Flowing Kapha, Warming Ginger : Ayurvedic tips to stay Healthy in Spring

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Our series this week focuses on 5 common health issues that trouble people who live in urban environments. Today’s post gives you Ayurvedic tips to stay healthy in Spring (Vasanta).  We wrote yesterday on Computer vision syndrome, a common problem caused due to over straining of the eyes.

Preventive health care and staying healthy across seasons:

Ayurveda’s goal is to prevent the formation of disease by following certain guidelines of good living. This is best described by Acharya Charaka in his Sutra Sthana shlokas:

“Swasthasya Swasthya Rakshanam Aaturasya Vikara Prashamanam Cha”

He explains that the goal of medicine (Ayurveda) is to rejuvenate and preserve the health of the healthy and then to alleviate diseases in the ill. This order of first  tending to the healthy and then  treating the sick is specific to Ayurveda. It explains why so much of Ayurveda is primarily focused on health giving regimens rather than disease treatment .

This emphasis on preserving health is why Dincharya and Ritucharya regimes (regimes for daily living and special regimes to follow in specific seasons) come first in all 3 Brihat Trayee texts of Ayurveda (Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridayam).

Ritucharya: seasonal regimens to stay healthy

Dincharya comprises of regimens to be followed daily. These include waking up at the right time (Brahma Muhurtha), doing Vyayama (exercise), Oral care, Taila abhyanga , Snana (bath) and leading a life of balance. When these tenets of Dincharya are followed, we are guaranteed a life of harmony and balance.

Staying healthy in Spring: Dinacharya is a daily set of practices to stay healthy.
The seasonal health regimens form a part of Ritucharya (seasonal tenets of living). Ayurveda divides the year into 6 seasons. Each season lasts roughly two months. The time of change of seasons usually throws the body into a series of minor health issues, which can be avoided if we know what is to be done.

Staying healthy in Spring: What happens to us in Winter?

During winter (Hemanta and Shishira) , the severe cold weather drives Agni inwards from all parts of the body. This strongly increases our digestive capacity and hunger. So we are asked to eat well and eat oily, rich foods that can satisfy this high Agni, in Winter.

Staying healthy in Spring: We are advised to eat heavy, rich food in winter to satisfy increased agni in the body.
At the same time, we are asked to exercise well, sun bathe, do brisk abhyanga and avoid being lazy, sleeping during the day, etc.

Staying healthy in Spring: What happens to us in Spring?

Vasanta is the spring season described in Ayurveda. The official start of Vasanta is marked by the festival of Holi.

Staying healthy in Spring: spring starts with Holi

In Vasanta, as the climate again starts to become warm, the sun rays melt all the Kapha that has been stored in our body during winter. So we have liquefied excess Kapha / Mucous moving through our body . This explains why so many of us are prone to spring fever, hay fever, pollen allergies and coughs and colds in this season.

Staying healthy in Spring: Kapha liquifies through the body and flows leading to coughs, colds and seasonal allergies
The liquefied Kapha dosha, if aggravated can douse the digestive Agni. So our appetite will not be as strong as what it was in winter, if we leave this unchecked. So to stay healthy in Spring, we need to work on this liquiefied Kapha.

Ayurvedic therapies to stay healthy in Spring :

Vamana therapy (a part of Pancha karma) and Nasya therapy (application of nasal drops) are 2 Ayurvedic procedures that can be initiated by Vaidyas during Vasanta to remove aggravated Kapha dosha.

This is advised if you have Spring aggravation symptoms like severe mucous accumulation, pollen allergy, extreme lethargy, lack of energy etc. For many of us, this may not be required. So the Acharyas have given us many milder suggestions that we can all do to dry out liquefied kapha.

Staying healthy in spring: correction routines

The right diet for Spring:

Ayurveda advises us to avoid Guru (heavy), Snigdha (oily), Amla (sour) and Madhura (sweet) foods during this season.

Staying healthy in Spring: Avoid sweet, rich and heavy food that can aggravate Kapha dosha
Heavy and sweet foods increase Kapha dosha accumulation in the body. Snigdha and Amla foods aggravate qualities of Pitta, which will further liquefy Kapha causing even more flowing mucous in the body.

This is a good time to add Millets to our diet in small quantities. Millets are Laghu (light) and Rooksha (drying) so their addition can help absorb and dry out liquefied Kapha. Similarly, Yava (barley) is considered a good grain to be eaten during Vasanta. Yava has the property of removing excess watery Mala (toxins) through a diuretic action, so it is useful at this time.

Staying healthy in Spring: Eat drying, slightly astringent food with healing spices
This is also a good time to use spices like Haridra (Turmeric), Sounth (dried Ginger), Clove, Elaichi and Maricha (Black pepper) in the food. Haridra is astringent and drying, and will help absorb excess liquids in the body. Dried Ginger is warm without aggravating Pitta, so can be safely used to spice food. Similarly cloves and cardamom are both warming without aggravating Pitta dosha. Maricha is always recommended in Ayurveda to aid digestion and open up the srotas over red and green Chillies, which are considered teekshna (intense) and Pitta aggravating. Making these minor diet corrections will help remove liquiefied kapha, prevent toxin deposition and help us stay healthy in spring.

Staying healthy in Spring: use drying, warming spices to dry up aggravated Kapha

 

Staying healthy in Spring: Right physical exercise

Vasanta is also a good time for physical exercise. We are advised to do it at a slightly lower level than we would have during winter. The main purpose during exercise in Vasanta is to increase heat and provoke sweating in the body, to encourage drying and removal of excess Kapha dosha.

