Pitta balancing diet Part 1: Using specific Rasas (tastes) to balance Pitta

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

If you are suffering from a visible Pitta imbalance like premature greying, acne outbreaks, then a Pitta balancing diet can help holistically heal your condition. Ayurveda believes in following a holistic approach to understanding skin and hair issues. Hair and skin reflects the body’s state of balance. Diet, emotional well being, quality of sleep, quality of daily Vyayama (exercise) all affect the body. These factors create changes in the subtle alignment of doshas in our body. This reflects in the quality of our skin or hair.

Pitta dosha: qualities and life stage

Pitta is “snigdha” (oily), “teekshna” (sharp), “ushna” (hot), “laghu” (light) “vishra” (mal-odourous), “sara“ ( flowing / laxative), and “drava” (liquid).

Hence when we have Pitta aggravation in our body, we could experience sharp discomfort in the abdomen, diarrhoea, gastritis, temper flares, strong body odour, high sweating, oiliness on hair and skin, etc. We could also develop acne flare ups, experience premature greying & also hair thinning.

Pitta aggravation can cause strong body odour

Ayurveda tells us that every lifestage is dominant in a certain dosha. Middle age, i.e. 30 – 60 years is considered Pitta dominant lifestage. In this age period, we naturally tend to harness and utilise Pitta’s qualities to help us focus on our career, manage our responsibilities, etc. Hence at this stage, we become even more sensitive to Pitta aggravation.

Pitta aggravating foods:

We had written earlier in detail about foods that trigger or aggravate Pitta in the body. This includes fermented foods, salty foods, spicy foods, and sour foods. We have a pretty detailed list of don’ts in the earlier blog post. This list includes commercial packaged RTE foods which are high in hidden salts and imported delicacies like Greek yoghurt, tahini sauce and hummus.

Consumption of these foods is tolerable when our doshas in balance. At this time, Pitta drayvyas help stimulate appetite, aid digestion and allow for appropriately timed digestion in the body. The problem occurs when we have already aggravated Pitta dosha.

In a Pitta aggravated person, a single helping of curd or 2 meals with idlis and dosas in them can act like a lit match on a petrol doused bundle. Pitta sharply flares up and you will notice an increase in rage issues, skin oiliness, breakouts and inability to switch off and sleep on time.

A single helping of curd can tip teh balance if you are already pitta aggravated

Basics of a Pitta balancing diet:

The Pitta balancing diet is based on 3 principles to help balance aggravated Pitta:

  • Introduce Tastes (Rasas) that are opposite to Pitta to bring Pitta down
  • Introduce Agni balancing dravyas and Spices
  • Ensure Pitta is not spiked by controlling meal timings

Each of these work in a slightly different way to harmonise aggravated Agni. In this post , we will explore the use of Rasa (tastes) to help balance aggravated Pitta dosha.

 

Using Opposing Tastes (Rasas) to balance Pitta:

A Pitta balancing diet uses “bitter”, “sweet” and “astringent” tastes that act like a countermeasure to Pitta which is “amla” (sour), “lavana” (salty) and “katu” (spicy) in taste. The tastes are added in this order: Bitter, Sweet and Astringent for best effect on aggravated Pitta.

 

Using Bitter taste “Tikta Rasa” to balance excess Pitta:

Bitter taste (Tikta rasa) is very pitta balancing. Bitter taste has the quality of “dryness”, coolness” and “lightness”. Hence it helps balance the oiliness and heat caused by aggravated Pitta dosha. Therefore, including foods, herbs and seasonings which are rich in Tikta rasa, is an essential part of a Pitta balancing diet.

Many local vegetables and greens are inherently “Tikta” in rasa. For example, parwal, lauki, ridge gourd, ash gourd are native gourds. All of these gourds have an inherent “tikta” or bitter rasa. These vegetables can be added to vegetable / dal dishes to impart a bitter taste to food.

Local gourds are naturally rich in Tikta rasa

 

“Shukto” and Vempampoo-rasam (Neem flower rasam) are also examples of bitter rasa found in traditional cuisine. Neem flower rasam is introduced in Indian cuisine at the beginning of the onset of Summer, when Pitta is high.

Traditional cooking also has included many tikta rasa rich dishes seasonally

Certain spices and seasonings also have a “tikta rasa”. An example is fenugreek seed which is recommended to be eaten by diabetics and pre-diabetics in Ayurveda. Bitter rasa in moderate amounts is useful to control Pitta aggravation and Kapha aggravation. Similarly, rosemary, oregano and parsley seasoning also has a mild Tikta rasa.

Tikta dravyas can aggravate Vata dosha when eaten in excess and cause dryness in the body. Hence, as always, please follow moderation when planning your meals.

Some examples of Tikta Rasa dravyas:

  • Vegetables
    • Bitter gourd
    • Methi greens
    • Parwal
    • Lauki (Bottle gourd)
    • Ash gourd (white pumpkin)
    • Ridge gourd
    • Non sour locally available greens
  • Spices & seasonings
    • Turmeric
    • Fenugreek seed
    • Rosemary
    • Oregano
    • Thyme

Turmeric is rich in Tikta rasa and is highly nutritious

  • Ayurvedic Tikta Herbs used in Krya products
    • Neem
    • Neem flower
    • Kalmegh
    • Vetiver
    • Sandalwood

Sandal is cleansing and good for skin and high in tikta rasa

Meal plan suggestions:

From this list, we can look at including the following naturally Tikta (bitter) foods  to craft a Pitta balancing diet :

  • Local gourds added to liquid / gravy dishes in a rotational basis like Lauki, Parwal, etc
  • Use of Tikta herbs in cooking to season food like turmeric, Fenugreek, etc
  • Occasional use of Tikta dried herbs to flavour food like Rosemary, Thyme, etc wherever appropriate

Include seasonal local gourds into your cuisine

Using Sweet taste “Madhura Rasa” to balance excess Pitta:

Madhura Rasa is “guru” (heavy), “sheetya” (cold), “snigdha” (oily) and is nourishing and grounding due to the predominance of Prithvi Panchamahabootha. Hence it helps calm down and ground aggravated Pitta. This does not mean that we should gorge on desserts and sweets. These are artificially sweet due to the presence of sugar in them. In Ayurveda, when we say “Sweet” or “Madhura rasa”, we mean that the tongue recognises the substance as “sweet” (Rasa) and that its taste post digestion in the body (Vipaka) is also sweet.

An example of this is Milk. A2 cows milk when freshly boiled has Madhura Rasa (tongue taste) and Madhura vipaka (taste post digestion). Hence it is used to balance Pitta aggravation in the diet.

As Madhura Rasa is also “snigdha”, eating too much of this can trigger excess oiliness and heaviness in the body. Hence do not eat artificially sweet substances, or eat too much of Madhura rasa.

Some other examples of Madhura dravya / Substances are the following:

  • Cereals
    • Aged rice
    • Aged Wheat
  • Sweeteners
    • Mishri (unprocessed sugar candy)
    • Guda (jaggery)
  • Vegetables
    • Fresh coconut pulp, milk and water
    • Naturally sweet Vegetables like sweet potato, beetroot, Kaddu (yellow pumpkin), carrot

Beets and naturally sweet vegetables are rich in Madhura rasa

  • Fruits
    • Dried Black Raisins (draksha) – Munakka variety
    • Seasonal Sweet, juicy fruits
  • Dairy
    • Freshly boiled , unpasteurised A2 cow milk
    • A2 ghee
  • Ayurvedic Madhura Herbs used in Krya products
    • Liquorice
    • Guda (Jaggery)
    • Guduchi (Madhura vipaka only)

Meal plan suggestions:

From this list, we can look at including the following naturally Madhura (sweet) foods in our diet to help balance aggravated Pitta.

  • Melted A2 cow ghee – across all meals in small amounts
  • A2 cows milk – unpasteurised and freshly boiled – one small glass everyday

 

A2 Cows milk is nourishing and madhura in nature

  • Seasonal sweet, juicy fruits
  • Rotation of Natural sweet vegetables
  • Carefully sourced Aged organic Rice and wheat
  • 2 – 3 soaked Munakka (large black grape) raisins 3 – 4 times a week

Dried raisin is an excellent pitta balancing dry fruit

 

Using Astringent taste “Kashaya Rasa” to balance excess Pitta:

Kashaya rasa is a taste that is most often missing in modern-day foods. This is an important rasa which is vital to our health. Foods rich in Kashaya rasa usually have a lekhaniya (scraping effect) and are very useful in healing the body of excess fat, fluid collection, inflammation, etc. Kashaya rasa has “rooksha” (drying), “sheetya” (cold) and “laghu” (light) qualities- hence it helps balance Pitta dosha.

Kashaya rasa is wound healing, absorbs excess secretions and clears mucous. It helps clarify the tongue and skin and is calming and healing to the body. It is also a good blood clarifier.

In excess, Kashaya rasa can be excessively drying and vata aggravating on the body. Please do not overindulge in this taste.

 

Some examples of Kashaya Rasa dravyas:

  • Vegetables
    • Broccoli
    • Lettuce
    • Fennel
    • Banana flower

Banana flower is naturally kashaya in nature

  • Fruits
    • Amla (Indian gooseberry)
    • Pomegranates (choose well ripened, sweet fruits and not sour)

Pomegranate is a medicinal fruit which has strong Kashaya rasa

  • Sweeteners
    • Honey
    • Indian Date – Kharik

Indian date is Kashaya in nature

  • Herbs & seasonings
    • Parsley
    • Coriander
    • Basil
  • Ayurvedic Kashaya herbs used in Krya products
    • Amla
    • Haritaki
    • Vibhitaki
    • Triphala(combination of above 3 herbs)
    • Khadira
    • Arjuna Twak (bark)
    • Lodhra Twak (bark)
    • Sappanwood

 

Meal plan suggestions:

From this list, we can look at including the following naturally Astringent (sweet) foods in our diet to create a Pitta balancing diet .

  • Amla made in different methods 2 – 3 times a week: Can be made as a raita (using buttermilk or thin curd), Chutney, Preserve, or as a souring agent into Dal / Sambhar

Include Amla in your diet frequently

  • Pomegranates – 2 times a week – choose sweet fruits only
  • Chutneys / Dips / Pesto made from Basil / Coriander – twice a week
  • Overnight soaked Khajoora eaten once / twice a week

 

To sum up:

In part 1 of our post describing the Pitta balancing diet, we explored how using specific Rasas (tastes) in your meals can help bring down aggravated Pitta.  Using rasas which have opposing qualities as that of Pitta help balance spiked Pitta levels and also bring in better nourishment and satiety to the body, improving health.

