What time to do an Abhyanga?

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

We often speak at Krya about the health giving benefits about doing an Abhyanga. The question we are often asked is what time to do an abhyanga? Should abhyanga time be chosen by prakriti? This post will answer this question.

Choosing the right abhyanga time: body clock

Everything in Ayurveda is calibrated to the body clock which in turn has a strong correlation with the movement of the Sun. This clock varies subtly according to season, and also depends on whether the Sun is in Uttarayana or Adana Kala (travelling northwards or Southwards).

However, given these subtle variations, we can practically set our clock, by the body clock. The body will carry out its repair and re-set functions relentlessly during the day according to schedule.

So all things going well, our liver will proceed to re-calibrate and repair itself around 11 pm which is the second peak Pitta period. The liver is considered an organ of Agni , therefore strongly influenced by Pitta dosha in Ayurveda.

Brahma Muhurtham – second Vata peak, ideal for waking up

Similarly, we are advised to wake up in Brahma Muhurtha which is roughly 90 minutes before Sunrise which is smack in the middle of the second peak Vata period. Due to the increase in Vata in the body at this time, we can wake up without strain (if we have eaten and slept properly the previous way). The body is full of lightness and mobile energy at this time influenced by Peak Vata dosha.

On the other hand, the later we wake up up after Sunrise, we find ourselves in Peak Kapha territory. This makes us hit the snooze button, sleep some more and feel heavy and lazy.

Choosing the right abhyanga time: depends upon what you are trying to correct

By this time it should be obvious to you that depending upon what you are trying to fix, you should choose your abhyanga time. Each dosha peak time lasts around 4 hours. The beginning and ending times of this period are lighter times and times when one dosha is subtly morphing into the next one.

So at 5:55 am for example, Vata is subtly moving into Kapha territory. So BOTH doshas are at their weakest point.

But at 8:30 am, we are right in the middle of Kapha peak time where Kapha is at its strongest best. So if we have a Kapha prakriti, we will have the strongest disinclination to do an abhyanga at this period – we will be tempted to eat something, or sleep in and will try and dismiss the abhyanga to the next day. So the texts advise that we be aware of both this clock and our prakriti when we choose abhyanga times!

Choosing the correct Abhyanga time - The ayurvedic body clock

Difference between Peak & non-Peak Dosha period

Peak Kapha period

Having said the above, there is a difference between the peak Kapha time in the morning (6 am – 10 am) and the evening (6 pm – 10 pm). In the morning, the Kapha time is tempered by the energy of the rising Sun. Therefore, even though this is peak Kapha time, this period is considered nourishing and dhatu building in Ayurveda. This is why we can have a light breakfast or drink a glass of milk at this time. Due to influence of the sun, the digestion will be smooth and food will not sit in the system, unless we over-eat, do not chew well, or do not follow other ayurvedic eating rules, etc.

But the evening Kapha period does not have this advantage. As the Sun has already set, the evening Kapha period is much stronger in its scope. So if we over-eat, eat Kapha aggravating foods, etc, we will produce excess Ama in the body , put on stubborn weight, create a feeling of lassitude and heaviness in the body.

Although each dosha repeats itself twice during 24 hours, only one of these are very strong – we call these peak Dosha times.

Peak Pitta: 10 am – 2 pm (mid morning Pitta)
Peak Vata: 2 am – 6 am – (before sunrise Vata)
Peak Kapha – 6 pm – 10 pm (late evening & night Kapha)

Peak Pitta period

Peak Pitta is the morning Period between 10 am – 2 pm. Hence we are supposed to AVOID stepping out, getting into a strong Pitta flaring argument, over-eating spicy food , tamarind and curd and any sudden shocks to the system (like a bath, swimming, etc) which can interfere with Pitta building up in the system as is natural.

An Abhyanga at this time will NOT have the effects we want as Pitta is already building upto a crescendo in the system due to the Sun. Instead Abhyanga will interfere with Pitta building and douse the Pitta in the system suddenly if done at this time.So we should have bathed long before this phase has started.

The dead centre of this phase is best for digestion. Hence Ayurveda advises to have the largest meal of the day at this time, as the body has enough Pitta to digest food well.

Peak Vata period

Peak Vata period is 2 am – 6 am (early morning). Ayurveda says this is the time when brain activity has re-started so there are rapid eye movements in this stage. This is NOT the time of deep sleep. Instead the body is preparing to wake up having processed everything. So if we GO to sleep at this time (as is common among night shift employees), the body will feel tired, dissipated and restless as we have tried to sleep at the time when it wants to wake up.

Abhyanga to centre aggravated vata

An abhyanga is advised towards the end of this peak Vata period – around 5:30 am, just around sunrise. If we do it in the middle of this period (say around 4 am), there is too much Vata in the system for Abhyanga to re-set. Towards the end, if we catch the body when Vata is winding down and BEFORE Kapha increases, we will be energetic and be able to re-set aggravated Vata dosha.

We have tackled Vata prakriti and Kapha prakriti doing Abhyanga and what time they should choose. So what about Pitta prakriti?

Abhyanga to settle aggravated Pitta

As per the clock, it seems like we should be doing Abhyanga at 9:45 am! But by this time, we are supposed to have bathed and eaten breakfast, drunk our milk , etc. Abhyanga cannot be done unless atleast 2 hours have passed after last meal. This would bring our Abhyanga close to 11 am which is at the time Pitta is building up.

Hence for Pitta prakriti people, we choose the first hour after Sunrise. As the sun climbs, it becomes more and more uncomfortable for Pitta prakriti people. They may not have the resistance to physical work that Kapha prakriti people can have, so they need not stick to doing Abhyanga around Sunrise. But the later the wait, the more uncomfortable it will become for them, so we suggest 1 hour within Sunrise.

So to sum up:

This post described the ayurvedic body clock and explained how each peak and non peak dosha period allows our body time to re-pair and re-set itself. The post also explained the rationale behind choosing the correct abhyanga time for each kind of dosha aggravation.

  • For strong vata aggravation : The right abhyanga time is 30 minutes before Sunrise or just around Sunrise
  • For strong Kapha aggravation: The right abhyanga time is around Sunrise or within 30 minutes of Sunrise
  • For strong Pitta aggravation:  The right abhyanga time is within 1 hour of Sunrise – this can be stretched to slightly later if weather is not too hot

 

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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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5 Ayurvedic Resolutions for an Amazing 2018!

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

The twin goals of Ayurveda are Ayu (Long life) & Ayush (Good Health). Ayurveda is a practical science of everyday living and its principles pro-actively help you to prevent disease – which is obviously much better than trying to cure diseases.

Since Ayurveda is a vast ocean of concepts, principles and techniques, we have identified 5 very important concepts that are universal, easy to understand and will dramatically improve your life.

So here is our list of 5 important Ayurvedic concepts to help you create resolutions to have a great year in 2018

  1. Dinacharya (Daily Routine)

Ayurvedic Acharyas have identified that vital importance of a stable daily routine based on your biological clock, the season, your nature and of course the specific details of your life. The very act of a stable routine can bring balance to your life, improve physical health and mental clarity. A stable routine pacifies vata dosha, improves digestion, quality of sleep and brings peace and happiness. But there are specific rules to the Dinacharya – it is not random. In order to design a good Dinacharya for yourself, you must start by defining 2 points:

  • The time of waking up in the morning
  • The time of your last meal , i.e. dinner

Once you have defined these 2 points correctly, all the other activities will fall into place neatly. Using the concepts given later in this article, you can easily identify the good times to wake up and to eat your dinner.

In the morning, after waking up , Ayurveda recommends that you must allocate time for meditation or prayer, exercise, Abhyanga & Snana (bath) , breakfast followed by the work-day. Similarly in the evening, after finishing work you must allot time for winding down, dinner and an electronic screen cut-off time before sleep.

Designing your Dinacharya is easy but the hard part is actually sticking to it. It requires discipline and support from your family. There are no “cheat days” – so even on Sunday you have to wake up at the same time – since your biological clock does not have a weekend.

The benefits from a Dinacharya are numerous and they accrue with time. The chaotic nature of urban living will throw many activities that will push you off your Dinacharya – but if you actually have a written down routine and remember its importance, you can always return back to your routine.

So in these last days of 2017, you could take a pen and paper and craft your ideal day and resolve to stick to it in 2018.

2. Brahma Muhurta – the sacred time

Ayurveda emphatically instructs us to wake up during Brahma Muhurta, which is a sacred time. A muhurta a time span of 48 minutes and the Brahma Muhurta starts 96 minutes before Sunrise. So the exact time of Brahma Muhurta depends on the time of sunrise in your city. If sun-rise is at 6:30 AM, then Brahma Muhurta starts at 4:54 AM and ends at 5:42 AM and you SHOULD wake-up during this time.

Acharya Vagabhata’s textbook , Ashtanga Hridayam , has the following sloka, translated as :

“If you wake up at Brahma Muhurtham, you can protect and regain your health & enjoy a long life”.

blog post 5 - ease into the day

Our Ayurvedic teacher gave us a very lucid explanation for the benefits of waking up at Brahma Muhurta – he called this time a “Re-set time”. He explained that being awake, alert AND active during Brahma Muhurtha helped the entire system to expel Ama through various means like breath, sweat, urine and faeces.  Since it is linked to Sunrise, it automatically has a perfect synergy with the seasons. The very act of being awake at this precious time helps your body balance doshas and re-set back to health.

Apart from physical health, the Brahma Muhurta is the ideal time for meditation &  reflection as we can access the highly positive , sattvic, subtle energies from the Universe. As the sun-rises and the day begins, these energies are no longer available and this is why the 48 minutes Brahma Muhurta is so precious.

This is such a wonderful tool at our disposal – costs nothing and yet bestows priceless benefits.

3. Ghee – the sacred ingredient

When Ayurveda talks about ghee, only natural, hormone-free desi-cow ghee (A2) is the universally accepted standard. (other types like buffalo –ghee are well known but have special uses)

At the outset, this is NOT a discussion about the ethics of consuming animal products like ghee – the only consideration here is good health. You will have to decide for yourself whether it is morally acceptable for you to consumer animal products – but the startling reality for many is that the ethical considerations may have to give way to the over-whelming health.

