Beauty: Ayurvedic Anti-Aging Techniques, by Kristen Ma
Ayurveda, like its sister science, yoga, is based on mind-body-spirit balance. So, it is no surprise that along with rejuvenating foods and exercises, Ayurvedic healers also prescribe nourishing thoughts and intentions. Good intentions for more radiant skin? I know, I know, this may seem all too wishy-washy, and you’re probably half expecting me to pull out the crystals and incense. But I assure you, the power of the mind and outlook is not a new age myth. What we think and how we perceive the world has a profound effect on our health and well-being. Just think of how flushed we get when we are angry or embarrassed, or how some of us break out at times of high stress. Yes, our emotions are interconnected with our physical body, so we need to make sure we are as vigilant in caring for consciousness as we are for our diet and lifestyle.
Being good to our emotional selves is not only in the form of managing stress or being gentle on our egos. According to Ayurveda, there are specific thoughts and behaviors that promote strengthening and restoring our physical bodies, as well as our minds. Below are seven Rasayanas (rejuvenating substances and practices) that are said to be the most important practices to stay balanced and healthy.
1. Speak the truth – Vedic literature states that honesty creates ojas in the body, the biochemical correlate of bliss and health, while lying creates negativity, ama (toxins) and impurities. As Ayurvedic physician, Dr. Vasant Lad always says that our issues are in our tissues. When we are not truthful with ourselves and others, this is said to manifest in our bodies.
2. Stay free of anger – Anger causes imbalance and inflammation and is also said to be destructive in all capacities. Instead, practicing forgiveness brings peace to the mind, body, and spirit and is the best way to mitigate and prevent anger or resentment.
3. Respect your gurus and elders – It is said to be important to always respect those that impart knowledge and wisdom to you. Since consciousness is the path to enlightenment, an appreciation of teachers and guides through our lives is embedded into Ayurvedic philosophy. And cherishing those that support this promotes love and contentedness.
4. Strive to gain Vedic knowledge – Learning more about Ayurveda is important in this science (duh, right?). The more we understand about Ayurvedic principles, the more we can understand about ourselves. And from here we can better take care of ourselves and balance our bodies. This, along with the pursuit of self-evolution itself, is said to be very nurturing for our bodies.
5. Practice meditation – Meditation helps to relieve stress and sharpen our mind’s focus. It keeps us astute as we age and helps us make healthy life decisions through increased mental clarity.
6. Eat saatvic foods – Foods such as milk, ghee, yoghurt, dates, mango, walnuts, and almonds convert easily into ojas (fluid of life). They support the physical brain and our sensory organs and help us stay strong and supported.
7. Surround yourself with wise individuals – They say you are the company that you keep. So, according to Ayurveda, it is important to surround yourself with other individuals who are also striving for nirvana and harmony. Choosing like-minded, wellness-focused friends will encourage you to practice good behaviors and be committed to your personal journey. To me, this is one of the most important rasayanas, because it helps us practice the other six and coincides with the idea of maintaining a positive, cooperative, invigorating community. What is more nourishing than that? Healthy ties and relationships like these will definitely keep us young, vibrant, and beautiful.
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.