In the next part of our blog post, we will explore how using specific dravyas and spices like milk, ghee, coriander seeds, etc help counter excess Agni in the body. In the case of certain dravyas, we will also explore how different prakritis (body types) should have these dravyas for optimal health. Part 3 of our post will have detailed daily meal plan suggestions that can help you plan a Pitta balancing diet.

 

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The Nourishing shampoo oxymoron

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Are you also looking for a nourishing shampoo? Read on to find out why we believe the term” nourishing shampoo” is an oxymoron.

We often come across a weird statement when we quiz people with severe hair loss – they tell us rather proudly that they are using a very mild, very nourishing and very gentle shampoo. Some of them hasten to add, that they are using a mild nourishing baby shampoo. Some more, tell us that they are using an SLS free nourishing shampoo.

Can a synthetic shampoo actually be nourishing? We think not!

There are many oxymorons in the above statement. One is the oxymoron of the “nourishing shampoo”. The other is the oxymoron of the SLS free shampoo. The third is the oxymoron of the “mild baby shampoo”.

Why is a nourishing shampoo an urban myth?


A shampoo is a synthetic cleaner made from 2 sources: a degreaser invented in the 1940s to clean factory floors and cars and petroleum based emollients to artificially coat hair.
SLS and SLeS are 2 common synthetic surfactants that come from the original degreaser invented in the 1940s. Because of the strong customer backlash against SLS and SLeS, many other surfactants are now in use: For example, Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Decyl Glycoside, PEG 40 Glyceryl Cocoate .

 

A synthetic surfactant is scarily efficient at removing grease and dirt from any surface. This makes it great for a non living thing like a car or a shop floor, but terrible for a living organism like you and your hair.

 A shampoo is for cars - not hair!

Human body: adapts to changes in weather and environment


The human body is a complex, living mechanism that adapts quickly to changes in our diet, environment, age and other factors. So in winter, when the weather is cold and winds are drying, the body conserves moisture and oil by reducing sweat production. Sebum is tightly conserved in the body through various mechanisms to ensure skin and scalp is coated well.
Skin adjusts to changes in wetaher and conserves sebum accordingly.
The Agni production in the body increases, so you get hungry and are drawn to rich oily foods to supplement the need for sebum in the body.The body adjusts not just to external weather conditions. If you work in a cold, dry, winter Sahara like environment, the body adjusts to that as well – so you will find water conservation being practiced and sebum being tightly conserved.

A synthetic ‘nourishing shampoo’ – impervious to changes in weather


Obviously, a synthetic surfactant is impervious to all these minute changes. No matter whether it is winter, summer, freezing, and humid or dry, your nourishing shampoo will over cleanse and bubble the oil out of your scalp. In some seasons and some parts of your life, you could get away with this for sometime.
But in other seasons / life stages, this practice of over cleansing will catch up with you. Your hair will either over-react or increase sebum production leaving you looking perpetually oily. OR your scalp and hair will suffer, looking dry, brittle and rough as your Sebum production system literally gasps for breath.
Persistent shampoo use severely dries out skin & scalp

 

And therefore we come to the second part of a synthetic shampoo’s formula: the petroleum based coating agents that are put in to COVER UP the damage.

Cover up artists: added to make you believe your nourishing shampoo is actually nourishing


A synthetic shampoo without petroleum based coating agents will leave you depressed. A single wash will show you just how miserable, rough and dry your hair is. So these petroleum based coating agents and silicones are added to EVERY single synthetic shampoo to instantly coat the hair externally and cover up the damage.
A synthetic conditioner is a more concentrated form of the very same set of COVER UP ARTISTS: so if your hair NEEDS a conditioner after every wash and looks terrible without it, you should get a clue about how damaging your synthetic shampoo actually is. It is your nourishing shampoo that is damaging your hair, making it need the conditioner in the first place – there is nothing inherently wrong with your hair.
Silicone and petroleum derived ingredients are like cement – they are not food for your hair. They can at best coat the hair strands from outside. temporarily and cannot heal / nourish / repair it any way.

With constant use of these products, you run the risk of blocking the natural functioning of your scalp and coating it from outside . So your scalp is unable to breathe, cannot eliminate toxins, cannot produce the right amount of sebum and hair follicles are restricted form natural growth.

Conditioners are synthetic and coat hair, to cover up damage

Constantly using a nourishing shampoo has terrible consequences for hair


The combination of a Surfactant + Silicone and Petroleum derived coating agents is TERRIBLE for hair . Constant use of a synthetic surfactant thins down the natural scalp and skin membrane. This is because Surfactants are extremely good at dissolving all kinds of proteins (oils and grease).
Unfortunately hair and skin are both proteins – so consistent use of a protein dissolving surfactant on your scalp and skin is damaging and dangerous for your body. By thinning down the natural barrier your scalp and skin provide for your body, your shampoo allows all kinds of environmental toxins, and micro organisms to invade your body.

So a Synthetic shampoo is BAD NEWS for you, NOT NOURISHING and DANGEROUS for long term use.

A healthier, better alternative to a synthetic nourishing shampoo


Ayurveda suggests using a combination of WHOLE, NATURAL herbs, roots and flowers in the right combination for your hair type to cleanse your hair. Please note the use of the word “WHOLE” in this statement. This does not mean a synthetic shampoo with “Shikakai extracts” is okay to use on hair. This is an equally synthetic shampoo.
A truly natural hair cleansing option has to be:

1. Powder format

Krya uses a 100% natural, gentle cleansing base that uses whole herbs, lentils & healing clays
2. Using whole herbs that have been processed appropriately
3. No extracts should be used in this mix – we know a product does not contain extracts if it contains fiber and if residues remain on your hair
How to craft a truly natuarl product : start with whole herbs
4. Low foam that is thin and watery and not thick and creamy like a synthetic shampoo
We have written an extensive post earlier on some of the challenges we face when creating a truly natural shampoo at Krya.

Improvements to hair health when a truly natural shampoo powder is used:


When this truly natural shampoo powder is used in conjunction with regular hair oiling, we notice the following effects:

1. Hair has balanced sebum secretion, so you need to wash it less frequently
2. Scalp is healthy – it is not coated with residue and there is healthy hair growth

 

3. Scalp is not dry, itchy and flaky – indicating that sebum production is not under siege due to harsh cleansing

4. Hair feels smooth, silky, has good colour that is close to nature.

5. There are no split ends and little or no static when you brush / comb hair

6. Hair has good elastic strength – you can tug, twist or style it without it breaking

When you use a truly natural shampoo powder, hair's elasticity & tug strength improves

Is there a CON to using a truly natural shampoo powder? YES. It takes some getting used to. It is not as convenient as using a synthetic shampoo. BUT, it is great for hair. And it is NOT a CON-ARTIST like your synthetic nourishing shampoo.

To sum up:

Through this post, we hoped to disabuse you of the notion that synthetic shampoos are mild, nourishing or even good for you.  A truly natural, authentic , Ayurvedic shampoo powder is FAR better and healthier for your hair.

Here is what we recommend for various kinds of hair issues:
1. For pitta aggravation (premature hair graying, hair thinning), choose the Krya Classic hair range –http://bit.ly/kryapittaprakritihaircare
2. For vata based aggravation (dry scalp, dry, brittle, dull, rough hair that breaks easily) choose the Krya Conditioning hair range – http://bit.ly/kryavatahaircarerange
3. For high mental stress based vata aggravation (inability to sleep, wound up, long working hours, poor hair growth and dry hair), choose the Krya harmony range – http://bit.ly/kryastresshairfallrange
4. For poor hair growth and breakdown in hair quality due to high chemical damage (perming, straightening, re-bonding, re-texturing treatments, frequent synthetic colouring and heat treatments), choose the Krya Damage repair Range – http://bit.ly/kryadamagerepairrange
5. For fungal dandruff (thick, yellow, oily, itchy, thick dandruff flakes) choose the Krya Anti dandruff range – http://bit.ly/kryaantidandruffrange
6. For extremely slow hair growth combined with extremely high hair loss typically after illness or long term medication ( Dengue, malaria, chikungunya, Fertility treatment, Hypo thyroidism, PCOD, PCOS) choose the Krya Intense hair range – http://bit.ly/kryaintenserangeIf you are seeing a combination of symptoms or are unable to choose, write to us or call us (0-75500-89090).

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How to revamp Chemically Damaged hair – choosing the right Damage Repair Shampoo

Krya damage repair shampoo powder for chemically damaged hair
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Reading Time: 10 minutes

Desperately Seeking Susan a Damage Repair Shampoo for chemically damaged, over processed hair that actually works?

We’ve all been there. Flush with a salary cheque, and dreams of transforming the way you look, you find your way into the high end salon. Every single salon “artiste” there is sports a sharp cut and a heady mix of colours on the hair. Emboldened by this, you throw caution to the winds and go all out. a hair cut and a completely new style, recommended by the “Salon director” himself and a fresh new head of hair emerges. It looks great on day 1. A week later, after your first wash, the disaster strikes.

 

Synthetic hair colours look great only for a short time

A few months later, to your horror, you notice that your hair is dull, rough, limp a day after shampooing, and is JUST NOT GROWING! Your salon artist now says: “ Hair growth these days is weak due to pesticides / pollution / toxins in the air. Try our new salon conditioning spa / remineralising service / hair vitamin makeover treatment”.

Several visits, hair treatments and several thousand Rupees later, you realise NOTHING is working – your hair is damaged.

Shortly after colouring and synthetic treatments, hair is now damaged

If the above account sounded eerily personal, it is because I too was there.

Flush with cash and all the self confidence of a 25 year old, I started on my 5 year hair destruction journey. It started innocuously with a perm, then a hair cut. Then several hair colours. Then hair straightening. And before you knew it, I was 29, with oily limp hair, a decided case of hair receding and thinning and abysmal or no hair growth.

It took me many years of concerted effort and working on my hair to see results. You can read my hair repair journey in this earlier post.  So, when we created a Hair care “map” at Krya, a range for Chemically Damaged hair was very high on my priority list.

Why is chemically damaged & over processed hair so fragile?

We write constantly about the perils of chemical damage . Chemical hair colouring is a very easy way to damage hair. Unfortunately, many of the salon treatments sold to “repair” this damage are even more damaging. Our earlier posts will give you information on exactly how hair is damaged when we resort to synthetic hair colouring and synthetic treatments which are sold to us to “improve” our hair.

 

Characteristics of Chemically damaged and over processed hair:

Chemically damaged hair is very fragile and difficult to handle. When hair is damaged due to synthetic colouring, the cuticle loses its natural elasticity. Therefore it is unable to close and seal off hair from becoming too porous.

chemically damaged hair is fragile

As a result, chemically damaged hair quickly absorbs water and salts from washing. This dullens the appearance of hair. It also makes hair prone to breakage, especially at points where salts have entered the hair shaft.