Staying healthy in Spring: Regular physical activity removes aggravated Kapha
The Acharyas encourage us to spend time in the company of good friends and in Nature. Vasanta is the season where birds abound, and when Nature is lush and green with the profuse flowering of fragrant herbs and flowers. We are advised to picnic in gardens, visit river banks, and enjoy the season in pleasant hill stations.

Staying healthy in Spring: drink the right warming drinks

Ayurveda does not universally advise to drink tea or coffee due to their many disturbing qualities. Instead, we are asked to sip specific, herbal warm drinks in Vasanta to aid expelling of liquid kapha. We can sip plain warm water, or water which has been boiled mildly with dried ginger powder (in cases of aggravated mucous).  Do not drink too much Ginger water as it can heat up the body in large amounts.

You can sip 1 glass of warm ginger water per day, for a few days at a time, to help move aggravated Kapha out of the body.

Staying healthy in Spring:  Spices like dried ginger help remove aggravated kapha in spring


A Spring health recipe: How to make Dried Ginger water:

Boil one glass of water until the water comes to a rolling boil. Switch off the gas. Add 1 teaspoon of freshly ground dried ginger powder. Allow the herb to steep for 4 – 5 minutes into the water. Strain. Sip through the day.

Modified Taila Abhyanga with Mardana:

Taila abhyanga with emphasis on “Mardana” is a good practice in Vasanta. The right taila should be chosen which is warming and mala removing and not cooling.

The practice of Mardana or strong pressure filled kneading of limbs is recommended during Vasanta.  Mardana forces liquefied Kapha through the body and out of it. This ensures that excess Kapha does not cool inside the body and create blockages. The limbs should be squeezed in a downward direction and not in an upward direction. This is an excellent practice to remove fatigue and lethargy caused by aggravated Kapha and helps your maintain health in spring.

Staying healthy in Spring: Taila Abhyanga and Mardana are recommended

Modified Snana (bath) with astringent herbs :

Snana is to be taken with pitta and kapha pacifying, slightly astringent and rooksha herbs. The choice of rooksha herbs is to help dry up excess Kapha. The choice of astringent is to deal with vitiated Pitta. This way we can avoid the oily pus filled breakouts, prickly heat and allergic skin conditions that are common in Vasantha.

Application of these astringent herbs on skin as a paste, helps open the minor Srotas and helps in removal of mala through the body. It also enhances circulation and ensures liquefied Kapha does not get solid and block the minor channels.

Staying healthy in Spring: Snana is to be done with astringent, drying herbs

Some Snana options available at Krya are given below.

Snana options at Krya for Vasantha (Spring):

  1. Krya Women’s Ubtan (best for Snana after Taila Abhyanga) – made with astringent and Kapha reducing grains and herbs like Heritage Black horsegram, Rooksha and skin healing herbs like Vana Haridra, Daru haridra, and Sweet basil and Pitta pacifying, skin improving herbs like Vetiver, Vilwa Leaf, and Khadira.12. womens ubtan
  2. Krya Classic Bodywash (suits normal – oily skin on Non Taila Abhyanga days) – made with astringent and Kapha reducing grains and herbs like our herbal skin decoction charged Heritage Whole Mung bean, Rooksha and skin healing herbs like Rosemary, Triphala & Zeodary and Pitta pacifying, skin improving herbs like Manjishta, Mushta & Arjuna.
  3. Krya Moisture Plus Bodywash (suits normal – dry skin on Non Taila Abhyanga days) – made with astringent and Kapha reducing grains and herbs like Tavakshir and Heritage Whole Mung bean, Rooksha and skin healing herbs like Kushta, Amla & Moringa and Pitta pacifying, skin improving herbs like Durva, Neem flower & Manjishta.
  4. Krya Sensitive Bodywash for Adults (for skin that is prone to eczema and Psoriasis)
  5. Krya Men’s Ubtan (best for Snana after Taila Abhyanga) – made with astringent and Kapha reducing grains and herbs like Heritage White horsegram and Pink Masoor bean, Rooksha and skin healing herbs like Cassia Leaf, Brahmi, and Indian Borage and Pitta pacifying, skin improving herbs like Indian sarsaparilla, Guduchi, and Yashtimadhu.
  6. Krya Men’s Bodywash: (suits normal – oily skin on Non Taila Abhyanga days) – made with astringent and Kapha reducing grains and herbs like our herbal skin decoction charged Heritage Whole Mung bean, Rooksha and skin healing herbs like Cassia Leaf, Lemongrass & Kushta and Pitta pacifying, skin improving herbs like Peppermint, Vetiver & Lodhra.12. mens bodywash

 

To conclude:

The emphasis in Ayurveda is always on following a life of balance and moderation, along with carefully chosen , sensible, health giving practices. When we follow this method, we are guaranteed both Ayu and Ayush (long life and health) as per our Acharyas.

Many of the problems we face as we live our busy and chaotic lives in cities is because we are unable to balance the excesses we face. So we end up over using our eyes, over commuting, eating the wrong kind of food, and ignoring what we must be doing in each season.

Skin and hair care are not just superficial subjects. Our skin and hair reflects the inner state of health and well being, so only if we solve our deeper issues, can our external appearance be good.

