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What Is An Oil Bath and Why Should You Take One?

Oil baths are one of the many rituals recommended for Ashtangi yogis but what is an oil bath and why should you take one? Thankfully, Kiki Flynn has the answers.


Pattabhi Jois recommended weekly south Indian castor oil bath more than any other remedy. This was part of his weekly wellness rituals and that for his whole family. And there was evidence of it’s weekly popularity in early Mysore, when on Fridays, the day women traditionally take this technique, housewives left their morning chores and sat out on front stoops chatting to one another as they worked oil through their hair and relished the time-out for self care.

Many years ago Pattabhi Jois instructed me in oil bath and from that day forward, sent many of his students to learn the details from me. I eventually asked his permission to write an overview and post it online, saying I would credit these instructions to him.

Now oil bath is one of many health rituals as well as oil based self-care and beauty pillars that I share. For that I am again as always indebted to my teacher, his family and to the extraordinary global community of yoga practitioners he has fostered.

Click here for the full article and videos on oil baths

Has anyone tried it? What were your results?

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail [email protected]