To control hair’s fizziness and brittle texture, salon stylists advise using special conditioners and hair serums . This is suggested to soften hair texture externally and make it easy to work with. However, these products clog the scalp, and dullen the functioning of hair follicles. As a result, we see slow and delayed hair growth.

synthetic conditioners, masques, spa treatments and serums further clog the scalp, preventing good hair growth

Chemical treatments also aggravate the production of sebum in hair. and aggravate either Pitta or Vata dosha or both in hair.

Lightening your hair colour several shades from your natural colour  aggravates Pitta dosha severely in the scalp. So the scalp becomes excessively oily and hair starts to thin much faster than usual. Any effort to cleanse scalp aggressively only produces more & more sebum, making hair oilier.

When the texture of hair is altered (straightening / perming), there is a build up in Vata Aggravation along with Pitta aggravation. So hair becomes dry, straw like, rough and unmanageable. Split ends severely increase, and hair has a dull, greyish sheen with a dry, rough texture. Combing / brushing this hair is an ordeal. It tangles very fast and hair breaks if it is pulled even slightly or combed.

Hair texture alterations aggravate vata and pitta dosha making hair rough, dry & brittle

 

Challenges when formulating a truly natural Damage Repair Shampoo :

We spoke last week about some of our challenges in formulating truly natural products. Formulating a truly natural Damage Repair shampoo for chemically damaged and over-processed hair, is an extremely challenging task.

Some of the questions / issues we ponder when working on this challenge are:

  • How can we ensure the shampoo cleans the scalp thoroughly, yet ensure that Pitta / Vata is not aggravated?
  • How can we formulate our herbal powder shampoos in such a way that the herb particles do not irritate already frizzy hair?
  • Can we deep cleanse scalp and ensure we are able to unclog old debris and accumulated silicones?
  • How can we formulate our shampoo so that hair is left reasonably manageable after a wash, without loading our natural hairwash with synthetics like silicones?

The Krya Truly Natural Damage Repair Shampoo powder:

After many years of research, we launched the Krya Damage Repair hair system in early 2017. The Krya Damage Repair hair system contains the Krya Damage Repair hair oil . The system also contains the Krya Damage Repair hair mask , a once a week treatment for over processed hair. And finally, the system contains the Krya truly natural Damage Repair Shampoo powder.

krya damage repair hair revitalising system

Here are some key differences in the way we formulate this 100% natural, Damage Repair Shampoo powder:

Krya Damage Repair Shampoo Powder: Made 100% from whole Ayurvedic herbs and grains – synthetics free

We use 23 gentle, hair nourishing Ayurvedic herbs to formulate the Krya Damage Repair Shampoo powder. We create this product ONLY from whole Ayurvedic herbs, grains , lentils and clays.

By using a 100% natural formulation, we ensure the scalp is not irritated, coated with toxins, or stripped dry of sebum.

krya damage repair shampoo powder - truly toxin free & 100% natural

The benefits of using a 100% whole herb formulation are manifold. Specifically for chemically damaged hair, using this product will not stimulate excessive oil production, nor will it dry out and tax hair. So , in time, hair’s sebum production becomes better balanced. Hair is less limp and oily. The scalp is  cleaner, more clarified and balanced .

Krya Damage Repair Shampoo Powder: Carefully chosen set of Plant surfactants: for safe, gentle cleansing

Many with chemically damaged hair think that using a sulphate free shampoo would help hair. Many of us also believe that all Sulphate free shampoos are completely natural and non toxic.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Almost all synthetic shampoos used some form of synthetic surfacant. Sulphate based surfactants like SLs and SLeS have now been in use for 50+ years. With time, research indicates that these surfactants are pernicious, protein denaturing and can cause rips and tears in skin, scalp, in the gums etc. This creates gaps in the body which can be used by invasive microorganisms or synthetic chemicals.

HOWEVER: in the race to replace Sulphates and create “sulphate free” products, companies are using other kinds of problem synthetic surfactants.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB) is a synthetic surfactant found in many sulphate free cleansers. It is marketed as “completely natural” and “non toxic” and is bought by those who believe it will help chemically damaged, dry hair.

CAPB is made from a chemical process which combines coconut oil with Dimethylaminopropylamine to create  an “amphoteric surfactant”. An amphoteric surfactant is a cunning chemical compound which can be used in both acidic and alkaline mediums . So depending upon the PH, Cocamidopropyl Betaine can double up as a lathering agent in shampoo, or act as a thickener in conditioners.

Despite being promoted as “wholly natural”, CAPB is just another synthetic surfactant. It is linked to allergic dermatitis, eczema and other allergic skin conditions.

Other synthetic surfactants like CAPB masquerade as natural cleansers - used in so called natural or organic shampoos

Most importantly, CAPB will irritate chemically damaged hair. It will strip scalp dry and excessively stimulate oil production. It will also further block and clog the scalp.

 

Krya’s special cleansing base in all natural shampoo powders

Krya, uses a unique cleansing base in all of our natural Shampoo powders. We use whole plant surfactants like Desert Date (Balanites aegyptica), Shikakai (Acacia concinna) and Sopberry (Sapnidus trifiliatus). In addition, we also use whole grains like Whole Mung bean (Vigna radiata), Whole black gram (Vigna mungo) . We also use healing clays . This combination of whole plant surfactants, whole lentils and healing clays creates our very gentle, cleansing base in our Damage Repair Shampoo powder.

This whole natural cleaning base is mildly acidic . This ensures that the sebum production in your scalp is not taxed. It also means that the entire mixture works WITH and not against the scalp’s natural system.

Krya uses a 100% natural, gentle cleansing base that uses whole herbs, lentils & healing clays

This formulation makes the Damage Repair Shampoo powder SUPER MILD, mildly acidic and extremely gentle on the scalp.

Krya Damage Repair Shampoo powder: Gentle plant conditioners that improve hair quality and manageability:

Synthetic hair fixers, serums and conditioners offer us temporary highs. On the day of use, they leave hair feeling soft, shiny, manageable and tamed. BUT: the persistent use of these silicones forms a temporary cement like coating on hair and scalp.

This clogs the fine pores in the scalp slowing down hair growth. Also, as hair is only temporarily fixed, it is back to its original unmanageable condition after your next wash. As no steps have been taken to repair hair, the passage of time tends to worsen its health and appearance.

Our ayurvedic herbs are more than just natural conditioners for hair. Every hair texture improving herb we use also revitalises & improves scalp health.

krya whole herb conditioners improve hair texture, manageability and stimulate hair growth

For example, Arjuna leaf and Fenugreek seed both work to improve fungal dandruff, scalp itchiness and flaking. . Hibiscus leaf and flower, detoxify and clarify the scalp and promote healthy hair growth as well. Therefore, as you use the Krya Damage Repair Shampoo powder, there is a steady improvement in hair manageability and hair health .

 Herbs chosen specially for their Rasayana and Dosha balancing properties: Krya Damage Repair Shampoo powder

Chemically damaged hair has very slow hair growth and poor hair quality of new hair. The new growing hair is fine, thin and weak rooted like baby hair.

Ayurveda advises using Rasayana herbs here to help improve the quality of new , sprouting hair. To work holistically, these Rasayana herbs should be used across oils, lepas and shampoos. This helps build up their bio availability to the body. When these  Rasayana herbs are used in our Shampoo formulation, they help unclog and detoxify the scalp, promoting conditions for better hair growth.

Some of the Rasayana herbs we use in the Krya Damage Repair Shampoo powder formulation are Amla, Bhringaraj, Punarnava, Mulethi & Bala.

Rasayana herbs are used in the damage repair shampoo to revitalise and improve hair quality

 

In addition, to balance aggravated Pitta and Vata dosha, we use Brahmi, Neem flower, and Neem leaf.

Scalp clarifying and promoting micro-circulation in the scalp for better oxygenation, blood supply and hair growth:

Chemically damaged hair also has a unique problem. The scalp and hair is usually coated with salts and other minerals as the cuticular structure is damaged . This causes a dull, greyish scum like coating on the hair and scalp surface. This also prevents healthy hair growth and weakens hair strands terribly leading to breakage and split ends.

To work on this, we use scalp clarifying and micro-circulation promoting herbs like Rosemary, Manjishtha, Lemongrass and Triphala. These herbs encourage the removal of heavy salts from the scalp. They also improve blood circulation in the scalp and promote healthier hair growth.

Krya also uses scalp clarifing & micro circulation enhancing herbs like Rosemary, Lemongrass, Manjishta, etc

 

Please note: simply using the Krya Damage repair Shampoo will not help completely improve chemically damaged hair. For holistic damage repair, you must use both the Krya damage repair hair oil and the Krya Damage repair hair revitalising mask, in addition.

 

How to use the Krya Natural Damage Repair Shampoo powder :

Chemically damaged , over processed hair should be treated extremely gently.

Scalp oiling: 

As the scalp needs clarifying and detoxifying, it is unable to absorb too much oil at first. But, this kind of hair REALLY needs frequent oiling to regain its health.

So, please oil the hair with the Krya Damage repair hair oil, in tiny doses, spread through the week. Massage the scalp gently with 4 – 5 drops of the oil on the scalp alone. Do this 3 – 4 times a week.

 

Krya Damage repair hair oil must be used 4 - 5 times a week to improve scalp health & encourage damage repair

Hair Washing : 

As hair is porous, and greatly damaged, chemically damaged, over processed hair should be washed only once a week.

On the day of the hair wash, oil hair using the Krya Damage repair hair oil. The oil must completely coat the hair strands with oil. Do this atleast 1 hour before wash. This oiling helps seal the hair externally and prevents any further salts from penetrating the hair.

After an hour, wash the hair with the Krya Damage Repair Shampoo powder.

Make the Hairwash into a slightly drippy, pancake batter like paste, using cool water. In order to be gentle on the hair, we advise applying the Shampoo powder like a hair mask / pack / Lepa. Section the hair using a well made comb, and apply the paste gently all over scalp and hair.

Ensure you do not tangle hair during this application – so please comb and detangle hair before applying the Shampoo paste. If hair is reasonably strong, the portion applied to the scalp can be massaged using circular motions. If the hair is very weak, skip this step.

Put on a shower cap on your hair after applying the Shampoo paste and leave it on for about 20 – 30 minutes. Then rinse off gently using cool water. The shower cap is to ensure that the Shampoo paste does not dry out on hair. This is critical.

Use the Damage Repair mask once a week : 

Once a week, apply the Krya Damage Repair Hair Mask / Lepa to treat chemically damaged hair. We will cover the properties of this product and how it should be used, in greater detail in a separate post.