12.ghee for all ages

I speak from personal experience of leading a 100% vegan-life for 4 years – so in that time, I completely stopped eating all dairy products like milk, ghee and curd. I went vegan only to uphold the principle of Ahimsa – to avoid products from a factory-farming system built on extreme cruelty to cows & buffaloes.

In the first year of the vegan life, there were no problems whatsoever, possibly because my body had reserves from 30 + years of consuming ghee – but small problems started appearing in Year 2, which then took a disastrous turn in Year 3. I experienced alarming loss of weight, irritability, rage,  dry skin, cracked bleeding heels, chipped teeth, blinding pain in the knees and lower back – a condition called as “Vata Raktam” in Ayurveda.

After I endured this torture for nearly a year as a vegan, I was severely reprimanded by our Ayurvedic teacher for neglecting this serious disease. Her simple remedy was this – eat massive amounts of cow ghee for a few months & then continue at normal levels – but DO not try to lead a life without ghee. In just 2 months I experienced a magical reversal in my condition , ONLY with the addition of ghee back in my diet. To minimize the moral conflict, I sourced ghee from a  free-range, hormone –free, from organic farms where the cows were cared for by the farmer.

I understand that this example is specific to my body type and my life – but the important lesson that I want to leave you with here is this – If you want to understand the real importance of ghee , please take an opinion ONLY from a good Ayurvedic doctor. Do NOT depend on the internet or what your friend told you about ghee & cholesterol or ghee & diabetes etc. Ayurveda is the only system that has really understood the sacred role of ghee in our diet and its far-reaching impact.

Dr Janardana Hebbar , a leading Ayurvedic doctor says this “Ghee is probably the most sacred, spiritual and physically health benefiting substances that is ever known to human beings “

In 2018, please examine carefully the type & quantity of ghee in your diet , get an Ayurvedic opinion and you may observe magical changes to your health.

  1. Make friends with Ayurvedic oils

One of the Sanskrit words for oil is “Sneha” which also means love. This should give you a good idea of how important oils are to human health.

A healthy home should have the following oils ( apart from ghee)

  • Coconut based hair oil
  • Sesame based Abhyanga/Skin Oil
  • Cold-Pressed Sesame Oil & Castor Oil

(Note: Mustard oil is also an excellent oil, but only a small portion of the population can handle its pungent nature)

10. oil application

The benefits when you cook with cold-pressed oils are obvious. But beyond consumption, a healthy home must regularly apply a coconut-based hair oil for the hair and sesame based skin oil on the body for Abhyanga Snana. Finally both castor oil & sesame oil can be applied externally and internally to treat a number of simple ailments – since this requires more explanation , we will write about this in a separate newsletter.

So take a close-look at the oils in your home – avoid the RBD oils and choose native, cold-pressed oils for good health. I will refer to appropriate ancient Tamil proverb here, which is “ Vaidyarukku kudukaradu Vanniyarukku Kudu” –translated as : If you spend money buying oils,  you will not be spending money on  doctors and medicines.

5. Eat with the Sun

Our final recommendation for 2018 is : Eat with the Sun

The movement of the sun during the day controls the pitta prakriti in nature, which in turn in  human beings is the driving force behind appetite and digestion. This is the origin of the Ayurvedic term “digestive fire”. When you eat with the Sun, you automatically give your body the best chance for digestion, assimilation and elimination. So breakfast should be had before 9 AM, lunch, which is the biggest meal should be had from 12 Noon – 1 PM and the last meal of the day dinner should ideally be had around Sunset, if not, latest by 8 PM. This is an ideal time-schedule when followed, supports good assimilation of nutrients and at night , gives enough time to digest the last meal , thereby promoting sound sleep.  Like all of the earlier concepts, eating with the sun is also very easy to understand and implement yet is very profound in its impact on your health.

Appendix: How to identify & source the above mentioned ingredients

  • Ayurvedic Ghee: AVOID regular mass brands. Look for a brand with words like desi, native Indian cow breed (with hump), A2, free-range, organic, hormone-free, Vedic.
  • Sesame & Castor Oils : AVOID regular refined, chemically – extracted oils. Look for a brand with words like organic, cold-pressed & native process.
  • Ayurvedic Skin & Hair oils : Look for Krya !     (http://krya.in/index.php/shop/skincare.html)

We sincerely wish that our Top-5 Ayurvedic concepts inspire you to make 2018 your best year ever!

 

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What your breakfast can tell you about your hair: Ayurvedic eating fundamentals

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Millets have made a wonderful come back across India, with a lot of extensive research now available on the health benefits of various millets, the micro nutrients in the millets, and their satiety factor. It is no wonder that when we ask for diet charts from consumers who come to consult us on skin and hair, we see a preponderance of Millets among consumers who believe in eating healthy.

1.millets health fad

 

In most cases, we advice that these consumers cut back on Millets and we are met with major disappointment from the consumers end. Many of these people have been told that regular cereals of choice like rice and wheat are nutritionally poor and Millets are far better, healthier and good for them. Therefore, in their zeal to improve their health and their family’s health, these consumers completely ban conventional cereals in their home and substitute this with Millets.

 

Why do we advise against excessive consumption of Millets? How is this linked to good health, good skin and good hair? We will examine this in today’s post.

 

Basic Ayurvedic framework:

We have spoken extensively about the Ayurvedic framework behind health. So I am going to repeat this very briefly. We are all made up of 5 basic elements: these 5 basic elements combine to form 3 doshas (humours) in the body. The combination of these 3 doshas decides our prakriti / constitution.

2.basic ayurvedic framework

So if we have a predominance of fire, we would be called a Pitta prakriti. If we had a dominance of air and space, we would be called Vata Prakriti. A predominance of water and earth makes us a Kapha prakriti. We can also be combinations of 2 or even three doshas, with one dosha being more dominant over the other.

 

The importance of Vata dosha:

Vata dosha is a primary dosha to examine when we have dis-ease. Acharya Sushruta and Acharya Charaka say that 50% (or more) of human illnesses are due to the derangement of Vata dosha. Vata dosha becomes even more important for city dwellers, because the Ayurvedic texts say that cities are already high in Vata dosha. So for a city dweller, where the environment itself is high in vata dosha , it is very easy to have your own body’s vata dosha aggravated when improper food is taken or proper lifestyle practices are not followed.

3.city living vata

 

Whenever vata dosha is deranged, it also quickly helps derange the other 2 doshas as well. Therefore all Ayurvedic preventive healthcare looks at reining in vata dosha through external and internal means.

 

What happens when Vata dosha is aggravated?

Vata dosha is the dosha that brings in dryness, dullness, brittleness and pain, when it is aggravated. It is also the dosha that governs all movement, physical energy and a positive mental attitude. So whenever Vata dosha is impaired, we see extreme darkening of the skin, dryness and dullness of skin and hair, a tendency of the hair to break and get damaged easily.

4. dry hair

We also see joint aches and pains, a lack of energy, a feeling of tiredness, and improper digestion or constipation.

 

Why does Vata dosha get aggravated in a stressful job?

We have many consumers who work in IT and Finance where the job entails very long hours, being available on the phone for a long time, a long commute and uncertain eating hours. Vata dosha is the dosha that governs all mental activity and mental stimulation.

5.corporate life

Typically working with a laptop or a Smartphone excites and energises vata dosha. When this is compounded with a long commute, a cold air conditioned environment and uncertain eating timings, we have all the elements that can over stimulate vata dosha and push it over the edge.

 

How can my diet help control Vata Dosha?

Vata has 6 properties: roughness, dryness. Lightness, coldness, hardness, coarseness and non-sliminess. Ayurveda says that foods which have the same property as vata dosha are vata promoting in nature. So if your vata dosha is already high, eating vata promoting foods will aggravate vata dosha further.

 

Example 1: Millets

Ayurveda considers Millets dry, rough, coarse and slightly hard to digest compared to Rice and Wheat. Traditionally, Millets are sprouted, roasted and made into flour to make them easier to digest, or soaked, made into a liquid batter and fermented before eating. These are practices meant to make the millets easier to digest and to not put a strain on the digestion.

 

Millets are also in many areas consumed in cold season. For example certain kinds of millets are typical winter foods in Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat. This is because Ayurveda teaches us that digestive ability is extremely high in winter. This gives our body the power to digest even difficult to digest Millet preparations.

6.bajre ki roti

 

Specific millets are paired along with fermented foods like buttermilk and drunk in Summer  as a porridge in states like Tamilnadu and Karnataka. These millets are Kambu (Pearl Millet) and Ragi (Finger Millet). These millets are prepared as roasted and sprouted flour and then cooked into a thin porridge like consistency and then mixed with fermented buttermilk. The mixture is traditionally considered both satiating, cooling and easy to digest. However, it is always drunk in the morning., which is a time when digestion is much more stronger.

 

7.kambu kanji

 

In lifestyle diseases like Diabetes, Ayurveda says that the body is very high in kapha dosha (earth and water). Therefore foods given in this disease are mean to be light, rough and drying in order to balance the Kapha dosha. So here, Millets are a very good dietary substitute to conventional cereals.

 

If you do not fall into any of the above categories, and have simply substituted rice with millets, then you may be aggravating your vata dosha further. If you already have hair and skin dryness, brittleness and lack of healthy growth, then you should be consuming less millets and not more.

 

The safe way to include Millets in your diet is in moderation. Do not consume more than twice a week. Try and make millet preparations using flours or the fermentation technique to avoid straining your digestive system. Ensure that you eat Millets only as a warm preparation with plenty of ghee to reduce its vata aggravating properties.

 

Example 2: Dry breakfasts like Cereal, granola bars and Bread

Most of us have moved to the system of 3 meals a day with breakfast being the first meal of the day. A well cooked, well planned breakfast can give us a good jump start to the day. Similarly, a breakfast that aggravates one dosha can worsen its effects and make us feel worse.

 

Most working people opt for an instant, ready to eat breakfast as it saves times. However, breakfast foods like instant cereal, cornflakes, granola bars or even bread are considered very high in Vata dosha. This is because all these foods have the same property as Vata dosha: they are rough, cold, crisp, brittle, light and bind water (reducing its availability in the system).

