Ayurveda is the ancient medical science from India which covers all aspects of life including beauty. In India beauty is considered a blessing from God and it is our duty to keep our bodies and mind healthy and beautiful. Ayurveda believes that beauty is not just skin deep but comes from within too.
To look and feel beautiful, one should follow all the five lines of treatment in Ayurveda. They are:
- Herbs and herbal remedies
- Food and diet
- Ayurvedic massage and bodywork
- Yoga exercises
- Daily lifestyle routine
One of the ancient Ayurvedic text books, Sushruta Samhita mentions a list of Ayurvedic herbs, procedures and recipes to keep one beautiful and maintain it.
Being healthy, feeling and looking beautiful, in Ayurveda, is based on freeing your body from "Ama" or toxins. Getting rid of this toxin means that your digestive fire(Agni) is strong. A strong Agni helps to restore nutrition at a cellular level thereby aiding good health and natural beauty from within.
Following a simple detoxification at home will help to get rid of toxins. This generally includes:
- Drinking plenty of warm water through out the day.
- Start your day with a cup or mug of a ginger lemon tea. Ginger-lemon tea is very good at detoxifying and cleansing the body. But remember excess ginger can be to hot for the body and excess lemon can be too citric or acidic for the body. But the right proportion of ginger and lemon can do wonders to the body. It is best to take a ginger-lemon tea based on Ayurvedic principles.
- Triphala is a very good herbal combination to help strengthen the digestive fire and keep the digestive system strong and healthy. It rejuvenates the membrane lining of the digestive tract and contributes to effective cleansing of the colon, a key condition in Ayurveda to maintaining optimum health and natural beauty.
- Avoid heavy, cold food and take more of light, warm and nourishing food. Kitchari (rice and mung beans cooked in little clarified butter (ghee) with various spices like turmeric, cumin seeds, corianders seeds etc) is the best food during a simple detoxification.
- To have beautiful skin and to maintain it, take one capsule of turmeric every day. Ayurveda says that when a pregnant lady regularly takes turmeric during pregnancy, she will be blessed with a child with beautiful skin.
- If one is suffering from a severe form of acne, Neem is the answer. Neem (Azadirachta indica) has traditionally been used in Ayurveda to purify the blood and support the immune system. It is considered to be an excellent herb for maintaining glowing and beautiful skin, as well as supporting healthy blood glucose levels.
- Neem soap for external use is beneficial to those suffering from various skin problems and also for those who want beautiful glowing complexion.
Food and diet:
- The first rule is to follow a diet to suit your body type (Vata, Pitta, Kapha).
- Make it a habit to take three skinned almonds which have been soaked in water overnight. Such almonds are full of Prana and Sattwa. Peeling away the brown skin is essential. This is also one of the anti aging recipes mentioned in various Ayurvedic text books.
- Fast at least once a week. On such days one can take water, fruit or vegetable juices. This helps to strengthen the digestive fire.
- Maintain a regular routine for food intake.
- Eat raw fruit alone and never as a part of meal.
- Touch is very fundamental to life. Touch is as nourishing as food itself.
- Self-massage when practised everyday can turn back years and make you look younger and more beautiful.
- Use an Ayurvedic oil to suit your skin type (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). Alternatively one can also use pure, cold pressed sesame oil for daily massage.
- Spend at least 15 minutes to massage your whole body and face. Concentrate on various Marma points or energy centres. This will help release blocked energy. Once energy start flowing in an uninterrupted manner, not only will you feel fresh and rejuvenated but you will also look young and radiant.
- Taking a warm bath or shower after a massage is essential to wash off any toxins that may be drawn out to the skin surface.
- Alternatively, you can take steam on your face and then apply an Ayurvedic face mask containing sandalwood and rose (both of which are skin rejuvenators).
Yoga and breathing exercises
- Any exercise that stimulates the blood circulation to the face and skin helps to bring fresh oxygenated blood to those parts.
- Downward facing dog pose helps to stretch the muscles of the whole body especially your back and legs. It also helps to improve blood circulation to the head and face region.
- The lion pose is the best exercise for the head, face and neck region. It improves blood circulation and strengthens the muscles of the face and neck. Hence it is the best position to keep wrinkles away from the face.
- Forward bends help to keep the digestive system strong and healthy. It also helps in evacuation of the colon.
- Breathing exercises like the alternate nostril breathing, cleansing breath exercise and bee breath exercise are beneficial.
- Although hard to believe but people who meditate regularly enjoy more beautiful younger looking skin than those who do not. Ayurveda says that inner peace and happiness is a sure way to both inner and outer beauty.
Daily lifestyle and routine:
- Find out what your Dosha type is and follow a lifestyle routine to suit it.
- Gargle your mouth with warm sesame oil (pure, cold pressed sesame oil) every morning. Keep the oil in your mouth for at least two minutes. This process of gargling helps to draw out all impurities from the digestive tract and helps to keep it strong. Gargling with sesame oil also helps to keep the gums and teeth strong as well as imparts a natural glow to your facial skin.
- Try and maintain a regular routine of your daily activities.
Beauty treatments in Ayurveda:
In Ayurveda various massages and bodywork therapies form a part of the beauty treatment. Traditionally, a bride to be receives various beauty treatments days before the wedding.
- Abhyanga: this a classical whole body massage with Dosha oil. This helps to slow down the aging process and hence an important part of the anti aging therapies.
- Marma Abhyanga: This is a specialist massage where by the 107 Marma points are massaged which help to release any blocked energy in the body.
- Shirobhaynga: This is the traditional Ayurvedic head massage: various Marma points are stimulated in the head and neck region. This massage helps to calm and relax the mind, nourishes the scalp and strengthens the hair giving it a healthy lustre.
- Shirodhara: This is forehead oil flow treatment which helps to relax the mind and brain.
- Udvartana: This is a very traditional Ayurvedic massage given to brides weeks before the wedding till the wedding day. Finely ground Ayurvedic herbs and exotic sandalwood powder are mixed with precious Ayurvedic oils and gently massaged into the skin. This results in the stimulation of the energy flow in the body, the detoxification and nourishment of body tissues, the activation of the skin's natural metabolism and also the improvement of lymph flow. The Udvartana massage cleanses and refines the skin structure and gives the skin a soft, silky texture and a lustrous glow.
For a long time Ayurvedic remedies have been used in India to brighten eyes, clear the skin and strengthen hair. Anti-aging Ayurvedic treatments are very popular and are aimed at looking and feeling younger and leading long and rejuvenated life.