 

Apply the krya damage repair hair mask once a week

These 3 products are ALL chemically damaged hair needs. You should not use anything else on your hair. NO synthetic conditioners / serums / hair sprays, etc should be used on chemically damaged hair . Using such products will simply undo the good work you are doing for your hair.

 

To Sum up:

This post was an introductory post. We explained why choosing the right products is CRITICAL for chemically damaged, over processed hair. Hair that is this badly damaged cannot afford any further assault with synthetic chemicals. Therefore stop using synthetic shampoos and switch to a truly natural, Damage Repair Shampoo for this hair.

At Krya, many of our consumers have seen extremely good results with the consistent use of the Krya Damage Repair hair products. With dedicated effort and regular use, they have been able to reverse the signs of chemical damage. Hair growth has gradually normalised and hair quality has also significantly improved.

Along with these products, following a hair nourishing and dhatu building , healthy balanced diet also helps greatly. If you too have chemically damaged hair, and would like to try this system, please explore the products here. If you have any doubts / questions, please email us or call us (075500-89090).

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How to use Rasnadi Churnam – a video guide

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One of the fears that people have when we recommend regular hair oiling for good hair growth is the fear of catching a cold. For those with high kapha aggravation or an existing sinusitis problem, this is a very real worry. The answer? Rasnadi Churnam – a safe , effective ayurvedic chooranam (powder) that retains warmth in the head, prevents mucous formation and helps clear blocked sinuses with regular use, safely and effectively.

Here is a short video we just shot for the Krya Product Support Group,  a facebook community, on how you can effectively use Rasnadi Churnam correctly & effectively.

Rasnadi Churnam is a classical ayurvedic formulation that has many uses. It can also be effectively used to control Migraine attacks which are Pitta based. For external application, Rasnadi Churnam is safe even to be used for small infants. For inhalation, we recommend that it be done only for 5 years and above. As a precautionary measure, pregnant women should NOT inhale Rasnadi Churnam – they can apply it on the scalp as demonstrated in the video.

The Krya Product Support Community is a Facebook community we created to help support the use of our products, share Ayurvedic guidelines for better skin and hair care and answer product usage doubts quickly. Do join us here.

Now for the video:

If you have any queries on our products, or would like our help choosing the right products, do write to us. 

 

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5 ways to balance aggravated Vata dosha to heal dry hair and skin

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Do you have dry hair and dry skin? Are your bowel movements sluggish with a feeling of incompleteness? Do you have scanty periods? Is your hair generally rough and dry? You could be experienced dryness due to vata dosha aggravation. Read on for Ayurveda can help tackle both rough and dry hair and the underlying vata aggravation behind this.

We recently received a consultation request from a 36 year old lady, who was experiencing very high hair fall and hair dryness. From our investigation, we found 3 signs of high vata aggravation:

  • She found it difficult to fall asleep despite being very tired. In her email she said: “I toss and turn at night for nearly an hour before I fall asleep”.
  • She described her bowel movements as being sluggish and incomplete. The bowel movements felt hard , compacted and were difficult to pass out
  • She described her periods as being scanty and variable in their nature – so menstruation cycles varied from 29 days to 36 days every month

Nature of vata dosha and its role in the body

Vata is the most powerful dosha in our body – it governs the action of the other 2 doshas in our body as neither have mobility without vata. The 3 doshas in our body are made up of the pancha bhootas or the 5 basic elements – and vata is made up of air (vayu) + space(akash). This gives Vata dosha the quality of movement, lightness, swiftness and speed.

5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: Vata dosha is powerful and a mobile dosha

All of are made up of a mixture of the 3 doshas. Naturally, for each of us, one or two doshas show pre-dominance making up our general character and determining our attitudes, behavior in situations and the kind of illnesses we are prone to, etc.

Apart from our basic dosha nature, the doshas in our body can increase or decrease depending upon what we eat, how we behave and how the environment around us changes.

Why does Vata dosha get aggravated easily in city people?

Acharya Charaka says that 50% of diseases occur due to aggravation of vata dosha. Vata aggravation is extremely high in cities. By their very nature and by the nature of our demanding jobs, there is a natural increase in vata in urban dwellers.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: CITY LIVING AGGRAVATES VATA

This is because we tend to travel long distances so we expose ourselves to high mobility and wind (both of which are components of vata), work late (again a characteristic of vata dosha), eat food which is high in vata (potatoes, bread and other baked goods, urad, cauliflower, cabbage, fried food), drink stimulating drinks like tea and coffee (which remove moisture and therefore increase vata).

Where does Vata aggravation show up in our body?

Vata governs all mobility and downward movements in the body. So if your back feels stiff, your knees crack or pop, or if your wrists tingle or hurt from excessively using your smartphone, then Vata has been over used and is hence aggravated.

Vata governs all downward movement. So for correct and regular bowel movement where the stools are not excessively dry or hard, and where the bowels are completely emptied in ONE shot, Vata needs to be at the optimal level.

So, if you have dry stools, a feeling of incomplete bowel movements, and the system does not do “its job” correctly, on time every day without external stimulants like coffee, then Vata is aggravated.

Similarly if you have scanty periods where timing is uncertain and there is a lot of variability in the cycle, your body is aggravated with too much Vata dosha.

Vata aggravation also shows up in the state of our hair, nails, skin and feet. Excessively cracked heels which do not respond to any form of moisturisation can be attributed to aggravated Vata dosha. Similarly chronically dry skin and hair can also be a result of vata aggravation. People who lose weight very quickly or find it very difficult to gain weight may also be naturally high in vata dosha.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: severely cracked heels is a sign of aggravated vata

Vata aggravated people find it difficult to get high quality , restful sleep. They either find it difficult to fall asleep, or do not stay in deep sleep for long – so they wake up feeling fatigued, run down and low on energy. This makes them choose stimulants like tea and coffee which are again high in Vata dosha, starting a vicious cycle.

What can aggravate Vata even if our prakriti is not high in Vata dosha?

Not everyone’s constitution is basically high in Vata dosha. Yet, we CONSTANTLY see symptoms of aggravated Vata at Krya. This is because all of us are doing certain things which are calculated to drive up Vata dosha in our bodies. What are these?

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: excessive media usage aggravates vata

  • Chaotic days without a proper , regulated schedule of eating or sleeping – Vata thrives in chaotic environments. The more chaos you subject yourself to , the more Vata dosha is increased
  • Late nights with high media activity – Vata dosha aggravates during night time. So if you habitually work late or stay up late, you will be over using vata dosha
  • Eating foods which are high in Vata dosha: Ready to eat Noodles, Instant foods, Breads, breakfast cereal and vegetables like potatoes and cauliflower whichconsume a lot of oil, are deep fried and which are hard and crisp are high in Vata dosha. In times of stress, people tend to consume these foods preferentially over others. This in turn severely aggravates Vata dosha.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: Junk food aggravates vata

How to tackle aggravated vata dosha : Tackling dry skin & hair at the root cause

Vata is “rooksha” (dry), “laghu” (light) and “Sheetya” (cold) , “vishada” (non slimy), “khara”(coarse) and “Daruna” (instable).

Therefore, it is NO WONDER, that when Vata is aggravated, the very same symptoms are manifested at the level of the skin and the hair. So to permanently reverse this condition of dryness, we have to BRING DOWN Vata dosha from its current abnormally high level in the body. How do we do that?

5 point program to bring down aggravated Vata dosha and improve dry skin and hair:

  • FIRST, apply oil all over the body, especially in the primary vata seats (ears, abdomen, wrists, knees, joints, etc). This oil should be vata pacifying and should be applied WARM to counter the cold nature of Vata dosha. Oil Abhyanga traps scattered vata dosha and forces it back to its original place. For very high Vata, Abhyanga can be done DAILY. Else, twice or thrice a week. More abhyanga instructions can be found here.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: abhyanga controls aggravated vata dosha

  • Apply oil FREQUENTLY and REGULARLY on dry skin & hair. For chronically dry skin, we suggest twice a day application of Krya Moisture Plus skin oil. For hair, we have many options like Krya conditioning hair oil, Krya harmony hair oil, etc. Oil application has to be FREQUENT and REGULAR. This helps trap scattered vata dosha, nourish scalp and skin deeply and help proper, re-generative and correct skin and hair growth.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: Apply oil regularly and frequently

  • REGULATE your exposure to cold and dry winds carefully. Strong wind, cold air, long distance travel and office air conditioning all aggravate Vata . To control this impact, plus your ears and cover the head while travelling. Keep your body warm in cold temperatures by wearing layers of clothing and additional garments like a shawl for warmth. Layering of clothing is an extremely practical and effective way of controlling vata .

 

  • CUT DOWN on your use of electronic media especially post 6 pm. We have seen earlier posts on how use of smartphones and electronic media interferes with sleep patterns and excites Vata. So when vata dosha is aggravated, use of devices that stimulate it should be controlled.

 

  • MONITOR your diet – In times of stress, all of us gravitate towards vata aggravating food (pizzas, burgers, fries, cola, caffeine, etc). The more such foods are consumed, the more they throw our doshas out of balance and the more dry our hair and skin get. Read here for more insights on choosing the correct food for you.

To sum up:

All skin and hair issues are indicative of a deeper underlying imbalance. Ayurveda, therefore, treats at the root cause level. So even dry skin and dry hair are analyzed for what they truly represent: aggravated or imbalanced vata.

Skin and hair systems are not just important for aesthetic reasons. They are our early warning systems through which our body communicates with us and lets us know of underlying problems.

Chronically dry skin and hair point to deeply aggravated vata . Vata dosha is a critical dosha in our prakriti which governs many important functions. As it is the only dosha capable of movement, it also does the job of transporting the other 2 doshas where they are supposed to be. So when Vata is aggravated the functions of the other 2 doshas are also impaired.

City living easily and quickly aggravates Vata dosha. This post explored different aspects of how we can bring aggravated Vata dosha back to balance in easy, do-able ways.

If you have any questions on aggravated vata , or would like our advice , please write to us.

Krya products suggested to bring aggravated Vata dosha under control:

  • Krya Abhyanga Skin Oil : A traditionally formulated ayurvedic abhyanga oil designed to balance all 3 doshas. Can be used everyday.

  • Krya Women’s Ubtan and Men’s Ubtan : to completely cleanse skin and remove excess oil after an Abhyanga without drying, dehydrating or damaging Srotas of the Skin
  • Krya Moisture Plus Skin system (consists of Krya Moisture Plus skin Oil, Moisture plus face mask and Moisture plus Face wash) to help chronically dry skin

 

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Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

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Our skin and hair’s health depends on what we eat. Some foods can nourish and heal us. Other foods can throw us off balance and aggravate our doshas. This post will explore foods that aggravate and increase Pitta dosha. This will help you reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which aggravate Pitta dosha.

