Ayurveda is over 5000 years old and stems from the Vedic texts of ancient India; they represent one of the oldest forms of medicine. The concept is relatively simple: if one can understand the body’s composition, and identify its imbalances, then one could bring the body into harmony with actions or treatments that counter-balance said imbalances. Leaving imbalances unchecked can manifest as diseases and chronic illness. This really speaks to me since I believe our bodies already know what they need, we just have to listen to them! I’m so in alignment with this way of thinking, and I’m grateful to Ayurveda for helping inform that sensibility in my life and medical practice.
Such an alluring word… Ayurveda. I remember reading of this practice in a natural beauty magazine many years ago… I was intrigued by this practice, because, as a medical doctor, I had never been introduced to this concept. This led me on a knowledge quest, which brings us to this very moment, in which I’m blogging about Ayurveda to you! While I am by no means an expert, I have implemented many of its practices into my own life with great results. I have read, and continue to read, many books/podcasts/blogs in hopes of continuing to foster a better grasp of Ayurveda’s principles. I know enough to know that it takes a lifetime to truly grasp the full complexity and master the interpretations- but isn’t that the way with anything worth doing?
Ayurveda, as I’ve come to understand it, is a way to live in daily rhythmic balance according to our own mind/body type and that mind/body type is somewhat predestined for us. These mind/body types are called doshas and there are three of them: vata, pitta, and kapha. Each dosha is made-up of natural elements (air, earth, fire), which we are all comprised of at different percentages. Think of each of us as a pie chart with varying amounts of these three doshas. If you have more kapha, then you are predominantly a “kapha type”. If you are more vata or pitta than you are “vata or pitta type”… and so on… To add more complexity, you can also be “bi-doshic” if you have two dominances or even “tri-doshic” if you have a healthy balance of all three.
I highly encourage you to take this dosha quiz by one of my mentors, ayurvedic guru Sahara Rose. This is a nice place to start you on your journey.
So how does this tie into beauty?! As our bodies have certain dosha types, so too do our skin types! Yep you guessed it! Oily skin? Dry skin? Combination type? Acne prone? Practitioners of Ayurveda would say that it all stems from your dosha type and imbalances in your dosha can lead to problematic skin. Also, people who live in greater harmony with their doshas, and manage their imbalances, are naturally more beautiful and graceful. They exude a sense of inner peace and stillness which is at the core of beauty. Throw away your conventional definition of beauty, which typically comes from glamour magazines and societal norms (skinny equal healthy kind of BS), and find power in balancing your doshas and unlocking the true beauty of your unique self! Ayurveda celebrates individualism and embraces the beauty of each unique body and skin type. When you live in doshic harmony, your body glows, your skin is supple, your teeth are bright, and your eyes twinkle. Yes- gimme some of that! Right!?!
These are 5 basics you can start right now to bring your dosha into better harmony without even knowing your type!
1. Keep a daily routine, each day you should:
– Wake and drink hot lemon (or apple cider vinegar) and water
– Meditative practice
– Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at similar times
– Avoid snacking
– After 5PM start to slow down the day and limit stimulating (read, “stressful”) activity
3. Oil your skin daily
4. Tongue scrape before you brush in the morning
5. Be in touch with nature in some way or another during the day (window, naturebath, look up at the sky)
The one thing I really want to make clear is that this is simply a guide. For all you Type A’ers out there if you can’t do it perfectly everyday, don’t give up! Some days I’m so busy that I literally just think about the routine and that’s as close as I get. Just the thought of this simple routine makes me feel more in balance even if reality is spinning a bit out of control around me. The success of these practices doesn’t have to be rooted in an “all or nothing” philosophy. Even small shifts can lead to big results. When the din of our life becomes too much, let the tenants of Ayurveda serve as a reminder, a counter-balance if you will, that it is time to change routine and allow the inner voice to ring clear. This is when we are able to hear what the body and mind really needs…
Ready to dive in?! Here are a list of books and resources I highly recommend!
Also check out my interview with Dr. Seema Afsari, a medical doctor, who applies Ayurvedic principles into her practice.