We hope this post gave you an idea of how you stay healthy in Spring.  If you have any doubts in the above, please do drop a comment or write to us.

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9 things to do to help you stay cool this summer with Ayurveda– Krya shares insights and suggestions

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

We speak often on the Krya blog about traditional wisdom and cultural practices which flow from Ayurveda and our understanding of how the body functions and how we must take care of ourselves. We saw yet another interesting deity yesterday at the Parthasarathy temple of Triplicane yesterday. The temple contains a shrine to Yoga Narasimhar, one of the 9 forms of Lord Narasimha, who is himself one of the dasavataras (10 avatars) of Maha Vishnu.

 

Lord Narasimha and Yoga Narasimha:

Many of us would be familiar with the story behind Lord Narasimha. Prahalad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu continued to worship him, much to the dismay of his father, the Asura King Hiranyakashipu. One day, when answering Hiranyakashipu’s taunt of where Maha Vishnu would be found, little Prahalad answered that he would be found in both the “thoon and the thurumbu” (both in pillars and specks of dust. Incensed, Hiranyakashipu pointed to one of the pillars in his palace and mockingly taunted his son asking if Maha Vishnu would be found here. Answering the prayers f his devotee, Lord Mahavishnu burst out of the pillar in the form of Narasimha, half man, half Lion.

1. Lord Narasimha

 

The anger and heat of Lord Narasimha:

Lord Narasimha as an avatar is always considered an “Ugra” avatar or a fierce and angry avatar.  Everytime he manifests, his anger and therefore heat is so high, that it stimulates Lord Agni to manifests as forest fires everywhere. As a result, water evaporates and steam and heat rise from the surface of the earth, heating it up. The heat of Lord Narasimha is so powerful and intense that it spreads not just in our world, but throughout all the galaxies, .

2. Ugra Narasimha

 

To pacify the anger of Lord Narasimha, our scriptures tell us that all human beings, trees, flowers, all animals and all the celestial beings requested Prahlada, Lord Narasimha’s staunch devotee to pacify him.  When Prahlada started to sing devotional hymns in praise of Lord Narasimha,  the Lord’s anger cooled slightly. Then the Lord’s consort, Goddess Mahalakshmi took the form of “Goddess Narasingavalli” and manifested either on his chest or in his lap.

As soon as the Goddess appeared, the Lord’s anger cooled and he assumed the form of Yoga Narasimha where he sits in Padmasana and is seen doing Pranayama to cool his anger.

3. Yoga Narasimha

 

In the Kal Azhagar temple just of Madurai, there is another famous depiction of Sri Yoga Narasimha.  Here too the Lord sits in his yogic pose, and the ceiling of the sanctum above his idol has a circular hole just above eth crown of his head.

Interestingly, in this temple, the Lord is given frequent thirumanjanam (holy baths) using sesame oil as abhyanga oil before the bath with a specially prepared herbal powder. It is believed that the ushna (heat) emanating after this bath is released through the crown of the head of Lord Yoga Narasimha, which then is released through the special opening in the ceiling in the sanctum.

4. thirumanjanam

 

Excess Pitta dosha and Ushna (heat) and its effects on the body:

Pitta dosha is the dosha in our body that controls “Agni” or heat and is responsible for digestion of food, metabolizing nutrients form food, for the quality of blood in our body, for our intellect, focus, vision and complexion.

In our body, the main seat of Pitta dosha is the stomach. The second seat of Pitta dosha is the eyes, where Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha together are responsible for vision and clarity. Every process in our body generates Agni / heat, and to keep our body in a state of balance, we should have heat that is “just right” – not too much or too little.

5. Agni

 

The activity of the brain and eyes together generates tremendous heat, and Ayurveda says that this heat is continuously released through the crown of the head as vapour.

When the excess Pitta generated in our body continues to stay trapped in the body without being released, Ayurveda tell us that there are many health issues that can form and accumulate in the body. These include excessive hair greying, hair thinning, development of acne, rashes that can develop on skin on sun exposure, and even diseases like high blood pressure, poor vision, improper digestion, diarrhoea, etc.

6. rashes

In seasons like summer when Agni in the atmosphere is already very high, the excess Pitta in our body can build up much more. So in today’s post, we are going to look at 9 cooling practices to adopt this summer. These practices will help regular Pitta dosha in our body, check excess heat, and keep our hair, skin and body in good shape during the summer.

 

9 Pitta balancing and heat releasing practices for the summer:

1.Head to toe Abhyanga within the first hour of sunrise (before heat sets in) with sesame based abhyanga oil like the Krya abhyanga oil for the body, and a cooling; Amla based hair oil for the hair. This Abhyanga should be done twice a week.

  • Sesame Oil for the body balances vata and also helps open up the pores, allows the oil to penetrate deeply and helps the dissipation of heat through the skin
  • Amla based hair oil cools the scalp and brain roughly, helps release excess pitta accumulated in the eyes and head through the crown, improves hair growth and reduces hair greying and thinning
  • The abhyanga, if done properly and regularly, intensively removes excess heat through sweat , urine and bowel movements in the body, corrects impaired vata dosha, and leaves you feeling fresh, full of energy and sharp through the day

7. abhyanga

2.Hair Oiling the scalp with a pure, traditional Amla based hair oil every evening atleast 45 minutes before dinner or 2 hours after dinner, atleast 30 minutes before sleeping.

