Gwennan Rees

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The Ritual Of Bathing: Five Steps For A Magical Soak.

The Ritual Of Bathing: Five Steps For A Magical Soak.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really into baths.

I. Love. Them.

If I had an online dating profile it might read the old clichéd tagline: I like dogs, and long walks on the beach, and hot baths. 

And this would totally be 100% genuinely honest.

I love a dark room under a glow of candlelight and a patter of rain against the window as I immerse myself in warm and deliciously scented tub. I’m all about an indulgent mid- day soak in the summer with an ale in hand. Sometimes, I just want to sit in the tub and read while sipping a glass of oaky cabernet. Then there are occasions when I just want to soak in silence and stare into the white abyss of the ceiling to let the events of the day simmer in my mind. And, every so often, I just want the satisfying release of a good cry while plopped naked in the middle of a porcelain basin. You guys know what I mean…nothing particularly sad or awful happened that day but for some reason you just feel that best thing to top off a long week is a quiet sob in the company of bubbles.

It feels good. The crying. The reading. The contemplating. The immersion. It is all so relaxing. A release. It is all so necessary to my mental, physical, and spiritual facilities. Bathing, to me and as it has been throughout history, is a divine personal ritual that is deeply therapeutic and highly ceremonious.

It is a ceremony. The preparation of the tub. The lighting of candles. The pouring of wine. The time of personal reflection. You can feel at ease in a bath with a warm blanket of water swaddling you. You can feel sensual and appreciate the beauty of your own body. The tension leaves your muscles and your breathing deepens as you dip your hands in and out of the warm water below and the cool air above.

I’ve complied a short list on how to make your bath…well, more. More magical. More intentional. This bath is more than just personal hygiene; it is an experience—a ceremony for the self.

Create a world just for you.

1. A little prep work.

Make sure you bathroom and tub are clean and free of clutter. Perhaps even do this the evening before if it feels like it may be a bit of an undertaking. I’m not talking a full deep scrub but take this opportunity to de- clutter your vanity, sweep the floor, remove dirty clothes, Windex the mirror, etc. You want to feel the clean, clear space. You don’t want to open your eyes from the tub and stare out into chaos.

2. Light some candles.

I use multiply tea lights for atmosphere and aesthetics and one larger, scented candle for further relaxation. Lavender, of course, a popular fragrance for quelling the anxious nervous system but I recommend also trying Jasmine or Valerian scents (a little harder to find in candle form) to aromatically induce relaxation. Also, I’m a fan of spoiling myself with flowers. So if you are out earlier in the day, grab yourself a little bouquet (or pick them if you can!) and add it tub ledge for added beauty and fragrance.

3. Next, I pour myself a little drink.  

Wine, whiskey, tea, or even some lemon flavoured water, whatever suits your fancy. It doesn’t have to be alcohol if that’s not your thing. Depending on how hot you make your water, you will want to stay hydrated, so having a cool glass of water nearby will be a smart move regardless.

4. Now begin to draw your bath.

Personally, I like to get the water as hot as I can stand it. I like a little of sting, enough to leave my skin a little pink but not so that burn myself. The temperature of your water depends on your own level of comfort. I like it fairly hot because I typically soak for thirty to forty-five minutes and hate having ice-cold water before I fully feel ready to exit the tub. When you have it to the level you desire, either add some bubble bath (let the water run a little longer to help create froth) or stop the faucet and drop in a bath bomb (I am a Lush bath bomb-aholic) or Epsom salts or a few drops of your favourite essential oil.

5. As you give the water a minute to settle, start a playlist if you desire music.

Here is one of my favourite playlists I created especially for bathing. It is will set you for a good sensuous, ambient forty-five minute soak. Turn off the lights and begin to undress. Let the candlelight and the music and the smells begin to work their charms of releasing you from the tensions of the day. Take some deep breaths and when ready, begin to slowly submerge yourself into the heat of the tub. Take your time with this. If the water is really hot, you will want to go gradual enough to allow your body to adjust to the temperature. The whole point of this bath is not to hurry. You want to take your time with every simple step and do it with intention. If you focus on the task at hand, no matter how simple or mundane it may seem at first, it will help you push other distractions out of your mind…if even momentarily.

6. SOAK and enjoy!

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