8.breakfast cereal

 

Again, if you are already suffering from the effects of aggravated Vata dosha, it is far better to go for a freshly cooked, traditional Indian breakfast (upma, poha, idly, cheela, etc). If eating cereal, cornflakes, granola or breads are unavoidable, always follow these suggestions:

  • Eat vata aggravating foods warm. This somewhat brings down their Vata nature. Eating cereal with cold milk will only aggravate Vata.
  • Eat vata aggravating foods after making them soft in some manner. For example, bread can be buttered well and warmed, or ghee can be added. Cereal can be soaked for sometime in warm milk until it becomes slightly soggy before eating. Making the food soft brings down its Vata nature slightly.
  • Reduce the particle size of the food to make it easier to digest. So you can crumble the granola bar well and soak it in warm milk. Mashed and soft food is kinder on the stomach.
  • Add warm ghee to all vata aggravating food – this helps make it easier to digest and reduces its vata aggravating nature slightly.
  • Avoid making vata aggravating foods harder or crisper – so dry toast, crisps, or fried bread is not advised.

9.dry crisp foods

 

External oil application: the other Key to controlling Vata dosha

Apart from diet control, an Abhyanga is a key practice to controlling excess vata dosha. Regular Abhyanga atleast twice a week physically restrains vata dosha, brings all 3 doshas to the right balance and promotes harmony and good health.

10. oil application

With this practice, you will see visible effects of vata in balance: your skin and hair will be healthy, supple and well moisturised. Your energy levels will be high and consistent, your digestive ability will be good, and your physical fatigue will reduce dramatically.

 

Vata dosha’s primary seat is your skin. This is why external oil application is so helpful in controlling Vata dosha. Even if your vata aggravation is felt elsewhere (for example dry, brittle hair), an abhyanga on the body will help control the overall vata dosha and bring your hair back to health.

11.vata pacification

 

The Abhyanga is such a key health giving practice that the Acharyas have put the abhyanga in our Dinacharya list.  A practice that can be followed by anyone, irrespective of age or gender, every day for health and well being. Tuesdays and Fridays are prescribed Abhyanga days for Women and Wednesdays and Saturdays are prescribed Abhyanga days for Men. These days are prescribed if you are unable to find the time to do an Abhyanga every single day.

12.abhyanga days

 

An abhyanga must be done in a sesame based oil for the face and body. The oil should preferably use Vata reducing herbs that help balance Vata dosha and bring all 3 doshas back to balance.

13.krya abhyanga oil

 

To conclude:

We hope this post on controlling vata Dosha was both enlightening and useful for you. With the fragmentation and splintering of knowledge, we are often bombarded from all directions with health and wellness advice. Some of this may not be appropriate or right for us.

 

Ayurveda gives us a fantastic framework to understand both our constitution and determine what foods, practices and behaviours can give us health and well being. As a part of our work at Krya, we try and disseminate this information in an interesting and engaging manner. We continue to hold firmly onto our belief that the principles of Ayurveda are both timeless and relevant. We believe that Ayurveda alone holds the key to giving us a life of holistic health, harmony and well being.

 

We hope this post gave you a glimpse into the relevance that Ayurveda continues to hold for us. We also hope that the post gives you a new lens to look at your health and inspires you to take charge of your own health.

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The Krya Intense program for PCOD & PCOS hairfall : 27 ideas on diet , lifestyle and regimen

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

We are seeing a very high proportion of sudden and severe hairfall these days triggered by conditions like PCOS, PCOD and fertility treatments. Androgenic balding is rapidly increasing among women, and many of our consumers come to us for help after having gone through the entire round of Minoxidil, PRP, laser treatments, injections and medicines to regain hair growth.

Obviously the above treatments are synthetic, have limited success and come with many side effects, which are enough to prompt people into researching a good natural alternative.

 

The Krya Intense Hair system – designed for severe and sudden hair loss

We launched the Krya Intense hair oil last year, after we began receiving requests for hair growth products from Chemotherapy patients. Our research into hair loss took us to how Ayurveda defines Indralupta (sudden, intense hair loss) and we co related it with the kind of medication that Chemotherapy & radiation therapy patients received, so we could understand which doshas were imbalanced.

Our list of customers for the Intense hair oil slowly started expanding: we recommended this product to people who had undergone major surgeries, who had prolonged illnesses, and had been on medication for many years. We have also used the Krya Intense hair oil in severe cases of PCOD and fertility treatment related hair loss.

To complement the Krya intense hair oil, we now have the Krya Intense hairwash and the Krya Intense hair mask, which form a part of the Krya Intense hair growth system.

7. Krya intense hair system

 

Why is severe and sudden hair loss so difficult to treat? How is it different from normal hairfall?

In most cases, the reason for Hair problems is a simple imbalance. This does not need an advanced or specialised system and the body responds very quickly to the diet and lifestyle and product changes to give you good results.

In the case of severe illnesses or long term illnesses like PCOD, we see much slower results because the entire body has been left unsettled and stressed due to the illness itself and the medication used. In these cases, the body’s metabolism and nutritional intake is itself damaged. Usually, when nutrients are limited, teh body reserves its limited nutrition for extremely important organ systems.

So hair and skin are usually left un-nourished and can go bad very quickly.  Therefore, a natural fallout of these illnesses is extreme and severe hair loss, where you lose upto half your hair’s volume and growth is slow.

 1.lack of nutrition

Can we guarantee new hair growth?

We are often asked if we can offer guarantees for hair growth from these consumers. We empathise with the questions: after all they have often spent huge amounts of money and have been disappointed by treatments which have preyed on their natural insecurity and desire for normal hair growth.

 

However, as we often say, the success or the failure of natural herbs and natural treatments differs from person to person. Many factors come into play which include your body’s state of health, your state of mind (if you are depressed or stressed, it is much harder for any treatment to have an impact), the access you have to good quality food, the stress levels in your life and your ability to do something about it, and your willingness to make all the changes suggested to improve your health. Obviously over and above all of this, we have to factor in your genes, and your body’s current state of health and its willingness to make the change.

However, as we often say, all the recommendations we give for improving hair health are all sensible suggestions from Ayurveda that restore your body back to a state of health – so the suggestions are a good place to start anyway for good health and well being.

What we can say is this: following the suggestions given below are certainly give you and your hair an extremely good chance to regain health. So let us see these recommendations below:

 

General regimen and diet to be followed:

  1. Wake up around 5:30 am
  2. Do a round of light exercise (walking, yoga, etc) that works up sweat but does not leave you feeling tired or exhausted. This is critical to melt excess fat deposits in the body which is preventing structured hair growth.3.yoga
  3. Avoid electronic stimulation (smartphone, facebook, checking email etc ) until after breakfast
  4. Breakfast at 8 am – please eat freshly cooked traditional Indian foods like upma, paratha, poha, pongal, cheela – fermented foods like idly / dosa/uthapam to be restricted to once a week only. No tea or coffee with this meal. Avoid the following: bread, maida based foods, peanuts, sesame, peanut butter, sesame butter, red and green chilly, tamarind. Add ½ teaspoon of melted ghee to your breakfast4. traditional breakfast
  5. No snacking between breakfast and lunch unless you are really hungry. If hungry you can eat any fruit in season – chew slowly. Do not drink juices, smoothies / milkshakes / cola
  6. Lunch to be had between 12:30 – 1 – this can be the heaviest meal of the day. Eat until you feel full. Eat slowly, chew well. Add 1 teaspoon melted ghee to your food. Avoid curd completely. Also avoid any food that is very spicy, or sour or salty. Eat preferably freshly cooked home food only. Avoid desserts. Eat any food that is traditional to your family and is enjoyed by you.
  7. If you plan to eat difficult to digest food, lunch is the best meal to tackle this (if you must) – difficult to digest food is non-vegetarian food, pizza, oily food, sweets, a buffet lunch, or any manner of hotel food.
  8. Tea time – Eat only if hungry. You can eat a seasonal fruit or a glass of milk – milk to be had plain , warm and unsweetened. No fried snacks, no tea, coffee, cola, juice, milkshakes, smoothies, cold coffee, etc5. avoid cold sticky foods
  9. Dinner – to be eaten between 7:30 – 8 pm – lightest meal often day. Same as lunch, with the same restrictions. Add ½ teaspoon melted ghee to your meal.
  10. Ensure you have a good rotation of vegetables and eat a different vegetable everyday –local native vegetables in season are great for you like parwal, dhoodhi (bottle gourd), karela (bitter gourd), ash gourd, etc. Most of us tend to over-eat non native vegetables like potatoes and capsicum. Our body tends to absorb nutrients given by local vegetables that are in season much better.
  11. Avoid electronic stimulation (smartphone, facebook, checking email etc ) after dinner
  12. Sleep 2.5 hours after dinner – by this time your food should be well digested. 30 minutes before sleeping, drink one glass of hot water. This helps flush out toxins from the body.

6.hot water

Notes on diet and eating regimen:

Regulation of meals and giving your body predictability about when it will get food is crucial to restore health back to the body. These simple changes like eating at the right time, showing your food well, and eating freshly cooked food can go a long way in reducing excess weight, improving nutrient assimilation and enhancing well being.

Controlling the time that you eat balances both pitta dosha and vata dosha and controls excess kapha dosha – a huge change from such a simple act!