  • This hair oiling helps release excess heat accumulated during the day
  • This hair oiling also nourishes the scalp and promotes healthy hair growth
  • If done before dinner, it helps settle pitta in the body ensure the digestive fire is not too high or too low. If done after dinner, just before sleeping, it ensures restful sleep.
  • Only a small quantity of hair oil needs to be used – ½ teaspoon of hair oil is sufficient

8. hair oiling

3.Preferentially eat split Mung dal over other Dals this summer

  • Most lentils are considered high in pitta dosha, some are considered high in kapha dosha. All lentils are considered high in vata dosha
  • Lentils like Tuvar dal are generally considered high in Pitta, so are traditionally boiled or pressure-cooked with cooling fats like castor oil or ghee to ensure both pitta and vata is balanced.
  • Lentils like Rajma and Channa are considered very difficult to digest – they are best avoided in Summer where the high heat in the atmosphere unbalances the normal digestive process leaving us less able to eat tough-to-digest foods.
  • Mung Dal is considered, light, tridoshic and the least vata aggravating lentil. It is considered very soothing and cooling to the stomach and is normally fed to those with impaired Pitta dosha or digestive disorders.
  • It is an ideal lentil base in summer to ensure Pitta is not aggravated, and your digestive system is not taxed by difficult to digest lentils.

9.split mung dal

 

4.Add melted cow ghee to your diet; avoid other dairy products like curd, cheese, yoghurt, and milk based sweets

  • Most dairy products are unsuitable for this season as they may be difficult to digest: curd is an absolute no, as is cheese because they are both high in pitta and kapha. consumption of these 2 dairy products will build up heaviness and sluggishness sin the system in this season
  • Milk based sweets and consumption of high quantities f milk based drinks like tea and coffee (except advised to for a specific medical condition) also create ama and sluggishness in the system.
  • If you must drink some form of fermented dairy, then thin, Ayurvedic buttermilk is ok on occasion.
  • The safest dairy product to consume, which will actually help you this summer is melted cow ghee. Add to all meals to improve digestive ability.

10.no sweets

 

5.Use a grain based body wash powder or ubtan with cooling herbs for your bath everyday

  • In summer, as the sweat secretion from the body increases, there is also a proliferation of debris, dead cells and micro organisms which may grow on the skin, blocking the minor srotas.
  • These small micro organisms tend to feed on the small sebum secretions that come along with sweat.
  • These increases body odour in summer and also tends to block off the minor srotas of the skin, impairing proper functioning of the sweat glands, blocks healthy perspiration and also causes small bumps, rashes and minor inflammation o skin
  • Using a well formulated grain and lentil based ubtan with the right cooling herbs micro polishes the skin, opens up the minor srotas and cleans them well, and facilitates healthy perspiration and removal of ama from the body. This practice keeps skin free of pitta clogged reactions like rashes, acne, etc.

11.summer cleanser

 

6.Eat your meals on time and eat dinner as close to sunset as possible

  • In summer, as Pitta dosha is naturally aggravated, digestion becomes slightly impaired.
  • So eating late and at odd times strains the entire body and interferes with proper nutrient absorption.
  • Eating your meals on time, helps keep the appetite steady, helps nutrient absorption and keeps the body light and active

12.eat on time

 

7.Drink naturally cooled water and not fridge-cooled water whenever thirsty. Supplement with natural tender coconut water. AVOID all other fruit juices, colas, iced teas, granitas and synthetic drinks.

  • Fridge cooled water tends to be vata promoting and leaves the mouth and body dry
  • Naturally cooled water (water stored in earthen ware) is refreshing for the body, promotes natural heat exchange and allows for excess pitta to leave the body through urine and sweat.
  • Coconut water is an excellent electrolyte restoring , nutrient rich, cooling summer drink
  • Eating seasonal fruit is preferable over drinking the juice (even if it is made at home without added sugar) as chewing stimulates the digestive system, ensures you eat there right quantity of fruit (and not too much) and that your system is not overloaded.
  • Colas, iced tea and iced coffee are very vata aggravating, water and nutrient depleting and acidic and bone weakening. Avoid in all seasons, especially summer.

13.clay pots

 

8.Avoid the peak sun. Stay indoors between 10 am – 3 pm if possible.

  • Go out only if you must and cover your head and arms with protective clothing.
  • After coming back from high sun exposure, give yourself atleast 10 minutes of rest before drinking water. Do not drink cold water immediately after sun exposure.
  • Do not have a bath / cold shower immediately after sun exposure as it sends your system into shock.

14.sun protection

 

9. Eat bitter foods and avoid extremely sour or spicy foods to control pitta aggravation

  • Eat a small quantity of bitters regularly through the season like bitter gourd, local greens. These bitters help balance pitta
  • Control the amount of sour and spicy food you eat as both aggravate pitta dosha. Very mildly spiced food is best for this season.

15.sour and spicy food

To conclude:

A part of Ayurveda gives us detailed information, diets and practices for each season, called “Ritucharya”. By following the appropriate Ritucharya for Summer, we can avoid many of the health issues that plague us, and continue to lead a life of good health, balance and harmony.

We hope you enjoyed this post on 9 cooling practices and diet changes for the Summer. If you would like us to cover any specific topics on health which are appropriate for the Krya blog, do write to us.


