Beauty: How Same Old Can Save Your Life, by Kristen Ma

I have decided recently that I need to muster up some discipline and establish a routine. My mom, a single mother, would constantly tell me about the importance of routine throughout my childhood to get ready more efficiently in the morning… I was a bit of a dawdler.

But, in keeping with the theme of our modern-day sentiments, my motto has always been this: if the results are good, who cares about the method? If I’m at my commitments on time, get my work done and keep myself fed, what’s the problem, right? Well, the problem is that our bodies need regularity.

Waking, eating, and sleeping at consistent times helps us establish habits. Like little planners, our bodies can expect when to be stimulated, nourished, and rested. This aids our digestion, helping our skin and bodies immensely as well. Poor digestion has been tied to rosacea, eczema, and cellulite. I, myself, have had my share of digestive issues and it’s no coincidence that I eat on the run wherever and whenever it can fit into my inconsistent schedule. This is why Vatas (those with an abundance of air in their constitution) tend to have poor digestion and bloating. Vata governs inconsistency – whether it is in the mind or body – and when this happens, our systems do not know when the digestive fire should be enkindled, and this also creates erratic hunger patterns.

But routine does not only help with digestion, but also with our metabolism. If we do not eat regularly, our bodies do not know when they will be fed again, and often enter “starvation mode” in which they hang onto nutrients in fear of not receiving more. It is proven fact that those of us who eat consistently, avoiding swings of being too ravenous and overly stuffed, also regulate our blood sugar and metabolic function better. Many clients who seem like they cannot lose weight despite reasonable portion sizes and healthy food choices find that their lack of eating at the same times each day is a major factor. Excess Kapha (the earth element in our constitution) is related to this, and Kaphas who have a habit of over-indulging themselves also lack discipline and structure. Establishing a strict regimen of waking, eating, and sleeping is one of the best ways to reduce excess Kapha.

And our waking/sleeping patterns are of the utmost importance. Waking early each day clears out Kapha lethargy. According to Ayurveda, we should be using the sunrise to help wake and stimulate us, and we should not be eating after sun-down as our bodies naturally slow down. I have written about circadian rhythm before which coincides with this concept.

Sleeping at the same time each day also helps us become better rested. Fluctuating sleep patterns confuse our bodies and often cause insomnia (another sign of excess Vata). We all know that a good night’s sleep not only prevents the feeling of fatigue, but also under eye circles, skin dehydration (lack of sleep taxes our kidneys which regulate water), and water-retention (due to dehydration).

So, while it isn’t as glamorous as a luxurious skin renewing facial or provides the instant gratification of a nourishing body massage, establishing a strict lifestyle routine may provide the most powerful total health and beauty make-over.

Kristen Ma is the co-owner of Pure + Simple Inc., a group of Holistic Spas with its own line of Natural Skincare and Mineral Make-up.  She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner who has studied in Canada, the United States and India.  She is also a Certified Esthetician with eight years of practical experience, having worked in Canada as well as Australia.  Most recently, Kristen has authored “Beauty: Pure + Simple” which was published by Mc Arthur and Company.  Kristen has written on the subject of Holistic Beauty for Vitality Magazine, Blink and Jasmine.  She is also a regular contributor to B Magazine, Tonic and Sweat Equity Magazine. She blogs regularly at Holistic Vanity.