By Vishakha Moghe
“ Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”
Although all these quotes on beauty hold true, one cannot deny the fact that beauty, even now and since times immortal, has been assessed on the basis of the flawlessness of the skin, the glow on the face, and the twinkle in the eye.
The secrets to a well-nourished body, a stable mind and a peaceful spirit lie hidden in the scriptures of the 5,000-year old holistic healing system of India, Ayurveda. To look beautiful one does not necessarily have to follow a complex beauty and diet regimen. Beauty simply begins with common sense. It can be as simple as eating at the right time, in the right quantity, sleeping well and managing stress wisely.
Our body is constantly undergoing transformation. These transformations are so subtle; it is hard to believe we are a completely different individual almost every seven years. The outer layer of the skin consists of dead cells which are constantly shedding. Same applies to our hair and nails. So what we see on the outside is actually a result of the body’s inner transformation on a fundamental level. Ayurvedic beauty is more than skin deep; it is a fundamental reflection of the state of our mind and body — the balance between mind, body and spirit.
The Three Secrets: The Ultimate Goals
Ayurveda unveils three secrets to a beautiful body and mind: Roopam, Gunam and Vayastyag.
Roopam refers to the outer beauty. It lies in the skin by the name Bhrajak Pitta. Bhrajak means “to shine”, and this can be observed in healthy people with a beautiful outer radiance. When the Bhrajak Pitta in the skin is in its healthy state, there’s no way it won’t reflect on the person’s face.
Gunam or inner beauty are the characteristics that make an individual kind, giving, patient and happy, can be observed in saints and masters practicing compassion, bhakti (devotion) and prem (love). It is hard to not be smitten by the inner light or beauty which radiates around people who are compassionate, giving, loving and kind.
Vayastyag refers to lasting beauty. As we grow, we ought to give up on certain practices and adopt new ones. In Ayurveda this is done through diet, routine, proper and timely use of herbal formulations and the regular experience of transcendence, which connects one to the non-changing level of existence. This kind of beauty and radiance can be observed in healthy, older people, young beyond their age and still getting better with it.
What maintains these three is a proper transformation which depends on our food, our activity, our consciousness, our digestion and our thoughts.
Each morning across India, people offer prayers to the radiant, resplendent and glorious Shri Surya Bhagwaan. The epitome of energy and radiance, Lord Sun is the remover of negative thoughts and anger from the minds of the worshipper, both of which hamper the inner and outer beauty. Indians have been effortlessly practicing sun-worshipping for centuries. The first ray of sun inspires for early success daily. Worshipping sun everyday and especially on Sundays by chanting mantra leads to all pleasures, good health and wealth in life.
Surya Pooja (Sun Worship)
Wear clean clothes after the morning shower. Fill fresh water in a copper container. Add Ashtagandha (Paste of Chandan and other fragrant herbs), red flowers and Akshat (raw unbroken rice) in the water and chant this mantra.
|| ऊँ सूर्याय नम: ||
While chanting the mantra, offer the holy water to the sun.
The practice of performing Suryanamaskar (Sun-Salutations) too, has been an integral part of the daily regimen of Indians. The radiance of the sun is absorbed by the body through the skin, thereby resulting in a glowing skin and a clear complexion. This practice also enables the skin to eliminate toxins through sweat thus preventing boils and pimples. We haven’t even begun talking about the other physical benefits of this practice like improved digestion, effective reduction of tummy fat and better kidney and lung functions.
Amongst the factors that make up a beautiful mind and body, discipline is a powerful beauty ingredient. Ayurveda has a very intelligent approach to cultivating beauteous habits. It asks you to weave little acts of discipline in the routines of life. If you spend 15 minutes of your pre-bath time giving yourself a warm oil massage, you are doing a huge favor on yourself. A whole body oil massage tightens the skin and strengthens the muscles, both in turn, leading to a youthful you! When you spend 5 minutes of your pre-bed time splashing cold water or a decoction of Triphala over your weary eyes, you are helping them wash away cloudy vision and burning, thus relaxing the under-eye muscles.
For centuries, Indian women have kept their tresses healthy with natural oils, herbs, flowers and simple spices. Not only do these oils promote thick, healthy and lustrous hair, they also ward off cold, flu and headache, keeping you cool in hot weather and relaxing your mind by having a calming effect on it. Our face, they say is the mirror of our digestive system and the mind. The skin keeps us in constant connection with the textures and energies of our world, so it’s no wonder our faces reveal so much about our mental, emotional and physical status. Giving your face a herbal facial that could be prepared from fruits, herbal powders and milk or yoghurt; all based on your Prakruti will help you have a glowing, youthful skin.
Ayurveda also stresses on the importance of diet and adequate sleep because these factors are responsible for building and repair of the cells and tissues of the body. Eating for the spirit and spending time on the preparation of your food is essentially important. Consuming a diet rich in all the six tastes, tempered with spices, homemade ghee (clarified butter) and diet that includes whole fruits, grains and vegetables according to one’s Prakruti, is the key to a sound health. Regarding sleep, “Early to bed and early to rise” isn’t an overstatement and by that we mean, getting our much-needed sleep at the right time during the night. Making up for the lost night sleep by sleeping during the day can be less than healthy, not to mention other problems that come along, like weight gain, indigestion and decreased alertness. Sleep time is the only time when the body has an opportunity to repair, heal and rejuvenate itself and is thus very essential for both inner and outer beauty.
It is also equally essential for the mind to rest from time-to-time. This can be achieved by filtering the noise out of your life. Once in a while, each one of us deserves to be alone, away from the noise. Just for a couple of hours during the day and at bed time, see nothing, hear nothing and do nothing. Stay away from cell phones, television sets and other electronic gadgets, even books for that matter. Meditate to enhance the inner peace because every act that you do to achieve inner peace in turn contributes to your goal of looking and feeling truly beautiful!
While diet and sleep are cornerstones, other factors like stress management hold equal importance. Practice meditation, listen to uplifting music more often and do anything and everything that balances your mind by uplifting the emotions. Have a positive attitude, serenity, purity of thought, word and action. Cut down the “I” (ego), get rid of the anger, jealousy and negative emotions. Ayurveda also recommends you to seek company of people who are jolly, happy and young at heart. Stop talking about those lines you’re seeing on your face because all this will make you feel older.
In today’s world where there’s no dearth of men and women spending loads of money on enhancing their features by going under the knife and applying layers of cosmetics on the face; be a natural! Be the naturally gorgeous, radiant and beautiful you! Let the radiance arise from a dynamic relationship between the inner and outer divine. Go beyond the color of the skin or the height of the cheekbones and find beauty in everyone around you.
Ayurvedafinder says “BE YOUR OWN KIND OF BEAUTIFUL WITH AYURVEDA”!
About the author
Vishakha is an Ayurveda practitioner, Yoga counselor and a passionate traveler. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.