Christmas! Hanukkah! New Year! A time to party, shop for gifts and "love your neighbors as you love yourself." Did you ever wonder, like me, how on earth you were supposed to love yourself? Here are a few ways from my 'jungle lady' friends to pamper yourself. These practices are beneficial to your mental and physical health as well as affordable or even free.
To regain balance or energy, lie down on your back and cover your eyes with a soft eye pillow. Take a long inhalation followed by an equally long sigh, and then sense and relax in turn each part of your body from head to toe. After 10 minutes, you'll feel a shimmering river of warmth and your mind and heart will be at peace.
If you don't have an eye pillow, you can cut a soft fabric (preferably silk for coolness) 3 by 7 inches and stuff it with flax seeds (linaza). Before sewing it, check that it is not too heavy for your eyes. Store the eye pillow in a cool, dry place or use sand lined with fabric to avoid molding.
As an alternative, slice either cucumber or potato very thin and place the slices over your eyelids for 10 to 15 minutes. Cucumber and potato have astringent properties that help decrease water retention around the eyes and reduce puffiness.
||Watsu Sessions on Guiones Beach
On low negative tide mornings in tide pools situated south of Baker's entrance to Guiones beach, Cy Rinkel gives 15-minute watsu sessions for 5000 colones. This is a very nurturing way of being slowly floated, rocked and stretched in water in synchronicity with breathing. If you are interested in private sessions in a pool, contact Cy directly at 8993-3129. To get a feel for watsu, visit www.watsu.com.
Essential Oils and Healing Aromas
"Take time to smell the roses", especially in the form of essential oils that are well-known for their mood-enhancing and therapeutic effects. For instant happiness, sniff orange oil; to calm down, reach out to lavender oil. Go ahead and explore, letting your nose and heart be your guide! Mandala store in Guiones is a good source of essential oils. As an alternative, Franklin, across from the Yoga Spa, past Santa Marta, sells fresh homemade coconut oil by the liter, which has a delightful aroma and texture.
Chocolate Facials and Body Scrubs
Now, ladies, are you ready for this deliciously outrageous offering? Try a chocolate body scrub, offered by Kimberly Naclerio. You can email her at [email protected] for a home treatment of an hour combining massage and an exfoliating chocolate scrub, followed by the application of moisturizing homemade ingredients, such as ginger with lemon, lavender or aloe vera for $80.
If you are the 'do-it-yourself' type, here is a natural skin anti-aging and mood-lifting recipe you can safely lick off from the corners of your mouth if the muse calls! In a bowl, mix together 1/3 cup dark raw cacao (cocoa powder), 1/4 cup of honey, 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or plain (unflavored) yogurt and 3 teaspoons of oatmeal to form a smooth paste. Let it stand for 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Apply the chocolate face mask to your clean face, neck and décolleté, avoiding the eye area. Lightly massage in circular motions with fingertips to help loosen dead skin. Relax. Leave on for 15-20 minutes to let the mask work its magic. Rinse the mask off with warm water. Pat dry and apply a natural skin moisturizer.'
Chantal Harte is a certified massage therapist, yoga, Qi Gong and healing music practitioner. Visit voiceofnosara.com for Qi Gong videos by Chantal, or email [email protected] or call 8786-9006 for a free group demo of her whole routine with handouts.