Why We Dry Brush during Kapha
by Delight Yoga
Just as is taking place in nature, we are working towards removing the heavy and sluggish qualities from our system and cultivating lighter and warmer ones. As they melt away, the first signs of a new dawn peek over the horizon, slowly warming everything in its path. Staying in connection with nature, so too shall we increase warmth in our lives. From the many ways to accomplish, dry brushing is an effective and therapeutic way to do so.
Ayurvedic Detoxifier and Energizer
Dry brushing or ‘Garshana’ is an Ayurvedic practice that is essentially creating friction by rubbing. Primarily, it involves an activating massage to detoxify the lymphatic system while refreshing your skin and invigorating the mind.
The lymphatic system may have an excessive buildup of fluids due to allergies and congestion from the release of pollen in the air, which can further affect how your body and mind function. Therefore, it is important to rid yourself of ama (toxins).
As the ama is removed, your body and mind gain:
- An increase in muscle tone
- Enhanced lymphatic circulation
- A reduction of stress
- An improved skin texture
- Improved digestion and kidney function
It is important to note that Garshana should not be done if you have a skin condition, very sensitive skin, or an illness.
Garshana for Kapha/Pitta/Vata Types
If you are experiencing an imbalance of Kapha or are predominant in Kapha Dosha, you are likely to benefit the most from dry brushing. It is recommended for you to do it on a daily basis for optimal balance.
If your Dosha type is Pitta or you are experiencing an imbalance, it is recommended for you to dry brush 3 - 5 times weekly to detoxify your system.
If your Dosha is Vata or you are experiencing an imbalance, dry brushing 1 - 2 per week is perfect for your constitution.
How to Dry Brush
Before you engage in Garshana, be sure to choose the right brush. It should not be synthetic but rather natural, preferably vegetable-derived. The bristles should be slightly stiff and not too hard, after all, the goal is to be gentle with your skin and not rough and harsh. It may also help if it has an attachable handle which could help with hard-to-reach areas.
Step 1. Choose a warm and comfortable space to do this, and set your towels down to collect the dead skin flakes during the process. Or you can opt to do it in the bathtub/shower.
Step 2. It is best to dry brush daily or even twice a day as it opens up the pores on your skin. This can be done in the morning before your shower on dry skin that is free from oil or lotion. This also means that the brush should always remain dry.
Step 3. A rule of thumb when it comes to Garshana is that each stroke and brush you make should be in the direction of your heart.
Step 4. Use circular clockwise motions on your stomach, butt, and joint areas, and long sweeping strokes on your arms and legs. Again, always moving towards the heart, massage from your feet up to your torso and on to your neck, and from your hands to your shoulders.
Step 5. Alternate the pressure you apply. Light pressure on thin or sensitive skin areas and firm pressure on thicker areas such as the bottom of your feet.
Once you have removed the dead skins cells - old stagnant energy - you should follow up with a shower. You can either simply apply lotion to your body to restore hydration, or you can have a nice session of Abhyanga to not only calm your mind and body but also restore nourishment using warming herbal oils. It’s also a nice bonus to have a glowy and smooth complexion afterwards.
If you are interested in experiencing and learning how to incorporate Abhyanga in your self-care routine after dry brushing, you are more than welcome to visit Delight Yoga. You can also experience other Ayurveda massages such as Udgarshana, given by some of our expert Ayurvedic teachers such as Victoria Raven Hyndman, Amanda Dries, Eva Ugolini, and more.