The waning moon is a time to withdraw and rest. It is a time to let go of what no longer serves you. It is a time to cleanse and break free of toxic habits or relationships. It is a time to go inward for reflection and meditation.
You may lean into this phase intuitively, or you may have to consciously carve out the time to pause. Here are some self-care rituals that are designed to cleanse your sense organs while you withdraw and rest them during a waning moon phase or at the end of your work week.
Warm herbal oil supports healthy ears. Also called karna pratisaranam, this ancient practice cleanses and moisturizes the ear canal. Place the bottle of herbal oil in a cup of hot water and warm it up to your body temp. Tilt your head and place 1–2 drops in the ear before gently massaging the outside of the ear. Rest with your head tilted for 5-10 minutes before repeating on the other ear. Do not use if there is pain, infection, or a perforated eardrum.
Cupping warm ghee or netra tarpana helps dry and fatigued eyes. Heat up 2-3 teaspoons of ghee to medium temperature using sterile cooking equipment. Pour in to the eye cups and let the ghee cool to body temperature. With the head down, press the eye cups to your eyes. Then tip the head back and, with the eyes open, hold the cup firmly in place for about a minute. Blink and look around to allow the ghee to completely cover the eyes. Do not use if there is pain or infection. Make a fresh preparation for every use.
Dry massaging or garshana with silk gloves refreshes and stimulates the skin and lymphatic system. Use circular strokes on the abdomen and joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, hips, and ankles), and long sweeping strokes on the arms and legs. Massage from your feet upward, continuing up to your torso and on to your neck. Also massage from the hands to the shoulders. Avoid your face or sensitive areas and broken or inflamed skin. Follow through with a shower.
Oil pulling is kavala or gandusha kriya; it supports the sense of taste and the digestive system by cleansing and moisturizing the oral cavity. Start with a tablespoon or two of sesame oil in your mouth. You can infuse with peppermint or cinnamon essential oils. Swish around the mouth for as long as you are able or up until 15-20 minutes. The oil is eventually reduced to 'whitish' saliva. Rinse the mouth with water and follow through with a tongue scraper and tooth brush. Best to do this oral hygiene first thing in the morning.
Warm herbal oil or nasya helps decongest the nose, which is the doorway to the brain and your consciousness. This practice nourishes the nasal passages and helps release stress, while also impacting voice, vision, and mental clarity. Lie down, tilt your head back, place 2–3 drops in each nostril and sniff. Rest with head tilted back for 5 minutes before sitting up. Do not do right after a bath or a meal. Avoid if pregnant and after nasal surgery.