Controlling the amount of electronic stimulation your brain receives controls vata dosha – vata dosha is responsible for skin smoothness, complexion and energy – again such a good benefit from such a simple act

 

Foods to avoid / reduce:

  1. Sesame seeds, sesame oil, peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter, peanut candy / brittle
  2. Spicy foods and herbs: red and green chilly, capsicum, mustard oil, onion, garlic7.onion and garlic
  3. Sour foods – tamarind, tomato, lemon, kokum, amchur, raw mangoes, curd, buttermilk, vinegar, cheese, paneer
  4. Salty foods – pickles, chips, crackers, preserved food, ajinomoto, papad, salty dried vegetables (vathal), canned food, processed tomato paste, tomato ketchup, processed biscuits and cookies, processed commercial bread, ready to eat foods8.ketchup
  5. Wind increasing foods and vegetables and fruits: avoid a high amount of raw foods, raw salads, fried foods, crisp foods like biscuits, chips, fries, etc. Reduce your dependence on vegetables like cabbage, peas, potatoes and other wind increasing foods.
  6. Sticky foods that can increase mucous accumulation: ice cream, milk shake, yoghurt, paneer, milk sweets, maida based cakes, biscuits and cookies, ready to eat noodles like Maggi
  7. Milk to be specially boiled in Ayurvedic way (described below) to avoid accumulating stickiness
  8. Sweet foods – cakes, pastries, milk sweets, cold sweets (very occasionally a very small portion of a warm home made sweet that you have made like kheer / payasam / halwa is ok), out of season fruits . If eating a mango, choose an organic, naturally ripened sweet mango – eat when hungry and do not eat anything else to ensure the mango is well assimilated and digested9.home made sweet
  9. Follow the traditional “Mango soak “ technique before eating a ripe mango – soak the mango (with skin) in a bowl of clean water for 30 – 45 minutes before eating.
  10. Preferentially eat split Mung dal over other lentils – avoid lentils like Rajma, channa, vatana, lobia etc that are difficult to digest. Reduce Tuvar dal and masoor dal that tend to aggravate pitta dosha.
  11. Eat only when hungry. Eat slowly savouring each bite. Stop when you are full.
  12. Drink water whenever thirsty
    1. Drink water at room temperature or water that is warm
    2. Do not add additives to water like lemon, mint, etc which can upset one of the 3 doshas
    3. Your body’s need for water varies according to the temperature, what you have eaten and the kind of work you are doing on any given day. Do not force more water into your system based on a mistaken calculation
    4. Keep listening to your body and drink water as needed
    5. Water cannot be substituted with fruit juices, protein shakes , smoothies, flavoured water, vitamin water or anything else.

10.water

 

Notes on foods to avoid:

The texts have clearly classified foods , vegetables and herbs as per their properties and what dosha they aggravate if eaten in excess. For severe balding, male pattern hair loss and hair loss driven by conditions like PCOD, the texts say that 2 or 3 doshas can be out of balance, usually pitta and kapha dosha. Hence, we follow a meal plan that is tridoshic and avoid foods that aggravate one or 2 doshas.

 

Regimen changes:

  1. Abhyanga (self oil massage face and body) twice a week in the morning using the Krya women’s abhyanga system. This helps reduce dosha excesses and has been very good in aiding hair growth in cases of extreme loss.
    1. Please read here and here about how to do an abhyanga
    2. Abhyanga should be done within one hour of sunrise before the heat sets in for best effects14.abhaynga vata
  2. Hair oiling 3 times a week in the evening around 7 pm OR 1 hour before sleeping AND 1.5 hours after dinner .
    1. We usually advice oiling with a combination of the Krya Classic hair oil (to reduce excess pitta) and the Krya Intense hair oil (to reduce excess kapha).
    2. If the hair loss is very extreme, use more of the Krya intense hair oil.
    3. Evening oiling is done in small quantity directly on the scalp
    4. Oil the scalp gently and avoid tugging or pulling at the hair
    5. Post oiling use a wide toothed comb to de-tangle the hair and plait it to keep it from getting further damaged
  3. Restrict hair wash to once a week only with the Krya Intense hairwash.
    1. On hair wash day, oil your hair and scalp generously with the Krya Intense hair oil and then apply the Krya Intense hairmask.
    2. It is advisable to do one of the 2 abhyangas suggested on this day as well.
    3. Hair that is undergoing severe hairfall is very weak at the roots – this is why we advise restricting washing it to avoid further damage. Use water that is as cool as possible to wash your hair.
    4. To wash your body (below the neck) use only warm water – cold water aggravates vata and dryness further. To wash your face use cool water
    5. If your hair feels very sticky and you have been sweating profusely, you can rinse your hair in plain water without any product.
    6. Do not use a blow dryer on the hair. Allow it to air dry. Do not use a towel and rub or tug the hair hard.
    7. Do not use clips, bands and grips on weak hair. Avoid brushing. Cover hair with a scarf when going outdoors.

11. do not stress out hair

Notes on regimen changes:

For intense hair oil, we prescribe a more intensive frequency of hair oiling with a specially prepared oil that is designed to tackle Indralupta (sudden and intensive hairfall). For this kind of hairfall, the oil needs to stay longer on the hair and help reduce heat and remove the sticky scalp deposits that prevent new hair growth. This is why evening oiling is advised so that oil stays on longer.

Hair that is intensely falling is very weak at the roots. Ensure you avoid stressing it in any way.

 

How do I know this regimen is working? Some observable changes:

  1. Your sleep quality is much better
    1. Your sleep is deeper and vivid dreams or nightmares are reduced
    2. You wake up feeling much more refreshed with fewer aches and pains
    3. You feel much more energetic and sharp the whole day12.high quality sleep
  2. Your bowel movements are quick, easy and smooth
    1. Your “business” is done very quickly
    2. There is no pain, no straining, and no difficulty
    3. There is less or reduced wind
    4. The bowel movement is firm, well formed and is in 1 / 2 masses – it is not loose and liquid, pellet –like or hard
    5. The bowel movement does not have an excessively foul or putrid smell
  3. Your appetite is strong and appears at the right times
    1. You eat your food with a good appetite
    2. The food stimulates your salivary glands and you find the food tasty and satisfying
    3. You do not have any intensive cravings for salty , sour or sweet food
    4. You remain calm, balanced and steady between meals. You do not have mood swings, food cravings or random hunger
    5. You do not have a “crash” 30 – 45 minutes after eating and become sleepy or moody. You continue to stay steady and upbeat through the day, even after meals.13. strong appetite
  4. Your energy levels are good and steady
    1. You need less stimulation during the day in the form of tea and coffee
    2. You can focus more and get things ticked on your task list
    3. You “lose it” less frequently and do not give in to rage or anger management issues
    4. You are firm, yet patient without snapping
    5. You are cheerful and good humour and do not get low or depressed easily
    6. You are able to be with yourself without depending on peppy music or cricket or sitcoms to put you in a cheerful mood14.steady mood
  5. Your body is stronger and feels lighter
    1. You do not get aches and pains in your bone and joint system
    2. You are able to move fast and feel full of energy
    3. Your body has less aches and pains
    4. You do not get as many migraines, headaches, tension headaches, gastric irritation, etc as you used to
    5. Physical movement is easier, and is done without strain or a feeling of heaviness
  6. Your hair starts to improve in stages (stages given below):
    1. It needs less washing and does not secrete excess sebum or look very oily between washes
    2. Hair breakage reduces as cuticular damage reduces.
    3. Hair dryness goes down and there is a reduction in number of split ends and depth of split ends
    4. Hair’s elasticity improves – so it can be tugged more and more without it breaking and falling
    5. Hairs porosity improves as holes in the cuticular structure are improved. So it breaks and falls less when exposed to water
    6. Hair texture feels softer and smoother
    7. Hair has a healthy sheen as sebum secretion is balanced and cuticular stricture is healthy and repaired
    8. Hair colour improves and hair starts to look its natural colour and does not appear dull, brownish or reddish.
    9. You can see fresh new hair growth – the new hair is healthy and has a good colour , normal thickness and texture

To conclude:

We have had good success in cases of extreme hairfall, and have seen encouraging results when consumers have followed a large proportion of our suggestions and when changes are made across diet, regimen and lifestyle.

Obviously the suggestions given below are for a wide audience, and need to be customised for special hairfall cases like hairfall duet to chemotherapy, hairfall due to vata aggravation, etc.

If you too would like our help, please give us a call on (0)7550-89090.

Krya products suggested for PCOD and PCOS related hairfall:

  1. Krya Classic Hair Oil
  2. Krya Intense Hairfall growth promoting system
  3. Krya Women’s Abhyanga system

 

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Want to learn more about Ayurveda? Start with these 3 books [Book Review]

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

The Origins of Ayurveda

Ayurveda, the science of life, is of divine origin. The practice of Ayurveda as a holistic system of medicine is old as the Hindu religion itself and as old as the Indian civilization. In fact there was never a time in India, when Ayurveda was NOT there as a part of everyday life. Ayurveda therefore is based on first principles, that are accepted as fundamental truths and their application restores good health and promotes long life. Even after thousands of years, Ayurveda has survived and continues to thrive, which is Darwinian proof of Ayurveda’s importance to our life today.

In contrast , modern medicine (allopathy) relies on the effects of different drugs on the mere suppression of externally observable symptoms of diseases. Allopathy does not have any clearly defined first principles on what constitutes good health or the fundamental workings of the human body and mind. In fact the entire allopathic fraternity is completely silent on the vast, dizzying array of toxic side-effects of drugs and chemicals used in treatments. The fundamental quest in allopathy is the quick suppression of symptoms of disease using drugs and other chemicals – however this quest does not address the root cause of disease or the formulation of safe medicines without any side-effects whatsoever.

In Ayurveda, the fundamental quest is on the achievement of Ayu (long life) + Ayush (good health).

The Ayurvedic Canon

The Entire practice of Ayurveda today flows from 3 principal textbooks, which are the foundation of Ayurveda, known as the Brihat Trayi ( the Great Three), namely

  1. Charaka Samhita
  2. Sushruta Samhita
  3. Ashtanga Hrdaya

 

Of these 3 principal works, the Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita are the older works, respectively attributed to Acharyas Charaka and Sushruta , who lived around 3000 years ago. The most important point to note here is that these two works are “Samhita” , which is a compendium of the entire practice of Ayurveda at that point  in time. These Samhita are not the thoughts and ideas of their individual  authors; they are in fact a compilation of the collective evolution of thousands of years of evolution of Ayurveda, transformed from what was perhaps a purely oral learning tradition into the written form. The Charaka Samhita narrates that Ayurveda was originally in the divine realm created by Brahma and handed over to Indra and the devas and then to the Rishis like sage Atreya. It was sage Atreya made Ayurveda accessible to the earthly realm through his disciples. Of these disciples, Agnivesa is the most prominent and the Charaka Samhita is actually a compilation of the teachings of Sage Atreya as compiled by Agnivesa.

