle or if you are pregnant