DHATUS AND BEAUTY
When beauty is discussed in the realm of Ayurveda, we are not referring to societally-driven ideals of cosmetic beauty, but are addressing the perfect symphony between inner and outer vitality and well being. The more we nurture ourselves from the inside, abiding by Ayurvedic lifestyle guidelines, the more we will become radiant and glowing on the outside. Therefore, each and every part of our physical bodies needs to be nurtured to ensure that the functionality of the body is in prime condition, subsequently reflecting in our outer appearance.
One of the most basic elements of our physical constitution is our body tissues, known as Dhatus. There are seven dhatus in our body, each of which nourishes and supports the other. The seven dhatus are as follows, along with their functions, beauty related manifestations when unbalanced, and examples of ways to balance them:
|Dhatu||Function||When unbalanced||How to balance|
|Rasa (tissue fluids)||Receives nutrients from digestion and helps nourish body||Dryness, anemia, premature ageing, emaciation||Fasting|
|Rakta (red blood cells)||Brings oxygen to tissues and removes carbon dioxide||Dryness, dull skin, varicose veins, rashes, acne, bruising||Fasting, deep breathing|
|Mamsa (skeletal muscles)||Covers the skeleton and gives the body its shape||Eczema, dermatitis, cysts, psoriasis, inability to gain muscle||Exercise and diet|
|Meda (fat and connective tissue)||Lubrication||Dry skin, obesity/emaciation, dry or oily hair, brittle nails||Fasting, exercise|
|Asthi (bones)||Supports muscles||Osteoporosis, poor posture, cavities, hair loss, beard on women||Panchakarama|
|Majja (bone marrow)||Fills spaces in the body||Sunken or protruding eyes, numbness||Dosha balancing|
|Shukra (reproductive tissue)||Reproduction||hormonal/reproductive system-related hair fall, acne, etc.||Exercise and diet|
The dhatus operate in a domino-like system, wherein each one nourishes the next. Furthermore, they also nourish and support subsidiary tissues known as upadhatu and produce waste known as malas. Knowledge of Dhatus, upadhatus and malas are essential to understand how to bring beauty and vitality to shine out of our beings. Taking the examples of skin, hair and nails can help illustrate this. For skin, rasa, rakta and mamsa have to be in good condition. For nails, asthi dhatu or its supportive dhatus- rasa, rakta, mamsa and meda- must be functioning well. Similarly, for hair, strong majja dhatu is necessary.
While the nourishment and good conditioning of dhatus is essential to beauty, elimination of malas or wastes is equally so according to Ayurveda. The dhatus must be kept cleansed of malas to ensure that they are able to absorb nutrients and thereby reflect freshness and vitality.
Since dhatus support and nourish one another and are thus interdependent, overall vitality is necessary for beauty according to Ayurveda. When an overall state of physical well being is achieved through proper lifestyle, diet and sleep, and subsequently all the tissues in the body are in good condition, the body creates Ojas, or life force. Ojas can be viewed as a central ingredient in outer beauty, because it creates life energy, vitality, and glow. When we manage to create strong Ojas, we are gifted with beautiful and clear skin, thick and lustrous hair, a flexible and toned body and an overall aura of grace and glow. Therefore, in order to achieve eternal beauty we must focus on strengthening the Ojas by maintaining a lifestyle of optimal health.
As discussed in a previous blog on Wellness & Beauty in Ayurveda, we must focus on the three pillars of diet, sleep and lifestyle to ensure overall vitality that reflects in outward beauty. These principles apply to the proper condition of our dhatus, the balance of which leads to harmony, a strong Ojas and radiant, refreshed and resplendent outer beauty.