 

The Sushruta Samhita is the other ancient compendium of Ayurveda. It has a special significance as is the only work with chapters on Salya –Tantra ,which is Ayurvedic Surgery and Sushruta is acknowledeged as the “Father of Surgery”. This Samhita traces its lineage to Indra, who taught it to Dhanvantari who then passed on the teachings to Sushruta, the son of Viswamitra.

 

The Ashtanga Hrdaya was written several centuries after the two ancient Samhitas by Acharya Vagbhatta. It is so named as it addresses all eight ( ashtanga) branches of Ayurveda and unifies the two schools of Ayurveda of Caraka and Sushruta. This work attained such prominence that it now occupies a pre-eminent place in the Ayurvedic Canon as part of the Brihat Trayi.

 

The Caraka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya were written in Sanskrit and the editions of these works printed today usually contain a commentary in English, written by Ayurvedic Doctors.

 

In later years, around the 10th century, three important works, known as the Laghu Trayi ( the Lesser Three) were written , which attempted to simplify the essence of the Brihat Trayi for  Ayurvedic Doctors , without comprising on the application of the fundamental principles. These Laghu Trayi , named eponymously are

  1. Madhava Nidhana
  2. Sarangadhara Samhita
  3. Bhavaprakasha

 

The Ideal Ayurvedic Vaidya (Doctor)

Given the nature of Ayurveda, it is evident that a good Ayurvedic doctor must have mastery over Sanskrit and botany, possess a strong intellect to absorb the teachings of the Guru and compassion to effectively apply them for the well-being of his patients.

Caraka Samhita defines the ideal medical student as

“He should be of a mild disposition, noble by nature, never mean in his acts, free from pride, strong memory, liberal mind, devoted to truth, likes solitude, of thoughtful disposition, free from anger, of excellent character, compassionate, one fond of study, devoted to both theory and practice, who seeks the good of all creatures.”

—Caraka Samhita 3.VIII.6

 

So what does this mean for us today?

As a seeker of good health, it is important to be aware of the history and lineage of Ayurveda and its core principles in order to appreciate its application in our daily life.

Obviously, these classical texts of the Ayurvedic Canon, the Brihat Trayi and Laghu Trayi are not light reading material and are meant for the use of Ayurvedic Vaidyas. But Ayurveda is not merely about the treatment of diseases, it also defines the principles of good health that can be followed by us on a daily basis, to prevent disease and enjoy Ayush. These rules for healthy living are broadly classified as “Dinacarya” ( Daily Routines) , “ Ritucharya” ( Seasonal Routines) and Ahara Vidhi Vidhana ( Proper Nutrition)

Much as the Laghu Trayi attempted to distil the essence of the Brihat Trayi for Ayurvedic Practioners, hundreds of introductory books on Ayurveda are available today for laypeople. Our purpose in reviewing these books is not for the reader to self-diagnose himself and by-pass consultations with a good Ayurvedic doctor. These primers on Ayurveda should serve two purposes

  1. Help the reader appreciate the benefits of Ayurveda and develop an attitude of reverence.
  2. Provide guidance on good habits, derived from the first principles, which can be safely and easily implemented. Of course each Ayurvedic expert will have different interpretations of the principles based on their lineage, geographical origin and even the medicinal plants available to them.

Acharya Vagbhatta has said that 85% of diseases can be cured without a doctor and only 15% of diseases need a doctor. This important statement should be interpreted in the proper context. This statement was made at a time when Ayurveda was the only medicine and not an alternative option. Therefore each family had a continuous oral tradition of applying Ayurvedic principles to heal everyday problems and diseases, had access to the basic set of herbs required to prepare medicines at home.

This was also a time when the 4 pillars of Ayurvedic treatment, i.e “Ahara Vihara Achara Vichara” were also implicitly accepted as basis for treatment as opposed to seeking a quick-fix pill or surgery without any change to food habits or lifestyle. The 4 pillar of Ayurvedic treatment are:

Ahara : Correct Nutrition

Vihara : Correct activities

Achara : Correct lifestyle

Vichara : Correct thoughts

This is certainly not the case today in India and a complete revival of Ayurveda and use of medicinal plants over a few generations before we can re-create a society where families can handle 85% of common diseases through Ayurveda.

 

So here are 3 books that will introduce you to Ayurveda in a gentle yet profound way

  1. Jeevani : Ayurveda for Women by Dr PLT Girija

Dr PLT Girija is one of the leading Ayurvedic Doctors in India and is the founder of Sanjeevani Ayurveda Foundation, Chennai. Dr Girija is on a mission to restore Ayurveda to its pre-eminent position in India , where Ayurveda is the first and automatic choice of treatment for all diseases.

As the title of the book suggests, the focus in on Women’s health, where the concepts are explained in great detail in 16 chapters. Case studies from the practice at Sanjeevani Ayurveda Foundation makes this an in-valuable source of information.

jeevani

The title of the book however does not do justice to the wealth of information available in the additional chapters in the book which serve to give a complete perspective. These chapters cover basics of Ayurvedic nutrition, Dinacarya, Ritucharya, Simple home remedies and an Ayurvedic first-aid kit.

This well produced hard-back book, written in 2013, makes for compelling reading and easy application.

 

  1. Living Easy with Ayurveda by Dr JV Hebbar

Dr JV Hebbar is the leading Indian Ayurvedic blogger and is the force behind the health and lifestyle blog www.easyaurveda.com. His blog is possibly the most extensive and authentic Ayurvedic online resource . In recent times, a community of other Ayurvedic doctors have also started contributing to the blog , significantly expanding the value of the blog. The most important feature of this blog is its absolute reliance on the first principles as defined in the Brihat Trayi texts. Every article contains the original Sanskrit verse with translation, which gives authenticity and authority to the articles.

Dr Hebbar’s book, Living Easy with Ayurveda (available in e-book and print) is literally the easiest yet authentic introduction to Ayurveda. This comprehensive book is written in a very light, blog –like style, richly illustrated with personal examples from Dr Hebbar. The striking feature of the book is the emphasis on the immediate application of Ayurvedic principles in every facet of life without sacrificing technical rigor, for example, ideas for suitable clothing by dosha type (!)

living easy with ayurveda

  1. Everyday Ayurveda by Dr Bhaswati Bhattacharya

This well written, well produced book fulfills an important need in this space – it is written by an Indian origin person who was raised, educated and now practises in the West. Dr Bhaswati has deep roots and reverence for the Indian systems of knowledge and now applies them in a Western milieu which makes for a truly unique perspective. This book is note-worthy for the numerous personal examples used to illustrate Ayurveda in everyday life and emphasizes Dinacharya as the foundation for good health.

everyday ayurveda

The Ayurvedic Dincharyas: a system designed to prevent diseases and give you Ayu & Ayush

We wrote this blog post on request from our readers and consumers who were intrigued by what they read on Ayurveda in the Krya blog, and sought easy to understand simple Ayurvedic books to begin their self enquiry. We hope this post has given you 3 great books that you can read to begin your self study.

 

We’d like to leave you with something that Acharya Sushruta said:

” The right physician focuses on investing effort to ensure his patient never falls ill and diseases are prevented by following the 4 tenets of right living, i.e. “Ahara” (food), Vihara (activities), Achara (lifestyle) and Vichara (thoughts). “

This is a great way to think about your health as well. We hope this post has inspired you to look at different facets of your life and understand for yourself where the pressure points and invest some time behind understanding how you too can lead a more healthy life.

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How to do an Abhyanga (a self Ayurvedic Oil massage) the right way : Krya explains how you should do a weekly abhyanga for dosha balance and well being

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Our last few posts on Abhyanga had had people asking us the all important question: “Exactly how should I do an abhyanga for good health?”.

Our post today focuses on this all important question. We write about the right abhyanga massage technique that should be followed, and what parts of the body must be focused on during the abhyanga massage. The abhyanga techniques we are writing about are applicable to teenagers, adult men and women for good health. We will have later posts dedicated to abhyanga especially for infants and babies, post partum women and the elderly.

 1.abhyanga

 

The importance of the Abhyanga for good health:

We have shared many reasons why an abhyanga is considered an essential “Dinacharya” – a practice to be done every single day for god health. Most of us are not able to find the time to do an Abhyanga every day, so the scriptures have suggested a bi-weekly Abhyanga as well, on specific days for men and women.

Abhyangam aacharet nityam sa jaraa shramavaataha 

Drushti prasaada pushti aayu susvapna twak daardhyakrut

Translated as:
Abhyanga should be done by everyone, everyday, especially old aged and tired people. It improves eye sight, nourishes muscles, and improves age (life expectancy) and skin complexion. – Ashtanga Samgraha Sutrasthana
.

 

The Abhyanga is done by massaging your entire body, and if possible your head, with a good quality, well chosen herbal oil after you wake up. We recommend using separate oils for the head and body with different set of herbs for best effect. The massage is done in a brisk and energetic manner, with the objective being of waking up the body, stimulating heat and allowing the herbal oil to penetrate, and then after 15 minutes, washing of the oil with a suitable natural, grain and herb based ubtan.

(We will see the specific steps in a few paragraphs below.)

 

General Health benefits of doing an abhyanga:

Here are some of the health benefits of a weekly / bi-weekly regular Abhyanga which accrue because the practice helps control excess vata and pitta dosha. Please note the use of the word “Accrue” – just like one swallow does not make a summer, one single abhyanga will not give you transformative health (although you will feed mighty good after even a single abhyanga). For true lasting, benefits you need to practice the Abhyanga week after week for atleast 2 – 3 months.

  1. Reduction in muscle fatigue, tiredness, and daily exhaustion
  2. Reduction in insomnia, inability to sleep

2.better sleep

  1. Improvement in digestive ability – reduced wind, reduced feeling of constipation, reduced feeling of incomplete bowel movements
  2. Better mental sharpness and clarity – you can go on longer without feeling tired, fatigued or irritable
  3. Better skin and hair health due to reduction in excess vata dosha – skin health improves almost immediately; hair health improves after a month of regular abhyangas (depending on extent of vata imbalance)

3.better skin better hair

 

The importance of choosing the right products for your Abhyanga:

Ayurveda tells us that when the abhyanga oil is prepared with the right herbs and applied warm with vigorous motion, the herbs in the oil, the temperature of the oil , and the heat generated by the massage help open up the minute pores / srotas in the skin. There is suction like effect as we continue to massage with the herbal oil. The texts tell us that the pitta in the skin helps absorb the properties of the oil, and vayu (air) transports these materials through the srotas into the seven layers of skin into the blood stream.

