7 Well Being Best Practices of Truly Healthy People

In my personal well being journey, it was important and beneficial to begin in the spiritual realm by exploring my relationship with myself. For me, this was through learning about ayurveda and applying its principles to my life.

Ayurveda, which translates vaguely to “life knowledge,” is the ancient art and science of life from India. It goes well beyond doshas and into the truly holistic genre of spiritual healing.

Subscribing to ayurvedic beliefs and practices helped me transform years of eating disorders, insomnia, and digestive disturbances. Once I began to do this, I was able to make myriad diet and lifestyle changes that have given me sustainable health. Now, as a teacher of ayurveda, it brings me joy to share some insights as a foundation for deeper healing.

Here are what the ancient ayurvedic sages discovered as best practices of truly healthy people. All of these have changed my own life, as well. Continue reading

All-Natural DIY Anti-Acne & Anti-Aging Facial Recipe

(As published as “Featured Today Highlight,” “Featured Wellness Article,” “Featured Green Article,” and in “Popular Lately” on ElephantJournal.com)

One of the most inspiring aspects of Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of life from India, is how it empowers us to take health into our own hands in all respects.

As someone who has tried every product out there to combat acne-prone skin as a teenager and in my early 20s, I was very grateful to discover an abundance of skincare recipes that can be created right from the comforts of one’s own kitchen from the Ayurvedic pantheon.

Now that I am in my late 20s, not only have my skin and wallet thanked me for the all-natural ways I have adopted to care for my skin, but people actually think I look approximately ten years younger than I am.

The skin is the largest organ of the body.

In Ayurveda, the quality of one’s skin is considered a reflection of one’s overall digestion. Not only does what we put inside our body matter; so does what we put onto our skin. The skin, like the stomach, has to digest whatever it comes into contact with.

One of the keys to skincare in Ayurveda is that we would never apply something onto our body that we would not want to consume orally. In other words, if we aren’t able to safely eat something, we won’t put it onto our skin either.

Here is one of my favorite Ayurvedic facial skincare recipes that I make and appreciate for its anti-acne and anti-aging qualities. It is all-natural and made up of some wonderful ingredients that are just as beneficial for you when eaten as they are when applied topically on your skin.

Ingredients:

1. Sandalwood Powder

Sandalwood (called Chandan in Sanskrit) is one of the most popular Ayurvedic herbs for beauty. It is cooling, soothing, and has a pleasant aroma. Its pharmacological actions also include being antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, blood purifying and intellect promoting. It is often used therapeutically in bleeding and burning conditions of the body. Sandalwood also has a quality called ahladana in Sanskrit, which means it gives happiness. Consumed internally (usually with coconut water), sandalwood gives relief to excessive thirst.

2. Turmeric

One of the main actions of turmeric is called varnya in Sanskrit, which means it improves the complexion, tone, and texture of the skin. It is an antioxidant, antiallergenic, antimicrobial herb that supports us in building immunity inside the body (when consumed internally as part of many Ayurvedic meal recipes). Turmeric additionally greatly benefits the lungs and helps in diseases of the blood, such as anemia. Turmeric’s beautifying properties are so well-known by Indians that there is an entire ritual dedicated to applying turmeric-based skin recipes onto the bride’s skin the day before she gets married.

3. Saffron

Saffron is another very popular Ayurvedic beauty enhancer. Have you ever seen the red dots that Indian women wear on their foreheads between the eyebrows? Nowadays, this is for purely cosmetic value (and created out of a sticky material to allow it to remain on the forehead). Traditionally, however, saffron was worn on the forehead as what is called a bindi (a small red dot between the eyebrows), which also had the added benefit of helping prevent and heal headaches. Saffron is also used as a great rejuvenating herb mixed into warm milk, in which it serves as a rejuvenating herb in cases of debility. Saffron added to warm milk also helps alleviate colds in children.

4. Masoor Dal

This type of lentil can be found in all Indian stores. It is a reddish-orange colored lentil that purifies the blood and is particularly beneficial for fevers when cooked and consumed as food. There are three bioforces in the body, according to Ayurveda. The main dosha (bioforce) involved in acne is called pittadosha. An imbalanced pitta dosha is one of the main causative factors contributing to the presence of acne. By balancing pitta dosha, masoor dal is a great anti-acne ingredient.

