For those of you who are not familiar with Ayurveda, let me first give you a brief introduction to this holistic system of medicine born in India over 5000 years ago. The name of this ancient science translates from Sanskrit as ‘’the knowledge of life or longevity’’. It aims to help one achieve his or her optimal state of physical, mental and spiritual health by following various daily routines including diet, physical activity (primarily yoga, its sister science), meditation, breathing techniques (pranayama), as well as other practices that tend to the body and spirit in accordance to one’s present state of balance and other seasonal, environmental and lifestyle factors.
One of Ayurveda’s diagnostic tools used to determine one’s current state of health is by observing the complexion and texture of the skin – or in millennial terms – your ‘’Glow’’ factor. Known as our body’s largest organ, our skin not only plays an important role in maintaining overall homeostasis (equilibrium) through its many functions, it also acts as a mirror to what’s going on within. If there is a state of imbalance or dis-ease inside your body or mind, then it will likely manifest on the skin as a disorder, acute condition, poor complexion or premature aging. As Ayurveda states, to achieve optimal results for radiant skin, it is necessary to tend to your body as a whole by also making other appropriate lifestyle changes – like say, taking 5-10 minutes to center and ground yourself in a quiet space when it’s been a hectic day at the office.
Ayurveda counts hundred of beauty care practices that address skin rejuvenation and issues and the wonderful part is that many of these you can do at home with the use of very few products. Today I want to share with you some general tips to get you started on that journey towards healthier, glowing skin by going over some basics:
1. Switch to chemical-free makeup and natural skincare products
With the rise in demand for cleaner and greener beauty products, we are lucky to now have many options on the market, in all price ranges. Wether you are into luxury lines or more of a DIY girl, there are definitely many options that can meet your needs, wether at your local health food store, pharmacy or online. By choosing to gradually clean up your makeup bag and toiletries, not only are you participating in the movement of global ecological responsibility, you are avoiding the many toxic ingredients that can be carcinogenic, alter your hormones, clog pores, promote aging and of course, ultimately dull out the complexion. For a quick reference list of cosmetics to avoid, you can download a great one here
2. Introduce self-massage to your daily routine
Massage with warm oil, better known as Abhyanga in Ayurveda, has to be one of my favourite beauty care practices that has radically influenced my overall and skin’s health when introduced to my daily self care routine. Abhyanga consists of massaging your entire body, from head to toe, with the appropriate prepared oil for your constitution. Because it must be done with mindfulness – meaning you are focusing on all your senses while massaging the oil in – it becomes somewhat of a meditation practice as well. Also, by giving your body your full, undivided attention, it can ultimately be considered a form of pure Self Love! You are also benefiting of course from the moisturizing and healing effects of the oil as well as encouraging lymphatic and blood circulation, leaving your skin soft and radiant, your mind calm and your body revitalized. To learn a simplified version of the technique, I like this video from Banyan Botanicals. If you are not certain of which oil to use, I recommend starting with cosmetic grade almond oil, which is appropriate for all skin types and seasons.
3. Use a body scrub once a week
With the constant exposure to environmental pollutants and other irritants, I like to use a gentle scrub about once a week to eliminate dead skin cells, smooth out the skin and generally rejuvenate the whole body. With the scrubbing motion, you also allowing the moisturizing elements of the product you are using to deeply penetrate the skin, bringing luster and nourishment. If you would like to make an easy and effective version at home, you can try my DIY Spirulina, Lemon Peel & Frankincense Body Scrub found on the Seed & Rind blog here that has additional antioxidant, toning and collagen producing effects.
4. Try a ‘’Five Nectar Bath’’
In Ayurveda, milk, yogurt, honey, banana and ghee (clarified butter) are believed to be ‘’the foods of the Gods’’ meaning that they are sacred in nature and have the greatest healing potency. Interestingly, modern science has shown notable results in the application of these foods on the skin. To prepare yourself for a “Five Nectar Bath”, simply mix together 1 tablespoons of raw local honey, 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt, 1 mashed banana, 1 tablespoon of ghee, and 4 tablespoons of whole milk. Ideally you would chose all organic ingredients. Massage mixture onto body and soak in a warm bath for about 20 minutes. For added ambiance, light a few scented candles and play soft and soothing music. Although this particular Ayurvedic practice is not suitable for vegans, anyone can benefit from a monthly bathing session with simply pouring in a blend of relaxing essential oils.
5. Get a seasonal facial
You often hear of the benefits of detox programs for your body at the turn of every season, but giving your face a deep cleanse and somewhat of a ‘’reset’’ is just as important! If you are someone that suffers from particular skin issues, seasonal facials are especially beneficial as It is an opportunity to address these with specific treatments, however more follow-up sessions may be required to fully resolve them. In Ayurveda, facials also involve the stimulation of the many marmas found at the level of the face and upper body, also known as the ‘’the vital life force points’’. This aspect of the treatment boosts its healing effects with the essential mind-body-spirit connection and leaves you with a sense of deep calm, promoting both the inner and outer glow.
This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.