These food rules may seem slightly tough to follow in the beginning. But if followed, they can help balance imbalanced doshas, reduce pitta aggravation and improve health. Read on.

Premature greying is caused by Pitta aggravation

Premature greying is considered a condition of unchecked pitta aggravation in Ayurveda. When Pitta dosha in the body is sharply imbalanced, it increases heat and oiliness throughout the body.

In skin, unchecked Pitta dosha leads to skin oiliness, blackheads, whiteheads and skin clogging and breakouts.

Aggravated pitta dosha affects hair in a different way. It burns the hair and thins it down. This makes the scalp more visible and gives the impression of a receeding hair line. It also prematurely greys hair, stripping it of its natural colour.

So to reduce these hair and skin effects, we must control Pitta aggravation at source and influence it through a carefully chosen diet.

Ayurveda tells us that sour, spicy and salty foods increase Pitta dosha which in turn aggravates premature greying.  So we can reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods with these tastes.

Sweet, bitter and astringent foods reduce and balance Pitta dosha . Eating more of these foods can help us balance and reduce aggravated Pitta Dosha, thus slowing down premature greying.

Traditional Indian cuisine and cooking methods

Indian cuisine liberally uses souring agents in food. Traditionally this was done to preserve food in the absence of refrigeration. Sour foods were eaten carefully, at the right time. For example, sour foods were eaten on a long journey, when there was no access to fresh cooked food. In South India, Puliyodharai (tamarind rice) is a good example of this.

Tamarind rice traditionally used as a travel foodTamarind rice: traditional travel food

Traditionally, Puliyodharai was made before a long journey, where the food needed to last for atleast 3 – 4 days without refrigeration.

Similarly, India has a long tradition of pickling. Pickling was done from ancient times to preserve seasonal fruits and vegetables. Pickles were also used judiciously to improve appetite and digestion in cold months, and give the body access to vegetables that were out of season. Being salty , sour and spicy, Pickles stimulate Pitta Dosha which is useful in rainy or cold season where appetite can be dull.

Pickles: traditionally used to preserve seasonal fruits
& vegetables & stimulate appetite in WinterReduce premature greying by avoiding these foods: traditionally pickles were eaten in small quantities only and were home made

Traditional cooking always understood the idea of balance. We never overindulged in sour or salty tastes. Care was taken to provide a wide variety of tastes in each meal. Pickles and condiments were eaten in small quantities , in the right season, and were used as medicine. By staying in balance, our diet helped slow down aging and reduce premature greying and early wrinkles.

Food was always made at home. There was no concept of pre-packaged or outside food. so home picklers and papad makers used local, high quality spices to make these condiments. Potassium sorbate and synthetic preservatives were not used to flavour these condiments. Instead home makers used different kinds of salt and high quality cold pressed oils and clean hands to ensure long shelf life.

Modern changes to foods and cooking methods that upset dosha balance

The wise and holistic traditional methods of preservation and cooking have been completely overturned in today’s world. Pickling and condiment making is no longer a home made affair. Instead we buy mass manufactured, pre-packaged pickles, papad, from a  super market . These mass manufactured condiments come loaded with preservatives, E-numbers and excessive salt, severely aggravating Pitta dosha. We no longer use pickles, chutneys and condiments as medicines. Instead we over-indulge in them purely for taste.

Our perceived lack of time has us looking for quick foods. Breakfast for many today is a pre-packaged instant cereal, instant oats, instant upma etc. The shelf life of these “foods” is sometimes 3 years. This food is not just nutrient dead. It is also immensely upsetting to the delicate dosha balance in your body.

Eating dead food loaded with chemicals puts a huge strain on the body and increases our toxin load.

Is your breakfast live with prana? Or dead with synthetic
chemicals, additives and preservatives?Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods: instant breakfast cereal is low in Prana and high in salt

With globalisation, we suddenly have access to foods that were never a part of our cuisine. So we have enthusiastically added vinegar, tempeh, olives and aged cheeses to our cuisine. The introduction of these alien foods severely upsets the dosha balance in our body. Most pre-packaged, shelf ready foods are very high in sodium preservatives, aggravating Pitta dosha. This aggravates premature greying.

Reduce Premature greying by avoiding these 5 foods :

We have seen that “amla” (sour), “lavana” (salty) and “teekshna” (spicy) tastes aggravate Pitta dosha.  This in turn thins hair, rapidly changes its colour to a dull grey or white. So we can reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which stimulate Pitta dosha excessively.

  1. Sour foods – tomato and tamarind based food, fermented foods, curd, etc
  2. Salty Foods – pickles, papad
  3. Spicy Foods – red and green chillies
  4. Sour Foreign foods – sauces, soy sauces, vinegar, cheese, olives, greek yoghurt, hummus, pesto
  5. Salty Commercial packaged foods – instant cereal / oats / upma

Why do we include foods that are considered healthy like idlis and foreign foods like hummus and vinegar? We will see the reasons why below.

1. Avoid Sour foods

Indian cooking, especially south Indian cooking loves sourness. Tamarind is almost universally used in preparations like Sambhar and Rasam. Additionally sour curds and buttermilk is often eaten with rice everyday or in other dishes like Morkuzhambu.

The unchecked use of Tamarind is not a healthy practice. This also goes against traditional food rules.

An excess amount of sour taste in food aggravates Pitta dosha, leading to premature greying and hair thinning. So , sour taste needs to be balanced in your cuisine. Depending upon level of pitta imbalance, we advise severe restriction of sour agents or limiting its consumption to 2 – 3 days a week.

Fermented foods are very healthy for us. But as they age, they become very high in sourness. Traditionally foods like idli and dosa were consumed only few times a week / fortnight. But today, due to easy availability of ready made batter, many of us eat these foods nearly every day.

8.fermented foods high in pitta

Chaats are notoriously high in sour especially golgappas and dahi-based chaats.  Originally chaat was invented in North India as a medicinal item to cure constipation. This makes sense if your diet is very high in meat and protein leading to severe constipation. This is also okay in small, occasional doses in the right season.

However, today all of us eat hotel made chaat. The puris are made with pre commercial maida which is clogging to the system. Oil is re-used many times making it unhealthy. Plus we eat it in high frequency and un seasonally.  This much be kept in balance, again.

9. chaat

Krya recommendation for Sour foods :

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in sour tastes by following these restrictions:

  • Restrict amchur, kokum and tamarind based dishes to twice a week. On the other days, have non-sour dishes like Dal, Kootu, etc.
  • Restrict the consumption of cooked curd based dishes. If making raita, do not eat more than once a week. Use diluted , churned, non sour curd for Raita.
  • Restrict Fermented foods to twice a week. Ensure the batter is home made, and fresh (do not eat if batter is more than 2 days old)
  • Avoid curd completely. You can have thin buttermilk (3 portions water: 1 curd) thrice a week, tempered with salt, roasted jeera and pepper ONLY if the curd is not sour. Avoid all sour buttermilk
  • Avoid tomatoes as much as possible. You many use fresh lime twice a week instead.

2. Salty food:

Pitta dosha increases with salty food which in turn increases premature greying. Pickles, papads, and other condiments are naturally high in salty taste. If these products are bought from shops, the salt content is even higher.

Restrict pickle consumption to small amounts. Eat only
home made, preservative free pickle.Reduce premature greying: Pickles, sauces and other condiments increase premature greying and hair thinning

Krya recommendation for salty foods :

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in salty taste by following these restrictions:

  • Avoid iodised , synthetic salt. Eat only rock salt or “Indhuppu”. Kala namak is to be had very very rarely as it aggravates Pitta dosha.
  • Completely avoid all store bought pickles, sauces, and other condiments
  • Fresh, non aged, home made pickles can be eaten occasionally in autumn, spring and more regularly in Winter. Avoid completely if possible in Summer.
  • Preserved home made, aged pickles can be eaten infrequently if the rest of the meal is low in sour and spicy. For eg: a traditional combination of mung dal kitchdi with a small amount of pickle is okay, infrequently.
  • Do not eat pickles with sour foods like idli, dosa, curd, buttermilk, sambhar, rasam, etc.
  • Restrict papads to occasional consumption.  Balance the rest of the meal to ensure overall low salt. Choose a well made, non commercial papad (organic, small scale), if possible.

3. Avoid Spicy food

Ayurveda says that the nature of pitta dosha is “Teekshana” or intense and sharp. Teekshana foods therefore aggravate pitta dosha because they are similar in nature to Pitta dosha. Many spices we eat are not only Teekshana but also foreign to India. Chillies for example, were introduced into India a scant 400 – 500 years ago.  However, they have been studied and described in Ayurveda with a detailed study of their effects on our body.

Red and green chillies are considered much more Teekshana in Ayurveda compared to indigenous varieties of pepper. So when we use chilli powder in our cuisine, pitta dosha aggravates, increasing premature greying.

11.chillies

To bring aggravated pitta dosha to balance, we advise cutting down red and green chillies and all varieties of capsicum and bell peppers.

Krya recommendation for spicy food:

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in spicy taste by following these restrictions:

  • Avoid red and green chillies, capsicum as much as possible. As they are nightshades, they also interfere with many of the body’s natural functions.
  • Learn to spice food instead with pepper, ginger, dhania and jeera.
  • Pitta aggravated people can liberally use coriander seeds, and roasted jeera in their cooking. Coriander seeds balance pitta. Jeera warms without aggravating Pitta dosha. A small amount of roasted fenugreek seeds can also be used to supplement cooking. Fenugreek also stimulates Pitta dosha , but it can be used as long as other Pitta aggravating spices are avoided, in small quantities.
  • Reduce mustard and mustard oil in your cooking. Yellow mustard is milder than black mustard and can be used infrequently.
  • This is not the time to eat jalapenos and bhut jalokia.

4. Avoid Sour Foreign foods – sauces, soy sauces, vinegar, cheese, olives, greek yoghurt, hummus, pesto

With rapid globalisation, we have been introduced to many new cuisines and tastes. While this is great to understand different cultures, it can play havoc with the balance of doshas in our body.

When we import foods, we do not import the other things that surround food. Food comes with local traditions, historical changes and unique geographical conditions that contribute to the development of this cuisine. All of this help the natives of a particular geography adapt and live well in that environment with the help of that food.

Food culture also comes with ingredient availability. In India, Rajasthani cuisine is famous for the use of many local shoots, roots, due to the non availability of other vegetables and fruits. So yak cheese evolved in a region where the climate was cold, and no other dairy animal was present. These region specific foods often make most sense in their area of origin and travel poorly. When those of us living in hot, tropical conditions consume this kind of food, we upset our dosha balance.

