Ayurveda, the «science of longevity» promotes positive health, natural beauty, and long life. Although rooted in antiquity, Ayurveda is based on universal principles and is a living, growing body of knowledge-as useful today as it was in centuries past. Traditional Ayurveda fits quite well into modern models of holistic healing concerned with a broad view of the total health of the individual: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What Ayurveda offers to these models beyond its own techniques is a deeper awareness of how the body and our experiences are a microcosm of the greater universe and the relationships in the interaction between our inner and outer worlds.
Ayurveda teaches that the balance of three subtle energies, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, maintains health. These energies account for all forms of matter (Kapha), the force, and direction they move (Vata), and the transformations they go through (Pitta). As all life forms possess these qualities, the purpose of Ayurveda is to bring these forces into harmony so that they promote physical, emotional, and spiritual growth. All Ayurvedic treatments are designed to return these forces to a harmonious balance rather than concentrate on what their imbalance manifests. Thus it focuses on causes rather than symptoms. And as each individual has their own particular balance or blend of these three forces, Ayurvedic treatments are for individual person, rather than disorder specific. Such an approach has proven effective over the centuries and as a result, many of Ayurvedic healing regimens have been adopted and refined by peoples all over the world.
While Ayurveda has included in its body of knowledge the use of surgery and powerful medications, it also has intact systems of daily health care practices: diet, exercise, meditation, herbal therapy, and rejuvenation therapy. Such practices are not just palliative they are considered an integral and respected part of the healing process.
Beauty in Ayurveda
When we talk about beauty in the context of Ayurveda, it should be perfectly clear from the start that we are not talking about market driven ideals of the moment. In Ayurveda, inner and outer beauties are intimately related. The more we nurture ourselves, the more radiant we become physically and expressively regardless of our particular body shape or proportions. In keeping with the general orientation of Ayurvedic philosophy and healing, beauty can be viewed as having three aspects; an outer; inner, and secret aspect. When one balances the outer and inner, one has accomplished the secret aspect.
Outer beauty is what we most commonly associate with the field of beauty. It is the perfection of what is visually perceived. It includes the obvious traits such as contours of the body, texture of the skin, and the quality of the hair and nails. But in Ayurveda it also includes grace in posture and movement and the subtle qualities of freshness and vitality and magnetizing brightness of being. Like today’s authorities on natural body care, Ayurveda has always understood beauty to be the product of general physical health and appropriate daily care it is not just a cosmetic event. The emphasis is on self-knowledge and development of positive routines and habits that literally will bring out the best in us. It makes true good looks possible. Even as we grow older, with appropriate care we will mature with a strength and vitality, which will bring out a new depth to our outer beauty a beauty born of life experience.
Inner beauty relates to inner qualities of being, including emotional states and mental abilities. Like physical qualities, they are largely determined at birth and are considered to be the result of actions and aspirations from previous lives. As physical form can be molded by diet and lifestyle we can also train our minds to cultivate positive states of being. Just as the body can be purified and strengthened to make it outwardly more beautiful, so the mind can become tamed and disciplined. The start of this process is to begin to accept who we are and begin to truly care for and appreciate ourselves. With mind training the ability to relax while concentrating helps us to be alert and more aware in the moment. This moves our whole being naturally towards our greatest human potentials and activities-to act skillfully in the world with compassion and loving kindness.
The secret aspect of beauty refers to the energy, insight, and inspiration it takes to balance the inner and outer. Developing this special quality takes time, patience, and a willingness to learn from experience. This is the mark of real maturity that ripens into deep lasting beauty that is experienced from within and seen by all from without.
In this spirit, both ancient and modern Ayurvedic secrets for beauty care and enhancement aim to elevate our understanding of beauty to new levels with the deeper Ayurvedic insights. These insights hold powerful health promoting, enhancing methods and luxurious beauty techniques such that all levels of beauty (outer, inner, and secret) can be realized in our increasingly fast-paced and chaotic world.
With this approach as a self-care manual every person should be able to find what brings out his or her true beauty. At the same time all those interested in or practicing as beauty therapists or aestheticians should be able to receive the benefits of the deep insights and marvellous results Ayurveda can offer to others.
