"The inner glow that radiates outward to the world."
In Ayurveda, there are seasons to our lifecycle: birth-childhood (kapha), adolescence-middle-age (pitta), middle-age-death (vata). Usually, we are born cuddly, round and full of love. Then we move on to establishing our place in society with the dynamic energy of ambition. Once we have established our place, our focus comes back to ourselves especially our bodies. There is a saying that the youth is wasted on the young. I like to think it’s referring to the outer beauty. It is commonly known that the skin is the largest organ and is often overlooked. Until its dry, dull, damaged and/or aging: losing its elasticity, nutrients, and good old fashion TLC.
Women, more than men tend to take care of their skin, especially the facial skin, more for the aesthetics in search for the fountain of eternal beauty. For thousands of years, women have searched to find the most coveted skin care regimens, to either maintain or attain their outer beauty. Modern technology has enhanced these prospects with cosmetic surgeries, specialized procedures; scraping the top layer of skin to injecting serums and taking strong medications that can alter their DNA. All for the magic of having beautiful youthful glowing skin. Who doesn’t want that, right?
According to Ayurveda, it has always been understood that beauty is the product of general physical health and appreciation to daily care. A cultivation of higher self- consciousness, as in yoga one starts with the physical asanas. So, in Ayurveda one begins with daily self-care of physically cleansing and purifying the body. This is called Dinacharya, the removal of wastes (malas) from accumulating and preparing the senses with botanically medicated aromatic oils. This self-care ritual is just one aspect of the comprehensive Ayurvedic methodology, which is composed of subtle components:
The three doshas (humors): V,P,K
- Fifteen subdoshas: Five sub humors for each primary humor.
- Seven dhatus: Seven tissues levels of the body.
- Sixteen sorts: 16 channels that carry both subtle or gross matter.
- Seven kalas: Seven membranes that separate the tissues from the channels.
The importance of balancing this system is the creation of the three vital essences: Ojas the “vigor” associated with protoplasm—the basic living substance of all cells, Tejas the “fire” metabolic factor and Prana the “breath” the pulse of creation. All contributing factors to the inner glow that radiates outward to the world. A good flow of Prana, feeds the fire of Tejas, therefor Ojas circulates efficiently. Creating radiant, smooth, clear and lustrous skin. It is possible to restore lost Ojas due to elemental forces and an unhealthy lifestyle. By taking remedies that include; warm raw milk and ghee. Including rejuvenated herbs of shativari, ashwaganda, and guduchi. Most importantly by incorporating a spiritual practice of self-knowledge and developing positive routines and habits.
Personally, having more of Kapha/Pitta type skin, practicing yoga for over 20 years, living more of an Ayurvedic lifestyle for 15 years, time has been good to my skin. Yet, since entering my fourth decade, having a child in my late thirties, and the stress from traumatic losses. Admittedly, I have noticed the inevitable signs of aging speed up; and my earnestness to ramp up my skin care regimen, with organic products, proper exercise, and diet that includes anti-aging supplements to slow it down. As a practicing clinician, I also see the puffiness of eyes as a sign of kidney disorder, dry skin as depletion of Ojas and reddish skin tone as high Pitta. The elements or doshas (VPK) of the skin can be balanced with topical remedies infused with flower essences, clays and serums of pure oils. Ayurveda has been ahead of the times by providing a proven holistic science, passed through the ages and applicable to modern life.