Indo chinese food notoriously aggravates premature greyingIndo-chinese food notoriously aggravates Pitta dosha

Krya recommendation for sour foreign foods :

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are foreign to our bodies and have a sharp, sour taste by following these restrictions:

  • Sharp aged cheeses aggravate pitta dosha. Avoid strongly.
  • Reduce consumption of pickled vegetables like olives, jalapenos as much as possible. Synthetic, commercial vinegar is used for this pickling which is harmful for health. If using, use very infrequently and ensure the vegetable is soaked and rinsed many times before eating.
  • Avoid indo-chinese food as much as possible. Among all cuisines , this upsets and aggravates Pitta dosha the most.
  • Avoid eating packaged tahini and hummus which are high in salt and sour taste. Make your own dips instead.
  • Avoid greek yoghurt: it is very high in fat, sourness and can also imbalance kapha dosha leading to breakouts and dandruff.
  • Experiment with other cuisines in a very restrictive and balanced manner. Follow up experimentation with atleast 1 / 2 weeks of regular home made food to ensure the toxins accumulated do not build up
  • If you have a choice, choose cuisines with tastes as close to Indian food as possible.

5. Avoid Salty commercial pre-packaged foods :

10. salty foods

All packaged , ready to eat food is high in salt. This comes in the form of synthetic sodium preservatives and emulsifiers. Packaged sweetened foods like breakfast cereal, instant oats, are also similarly high in salty taste.

When we habitually eat these foods, our taste buds get adapted to a much higher degree of salt. So we unconsciously start using much higher amounts of salt in our food as well.

Krya recommendation for salty, commercial, pre-packaged foods:

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in hidden salts by following these restrictions:

  • Avoid / Restrict the following completely: Instant noodles, oats, upma, ready to eat foods
  • Completely avoid powdered or ready to eat soups. They are NOT healthy and are NOT nutritious and are filled with toxic chemicals.
  • Slowly phase out dependence on breakfast cereals and plain oats.
  • Paneer is preferable over cheese . Home made Paneer is infinitely preferable over store bought Paneer. Eat within two days and do not eat sour, fermented Paneer.  You can flavour it at home if needed without aggravating Sodium or premature greying.

To Conclude:

“Ahaara” (food) has a very important role to play in health, and our external appearance. Hair and skin systems react very quickly to a badly planned diet and show up symptoms of dosha imbalance. In this post, we saw the connection between salt, spice and sour tastes and Pitta dosha. we also looked at 5 common types of foods that we all consume everyday, which are high in these tastes.

If you have the typical signs of aggravated pitta dosha like rapid premature greying, hair thinning, early stage female / male pattern baldness, your diet could be at fault. Making these simple changes to your diet can help bring your doshas back to balance, restore health and help you reduce premature greying.

If you have any questions on the above, please write to us.

Krya hair and scalp products to reduce premature greying and hair thinning:

Krya classic hair mask: an authentic ayurvedic hair treatment mask to reduce premature greying and hair thinning

Krya classic hair nourishing system: Ayurevdic hair rpoducts to reduce premature greying and hair thinning

Krya’s safe , all natural hair colours to colour prematurely grey hair:

Krya All natural hair colour is made with nourishing ayurvedic herbs that colour hair safely and help strengthen and nourish it deeply.

 

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Colour Me Bad! Stop Chemical Hair Colouring Now!

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

“Dear Team Krya,
How you doing? Just loved your creation of  the Damage Repair Hair System (hair oil,mask and wash).Must admit my hair looks, feels so healthy, thicker and itchiness is gone. This is a huge improvement considering how chemically damaged my hair is.

Keep rocking Krya Team, God bless.” – SS, Mumbai

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Sadly, one of our small, but growing hair care range has a fiercely dedicated consumer base – I use the word sadly, because the hair care rage I am referring to is the Krya Damage Repair Hair care range. And this range draws business from the extensive, growing chemical hair damage we are witnessing, thanks to the explosion of professional hair salons and hair texture altering products which we now have easy access to.

The Hair Damage Season

The hair damage season in India, coincides with the festive season in India that starts from Diwali. This is a season of massive hair and skin experimentation with huge textural and structural damage done to hair. This continues for a few months until New Year celebrations are done and dusted. Holi, in March is the “results” season. most people are down in the dumps post Holi when they see just how dry, damaged and fragile their hair is – and the synthetic holi colours sprayed on hair, don’t help.

Holi is a time when most people discover how damaged their hair actually is.

I get it. I really really do. I have a small picture of myself of about 10 years ago rocking a super short page boy cut with atleast 3 different layered colours applied , and posing with a hookah a-la Zeenat Aman (yes this was a throwback to Bollywood party).

BUT. And here’s the big but – constant colouring and texture alteration experiments severely damage your hair. And it is not just us at Krya , who know so. We are joined by a growing body of serious research, dermatologists, trichologists, ironically, salon professionals and January Jones.

"My hair fell out in clumps with the frequent dye changes" - January Jones in an interview to Grazia magazine

Is your hair chemically damaged? 5 warning signs:

The external signs of chemically damaged hair are

  1. Dry and brittle hair strands
  2. A problem scalp which either develops thick oily dandruff, or is extremely dry and itchy,
  3. Dry, straw like hair ends,
  4. Rapid increase in split ends where the split end travels to the middle of the hair strand, and finally
  5.  Hair that just won’t grow like it used to before chemical colouring

Increased hair porosity: sign of chemical damage

Severely chemically treated hair becomes extremely porous because of multiple injuries to the hair cuticle. When tested in water, this kind of hair will absorb water and sink to the bottom as its porosity allows water to invade the hair. In this state, hair is vulnerable to the many chemicals that are applied on it ( like shampoo) and will absorb all of them increasing damage.

When hair is extremely porous, it snaps and breaks quickly. It becomes physically very fragile and tenuous. It also feels rough, looks dull and has no gloss.

Why repeated hair colouring damages hair

Many people do not realise the chemical damage that frequent synthetic hair colours do to hair. Synthetic hair colours and dyes  permanently damage the hair shaft as they lift the cuticular structure and inject chemicals like PPD inside the hair shaft to ensure the hair colour stays longer without getting washed out. (The lack of this kind of chemical in natural hair colours is why they wash out much faster from your hair compared to your salon brand of hair colour).

Synthetic hair colours and dyes are harsh on hair and severely damage the hair cuticle.

Scalp toxins in chemically damaged hair: slows down hair growth

Chemically damaged hair also contains a layer of toxins on the scalp as this kind of hair is regularly coated with synthetic conditioners and treatments to artificially smoothen it and “condition” it externally.

These Scalp toxins cover the surface of the scalp slowing down fresh hair growth. This also forms a barrier and starves the hair follicles of much needed moisturisation and nourishment. Therefore the hair growth is poor and hair that sprouts is weak, and shallow rooted, easily prone to hair fall.

How to treat chemically damaged hair?

  1. STOP chemical treatments NOW. Chemically damaged hair should not be further ill treated. So cease and desist from smoothen-ing it or “super conditioning” it on the advice of your salon which wrought the damage in the first place.
  2. Nourish it with nutrient rich Ayurvedic hair oils externally and high quality, well-balanced meals internally.

Krya Damage repair hair oil to revitalise chemically damaged hair.

Can this guarantee that your hair will be restored back to its pre-chemical damage era? Well,  No. Nobody can give you that guarantee.

But if you cease and desist from torturing your hair any further, eat well, have a reasonably healthy body, oil your hair regularly with the right products, and use a mild natural hair-wash like ours which doesn’t damage it further, there’s a good chance that your hair will recuperate and make its way back to health.

 

To Conclude:  restoring the health of Chemically damaged hair

Hair care is never simply external. And healthy hair always looks great. So Ayurveda advises us to nourish hair deeply , both internally and externally, so that it looks its best.

Nourishment is even more critical when hair is chemically damaged. As we have seen, chemical treatments not only damage the hair strands. They also coat and layer the scalp with toxins, preventing healthy hair growth.

Chemically damaged hair must be treated gently and holistically. To ensure good raw material to grow healthy new hair, eat a balanced diet. Oil chemically damaged hair frequently with the right ayurvedic hair oils that can restore health AND detoxify the scalp. Wash chemically damaged hair with a very mild, and natural hairwash – but do NOT over-wash your hair .

If you have more questions on healing chemically damaged hair and would like our advice, do write to us.

Krya’s products to heal chemically damaged hair:

  • Krya Damage Repair hair wash – mild, gentle, does not irritate stressed out scalp, and helps detoxify the scalp
  • Krya Damage repair Hair Mask – nourishing and healing and helps nourish damaged hair and detoxifies the scalp. a must to heal chemically damaged hair.
  • Krya Damage repair Hair oil – our cornerstone damage repairing and hair re-vitalising ayurvedic oil. Packed with rich ayurvedic herbs and cold pressed organic oils, the oil restores gloss, shine and health to hair. It detoxifies the scalp and stimulates fresh, healthy, deep rooted new hair growth.
  • Krya Damage repair Hair revitalising system: All 3 of the above at a  special price

Krya Damage repair hair revitalising system: a set of hair products that restore health and vitality to over processed, chemically damaged hair

Krya’s safe , all natural hair colours to help you STOP further damage:

Krya All natural hair colour is made with nourishing ayurvedic herbs that colour hair safely and help strengthen and nourish it deeply.

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Reduce Eye Strain with Ayurveda in Seven Steps

how ayurveda can help relieve eye fatigue and strain by Krya
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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Our series this week discusses 5 common problems that urban dwellers face and what Ayurveda recommends should be done to mitigate these problems. A common problem we face today is Eye strain and fatigue due to over use of laptops, computers and electronic devices. Today’s post will explore how you can easily & visibly reduce eye strain with Ayurveda .

 

5 comoon urban problems

The first in our series is eye fatigue and strain caused by over use of the laptop or smartphone: Computer vision syndrome. 

Do you have Eye Fatigue?

Do you constantly feel eye fatigue? Do you develop headaches after a long bout at your computer? Are you seeing premature greying and hair dryness?  Do your eyes feel dry, scratchy and itchy? You could be experiencing computer vision syndrome / computer related eye strain.

Eye strain is a real and wide-spread problem today, which affects both kids and adults. For several hours every day, we stare at electronic screens across phones, tablet, TV and computers. So we are all affected to varying degrees.

Do you have eye strain & fatigue? You could be suffering from Computer Vision syndrome.

The symptoms are blurred vision, double vision, dry eyes, headaches, eye pain, neck strain, eye-irritation and eye watering. The factors that induce eye strain are the number of hours of screen-time, the size of the screen, the strength of your vision, light levels and posture.

