AYURVEDIC BEAUTY PRACTICES You Can Start Incorporating Right Now
The world of Ayurveda is multifaceted. It’s a holistic way of living: From detox to beauty, from mindfulness to nutrition, there are many avenues of Ayurveda to ground the body and live a full, nourished life. However, all of these steps and rituals can seem overwhelming, and being stressed out is most definitely not the intention of Ayurveda.
The good news is that we don’t have to do it all at once in order to live a more Ayurvedic lifestyle! Incorporating simple practices into our daily regime is a great way to incorporate Ayurveda in a way that speaks to and serves us best, based on our own unique bio-individuality. Here are a few of our favorites to get started.
First thing in the morning, prior to brushing your teeth and before you consume anything, use a copper tongue scraper to pull a nighttime layer (ew) off of your tongue. You’ll see a thick, white, mucus-y substance come off the tongue, which is a build-up of toxic bacteriathat we do not want to swallow.
It’s said that this practice also helps to turn on internal organs through energetic stimulation, improving digestion by boosting our sense of taste. Repeat the scrape about 7 times, rinsing your scraper in between.
After tongue scraping, take a comfortable sip (about a tablespoon or two) of sunflower, safflower, sesame, or coconut oil and swish it around the mouth for 5-15 minutes without swallowing. Pull the oil between the teeth firmly while swishing to ensure it lubricates every part of the mouth. Take careful measure not to swallow any of the oil, and spit it out after 15 minutes max (if you’re using coconut oil, make sure to spit it in the garbage and not the sink, as it can solidify with cold temps and create a blockage).
This practice is said to treat and prevent many diseases by collecting harmful bacteria that live between the teeth, gums, and back of the throat in the oil and safely removing it each day. After spitting out the oil, brush your teeth as normal for an extra clean, soft smile.
This ancient practice has garnered much attention lately. Not only does dry brushing exfoliate the skin, but it provides the body with much needed lymphatic assistance. Our lymph system does not circulate automatically like our blood does: It actually requires manual pumping, through exercise and massage. Dry brushing in an upward motion, starting at the feet and brushing up towards the heart and lymph points of drainage, will help facilitate this flow, and can help reduce puffiness and swelling, and move stagnant toxins.
Consume More Hot Liquids
In Ayurveda, it is believed that drinking hot or warm water and tea — or consuming other beverages at warm temperatures — is better for digestion than drinking cooler water. The theory is that the body’s digestive fire, known in Ayurveda as agni, can be dampened with cold foods and drink. We want to continue to stoke the fire so that it is healthy and strong, rather than sluggish and bogged down.
While there are few scientific studies that explore whether or not cold water dampens agni, it has been known that cold water — especially consumed with or after a meal — can cause cramping or stomach discomfort. Cold temperatures cause contraction, while heat is relaxing. Hot water can even relax the digestive system and bowels, causing more comfortable movement for healthy digestion as food passes through, as well as for other more invasive situations, like a colonoscopy.
A beautiful act of self-love requiring some time and intention, this full-body self massage is done with warm oil, starting from the soles of our feet and going to the top of our head. Not only is it comforting, relaxing, and feels great (as a massage typically tends to!), but it also aids in lymphatic drainage, improved circulation which can lead to wound healing and skin clarity, and deep, lasting, emollient moisture.
This massage is great for tired, dry, or damaged skin, as better blood flow can help fade scars, diminish the appearance of cellulite, and restore a supple, resilient bounce to the skin.
This practice involves the art of breath control, and we do it most often in yoga. It’s excellent for calming the nervous system, awakening the muscles, and merging the body and mind into a unified flow state for a feeling of total alignment.
Ayurvedic meals are a known practice to balance the doshas. The doshas are our general constitution, and the Ayurvedic doshas are Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. We can be a combination of these, dominant in one or another — and these can become out of balance.
An example would be the Pitta dosha. It’s typically fiery, hot, and very active. If our Pitta is too high, we must consume cooling foods to bring ourselves into a state of balance. Vata is typically dry and cold, so we must eat moist, warming foods to bring that dosha back into balance. Being intentional about food choices based on how we feel at any given time is a highly intuitive Ayurvedic practice that calls us to be in touch with our physical state.
While these Ayurvedic practices are all a part of living holistically, they are also simple wellness and hygiene rituals that anyone can incorporate into their daily routines slowly in time — or even just every once in a while. Try one or a few out, and check in with your body to see how you feel! We recommend keeping an observation journal any time you incorporate a new wellness practice into your life. This way, you can learn to become very in tune with your body’s needs and changes, and understand which practices serve you best and which ones you might not need or result in any perceivable change.