 7-krya-bhyanga-oil

This absorption effect is applicable not just when we do an abhyanga. It is also seen when we put lepas on our skin like a herbal ubtan, bath powder or any other cream, ointment and lotion.

Ayurveda tells us that skin has 7 layers, so continued massage of the oil in our skin for atleast 5 minutes in each area, carries the medicated oil through the srotas upto the level of the blood in the body and gets absorbed in the blood stream. Once absorbed the medicated oil goes to work in the area where it has been applied, balancing the doshas and removing excess pitta/ vata / kapha dosha.

4.herb transport

This is why it is so important to choose a completely natural set of products for use on the skin, as the property of the skin is to transport whatever is applied on it as nutrients into the bloodstream. Imagine the effect on our body of rubbing and applying synthetics like SLS, SLeS, Petroleum derivatives, and toxics like parabens, etc!

5.avoid toxins

It is also important to note that choosing the right abhyanga oil, can improve the health benefits of your abhyanga manifold.

 

Step by step description of how to do the abhyanga:

  1. Put a ¼ cup of Abhyanga oil in a small wide mouthed cup / vessel. Place this cup on a hot pan or in a small pan of boiling water for 5 minutes, until the Abhyanga oil in your cup is warm. We do not heat Ayurvedic oils directly so that we can retain their nutrient properties
  2. The Abhyanga oil should be comfortably and pleasantly warm – not too hot, and definitely not cold or cool.
  3. Sit or stand on an old towel in a closed room for your abhyanga. Ensure the room is free from draughts, the air conditioner is switched off, and the fan is either switched off or at a very low speed.

6.abhyanga room

  1. Massage oil generously and attentively on your body. We advise that the oil quantity should be such that your hands glide smoothly without any drag on your body.

7.generous qty of oil

 

  1. Each area should be massaged well for atleast 5 minutes using easy, smooth and firm movements. This way a full body abhyanga should take you atleast 20 minutes.
  2. Start with the extremeties: you can start with your head, neck, shoulders and arms, or your toes, ankles, calves and feet. Finish the extremities and move into the centre of your body for your chest, back and stomach.
  3. Ensure you massage your head, hair and scalp with a suitable herb hair oil. This oil too is best warmed gently in a water bath as described for the body abhyanga oil, and then applied.
  4. The general rule of thumb in an abhyanga is to use long up-down strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. A continuous pulling stroke is used for fingers and toes. Circular strokes are usually done only clock-wise.

 

Special abhyanga techniques for certain body parts:

Legs:

  • Pay special attention to the feet in the Abhyanga.
  • Use a generous quantity of oil and massage the soles of the feet and work on the toes and small bones.

8. Massage for legs

 

Chest:

  • Use open and upward strokes for the chest area

 

Abdomen:

  • Ensure abdomen is relaxed before massaging it.
  • Pay special attention to the nabhi (navel) as it is capable of sending nourishment to the veins and arteries in the body (which originate from here)
  • Use firm downward strokes of the front and back area of the lower abdomen to stimulate proper movement of Apana vayu

 

Arm:

  • Pay special attention to the head of the shoulder and use circular clockwise movements in the abhyanga. Then focus on the front and back of the shoulder blades.
  • Interlock the fingers; work on the palm and all the fingers, especially if you use smart phones and computers frequently.
  • Pay special attention to the wrist and forearm as well, as they often carry vata from repetitive movements like typing, etc.
  • Deeply knead the palm and fingers to release excess vata

9.Massage for arms

 

Massage for the ears:

  • Apply a drop of oil on your ring or little finger and gently massage the oil into the outer ear canal using clockwise circular strokes
  • Massage using circular strokes behind the ear and allow the ear to remove any stiffness and vata accumulation

10. ear massage

 

When NOT to do an abhyanga: some pointers

An abhyanga should not be done by the following groups of people or at the following times:

  1. Pregnant women (An abhyanga tends to release ama from the body, so this is not recommended during pregnancy so as to ensure the growing foetus is not unnecessarily exposed to Ama )
  2. Menstruating women (An abhyanga tends to release ama from the body, so this is not recommended when the body is already tired with the menstrual process)
  3. If you are running a temperature, have a digestive disorder or are acutely ill
  4. If you are extremely tired, have had high sun exposure or a very heavy and depleting exercise practice (for example: immediately after running a marathon)
  5. Immediately after a meal
  6. Do not do an abhyanga over broken skin,
  7. Do not do an abhyanga over swollen painful areas or masses in the body
  8. Do not do an abhyanga if you have acute physical discomfort
  9. Do not do an abhyanga is you have been fasting or except to do some mentally or physically draining activity after the abhyanga

11.when not to do an abhyanga

 

Post Abhyanga care:

It is important to remember that the Abhyanga is a dosha balancing, health giving practice. If your vata dosha or pitta dosha is aggravated, the Abhyanga is going to physically bring down this dosha excess. So the abhyanga can cause some amount of temporary strain on the body during the process of restoring the body to its state of health.
So it is important not to strain your body further on the day of Abhyanga.

 

Ensure you do NOT do the following:

  1. Do not go into the hot sun
    2. Do not eat very spicy or very sour meals
    3. Do not over eat
    4. Do not eat difficult to digest food
    5. Do not eat any large and heavy meal
    6. Do not go for a long drive
    7. Do not do any form of extreme exercise
    8. Do not stay up late
    9. Do not over use your gadgets
    10. Do not eat sweet, mucous producing food
    11. Do NOT take an afternoon nap on Abhyanga day

Do NOT take an afternoon nap on the day of the Abhyanga even if you are severely tempted – one of the organs of releasing excess Pitta dosha is the eyes. Through tears and vapour, the eyes will release excess Pitta dosha through the day – if you close them and go to sleep in the day, this excess Pitta will stay within your body and could damage your body.

 

Here is what you should DO on abhyanga day:

  1. Drink adequate amount of water as and when you get thirsty
  2. Use the toilet as often as the need strikes you – do not suppress your toxin release. All teh ama and excess doshas in your body will be flushed out through sweda (sweat), mutra (urine) and mala (faeces).
  3. Eat on time and eat easy to digest freshly cooked food
  4. Remain calm and seek tranquillity and harmony today
  5. Lead a day of moderation and balance

 

End notes:
We hope this Abhyanga guide has armed with you with information to successfully incorporate the abhyanga into your life. As we have mentioned, the Abhyanga is a valuable tool to bring the body back to a state of balance and we have used it successfully in many seemingly unconnected disorders ranging from dry and flaky skin to post partum hair fall.

 

If you have any queries on how you can incorporate this Dinacharya into your life, please email us.

 

Krya products recommended for you and your family’s abhyanga:

For adults:

Krya Men’s Abhyanga system which consists of

  1. Krya Abhyanga Oil with Vacha & Ashwagandha
  2. Krya Men’s Abhyanga bath powder with Vetiver & Van Tulsi

MEn's abhyanga system

For Babies (age: 0 – 1 years):

 

For Kids & Toddlers (age – 1 +):

  1. Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & Ashwagandha
  2. Krya Fragrant Kids Ubtan with Gotu Kola & Cassia Flower

12-kids-ubtan

Please note: If you , your family members or your child has skin prone to eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, please write to us for other product options.

 

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How a regular self oil massage (abhyanga) can help reduce 3 kinds of hairfall – Krya shares insights from Ayurveda

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

Our last post, and many of our past posts and hints have triggered an avalanche of questions on the Abhyanga, and why we so strongly promote it. Modern life itself seems to go against the grain of adopting something that is so traditional and seemingly old fashioned as the abhyanga. So why do we at Krya persist, and continue to talk about the abhyanga?

This is because we have seen the life improving and health giving benefits of a regular abhyanga first hand and have also heard from our customers about the benefits they have experienced with a regular abhyanga.

1.abhyanga

This is also because we have seen that a regular abhyanga can aid and help any hair programme suggested by us, and can help restore hair health much faster and in a more holistic manner. We will look at how an Abhyanga can help 3 different kinds of hairfall in this post, and what are the special precautions to be taken for each kind of abhyanga.

 

  1. An abhyanga to reduce and rectify pitta related hair thinning and premature hair greying

Premature hair greying and hair thinning is considered a sign of aggravated Pitta dosha in the body. Pitta dosha is responsible for mental sharpness, intellect, courage, decisiveness, complexion, blood and hair colour. So when our work or life situations demand a lot of this dosha, or if are exposed to high heat, or if we eat foods that aggravate Pitta dosha, we can push this dosha out of control.

2.pitta dosha

 

To combat hair greying and hair thinning, we advise regular hair oiling with the Krya classic hair oil, or the Krya conditioning hair oil or the Krya harmony hair oil depending upon the hair type. All these 3 oils contain a high amount of Amla that is very useful in controlling excess Pitta.

3. Krya hair oils with amla

 

In addition, a weekly abhyanga done in the first hour after sunrise is extremely useful to control Pitta dosha further. When this is done regularly, you will notice a strong reduction in body temperature to levels where you do not sweat excessively, feel very hot or have any burning sensation. The abhyanga helps reduce Pitta dosha by stimulating the production of sweat and urine which carries out excess heat out of the body. Together with hair oiling, this strongly helps control premature hair greying (if detected early), when it is due to pitta aggravation.

 

Special notes for Abhyanga that is done for hair thinning and premature greying:

  • Ensure that the Abhyanga is done as early as possible, within the first hour of sunrise.

4.abhyanga sunrise

  • This ensures that there is enough time given during the day to allow the release of excess heat from the body.
  • Stay indoors and do not expose yourself to additional heat.
  • Do not eat pitta aggravating foods on this day like red chillies, green chillies, tamarind, curd, mangoes, raw mangoes and kokum. Avoid sour, salty and spicy food on this day.