Krya products recommended for this season:

  • The KryaAbhyanga system for Men and Women (consists of the Krya Abhyanga oil and either a Women’s ubtan or a Men’s ubtan. ) The system is designed to balance aggravated vata and pitta dosha. Most urban dwellers additionally have aggravated vata dosha due to their long commutes, nature of work, uncertain eating timings, etc. This together pushes vata dosha along with pitta dosha out of balance
  • The Krya Abhyanga skin oil with Vacha and Ashwagandhanoticeably brings down aggravated vata and pitta. Users report seeing a reduction in vata related aches and pains and balancing of excess pitta through the body with regular use.
  • The Krya Abhyanga bath powder for Women with Lotus Leaf and Lodhra – formulated to cleanse skin after an abhyanga. Helps remove excess oil, dead cells, debris for the skin without stripping it of moisture. Prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors as a natural soap substitute.
  • The Krya Abhyanga bath powder for Men with Vetiver & Van Tulsi– formulated to cleanse skin after an abhyanga. Helps remove excess oil, dead cells, debris for the skin without stripping it of moisture.

 

Bodywashes for adults: meant to replace soap; can be used even if you have not oiled your skin

 

Hair Oils for different hair types:

 

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Great skin and hair this Winter from Krya – positive health changes you can see with dosha balance

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

We have been speaking this month on the Krya blog on how a holistic set of changes to your diet, regimen and the products used can make a long lasting, positive impact on your health. Why do we attempt to make so many changes to cure a seemingly simplistic problem like dry skin or hair fall?

The answer lies in the fundamental principles behind Ayurveda itself.

Ayurveda, referred to the 5th Veda along with Yoga is considered a divine science. Its twin goals are Ayu and Ayush, which is long life along with good health. The Ishavasya Upanishad forms part of the 10 Upanishads called the “Mukhya” or principal Upanishads. A few of the slokas speak about the differences between the life of a householder and a renunciate and outlines the goals of a householder.

sankaras-commentary-on-isha-upanishad

The 2nd verse of the Ishavasya Upanishads says this:

“Kurvan eva iha karmaani, jejeevishet shatham samaah

Evam tvayi na anyethetho asthi, na karma lipyathe nare “

This can be translated roughly as this:

“Should you wish to live for a 100 years, you should only do so by productively discharging your responsibilities and doing your karma. If you live this way, the ill effects of karmic misdeeds will not cling to you” – Ishavasya Upanishad Sloka 2

We see a deep connection between the goals of a householder outlined in the Ishavasya Upanishad and the goals of Ayurveda. The twin goals of long life and health in Ayurveda help you discharge your dharma as a householder and perform your duties to the fullest of your capacity. Ill health, dis-ease and a short life span should not stand in the way of you achieving your goals and discharging your dharma.  Conversely, the very fact of a long life and good health allows you to take on more lofty and noble goals.

How a skin change can affect your energy and enthusiasm

Modern Science and Ayurveda both tell us that skin and hair manifestations are the first signs of dis-ease in the body.

In Ayurveda, each dosha occupies certain seats in the body. For example, Vata dosha has its seat in the large intestines, waist, thighs, ears, bones and skin. “Udana” vata regulates the action of speech, enthusiasm, motor movements, Urja (energy), strength, complexion and consciousness.

When people report a loss of complexion lustre or dullness of skin, the other functions of Udana vata like enthusiasm and energy are also affected.

vata-imbalance-2

This is borne out during our consultations. Many people who report seeing an increase in vata which is seen by dry and flaky skin, weight loss, unexplained skin darkening almost always report feeling dull, low, experiencing a lack of energy with associated joint aches and pains.

The body’s order of priorities: why a hair and skin change should be taken seriously.

Both Ayurveda and modern medicine recognise that the body has a definite order of priority when allocating resources to different organ systems.

clear-well-defined-priorities

If there is a problem in your body or a lack of nutrients, the body will first divert whatever is available to protect its most important organ systems of the heart, lungs and the brain. Once your basic systems of life are alright, your systems of cleansing will be protected like your kidneys, liver and spleen. Once these systems have enough to function well, your reproductive systems will be looked after. Only when there are enough nutrients above the reproductive systems need, will your hair and skin be dealt with.

Hair and skin problems manifest first because they are the first systems to be jettisoned when your body is working with a limited supply of nutrients. When your disease has passed this stage, and into problems of fertility, then we can safely assume that the stage has crossed over from hair and skin into the next organ system.

The wisdom of Ayurveda: when no disorder is taken lightly

This also explains the wisdom behind Ayurveda which takes every problem seriously and proposes a holistic, long term solution. A pitta disorder like prickly heat every summer, if not treated at the root cause can progress to premature greying, balding and diseases of the blood if left untreated for long.

pitta-imblance

Similarly, vata disorders like very dry skin, atopic dermatitis and dry, thin and breaking hair if left untreated can progress to more and more complex vata disorders like spondylitis, gout, etc.

vata-imbalance

As all Ayurvedic treatments attempt to change 3 things that we explored yesterday: diet, regimen and products, we are always able to do something much more than what is asked for. For example, when we treat a vata disorder of dry skin with the combination of diet (cow ghee), regimen (abhyanga + scheduled meal timings) , plus a change of products , we are able to tackle the vata imbalance at a much deeper level compared to just at an external level. Therefore we are able to see a much deep rooted and lasting change in health, compared to what we would have seen if we simply followed an external approach.

The hope in following this approach is that a dosha balance is corrected quickly as soon as it begins to manifest in the external skin and hair systems – which leads to much better health overall and a prevention of the dosha imbalance spreading further and causing major diseases later on.

