Bathing is an unhurried affair, and the bath is customarily taken in the evening. It is a time for yourself to find solitude and relax from the day. You can make it special to take steps of enjoying a bath on a Friday evening or weekend morning with candles, salts, oils, music and even a glass of wine.
In Japanese culture, many everyday activities—arranging flowers, preparing the dinner plate, pouring tea—are practice with a mindfulness that elevates them to artistry. So it is not surprising that the most intimate contact between human and water—the act of bathing—has also become a cherished tradition in Japan, with its own lovely ritual.
Beyond cleansing the body, the bath is viewed as a time and space to wash away the cares of the day. In Japan taking a bath is done in two phases. First, there is cleansing. Usually done in a small shower or with a Hinoki wood bucket, before proceeding into the bathtub to soak. Soaking and relaxing in the bath is just that – pure enjoyment.
Amayori was created in the tradition of Japanese bathing rituals. Whether it be a bath or shower, bathing is an opportunity to nurture yourself, reflect and have a beautiful moment. Rarely are we alone without external influences. This is the perfect time to take advantage of your solitude.
Create a ritual
Collect your bathing needs—sponges, loofah, brushes, skin products—in a decorative tote or basket. This will make everything easy to find and remove the clutter from the tub edge or windowsill. Carry your bathing equipment from its stored location to and from the bath.
If you want to invest in a little luxury, get a real yukata, a traditional cotton bathing kimono. It is not an expensive garment, and every time you put it on, it will make your bath or shower more special.
Beautify your bathing space
If the bathroom has a window with a private view to a natural setting, take advantage of this lovely feature, and let the sun shine in. If there’s a view but privacy is an issue, use a translucent or bamboo shade so a hint of nature can still permeate the bath.
Make sure there’s a robe hook on the back of the door, a bar or pegs for towels; little else is needed to capture the spare look of a Japanese bath.
Instead of a plastic shower curtain, use one made of organic canvas or hemp; unless the bathroom is constantly damp, these natural fibers air dry well and are so much nicer to the touch than synthetic material.
Borrow from tradition
If your bathroom has an adjoining shower and tub, you’re sufficiently equipped to try the Eastern method. All you need is a shower stall with a flat floor, a small stool, and a bucket (a wooden one is nice; many Japanese specialty shops sell these). Then, you can sit and scrub, rinse off, and step cleanly into the steamy tub, just as the citizens of Tokyo or Kyoto might. (It’s fun, once you get used to the stool!)
Try making your daily ablution in the evening. It’s hard to break the morning shower habit, but you may find that a hot bath or shower in the early evening makes you feel happily invigorated.
Photography: Erin – Mountain Rose
Source: Mother Earth Living