5. avoid spicy food

 

  • Drink water whenever thirsty to ensure there is adequate urination so that excess heat is released.
  • Do not do any strong, heat increasing exercise on this day like long distance running, intense gymming, etc.
  • Do NOT sleep in the afternoon after abhyanga – this will trap excess heat inside the body and give you a headache, and further worsen premature hair greying. This is also a good practice for any abhyanga.

 

  1. An abhyanga to help hairfall related to PCOD and PCOS

PCOD is a collection of symptoms that includes either a lack of menstruation or irregular cycles, presence of ovarian cysts or other associated symptoms along with these like acne, weight gain, hair loss, male pattern balding and hirsutism.

Vata and kapha imbalance are two prominent reasons for PCOD. Apana vayu is the type of vata that governs all downward flow of material in the body like bowel movement, urine and menstrual flow. In PCOD, the flow of Apana vayu may be improper. Or, the flow of vayu (air) may be extremely strong and aggravated where it could pull kapha dosha from its normal resting place in the chest, so kapha dosha forms into small vesicles that become ovarian cysts. As kapha dosha moves from the chest to the uterine area, it pulls pitta dosha that is usually present in the stomach. So PCOD sees aggravation of all 3 doshas. Kapha and pitta dosha together cause a strong and intensive hair loss that presents as male pattern baldness.

In PCOD related hairfall, we recommend the Krya intense hair system of products that include the Krya Intense hair oil, Krya Intense hair wash and Krya intense hairwash that help with this pitta-kapha hair loss.

7. Krya intense hair system

In addition, we have consistently seen that a regular Abhyanga strongly helps PCOD related hairfall. This is because the regular abhyanga balances and restores Apana vayu, which is the primary culprit behind PCOD. Abhyanga is the best cure for any vata related disorder, so this is why PCOD related hairfall responds so well to a regular abhyanga.

8.pcod abhyanga

Special notes for Abhyanga that is done for hair fall and slow hair growth due to PCOD:

  • Ensure that the Abhyanga is done with warm oil. The Krya abhyanga oil should be heated in a water bath and not directly for best results.
  • Ensure the abhyanga is done in a full closed room without any air draughts and after switching off the fan and the a.c. This ensures that there is no excess vayu aggravation after the abhyanga
  • Eat a light, easy to digest meal on the day of the abhyanga. Avoid kapha and vata stimulating foods like fried foods, sweets, curds, maida based foods, etc.
  • Do light and easy household work on any form of physical work during the day of the abhyanga. This work should not strain you or tire you out, but should engage you and keep you moving and active.

9.light physical work

 

  • Drink warm liquids and eat warm foods on this day. Avoid exposure to the a.c. as much as possible and avoid eating cold or stale foods and drinks: these include processed foods, ice creams, sweets, cold drinks etc.
  • Avoid exposure to cold and drying winds as much as possible on this day: these include using the air conditioner for long periods and driving long distances with the wind blowing in your face.

9.light physical work

 

  1. An abhyanga to help hair fall with hair breakage, split ends and vata aggravated dryness

Hair that is excessively dry suffers from split ends and breaks easily when being combed or brushed with a dry scalp is usually considered as hair suffering from aggravated vata dosha.

Vata dosha is essential in a healthy body to promote mobility, intellect, creativity and speed. Vata is often called the companion dosha as it helps transport and moves the other 2 doshas of pitta and kapha which are immobile without Vata. Vata therefore governs the seat of the muladhara chakra in the body – the kidneys, uterus, and all organs of downward movement (faeces, urine, and blood).

11. vata dosha

 

Therefore any disturbance in Vata always affects all downward movements in the body – limbs, walking, joints, periods, bowel movements, etc.

Cities and people living in cities naturally have an excess of Vata. Vata dosha governs the qualities of wind, space, and actions associated with air like speech and hearing. So when we utilise transport to commute long distances, use our speech and hearing in excess (with most office and creative jobs), use objects that excite the sense organs and involve creativity like a computer, mobile phone, Ipad, we are engaging with our Vata dosha – if this engagement is not balanced and does not give our Vata dosha a chance to calm down, we would have excited it to the point of excess.

12.vata dosha excitement

 

When vata is extremely aggravated in the body, we can see many different symptoms like high mental stress, an inability to sleep properly, constant fatigue, skin darkening and excessively dry skin and dry scalp. When we further do chemical treatments like hair colouring or use synthetic shampoos on this already dry hair and scalp, we aggravate teh condition further.

 

For vata aggravated hair, we generally advise frequent oiling with the Krya conditioning hair oil, and in the case of excessive mental stress or high use of electronic devices, we suggest using the Krya harmony hair oil. Both oils are designed to treat vata type hair and with regular use bring down extreme dryness, nourish the hair and reduce the occurrence of hair breakage and split ends.

13. Krya harmony hair oil

It is extremely beneficial to add a frequent abhyanga to treat this dryness even more thoroughly. As we have mentioned above, the skin is a primary seat of vata dosha, so when we massage the skin with a warm herbal oil, we are instantly treating aggravated vata dosha and are bringing it down to more harmonious levels.

 

The addition of an abhyanga helps treat hair and scalp dryness in a much quicker and much more wholesome manner.  It also corrects any vata aggravation across the rest of the body and helps induce restful sleep and calms the entire body down.

14.abhaynga vata 

Special notes for Abhyanga that is done for hair fall due to dryness, hair breakage and excessive split ends:

  • Ensure that the Abhyanga is done with warm oil. The Krya abhyanga oil should be heated in a water bath and not directly for best results.

15. warm oil

  • Ensure the abhyanga is done in a full closed room without any air draughts and after switching off the fan and the a.c. This ensures that there is no excess vayu aggravation after the abhyanga
  • Eat a light, easy to digest meal on the day of the abhyanga. Avoid vata stimulating foods like potatoes, millets, biscuits, and any dry, hard and crisp / brittle foods. .
  • Ensure you include warm melted ghee in all meals on this day (atleast 1 teaspoon per meal)
  • Reduce electronic stimulation strongly this day as much as possible. Set a device cut off for yourself this day.
  • Drink warm liquids and eat warm foods on this day. Avoid eating cold or stale foods and drinks: these include processed foods, ice creams, sweets, cold drinks etc.

16.warm liquids

 

  • Limit exposure to wind and coldness as much as possible. If AC is unavoidable, dress warm to ensure your body does not go dry again.
  • Eat your meals on time and ensure you sleep two hours after dinner, preferably before 10:30 pm on this day. This will ensure vata dosha settles down and you get good restful sleep

 

To conclude:

In this post, we have described only 3 types of hairfall that can be helped greatly by having an abhyanga. However, in our experience, an abhyanga helps many many other conditions including depression, post partum mothers, people with high mental stress, sports people to reduce their rate of injuries, babies and children to improve immunity and aid growth and to nourish and vitalise older people with high fatigue and tiredness.

17.abhaynga - to sum up

 

An abhyanga is an extremely important Dinacharya, and in the true Ayurvedic tradition helps extend both ayu (life) and Ayush (health).  We hope, that this through this post, we have been able to convey to you some of the benefits of this Dinacharya. We also hope you are inspired to adopt this Dinacharya and enjoy the benefits for yourself.


Krya products recommended for you and your family’s abhyanga:

For adults:

5. womens abhyanga system

MEn's abhyanga system

 

For Babies (age: 0 – 1 years):

11-baby-ubtan

 

For Kids & Toddlers (age – 1 +):

  1. Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & Ashwagandha
  2. Krya Fragrant Kids Ubtan with Gotu Kola & Cassia Flower

12-kids-ubtan

Please note: If you , your family members or your child has skin prone to eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, please write to us for other product options.

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How the Krya hair care routine works to reverse your hair damage and grow strong hair: Dump your toxic shampoo today !

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

My hair felt much softer and smoother with a synthetic shampoo. I read that it is so bad and contains so many harmful ingredients. Then why does my hair feel better when using a synthetic shampoo and so rough when I use a pure natural hairwash like the Krya hairwash or if I use a mixture of herbs?

If you too have felt this way, then this post should be useful for you and provide you with a few insights on how shampoos are formulated, why they are formulated this way and why despite the temporary good feeling of using a shampoo, you should consider switching to a natural product like the Krya hairwash.

1. synthetic shampoos

 

In the beginning we only had herbs:

Civilisation as we know it has been around for 1000s of years. In these many thousand years, despite the invention of soaps, these were never used to cleanse skin or hair. You can read about the history of soap in our earlier post. Soaps were prized for their ability to clean and  to launder linen and were always considered extremely harsh and unfit for personal use.

 

Indian civilisation which records many firsts including the discovery of the zero, advanced mathematical and astronomical progress, high progress in surgery, medicine and hygiene, never used a synthetic soap and a shampoo for either laundry or personal use. This is despite the fact that the procedure to make a lye based soap has been around for atleast 5000 years and would have been easy to make and accessible across India.

2. herbal smoke

 

We instead used a rich variety of herbs for different kinds of cleansing in India. In India cleaning was multifaceted: we cleansed our person, our laundry, our floors and even our air using herbal smoke. Many of the herbs used were also edible and could be used to solve dis-eases. This meant that we only used extremely safe, tried and tested herbs that could be eaten.

 

This obviously meant that we were not harming our body, our hair or our skin. This also meant that we did not pollute the soil, water or the earth in our quest to clean and care for ourselves.

 

The birth of the synthetic shampoo (and hair problems):

The harmonious situation we described in the previous paragraph came to an end when Hans Schwarzkopf, a German, invented the first liquid shampoo in 1927. Initially a liquid shampoo was simply a watery soap. This made the preparation strongly alkaline and extremely harsh on hair. So in 20 years, shampoo formulations “evolved” to use synthetic surfactants like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Laureth Sulphate.

3. shampoos

 

Little did we know when we all agreed to this change that we were merely substituting hair roughness and damage for far more insidious long term side effects like dermatitis, with SLS. You can read much more about how much damage SLS and SLeS do to hair, skin and the earth in our previous posts.

 

The fallouts of using a synthetic shampoo

Many of us have come to appreciate the feeling of using a synthetic shampoo. A shampoo and a conditioner give the hair an instant feeling of smoothness. There is no external serration or roughness when we wash or comb our hair.