We explored certain changes to be made when you have vata based complaints yesterday. And we will continue to explore disorders associated with the other doshas as well in subsequent blog posts.

Perfect health – what you can expect if your doshas are properly balanced

But before we do this, here is how your body will behave if your doshas are in a state of balance:

  1. Good strong, regular appetite with an ability to digest food properly and on time.

2. Free, easy and clear bowel movements atleast once a day or more than one – if you have a very heavy meal outside of your normal meal, the digestive process should work and throw out excess in the form of an additional bowel movement. The bowel movement should be neither loose nor scattered and should come out like a ripe banana in one continuous easy mass without strain or irritation

clear-bowel-movements

3.Reduced pain during your periods – cramping and clotting should be less. You should be able to function normally without pain killers

4.Reduced PMS and food cravings. You should be able to function in a more even manner the week before your periods and not experience any sharp mood swings.

no-sugar-cravings

5.Ability to stay level headed, even tempered and being able to focus on something for a long time without getting tired, drained or requiring artificial stimulants

6.Ability to hold temper in longer without erupting

evenness-dosha-balance

7.Clearing up of skin and hair with even, steady oil production. Hair and skin should neither be too dry nor too oily (except if there is any change in weather, climate or diet). Here there is certainly room for individual differences depending upon the unique prakriti of the individual.

8.Skin should start looking clear and luminescent. There should be an inner tejas (divine light) that shines through from the skin.

9.Hair should look good, be stronger and should not break easily. Growth should be good and it should feel soft and look glossy as the sebum secretion is balanced. It should not get oily very often necessitating frequent washing.

10.Easy, untroubled sleep with you waking up feeling bright, energetic and refreshed the next morning. You should wake up feeling light and energetic without aches and pains. The sleep should be refreshing, and undisturbed with nightmares.

restful-sleep

We hope you enjoyed reading this post on both the differences in the Ayurvedic approach to treat skin and hair problems. We also hope the description of the benefits of achieving dosha balance has inspired you to seek some changes to your diet, regimen, products used and health.

Do remember, True beauty comes from balance and wellness. Not from an external product alone.

A happy, dosha balanced day to you from us at Krya.

If you are seeking true beauty as well, and would like a consultation or advice on how to make a lasting change, do call us on 075500-89090 or write to us. Do explore our goodness and wellness filled products here.

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3 Ayurvedic changes Krya recommends to help dry, flaky skin this winter

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

When people write /call us for suggestions on how they can make their hair and skin look their best, we follow the 3 golden rules of Ayurveda to ensure that the life they are leading has the right balance of doshas for their constitution.

Ayurveda says that when your doshas are balanced as per your prakriti (individual constitution), then your body will function excellently well for you. All of us tend to have one or two doshas manifesting predominantly within us. Ayurveda teaches us that like increases like – so whatever is your dominant dosha, you will choose food, activities and regimens that will further increase this dosha. When it goes in excess you will have a manifestation of your dominant dosha going out of balance.

The sum of your 3 doshas adds to the same number mathematically, and this total is the same for everyone. What varies is how much each of the individual doshas contribute. But the total is always the same. So for example if the normal level of your pitta is supposed to be 60, and it goes upto 80, then your other 2 doshas will be depleted as pitta dosha has increased.

So apart from the manifestation of your dominant dosha in excess you will also suffer from the consequence of the other 2 doshas decreasing.

The 3 golden rules we follow when doing product suggestions is to always add suggestions on diet and regimen to help balance your dosha. The Ayurvedic golden rule of 3 is that the combination of right diet +right regimen +right product will lead to harmony and good health.

rule-of-3

 

Drier skin and hair? Your vata may be out of balance
If you have a prominent vata dosha, then it is likely that this season of Hemanta (Winter) can further push your vata dosha out of balance. This will result in drier skin and hair than normal, hair that breaks easily, a build up of static, an increase in joint pains and perhaps an increase in menstrual cramping in this season.

The Ashtanga Hridyam describes the qualities of vata dosha thus:

“Tatra ruksho laghu sheetah, khara sukshmachalo nilah”

The qualities of Vata are dry, light cool, rough, subtle and mobile.

qualities-of-vata

 

In Ayurveda, we believe just as like promotes like, to control a dosha or an imbalance we have to use foods, products and regimens which are the opposite of that dosha. So as vata is cool, we have to use warm foods, regimens and products. As vata dosha is mobile, we have to weigh it down with heavy oils and fats. And as vata dosha’s nature is light, we have to feed it with heavier and more substantial foods to balance it.

 

So if you have come to us with complaints of flaky, dry skin or brittle and frizzy hair, here are the 3 changes we would recommend:

Change 1 : Switch to the right products that will not aggravate vata imbalance:

  1. Switch from a drying soap / shampoo to a gentle, completely natural herb based cleanser for skin and hair. In the beginning you may need far more moisturising or conditioning products to compensate for the dosha balance. The use of a herb based cleanser also increases warmth (therefore bring down the cooling nature of Vata) and therefore also increases elimination of toxins through the skin.

an-ayurvedic-bath

  1. Add an oil that nourishes (and we will explain why in the Right regimen) and arrests the dry and light nature of Vata dosha.