Causes for Eye Strain as per Ayurveda :

It is astonishing that our ancient Ayurvedic texts are able to give us a rationale behind a seemingly modern problem. Acharya Sushruta tells us that all Netra Rogas (diseases of the eye), occur due to the following causes:

Imbalance of hot and cold ( Ushnabhitaptasya)

When the body heat is very high, there is a vasodilation of blood vessels to help excess heat to be transmitted outside. When this hot body steps into a cold environment, the dilated vessels suddenly have to constrict to ensure heat loss is minimal. When we constantly keep having this change in temperature, we over-work all blood vessels, including the ones in the eyes, leading to eye redness, weak muscles and poor circulation.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: hot-cold imbalance causes eye strain

Doorekshanat :

This is when we repeatedly strain the eye muscles to see far away objects or to see fine and small objects (Sookshma vision) – This distorts the vision, over accustoming the eye muscle to only one kind of work

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Repeatedly straining the eyes to read fine print increases eye strain

Krodha, Shoka & Bhaya (Anger, Grief and Fear) :

Emotional strain in difficult environments over aggravates the emotional qualities of Pitta and vata dosha. Krodha or anger activates Pitta dosha, and Shoka and Bhaya activates Vata dosha. The dosha aggravation strains the eye’s muscles.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Excessive anger, fear and grief increase eye strain.

Vega vinigraha (suppression of natural urges) :

In many office goers, we observe suppression of urges like urination – this is especially common among women. This leads to disturbance in Apana vayu and aggravates vata dosha throughout the body when it is carried out for a long time. The urge to sleep (nidra) and the urge to cry (Ashru) are both urges which should not be suppressed as per Ayurveda. Working well beyond our bed time, suppression strong emotional responses, and not blinking often to help the production of tears to moisten the eyes, worsen the health of our eyes and increase eye strain.

Vriddhi Ahara (incompatible food) :

Ushna and Amla ahara (salty, spicy and sour tastes) aggravate eye strain. All 3 tastes aggravate Pitta dosha which increase the Agni in the eye, causing high eye strain and watering.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Foods that are sour, salty & spicy aggravate Pitta Dosha. This in turn, increases eye strain.

Ratri Jagarati – (Night vigil) :

In the texts, the Acharyas mention that certain occupations which require Night vigil (Ratri jagrati) are more prone to eye strain like soldiers, guards, etc. Today, Ratri Jagrati has become a common feature in many urban homes. Due to late night working, late dinners, and late television watching, we are all prone to eye strain due to use of the eyes at the wrong time.

 

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Staying up late and night and delayed bed time can also aggravate eye strain.

 

Ayurveda says that a disease must be tackled from the “Hetu” or root cause. So also, eye strain or Computer Vision Syndrome must be treated by examining the root causes listed above.

In addition, here are 7 Ayurvedic recommendations on how we can reduce / prevent eye fatigue below.

Reduce Eye Strain with Ayurveda in Seven easy ways:

Control the hot-cold imbalance 1 : Regular hair oiling to reduce Ushna

Keep the head cool and allow natural removal of excess ushna everyday through daily oil application. Remember, we encounter fresh stress everyday – so this fresh stress which aggravates pitta dosha must be tackled everyday by regular and frequent application of the right Ayurvedic hair oil. We have given recommendations for Krya hair oils below.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Regular hair oiling reduces eye strain and fatigue.

 

Control the hot-cold imbalance 2 – regulate the body temperature

Regulate the body temperature, especially if working in an air conditioned atmosphere. We often advise that you carry a light jacket / shawl to simulate the normal temperature outside your office. Request office admin to set temperatures between 24 – 26 degrees centigrade (this will also bring down electricity bills), and drink warming, non diuretic, and nourishing drinks in your office (so no tea, coffee, cola, cold fruit juices – instead warm water and a warm, natural spiced beverage is ideal).

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Keeping your body temperature steady and warm and avoiding hot-cold imbalance improves vision.

 

Alternate between “Sookshma” and far vision:

Use your complete range of eye vision – so if you are constantly on a computer, take a break every hour or so to gaze into the distance (preferably at trees or greenery). Reduce your “Night vigil” and work towards saner and more balanced work timings.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Take a break from repeated fine use of your eyes to gaze into the distance. This relieves eye strain.

 

Do not suppress natural urges:

Do NOT suppress natural urges like the urge to use the washroom, the urge to sleep or the urge to blink or yawn. If you are doing this often to appear polite and well mannered , you are setting up yourself for a serious range of eye diseases later on.

Suppressing the urge to visit the washroom tampers with “apana vayu” a sub set of vata dosha. This also sets up for more serious disorders related to the urinary and reproductive tract. So, when you gotta go, JUST GO!

 

Reduce screen glare and over-bright light :

Control the amount of bright light your eyes work in. Many computer and smartphone screens are said to highest level of brightness. This along with the bright, white office lighting and pale walls, re-create the sun even in your office.

This amount of light is fatiguing and drying to the eyes. Re-set screen brightness and switch off a few lights if the room is bright enough. But do remember too much light AND too little light both strain vision – experiment and arrive at optimal light for yourself.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Turn down your phone's screen brightness to reduce eye strain due to screen glare and blue light.

 

Re-set aggravated pitta and vata through regular abhyanga:

Balance aggravated pitta and vata through the body through regular abhyanga – a regular abhyanga helps dissipate aggravated vata and pitta dosha and moves it back to its original seat, thus bringing the body back to balance. We often see that people with high pitta aggravation experience profuse eye watering and release of hot vapour from their eyes when Abhyanga is done. This is a good indication both of how aggravated the dosha is and how powerfully the abhyanga works in restoring the body back to balance.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Regular Abhyanga Snana balances aggravated vata and pitta dosha, reducing eye strain and fatigue.

 

Practice Eye cooling measures:

Cool the agni in your eyes with the qualities of Soma (the moon). Overusing agni in the eyes leads to computer vision syndrome. Hence Ayurveda recommends increasing soma properties to the eyes. This can be done by doing the following:

Eating fresh, warm, nourishing foods:

Regulating Pitta dosha helps regulate Pitta aggravation in the eye. So addition of milk and ghee to the diet, using warming but not irritating spices like pepper, cumin and not red and green chillies, eating meals on time, and using cooling grains and vegetables like split mung, aged rice, and gourds all help in pitta regulation.

Night gazing:

Star and Moon gazing are prescribed Ayurvedic practices to infuse cooling, nourishing energies into the eyes. This also helps counteract the strain brought by close gazing

Electronic cut off time:

At Krya, we often recommend a strict cut off time in cases of aggravated vata and pitta dosha. Setting limits for smartphone and laptop usage go a long way in restoring health and harmony to the body.

Application of cooling substances like Ayurvedic Kajal to the eyes:

Many synthetic eye make up products increase Pitta dosha in the eyes. They also contain ingredients like lead and other suspect minerals and substances which are transdermally absorbed through the eyes. Ayurveda recommends using only a suitable herbal kaajal that strengthens vision and cools the eyes.

To conclude:

Modern choices come with many serious, dangerous fall outs, which we remain unaware off. The practice of using a cell phone is barely 20 years old in India. Apps are even more recent – 3 / 4 years old. However, we have already begun reaping the ill effects of over use of these conveniences.

Ayurveda is always immensely practical – the Acharyas are not strict or “Methodist” in their advice. They always recommend leading a life of balance for good health.

We hope our post helped you appreciate many of the deeper reasons behind Computer vision syndrome. We also hope you will go through and follow the Ayurvedic recommendations we have suggested to help you get the most out of your eyes.

Krya Hair Oils to reduce Eye fatigue :

  1. For very high Pitta aggravation – (premature greying, scalp dryness due to high heat, and hair thinning) – choose the Krya Vibrant hair colour hair oil
  2. For moderate – high Pitta aggravation – (premature greying, scalp dryness due to high heat, and hair thinning) – choose the Krya Classic hair oil
    1. Note : If in doubt whether your Pitta aggravation is moderate or severe, start with the Krya Classic hair oil . If after a month you do not see good progress, crank it up a notch with the Krya vibrant hair oil
  3. For Vata aggravation due to high stress (difficult work atmosphere, frequent air travel / travel, long commute, missed / skipped meals, difficulty sleeping, long working hours AND dry and falling hair ) – chose the Krya harmony hair oil
  4. For Vata aggravation due to moderate stress, inherently dry scalp, hair full of static, hair that breaks easily and forms split ends and is dull, rough – choose the Krya conditioning hair oil
  5. For Vata and Pitta aggravation due to excessive chemical treatments (lots of heat treatments, re-bonding, perming, straightening, twisting treatments, hair colouring) – Hair is dull, frizzy, difficult to manage, rough and straw like with very poor hair growth – choose the Krya Damage repair hair oil
  6. For Fungal dandruff (thick, yellow, flakes of dandruff with scalp thickening and itching) – choose the Krya Anti dandruff hair oil

Krya Abhyanga Products to reduce Eye Strain & Fatigue:

  1. For Women – Krya Women’s abhyanga system
  2. For Men – Krya Men’s abhyanga system
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Screentime, Stress and falling hair – Krya Ayurveda series for IT employees

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

Circadian rhythms and the effect of sunlight on our moods, health, physiology, growth and fertility is an extremely well documented and researched subject. It is of great concern in countries that are far away from the equator with long periods of winter and no Sun. So a quick search online can actually throw up devices that mimic natural day light to be used in Nordic countries where winter not just means cold weather, but also a day without any sunshine. In these countries, the effect of a complete lack of Sun is extremely well documented, so people living in these countries and the health care system and offices, make a special effort to compensate for this lack of light.

1.winter

 

But in India, we are fast developing our own version of a Nordic winter in our offices: where the temperature is often a steady (and freezing for many of us) 16 degree Centigrade with white fluorescent light through the day. Given our tendency to stay longer and longer in office o finish up an increasing pile of work, and to avoid traffic snarls, many of us are spending time within an artificially cold environment without any natural light. This is especially true of IT professionals today.

2.it office

 

So in our post today on Ayurvedic hair and skin care for IT professionals, we are going to be looking at the influence that natural sunlight (or daylight) has on our bodies, why artificial light is not the same for our bodies (and why overexposure to artificial light can be harmful to us), and a few simple suggestions to get more daylight to help your body balance better.

 

What is so special about Sunlight? Why is it important for our bodies to get a certain amount of sunlight every day?

Our existence on this planet and of every other life form depends upon the Sun. Autotrophs organisms that make their own food), like most plants, use the Sun’s energy to perform photosynthesis. Heterotrophs (organisms that derive nourishment from organic sources of carbon like the soil, other plants, and other organisms and animals) use Sunlight and the Sun’s energy in many ways. The sun’s energy reaches our bodies by the food we consume (which has used Sun’s energy to create itself).

