First, turn your bathing area into a personalized sacred space that feels tranquil to you. Remove any clutter from the area (like laundry or children’s toys), dim or turn off the lights, and light candles with a scent you enjoy. Add essential oils, aromatic dried flowers or herbs, or salts to the water that feel comfortably deep and warm to you. (My favorite combination is Epsom salt with dried lavender and rosemary. I rub the herbs in my hands to release their oils and then gently toss into the water.)
Lay out a robe or plush towel in your favorite color. Soothing music, especially nature sounds like flowing water or birds chirping, can be a lovely addition, although silence is a rare luxury I encourage people to indulge while bathing.
Once immersed in the tub, close your eyes; focus your attention on breathing gently in and out through your nose to activate the relaxation response. Settle into the rhythm of breathing, allowing the stresses and strains of the day to release into the water with each exhale. Invite each sense to awaken. This is the time in my own bathing ritual when I speak aloud a prayer of gratitude for sacred water—the water I drink, cook with, bathe and swim in, the water I am dependent upon for survival. This restores a sense of spiritual connection to an element I can easily take for granted when it flows clearly, cleanly, and abundantly from my faucet whenever I want it.
Slowly apply a body oil from your feet upward, pausing at each part of your body to express appreciation and gratitude for how well that part of your body is functioning. When you are ready to emerge from the bath, give yourself ample time to pat dry slowly, dress slowly, and move slowly into whatever activity follows.