 

Change 2: Modify your Regimen to reduce vata imbalance:

  1. Include an abhyanga for your body + one for the hair in your regime. Twice a week if your skin and hair are very dry, but atleast once a week for good health. The abhyanga should be preferably done with an oil that is designed to balance vata using vata balancing herbs in a sesame oil base. If you are unable to source this oil, the abhyanga should be done with pure sesame oil – no other oil base will do.

abhyanga

  1. Wash off the oil with a lentil and grain paste only. Do not use a soap post abhyanga.
  1. Control the timings of eating and stick to a rigid schedule. Rigidity brings order to chaotic vata dosha. Vata dosha promotes fluidity and creativity – but in excess it leads to chaos. So sticking to a rigid schedule helps bring it to normal
  1. Stick to a rigid cut off after which you will not do vata increasing activities – these include checking social media, messages, or responding to emails. Vata is excitable so you need to calm it down by reducing stimulation. Using heavy curtains and a dark room to sleep in also helps controlling vata as Vata is excited by visual stimulation.

cut-down-stimulation

 

Change 3: Add vata pacifying foods and eliminate vata aggravating foods from your diet:

  1. Excess vata and excess pitta is best controlled by Ghee. So if you are suffering from symptoms of excess vata, it is best to add a teaspoon of melted cow ghee to every meal. Ayurveda is very particular about using dairy from native cows – so search for options where you are sure Indian native cow breeds are supplying your milk. Ayurveda is also particular about the karmic effects of consuming cruelly sourced food. Ensure your dairy is sourced from a farm where antibiotics and hormones are not used, the cows are not over bred, and the calves are looked after well.

desi-cow-ghee-for-vata

  1. Reduce the intake of vata promoting foods – these included baked goods, fried foods, instant and processed foods, and vegetables that are part of the vata group like potatoes, cabbage and cauliflower
  2. Reduce the intake of vata promoting drinks – tea, coffee, processed fruit juices and colas are all vata increasing. Besides this they are full of E-numbers, preservatives and sugar, so they are just not good for you. If you must drink something, warm water or tender coconut water is a better drink.
  3. Ensure you eat your food and drinks warm – warm water and freshly cooked warm food help dispel vata. Stay away from cold foods and drinks. Warm controls vata.

fresh-food

Anyone following our posts or who is interested in Ayurveda will be able to appreciate this difference in approach to a seemingly simple problem. A truly Ayurvedic company cannot simply sell you a product if you complain of dryness. We must be able to understand the root cause of this dryness and suggest a diet and lifestyle change to arrest the dosha balance at the roots.

True beauty comes from balance and wellness. Not from an external product alone.

A happy, dosha balanced Monday to you from us at Krya. If you are seeking true beauty as well, and would like a consultation or advice on how to make a lasting change, do call us on 075500-89090 or write to us.

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Ancient bathing rituals to suit Sharath Ritu (Autumn season)

romantic luscious bath
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Reading Time: 7 minutes

We discussed Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of Swadeshi yesterday on the Krya facebook page. We also discussed how this concept of Swadeshi is present in Ayurvedic texts where the acharyas tell us to use native herbs and grains both for eating and for cleansing and caring for skin and hair.

The Acharyas tell us that this practice is better for us, and native and indigenous herbs suit our body’s requirements much better.

Yet, if you take a quick poll of our neighbourhood, very few of us actually use a herb and grain based ubtan to cleanse skin or hair. Most of us instead use a cake of synthetic soap. In this post, we look at why it would be much better for us to choose a Swadeshi ubtan instead of this cake of soap.

Ancient bathing rituals:

Throughout history, ancient societies created elaborate rituals around the act of bathing . The plumbing lines in ancient cities were well thought through to ensure water was brought to where people lived.

4. vedic ritual blog post image 2

The Vedic texts, the “Grihya Sutras” contain information about Vedic domestic rites and rituals meant for householders like conception, birth, initiation (upanayanam), marriage, death, etc. These texts carry more than 79 references to bathing ritual and stipulate a schedule of 3 baths a day, along with ritualized washing.

 Ancient Greece reveled in bathing, both in private and in fresh water and seas. Not to know how to read or swim, in ancient Greece, were the marks of an Ignoramus. Athens had a swimming bath at the time or Plato. Warm springs were referred to by Poets as ideal for bathing.  An artificial warm bath was taken in a specially constructed wooden or marble vessel and the ancient Greece had foot baths, urns and specially constructed wash basins besides bath tubs.

5. bathing men of greece 1 - blog post

Greek mythology said that natural springs and certain pools were blessed by the gods and contained healing water. So healing bathing facilities were often established around these healing waters.

After bathing, especially in warm water, both sexes anointed themselves with oil, so that the skin was not left rough and harsh.

The Romans took the idea of bathing and cleansing rituals to the next level. A bather in a Roman bath induced progressive sweating by going to a progressively hotter room. The final “hot room”, called the caldarium, was heated by a brazier underneath a hollow room. The bather would then go to the cooler “tepidarium” for an oil massage, and scrape out dirt and dead cells with a blunt metal implement

roman bath

 

Where’s the soap? And why is no one bathing with it?

Did you notice the importance plaid in ancient cultures to massaging skin with oil, inducing sweating and elaborately cleaning out dead cells and toxins form the body? Please note that at the time of even the Ancient Grecian Bathing Ritual, the idea of a soap was well known.

Soap production is atleast 5000 years old. Babylonians are said the have mastered the art of soap making , and archeological evidence dates Babylonian soap making to atleast 2800 BC. The Babylonian soap was made from rendered animal fat boiled with alkaline ashes. This soap was used to clean wool and cotton fabric.