3. sunlight

 

In all animal forms , from the lowest to the highest and most complex organism like human beings Sun light also additionally regulates the body’s fertility, moods, the time we sleep and we get up, and how we feel about ourselves, and how we eat.

 

Sunlight and its effect on Melatonin production:

Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxy-tryptamine) is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in animals (and human beings). Melatonin is also secreted in plants. The synchronization of all circadian rhythms in the body like sleep cycles, blood pressure regulation, menstrual cycles, fertility, etc, is regulated and worked upon by Melatonin.

4. melatonin

 

The normal pathway of Sunlight is as follows: Light passes through the retina to the optic nerve. One part of the optic nerve goes to the brain’s vision centre and the other part of the optic nerve goes to a portion of the hypothalamus called the superchaismatic nucleus. The superchiasmatic nucleus is the body’s internal clock. From here, a light generated nerve message travels through the brain to the spinal cord and out of the superior cervical ganglion to the pineal gland.

The basic signal sent via this pathway to the pineal gland is simple: if the body is exposed to light, do NOT secrete Melatonin. If there is no light, START secreting Melatonin.

 

Melatonin and the rest / repair cycle of the whole body:

When Melatonin begins secreting, it starts to relax the brain, signalling to the body that it is time to go to sleep. Darkness and the lack of light stimulates the release of Melatonin by the Pineal gland which then reaches our blood stream and travels through the cerebrospinal fluid into the brain.

This tells our whole body and brain to calm down and go into the state of repair associated with good quality sleep. When we get this good quality sleep at the right time, preferably 1-1.5 hours after eating our last meal (and hopefully a meal that is easy to digest), our body and mind go into a state of rest. Unencumbered by the digestive process, and relaxed into sleep, every organ system is meticulously examined and repaired.

The brain whizzes through the events of the day, analyzing and sorting and storing our impressions. When it encounters strong impressions, it creates dreams that help it process these impressions, and gives us signals / intuitive signs of incidents / people / behaviours we need to work on. It then goes into the deepest dream state, where it rests and repairs its own cells ready to re-start the next day.

 

The effect of using Blue light (from screens) on your body’s Melatonin production

Laptops, smart phones, and tablets and PCs emit light in the blue-white range. Several studies have been done on how this affects the Melatonin production in the body. Here are a few:

Mariana Figueiro of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her team studied the effect of using an Ipad or a Tablet at night. The study showed that 2 hours of using an Ipad at night in maximum brightness mode was enough to suppress the volunteers’ normal night time release of Melatonin.

Two hours of screen time with a device held close to the eyes, reduced Melatonin levels by 22%.

When this is done every day for a few years, it is enough to chronically disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm with serious health consequences. The dose of light in this case is as important as the amount of light. The same researcher found that the Melatonin suppression was less when the device was positioned further away from the eyes – therefore a TV screen will also suppress Melatonin production, but not as much as a tablet / e-reader / Smartphone held close to the eyes.

Another interesting piece of research was done by the University of Basel in Switzerland. When LED screens were used in computers and laptops (vs. old style fluorescent monitors), Melatonin levels took much longer to rise in the evening and stayed deficient until the next day. Blue light exposure also gave the subjects higher scores temporarily on memory and recall.

The alertness and “awakeness” caused by exposure to blue light via the LED screen frustrates the body’s ability to go to sleep later. The longer our exposure is to this light, and the closer this exposure is to our bedtime, the more difficult it is going to be for us to fall asleep.

5. 22 percent drop

 

The manifestation of excessive blue light exposure:

A common recommendation at Krya when we see stress related hairfall is to investigate the nature of the stress. When we see that stress is manifested in insomnia and an inability to fall asleep, we ask about the nature of the job. When we are told that a laptop is used well past sunset, and a Smartphone is further used at home to check and respond to email until 10 pm or later, we can understand the reason for stress.

 

As we have seen above, even 2 hours of using an Ipad to simply play games is enough to decrease Melatonin production by 22%. Imagine the depletion and increase in stress in the body when we use our laptop to answer an angry work email or finish a presentation late into the night? With not enough Melatonin production, our sleep is going to be less, poor in quality and cause our other organ systems to malfunction. Several health conditions like diabetes, PCOS, infertility and obesity are linked to poor sleep caused by improper exposure to sunlight and excessive exposure to blue light.

 

When the levels of blue light exposure are high, we see the following health conditions at Krya: high hair loss and a marked slowdown in the growth of hair. We also see rapid aging of the body as manifested in dull skin, early appearance of wrinkles, premature greying, etc. There are often problems associated with the reproductive organs. In women we see delayed menstrual cycles, scanty bleeding, PCOS or PCOD, and infertility or delay in conception.

6. stress

 

This link with sunlight, exposure to artificial light is not new or surprising: studies done in the 70s and the 80s measured how Nordic countries had a definite correlation between sunlight availability and exposure and fertility. For example, conception peaks in June and July in Finland, when Finns are exposed to nearly 20 hours of sunshine per day!

 

While the artificial light and screen time is definitely unhealthy in our work environment, there is perhaps not too much we can do to directly and rapidly change this. But we can influence our bodies and health by making important, small changes in our home. We will see this below.

 

Ayurveda on sunshine and vata disorders:

The Dinacharya recommendation of the Acharyas, lays emphasis on exposure to different kinds of light. We are asked to appreciate and be exposed to different kinds of sunlight, specifically early morning and late afternoon and evening sunlight. We are also asked to be exposed to moonlight, and this is particularly true of those with a marked Pitta constitution.

This is also considered particularly important in the growth and development of infants. Infants are supposed to be exposed to the rays of the rising sun alone, and this is considered a very important health giving practice in Ayurveda. The Acharyas say that this practice strengthens immunity, improves bone and joint development and aids proper growth.

7. sunlight benefit

 

Similarly, the texts recommend a gradual slowing down at night and break from all brain related activity post sunset. The brain engages both pitta and vata dosha through the use of the eyes and mental thought, so all devices and activities that engage with the eyes and the brain cause restlessness.

8. slow down

 

When we over use these  doshas, we have high heat in the body, extreme fatigue, restlessness, inability to switch off and associated skin and hair complaints like premature greying, hair thinning, hair fall, rough and coarse skin and dryness.

Many vata based disorders like joint aches, slipped disc, chronic fatigue, and insomnia can start with poor quality sleep due to excessive and overuse of the brain and high exposure to blue light via screen time. As we have seen, simply using your e-reader at night can set off a chain of events leading to depletion in Melatonin production, change in menstrual cycles and increased risk of conditions like diabetes.

The antidote to this in Ayurveda is twofold: cut down the increase in vata dosha at source and pacify agitated vata dosha in the body. We will see these recommendations in detail below.

 

Krya’s recommendations when vata and pitta dosha is aggravated due to excessive screen exposure:

  1. Give your brain and eyes frequent rest breaks at work: 10 minutes once an hour is ideal. At this time, if possible, take a walk outdoors or stand outside of an air conditioned environment. Gazing at greenery is also recommended. Ayurveda recommends avoiding direct sun exposure between 10 am – 3pm, so this is not the time to go and do an energetic walk, atleast in India.
  2. Creation of a vata reducing “time out” between office and home: Ayurveda recommends creating an intermission or a space between places/ periods of intense brain activity. This helps the brain slow down, rest and get used to working at slower and more restful speeds. So if you have a stressful atmosphere or are overworked at office and use your laptop intensively, we recommend coming back home and taking a pause. Lie down in a dark room, without any stimulus (no sound, no cold air, no conversations, no reading) for 15 minutes. This helps the brain slow down and step down to a less stressful mode of operation. You can resume your activities at home post this “intermission”.
  3. Switch off or reduce use of screens after sunset. If you must, you may watch television for 30minutes. What is much better is to chat with your family, and cook a fresh meal together. If your vata dosha is very high, do not watch television either. Switch off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in your home and go for a walk instead.
  4. Eliminate / Reduce personal screens both in the evening and the first thing in the morning. The evening suggestion is obvious: this is to help your body sleep better. We recommend avoiding using your Smartphone to check emails until 9 am to give your body time to accustom itself to natural sunlight. Ayurveda recommends waking up the body gently and lovingly: a Smartphone early in the morning is the electronic equivalent of waking your child up by throwing a bucket of cold water on her. It is harsh, unnecessary and quite frankly rude.
  5. Monitor your levels of natural sun exposure: We recommend atleast 30 minutes in the morning sun, and 30 minutes in the evening sun – the light spectrum is different at both times and both kinds are required by the body. Sun exposure should be whole without any barrier: glasses bend the light spectrum as do windows. So it is not enough to watch the sun through your glass window, you must be out in it. If you wear glasses / contacts, it is actually better to remove this during your walk, if possible. This allows the light to enter your body unfiltered and work its magic.
  6. Existing aggravated vata in your body (accumulated through the stress of multiple PowerPoint presentations and angry client calls) has to be contained by oil application. When your stress levels are high, be diligent about abhyanga. Increase its frequency if possible, and definitely do not skip t. Oil your scalp atleast 3 – 4 times a week to cool the brain and improve the function of the eyes. If you are highly stressed, add a pada abhyanga (foot massage) to your daily routine – this helps de-stress the body and helps you relax.
  7. Existing aggravated vata should be addressed by nourishing, dhatu building food. Cold food and drinks aggravate vata further as do crisp and hard foods. So avoid eating a burger and a coke when you are stressed and reach for a freshly cooked, warm Mung dal kitchdi instead. This will reduce stress and also nourish your body well.

 

Slow down and smell the roses:

In final analysis, health is built every single day by the simple choices we make and the things we say yes or no to. A full and rich life is not measured only by what we achieved at work or how much time we spent there. It is also measured by our health, optimistic outlook on life, and the relationships we nurtured and the conversations we had.

If after reading this article you have seen signs of vata imbalance and health issues associated with excessive screen usage, take some time to slow down and analyse this. A small decision you take today to cut down screen time at home, take a healthy walk, and spend time with loved ones instead of your Smartphone can have rich dividends in your future.

 

Krya products recommended for hair and skin to control aggravated vata (due to high mental stress):

  1. Krya harmony hair oil (contains Brahmi and other herbs to cool and relax the brain)
  2. 13. Krya harmony hair oilKrya Abhyanga Skin Oil (for full body abhyanga and pada abhyanga) – available separately and in the Krya Women’s Abhyanga system and the Krya Men’s abhyanga system

blog-post-11-krya-abhyanga-oil

If you would like further recommendations or help choosing Krya products, please write to us or call us on (0)75500-89090.

 

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