I first encountered the practise when I came across an article for a full moon bath ritual and was longing to try it out. I was due to look after my niece for a few days in Wales, away from my usual day to day distractions and where I could devote the proper attention that it deserved.
Just setting up the bathroom with a few candles and using some bubble bath is often enough but if you really want to take it to the next level here is one way to go about it.
Step 1 - prepare the space
If you can find the time earlier in the day start by clearing and cleaning the bathroom. As you do this, rather than thinking of it as the usual chore, think of it as a gift to yourself. You are worth the effort of spending time in the best possible environment and you deserve the head space away from clutter, chores and things to do when you immerse yourself in the ritual.
Step 2 - set the scene
Prepare your space with goodies. Find your favourite scented candle and/or incense and place it in the bathroom, don't forget the matches. Have everything you need in place before plunging even a toe into the water so you can truly relax. Bring out fresh towels and put them within reach of the bath. Hang your dressing gown in the room along with any lotions you wish to use afterwards. If you have a plug strainer bring it in ready to collect the petals at the end.
Have everything you need in place before plunging even a toe into the water so you can truly relax.
Step 3 - gather the goodies
Select a pretty bowl and gather your salts. You could Epson salts, sea salt or Himalayan salts just as they come or with a few drops of essential oil added. On top of the salts add your herbs, fruit peel and flowers. Depending on the time of year you may have a limited choice, although you could still use dried varieties. If you would like to sooth yourself then lavender makes a wonderful addition or if you'd like to feel invigorated try the peel from citrus fruits and rosemary will help to sooth away aches and pains. Find colourful flowers that bring a smile and listen to your intuition when it comes to gathering your ingredients. The properties of plants needs a whole other post! Here is a link if you'd like to read more.
Step 4 - do not disturb
If you need to, make sure everything is taken care of for an hour, inform family members of your intention or wait until they are asleep. Give yourself permission to take a whole hour just for you without interruption. Have a glass of water to hand. Light the candles and incense. Play soothing music, you can find hours of meditation music online. Say to yourself; "this is for me and I give myself this time".
Step 5 - rinse
Taking inspiration from the Japanese bath ritual I like to shower before soaking in the tub. This cleanses the body, washes away the grime of the day and begins the clearing process.
Step 5 - pour in your treasures
Begin to fill the bath and pour the contents of your bowl under the running water. As you do so set your intention, do you want to relax, to let go, to release something that is bothering you? State clearly to yourself what you hope to gain from the experience. Immerse yourself. The salts will help ground you. The flowers floating around you will make you feel like royalty. Meditate on your intention.
Step 6 - unwind
Once immersed, practise mindfulness to give your mind a break. Begin by focusing on your breath, take in the scent, the beautiful colours and your body relaxing in the water. If it helps start by taking your awareness to your toes and work your way up, relaxing and being kind to yourself all the way to your head. (It's very easy to be judgemental of ourselves but this time, celebrate your body, says nice things and see how different it feels) Spend at least 30 minutes immersed in the tub.
Step 7 - rinse and wrap up
As with the Japanese bath ritual a quick shower afterwards will bring you back to yourself and rinse away the petals from your skin. It is a good idea to use the plug strainer before you let too much water from the bath drain away. Wrap yourself in a warm towel and if you like, massage lotion onto your skin taking extra care on your feet.
Step 8 - gratitude
Once you've had a good amount of time to relax gather the contents of the bath and set them aside to give back to the earth. If you like to journal note down any thoughts or visualisations that came to you during the ritual. Show yourself gratitude, it's not always easy to put ourselves first or take time to listen to our heart. Finally whilst sprinkling the contents of the bowl on the ground outside give thanks to the earth for sustaining our well being. Noticing and being aware of these tiny acts continues the positive feelings and helps us to appreciate the everyday.
Open your calendar now and promise an hour to yourself