The Ebers papyrus, dated to 1500 BS in the egyptoan civilization talks about ancient Egyptian soap – made with animal, vegetable oils and alkaline substances like natron to produce a gooey soap.

The Celts called their soap “saipo” and made it from rendered animal fat and plant ashes.

The Ancient world used Soap exclusively to clean textiles and render it fit for dyeing. Soap was never used for personal cleansing as it was considered both harsh and ineffective in removing dirt and dead cells.

 

Ayurvedic method of cleansing skin – Mala removal

The Ayurvedic texts list out the large and small orifices in the body in great detail and also enumerate the mala (impurities) that accumulate as a part of normal wear and tear from the dhatus in these orifices. Moisture of the tongue, eyes, mouth, excretions of the eyes, ears tongue, teeth, axilla, genitals, pimples, greasiness of facial skin, sweda (sweat) , sebum secretions of kesha (hair) are all mala from the dhatus (tissues).

If this mala is not removed periodically, especially in seasons where the mala can increase, the body loses its health and appearance of well being.It is only by thorough cleaning these minute pores , and removing debris and dead cells that could clog these channels, can the body be thoroughly clean.

To thoroughly scrub skin clean and remove Mala from deep within, the texts advice the twin Abhyanga- Snana method – a through oil massage followed by a deep cleansing Snana using an ubtan – herb, grain and lentil based cleanser.

7. abhyanga
The Abhyanga reduces aches and pains and helps balance all 3 doshas. It also stimulates circulation, increases warmth and acts as a conduit to move toxins to the surface of the skin.

The Snana then follows , with the herbs and lentils scrubbing and opening the minor pores of the skin, and “vacuuming” out the toxins and Malas which have been released through the Abhyanga.
8.ayurvedic cleanser


How a soap cleans skin:

Synthetic products have a strong artificial fragrance that lull you into feeling that you are much more cleaner than you actually are. A soap dissolves oil present on the skin. Its lyophilic end surrounds the oil molecule and moves it away from skin as you pour water on it. This is an excellent property if you are cleaning an inanimate object like your car, but not if you are cleaning living tissue like your skin.

If you use a soap on your skin, it will dissolve the sebum layer which is required to keep your skin moisturized and keep your barrier layer strong. This cleansing method is also quite superficial. A soap works on the outer layer of skin and dissolve oil and remove surface level sweat and dirt using a typical detergent action. But the sweat that emanates from the body in a few hours time continues to smell stale and unclean.

How an Ayurvedic bodywash powder / ubtan cleans skin

A well researched and well made Ayurvedic bodywash / ubtan is on the other hand, a real deep cleanser and a treat for skin. It is very subtle in its action – it combines exfoliant, temperature altering, scrubbing, micro polishing and surfactant benefits all into one.

This is in direct contrast to a synthetic soap – the Ayurvedic bodywash / ubtan works by actually opening up and removing mala from the minutest of pores in your skin – so the instant difference after a bath is a feeling of lightness and refreshment. If you smell yourself a few hours later, your skin will not stink, even if you have been sweating profusely.

What we put into the Krya herb based bodywashes and ubtans for skin

We have researched, designed and formulated Krya’s range of ayurvedic bodywashes and ubtans based on the Classical Indian Medicine texts and have used specific herbs and grains for different kinds of skin.

6. krya bodywash and ubtan blog feature
The grains and lentils and herbs Krya uses are mildly acidic. They work by a process of adsorption and by forming a homogenous mixture with the excess oil, dead cells and dirt on your skin. The grains and lentils also contain small amounts of oil and other nutrients which coat your skin as you rub the mixture.

Because the Krya bodywashes and ubtans are mildly acidic, aromatic and contain properties that keep down the growth of invasive fungi and bacteria, your skin is left intact after washing. As your skin’s acid mantle is left intact and its pH level is not altered, your skin is able to defend better against invasive micro organisms.

Ayurvedic cleansing for Sharad Rtu (Autumn season)

At Krya, our formulations change as per the season to suit skin through the year. Ayurveda defines 6 seasons and accurately predicts the effect of climate and atmospheric changes on skin and the body.

The season we are currently experiencing is called the Sharad Rtu (autumn season) which extends upto mid November. The Ashtanga Hridyam describes this season as being very high in Pitta which accumulates in the previous season of Varsha Ritu (rainy season). In practice, this period is often described as the Little Summer in India as we face hot and humid conditions which are similar to but milder than peak Summer.

Similar precautions must be taken as we do in summer. Foods must be chosen to be slightly bitter and astringent to cope with heat. The foods must be light and easily digestible. Exposure to strong sunlight, eating excessive amounts of curd, etc which are Summer season precautions must be taken.

In this season, the Krya Bodywashes and Ubtans are formulated with bitter and pitta balancing to help reduce agni buildup., help remove excessive oiliness and toxins from skin, and also cool and soothe skin leaving it feeling pleasant and deodorised.

Specifically due to the addition of natural deodorizing herbs and cleansing herbs like Nutgrass, Shikakai, Katsura and Cassia auriculata, the Krya bodywashes and ubtans help remove sweat and odour much more efficiently and you will not feel as malodorous / sweaty as you would after using a soap .

So in this Season, do try a proper, swadeshi bath with a Krya ubtan / bodywash.

Krya’s post Abhyanga Ubtans for a thorough Snana can be explored here.

 

 

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