What is Ayurveda?
For many of us in the Western world, we see trends like Golden Milk Latte’s and Ashwagandha that have been used in Eastern cultures for centuries. Though a lot of them have been whitewashed, there is a logical and holistic benefit to using these kinds of therapies. No matter what your skin + hair woes, you can rely on all-natural botanicals to give you the results you’re looking for! Read on to see how to apply them to your daily life.
What is Ayurveda?
The term Ayurveda is derived from Sanskrit words “ayur” (life) and “veda” (science or knowledge), thus the word Ayurveda meaning “the knowledge of life.” Its roots are in India-- just like us, and is actually considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science, developed more than 5,000 years ago. It is based on the belief that overall welfare-- our health and wellness, depend on a delicate balance between the body, mind, and spirit. This health system’s main goal is not to fight diseases, but to help promote overall good and consistent health.
There are still a lot of ways that Ayurveda can improve your life, by paying close attention to your life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle, and the use of different herbs. The general idea behind Ayurveda is that balance is the natural order-- if something is unbalanced then it is disordered, and that is why diseases can occur. It is important to understand the disorder (whatever may be triggering the disease/symptoms) to properly re-establish order.
One of the basics of Ayurveda is the idea that there are three present “energies” in everything and everyone. These three energies or doshas (in Sanskrit) are called vata, pitta, and kapha. These principles are related to basic biology--Vata energy (composed of space and air) is the subtle energy associated with movement-- things like blinking, breathing, muscle, and tissue movement, etc. When this vata energy is balanced, it promotes creativity and flexibility, but when out of balance, vata produces fear and anxiety. Pitta (fire and water) relates to the body’s metabolic system, governing digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, etc. When balanced it promotes understanding and intelligence. Lastly, Kapha (formed from Earth and water) is the energy that forms the body’s structure. Things like bones, muscles, tendons, providing the glue that holds the cells together. When this is balanced it promotes love, calmness, and forgiveness, but when it is out of balance, it can bring on feelings of attachment, greed, and envy.
All of these work together to form a unique composition of your body. Sometimes when something is off due to external (or internal) imbalances, then you can see issues arise in your body, mind, or spirit. How can you get a healthy balance between the doshas? A combination of what we can all focus on-- proper diet and exercise. These are just two ways that we can actually control how our body’s health is doing. While a blog post can help to provide a good foundation to those of us that really like to learn about different cultures and ways of practicing, it is very important to consult a professional if you are really wanting to go down an Ayurvedic route.
Ayurvedic Best Practices
Besides diet and exercise lifestyles, there are more daily practices of Ayurvedic that we can include in our daily lives to deliver holistic benefits to our bodies. For example, you can instill Ayurvedic principles like meditation, intentional breathing exercises, tongue scraping (using a tongue scraper to remove plaque buildup on the tongue), eating your largest meal during lunchtime (between 12-1 PM), etc. If you would like to learn more, read more about Ayurvedic daily practices.
In skincare, Ayurveda outlines three steps to beautiful skin--- cleanse, nourish and moisturize. On the surface, these steps sound like Western ideals that we hear about, but the difference lies in the kinds of products used. For example, in most traditional Western cultures, cleansing products use harsh sulfates and detergents that strip away so much goodness from their face and throw their pH out of balance. In Ayurveda, they encouraged the use of ubtans (pastes made from herbs, flours, legumes) to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. That’s we highlighted this in WOW Skin Science’s Ubtan Face & Body Scrub as a full-body exfoliant, and the Ubtan Foaming Body Wash to cleanse your whole body. The WOW Skin Science Ubtan Foaming Face Wash With Brush is specifically designed to cleanse and brighten skin to combat problem areas, like acne flare-ups or dry patches, etc.
For the nourishing and moisturizing part of this three-step system, make your own body oil by mixing WOW Skin Science Castor Oil (about 1-ounce carrier oil to 10 drops of essential oil) with an essential oil that is appropriate for your unique constitution. If you have dry “vata” skin, you should use a sweet orange or geranium essential oil. If you have sensitive “pitta” skin, using an essential oil like jasmine or sandalwood would be best. Lastly, if you have oily, “kapha” skin then try using an essential oil like lavender or bergamot. Warming this body oil in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes and giving yourself a self-massage (another pillar of Ayurveda) is a wonderful way to provide natural moisture to the skin, help pacify the doshas, enhance the complexion and luster of the skin, and even tone muscles! This practice, called abhyanga, is thought to be one of the most effective means of slowing the skin’s aging process, as it works to purify, nourish, and tone the body on a deeper cellular level.
Is Ayurveda Worth It?
So you may be asking yourself, is it really worth changing up your routine? Well, even though we are enthusiasts of using science to advance our knowledge of skin and hair, sticking to our roots and sharing Ayurvedic principles is a time-tested way to improve your lifestyle. Given that this medical system has been around for over 5,000 years, we felt it important to bring the holistic principles and most-loved ingredients of Ayurveda to the US.
Holistic Progress and Balance
All in all, Ayurveda is a holistic lifestyle that seeks to bring balance to your mind, body, and spirit. If you are suffering from something, it may be a sign of unbalance. Since life is all about balance in Ayurveda, there is a lot of emphasis on focusing on your holistic self, rather than dealing with things in a vacuum. Everything is interrelated and the quicker we are at understanding that truth and enacting it, the quicker that we are able to help balance out and see holistic progress. Ayurveda has so many benefits, you just have to put the intention and effort behind it to see some really beautiful results. Good luck!