How to use this self-care…
1) Start by discovering your «Prakriti»-the unique blend of universal energies that came together to give you both your body type and temperament.
2) Next, read on to understand a little more about the Ayurvedic view of how the body is nourished in the Section on Dhatu. Together; these two steps give you the background and encouragement for making lifestyle choices that will bring out your inherent strengths and natural beauty described in subsequent sections.As health supports beauty, guidelines for appropriate lifestyle choices will always be an equal partner with the more specific beauty care techniques in producing natural beauty. Though these health care choices are not essential to the immediate effectiveness or enjoyment of using Ayurvedic beauty care, they definitely enhance the results, especially over the long term, and will help to address and ameliorate long-standing complaints. Of the lifestyle factors that will be discussed, the two that should be most emphasized are diet and massage. Diet nourishes all the body tissues creating healthy muscle tone, dear skin, and a natural aura of well-being. Massage works on all levels, improving the complexion, skin tone, body posture as well as nourishing the inner self. Both Merit Separate Courses and are offered separately.
- Ayurvedic Diet.
- Ayurvedic Massage.
- Select exercise regimens, relaxation techniques and daily beauty care practices that are suited to your «Prakriti».
- Read about and take the opportunity to experience the special Ayurvedic treatments.
- Enjoy the results.
Skin & Hair Care
It is said in Ayurveda that the skin is an Upadhatu (secondary tissue product) of the Raktadhatu (blood) and therefore is the mirror that reflects the qualities of the Raktadhatu (blood) and the Rasadhatu (body’s plasma tissue); hence the common saying that a glowing skin is the result of good quality Rasa and Rakta. No amount of bleaching and facial massage or application of make-up through dexterity of a skilled beautician can hide the shallow look if the skin is unhealthy. Conversely, a healthy skin will always look attractive even when devoid of make-up.
Ayurveda has also stated that skin diseases occur primarily due to sluggish liver function, which leads Pitta and Kapha Dosha dysfunction. Another vital factor that contributes to healthy appearance is the clean bowel: hence the need for regular and complete bowel evacuation. In order to achieve this, a mild laxative like Trifala (a compound made from Haritaki, Bibhitaki and Amla fruits) and a light diet are advisable if one suffers from constipation. If one has an oily look on the face then it would be best to avoid milk (although it is considered complete food). On the other hand, drumsticks are an excellent diet supplement. However, they increase Pitta and should never be used while having summer boils.
The skin of many individuals announces the coming of summer by the appearance of summer boils. Local application of Trifala, Neem (Azadirachta indica) bark or Yashtimadhu (Glycerrhiza glabra) along with oral treatment with a decoction made of black grapes, dates and Trifala is advisable. The diet should contain substances that decrease Pitta. Spices, pickles, fast foods etc. and non-vegetarian food should be avoided.
It is said that the hair is the Mala or metabolic end product of Asthi (bone tissue) and Majja (bone marrow tissues). Thus, if the diet falls short of nourishing the Asthi, then the quality of the hair is affected. Similarly stress or worry lead to unhealthy hair. Asthi contains predominantly the earth element and if the diet contains less of the earth element there is hair loss. Many modern shampoos use calcium or silica to strengthen hair. Ayurveda also uses organic calcium in the form of Praval Bhasma and Praval Pisti (made from corals). Similarly, mriga-shringa-bhasma (powdered deer horn) is described as a good source of calcium and keeps the bones and hair healthy.
The color of the hair depends on Pitta Dosha connected with Rakta (blood). If the Rakta is not of good quality, the Pitta gets vitiated and the quality of the hair is affected. Similarly, dietary items that are sour or salty like pickles and papad, raw mango, tamarind or lemon derange the Pitta and can adversely affect the hair. Further, sleepless nights, too much exposure to the sun or aggressive or temperamental behavior can also make the hair unhealthy. Local factors like dandruff and lice can also contribute to unhealthy hair.
Along with a good wholesome diet, appropriate use of good soaps and shampoos (containing Shikakai) can help to keep the hair healthy. Most of the beauty products available in the market are based on chemical formulations, which are harmful if used for a long time.