How to make & apply it:

1. Place 1 cup of masoor dal into a coffee grinder or blender.

2. Add 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder.

3. Put 15-20 strands of saffron into the mix.

4. Add 2 teaspoons of sandalwood powder.

5. Grind or blend the mixture into a fine powder.

6. Mix a little water into the powder to make a paste.

7. Apply the paste to your face.

8. Keep the facial on for about 5-10 minutes.

9. Rinse off with cool water.

Tip: The best time to apply this facial is just prior to your shower in the morning.

Start applying some of Ayurveda’s kitchen-based wisdom to your face and say good-bye to years of spending exorbitant amounts of money on skincare products. Now that I’ve transformed my skincare routine, there’s no looking back.

References:

Dash, Bhagawan. Materia Medica of Ayurveda. New Delhi: Health & Harmony, 1991.

Hegde, Prakash. A Text Book of Dravyaguna Vijnana. New Delhi: Chaukhamba Publications, 2014.

Paranjpe, Prakash. Ayurvedic Home Remedies. New Delhi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan, 2000.

Photo Credit: Steven Jackson/Flickr

4 All-Natural, Ayurvedic Insomnia Solutions

(As published as “Featured Story” on MindBodyGreen.com)

It’s easy to think nothing of missing a little sleep here or there, especially to accomplish more work. I used to believe this, and stayed up many a late night to try to take advantage of the quietness that nighttime provides.

The reality of losing sleep, however, is quite grim. Whereas proper sleep gives you the ability to receive knowledge, the ancient Ayurveda texts teach us that lack of proper sleep not only puts us in poor mental states, but also deteriorates our memory, and hampers our focus, creativity and decision-making abilities. In this sense, regular lack of sleep easily gives rise to ignorance, in terms of both thoughts and behavior.

Modern health experts agree. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) even conducted a study that found that poor sleep at night can impair our behavior just as much as being legally drunk does.

As a lifelong student, and now teacher and practitioner of Ayurveda, I am most passionate about promoting the sub-science of Ayurveda called Svasthavritta, which includes many all-natural, dietary and lifestyle-based solutions to a variety of health challenges, including insomnia.

As someone who used to suffer from chronic insomnia, these four all-natural Ayurvedic insomnia solutions have all worked wonders for me, and I’m delighted to share them with you.

1. Sleep by 10pm and arise by 6am.

“Early to bed, early to rise” is not only a popular colloquial expression; it’s also one of Ayurveda’s most important insomnia solutions. By going to sleep no later than 10:00pm each evening, and arising no later than 6am, you benefit from the time frame it’s easiest to fall and remain asleep. You also live in greater overall harmony with the natural cycles of day and night.

The atmosphere during the time period between 8:30pm and 10:00pm is dominant in a quality known in Ayurveda psychology as tamas, which is essentially inertia or dullness. Tamas is a very helpful quality for making it easier to sleep. During the daytime, starting at 6:00am, the atmosphere is charged with the quality of rajas, which is connected with activity and movement.

I now find that waking up early (between 4:00am and 6:00am) gives me even more and higher-quality quiet time than I used to experience by staying awake late at night. Waking up early also helps you sleep more easily at night.

2. Turn off your T.V. and laptop after 8:00pm.

Your mind and psyche is constantly bombarded with inputs from a variety of media sources throughout the day. By turning off the television and computer screens at night, you can do our sleep a big favor by allowing yourself to stay away from mental distractions and start to prepare for the upcoming act of sleep.

3. Create a bedtime ritual.

Speaking of preparing for sleep at night, Harvard Business Review recently published an article about the importance of having a meaningful practice to help wind down your day. The science of Ayurveda has recommended this for thousands of years, via its various dinacharya (daily routine) practices.

According to Ayurveda’s dinacharya protocol, you should spend the hours of 6:00pm and 10:00pm in the company of the people, pets, books and activities that give you a sense of peace, calmness and grounding. Just before bedtime, it’s also recommended to adopt a practice that inspires you, such as reading an uplifting book, writing in your journal, going for an evening walk, listening to soothing music, or practicing meditation.

4. Oil your feet, the top of your head, and the back of your ears.

Another wonderful health ritual Ayurveda recommends for sound, quality sleep is the practice of oiling the soles of your feet, the top of your head, and the back of your ears with warm sesame oil. Doing so not only promotes healthy sleep; it also helps counteract the aging process and combats stress.

Following Ayurveda’s insomnia solutions has greatly transformed the quality of sleep I experience. Try these timeless solution, and you, too, can also start to sleep deeply, thanks to Ayurveda.