Ayurveda, the Science of Life, is a holistic approach to health and well-being with the aim of achieving longevity and vitality and preventing disease. It emphasizes the deep connection between physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health to achieve overall wellness. The concept of balance is central to this ancient wisdom, for it is only when all aspects of one’s being – mind, body and soul – are in perfect harmony that one can awaken one’s innate healing power and live a healthy life.
Beauty in Ayurveda:
The concept of beauty in Ayurveda is also based on balance and holistic wellness. Beauty in Ayurveda consists of an intimate connection between the internal and the external. The outer appearance is simply a reflection of the inner functionality of the body, mind and soul. When it comes to beauty, rather than focusing on symptoms, Ayurveda focuses on causes (imbalances) that bring about these symptoms. (Can give an example here- acne, weight gain, etc. – please talk about the change in body’s tendency to gain and retain weight due to such imbalance) Therefore, the focus is on nurturing our being in every aspect so as to achieve harmony and balance, allowing us to achieve a state of eternal beauty. A body that is in harmony and balance brings out qualities of freshness, vitality, brightness and glow from within us to reflect on the outside.
It is a combination of physical health and daily self-care rituals that promote internal wellness and can bring out our true natural beauty:
1. Physical Health: Three pillars of health according to Ayurveda (Trayopstambha)
- Ahaara or Diet: A dietary regime in Ayurveda consists not only of what one eats, but also where, when and how one eats. Each individual should eat a diet that balances their doshas to ensure optimal overall health. There are set times for when to eat each meal, as well as food combinations that must be adhered to. Further, meals must be eaten mindfully and without distractions to facilitate proper digestion. According to Ayurveda, when an individual follows the correct dietary regimen as per his doshas, there will be proper digestion and nutrient absorption, inevitably leading to immense outer beauty.
- Nidra or Sleep Pattern: According to Ayurveda, healthy adults need 6-8 hours of restful sleep every night. One must sleep between 6-10PM (Kapha time) and wake up between 2-6AM, preferably right before sunrise during Brahmamuhurta (the time of Bramha), to ensure healthy functioning of internal organs. Over or undersleeping is the root cause of many diseases according to Ayurveda, because it leads to doshic imbalance. Needless to say, a regular sleep schedule according to Ayurvedic guidelines is bound to bring out immeasurable beauty and vitality.
- Brahmacharya or Proper Conduct: The third pillar of health consists of having a proper conduct in daily life, literally translating to “conduct consistent with Brahma”.
2. Beauty Rituals
In addition, Ayurveda has innumerable beauty rituals and techniques that directly enhance outer beauty. Rather than suggesting quick fixes to common cosmetic problems, the beauty rituals in Ayurveda are designed to target balance in your being so that the root cause is addressed. Furthermore, the use of natural ingredients ensures that there is no chemical damage and that everything entering your body through your external organs benefits your internal organs.
Some of the beauty rituals in Ayurveda include Abhyangam (self-massage), Snanam (baths), Essential Oil therapy, and the use of natural face packs, shampoos and soaps. Each ingredient used has numerous benefits for overall well-being, and these rituals are done in conjunction with lifestyle practices that promote physical health.
As is the case with most topics, beauty is viewed from a holistic perspective by Ayurveda. A healthy body-mind balance inevitably reflects outwards, leading to glowing skin, optimal weight, lustrous hair, and true natural beauty.