Dawn Mercer having an Ayurveda face massage

I arrived, at the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre in Skelmersdale, on a Friday and thoroughly ready for my Pamper Day .

There is something so deeply satisfying about taking time out, making an appointment with yourself, and knowing the only thing in your day that is required of you is to relax and enjoy!

Whenever I have a treatment, I make a deep intention with myself to completely let go and be fully present in my body. These precious time that allow me to be with myself, away from anyone wanting or needing anything from me. I feel this is important for everyone. To feel comfortable in this world, we need to regularly re-establish that love for ourselves.

Too often we get lost in roles or duties that we feel are expected of us, and we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and our bodies. Coming to the Centre is an ideal way to fully nurture ourselves.

I chose to have a Kapha Abhyanga massage, as I had been feeling fairly lethargic and heavy for a few weeks. I felt the need for a shift in stagnant energy and Kapha Abhyanga massage involves firm pressure, and extra stimulation, to move those heavy Kapha toxins out of the body.

First I was given a soothing facial massage. The Maharishi Ayurveda therapist quietly smoothed coconut oil all over my face. Her light and inviting movements naturally drew me into a relaxed state, and this allowed me to leave any events of the day outside. Through my growing understanding of Ayurveda, I have begun to appreciate the value of coconut oil and now use it both in cooking as well as for massage.

The therapist then gracefully, yet firmly, worked warm oil into my hair and scalp. I am always amazed by the immediate feeling of release I feel at the touch and pressure of someone else’s hands. It is such a wonderful feeling. Having been a hairdresser for many years, it is something I often gave others. It seems a real treat for me to be the receiver of this wonderful feeling.

After the head and face massage, I was invited over to the table for the full body massage. By this time I was fully relaxed and in total surrender to the moment. Warm oil was poured all over my skin by the therapist, who then proceeded to firmly massage my body using strong and fast movements. I was gone!

It became obvious to me how Kapha Abhyanga massage differed from my previous experience of Vata Abhyanga. While the Vata massage is slow, soothing and calming, Kapha massage is faster, more vigorous and more stimulating – just right for what I needed.

Moments into the massage, I became aware of how I had neglected myself over the previous few weeks. I guess, due the effects of Winter, my body needed some extra care. Although I give myself oil massage each morning, it’s clear that I needed to give a bit more attention to myself and my skin.

During the treatment I especially felt a sense that my hands and feet enjoyed the nourishment they were given. We use and need our body’s extremities most often when we are on the move, yet they can sometimes be the most overlooked and undernourished parts of ourselves.

And what a fabulous job the Maharishi Ayurveda therapists do!

After the Abhyanga I slipped into a peaceful state. I was wrapped up in warm cotton sheets and left to rest – what bliss. It’s such a wonderful feeling having someone wrap you up – the moment the warmth touched my toes and moved up the rest of my body – there is no feeling like it. I was aware of the sense of touch and pressure on my feet and that somehow made me feel supported. It’s gift I feel we all need in this life.

During the rest period, my awareness was alert only to the profound settled feeling in my body. There was no need or want for movement. No feeling other than comfort. Complete stillness in my deepest nature. Only my inner witness was watching and listening to the quietness of my soul and my breath.

After my treatment I was left alone to rest and then bathe in quiet contemplation.

After the rest period I enjoyed a delicious Ayurvedic lunch of Quinoa, Spinach and Kale Dahl, Warm Poached Plums and Prunes. The food felt like had been prepared with good and loving intentions, and something more than just the wonderful taste was there to enjoy.

Eating lunch was a nice time to reflect on how my energy feels after my treatment. And I went home feeling truly alive, restored and another step closer to my pureness.

Dr Donn: It is very interesting to note Dawn’s self-referral recognition that it was a Kapha massage she needed. This is Maharishi Ayurveda at work. It is ideal when we can use Ayurveda to recognise our own needs and make the right choices to promote balance. She also clearly articulated the very different effects this particular massage had on her and it left her both relaxed and enlivened within.