However, with repeated washing, we notice that the sebum secretion in the hair either becomes excessive or very poor. So as a result we suffer from either extremely oily hair or very dry scalp and hair with constant itching and flaking. There is also a slowing down in hair growth. We may also notice hair breakage, frizziness and hair thinning.

4. rough dry hair

Why is it that our hair quality worsens so much internally , but the external appearance and smoothness is maintained when we use a synthetic shampoo?

 

The natural composition of Sebum: the first target of a synthetic shampoo on your scalp

We have spoken about how the surfactants in a synthetic shampoo dry out the secretions of your scalp’s sebaceous glands. Sebum, produced by our scalp is not a simple oil. It is a complex mixture of triglycerides, waxy esters, and metabolic secretions of fats along with squalene. This mixture of substances forms sebum and this helps lubricate our skin and hair.

 

Depending on the weather and temperature, sebum changes in structure. For e.g.: In rainy weather, there is a greater production of fat based cells which act as a waterproof layer for skin and hair.

5. raincoat

This intelligent, skin and hair protecting secretion is mercilessly stripped dry whenever we use a synthetic surfactant based shampoo or a soap on our skin. The harsh detergent in the shampoo does not have the ability to remove only excess sebum. Instead it completely strips hair of the sebaceous secretion forcing the sebaceous glands to repeatedly waste energy re-producing the sebum.

Natural sebum in the right quantity gives hair a healthy sheen. It gives the right amount of oily coating to the hair to ensure that hair does not build up static, or go dry and frizzy. It maintains the synergistic bacteria on our skin and scalp by giving them nutritive substances. It keeps hair strands healthy and does not allow hair to go dry thereby facilitating hair growth and health.

Most importantly: as the sebum composition is decided by the body using intelligence, it is able to anticipate the needs of the body and vary its composition accordingly.

 

Plasticizers and silicone based conditioners: a poor substitute to natural sebum

The consistent use of synthetic shampoo tampers with the natural production of sebum and alters how much is produced, by either drying out the sebaceous glands or excessively increasing sebum. This means that without this sebum and with the excessively harsh detergents in the shampoo, the hair is bound to go completely dry and get damaged.

To ensure that the hair does not look too dry or damaged, a shampoo uses silicone based hair coating substances in the shampoo.

6. silicones

 

Dimethicone: PolyDimethylSiloxane (PDMS) (a silicone used in moisturising skin care and shampoos)

A typical example of this kind of silicone is Dimethicone, which is found across many leading shampoo brands. Dimethicone is an industrial emulsifier found in putty, certain food brands and across skin and hair care products, in heat resistant tiles, in herbicides and hydraulic fluids. Dimethicone is an emulsifier and provides a smooth coating on skin and hair, which is why it is so favoured in the cosmetic industry.

Dimethicone when applied on hair forms a synthetic plastic like coating with a reflective shine. This coats over breaks in the hair’s cuticles and gives us a smooth gliding effect. This makes us believe that our hair is much healthier and well maintained than what it actually is.

The important thing to note here is that our hair is still damaged. Dimethicone is only forming a layer over the damage preventing us from observing the damage.

 

Concerns in the use of silicones in skin and hair care products

When used on hair, silicones can aggravate the sebaceous glands, stimulating aggressive sebum production. This can create a breeding ground for fungal attacks on the scalp leading to sebborheic dermatitis or stubborn fungal dandruff.

7. itchy scalp

Silicones can interfere with the natural function of the skin and scalp by preventing temperature regulation and the interaction of the skin and the scalp with the environment.

In skin, silicones can also lead to breakouts and acne as the plasticky coating can trap dirt and bacteria close to the skin.

 

The Indian hair secret: ours for thousands of years, and now fast disappearing

A few paragraphs before, we made the statement that in the beginning we all used herbs to cleanse ourselves. And this has worked pretty well until the last 50 years for all of us, especially Indians.

8. indian hair

Indians discovered synthetic shampoos quite late in the day (around the mid 1990s) and synthetic conditioners even later (for the last 15 years). This explains in part why Indian hair was so prized over the world for its health, texture, length and colour. Until today, Indian hair is exported across the globe to make wigs and human hair extensions for the rest of the world which has suffered from hair damage from a much longer use of synthetic hair products.

 

The secret behind healthy Indian hair was simple: We followed the Ayurvedic method of cleansing the hair.

 

Ayurvedic hair cleansing – first oil the hair with a good hair oil

Ayurveda recommends generous and frequent oiling of hair with a natural herb infused oil made using cold pressed vegetable oils like coconut and sesame. As we have described before, this hair oiling is good for us for several reasons.

Apart from supporting the sebaceous glands, assisting the scalp’s nutrition and naturally conditioning and strengthening hair, hair oiling also helps cool the scalp and the eyes and helps balance pitta dosha in the body. As we have discussed before, when pitta dosha goes out of control, our hair starts to thin down, goes grey and loses its natural colour.

9. krya hair system

 

Hair oiling is an extremely important part of Ayurvedic hair care. Hair is never supposed to be left “dry” in Ayurveda as the body is always generating excess heat in the form of the brain and the eye’s activity. This excess heat is released through the scalp which means that hair is constantly subjected to internal heat.

When this internal heat is left unchecked, hair can go dry, brittle and lose its colour and strength.

 

Ayurvedic hair cleansing 2: wash using the right combination of herbs

The second part to cleansing and maintaining your hair is to use the right combination of Ayurvedic herbs to wash your hair. We have written in detail in earlier posts on how an Ayurvedic hair wash is formulated very differently from a synthetic shampoo.

A synthetic shampoo mainly has 3 kinds of ingredients: a detergent to clean hair, silicones to coat hair and hide the damage caused by the detergent and colours and fragrances to trick you into thinking the shampoo is a luxurious and safe product to use.

10. krya hair wash

A natural hairwash like Krya’s range of hairwashes on the other hand have many different kinds of herbs to perform different functions: release excess heat, gently remove excess oil and dirt, restore the acid mantle of hair, improve hair growth, and clean the srotas (minor skin openings) in the scalp well so that the scalp is able to perform all its normal functions.

All these functions are achieved using edible grains and lentils and carefully chosen, hair improving herbs.

 

Differences between Ayurvedic hair care and synthetic hair care

There are a few critical differences between Ayurvedic hair care and synthetic chair care. For one, there are no herbs chosen purely for “fragrance”, lather” or “providing a good experience”.

For example Krya uses shade dried organic red rose petals in the Krya Classic hair wash which have a beautiful natural fragrance. The rose is used in the formulation to balance excess pitta on the scalp, and provide an astringent effect on the scalp so that the hair is able to deeply root into the scalp.

11. rose in classic hairwash

Similarly, an Ayurvedic hair care product will not contain fake ingredients like silicones to hide hair damage. So when you first move to a natural hair care product like one of Krya’s hair washes, your hair may seem much rougher than it did when washing it with a synthetic shampoo. This is merely the truth. What your Krya natural hairwash is revealing is the current , damaged state of your hair.

However, with careful oil application, a good diet and a consistent use of our hairwash products, many of our consumers have observed a reversal in this hair damage. In 1 – 2 months, your hair will start feeling much smoother and in better health as the damaged cuticles have been assisted in repairing themselves.

12. herbal hair oil

Also, an Ayurvedic hair wash product like Krya’s hairwash can seem much more difficult to apply on the hair and scalp at first. This is because our hairwash is formulated without synthetic emulsifiers and thickeners which give synthetic shampoo its heft and thickness. As with all good things, it takes a little bit of practice to get used to this format. Along with the obvious hair benefits, by eschewing the use of these synthetics we are also able to reduce the toxic load on your body by using purely herbs, lentils and grains in our hairwash products.

 

OK, I am convinced. What should I start with and how long will it take for me to see results on my hair?

Phew! We are glad you were able to see the benefits behind using pure natural and synthetic free products like ours. We have designed 5 types of hair care products in Krya for different hair needs. We recommend starting with the oil and the hairwash from each system for a start. If your hair is in bad shape and needs resuscitation, we recommend using the hair mask as well from the system you choose.

  1. If your hair is normal to oily and requires frequent washing, or is greying or thinning, choose the Krya Classic hair range
  2. If your hair is normal to dry, tends to tangle easily, breaks easily and is frizzy or dry, choose the Krya conditioning hair range
  3. If your hair has severe and stubborn dandruff, choose the Krya anti dandruff range
  4. If your hair has been chemically treated frequently, and is feeling very rough with poor hair growth, choose the Krya Damage repair hair system
  5. If you have been having medication and illness related hair loss (surgery, chemotherapy, long term medication, PCOD), choose the Krya Intense hair system.

 

Hair goes through some visible signs of improvement which you should look for when you switch to our hair systems. What we have described is the usual order of improvement. Depending upon your body’s state of health, your hair could experience these stages one at a time or several at a time. The time taken to cross each stage again depends on your health.

Observable stages of hair improvement:

  1. Balanced sebum production: hair and scalp stays “cleaner” much longer and needs to be washed less frequently.
  2. Sufficient sebum production (related to above) : Hair does not feel dry or break at the tips as sufficient sebum is produced in the scalp to coat the entire hair strand
  3. Scalp feels clean and healthy without any visible breaks, flaking or boils
  4. Hair tangles and breaks less and generates less static
  5. Hair is smoother and easier to comb.
  6. Hair reflects light better without any styling products or conditioners used – especially in sunlight. This means that your scalp is producing sufficient sebum and that your hair strands have no or minimal cuticular damage.
  7. Visible reduction in split ends despite growth in length
  8. Hair is able to grow longer – this usually is achieved when scalp is healthy and there is sufficient growth medium for hair to extend in length. This is also achieved when sebum production is sufficient and balanced – when there is too little sebum, hair length is poor and split ends are high as there is not enough sebum to maintain a long strand without damage.
  9. New hair that grows is thicker and blacker – there is a slowing down in hair greying
  10. There is a filling of hair in previously thinning areas like the crown of the head and the forehead

Do look for these signs of hair improvement when you switch to any of the Krya hair systems. These are ways to monitor the progress in your hair and give you confidence you are on the right track, despite the initial difficulties in switching to a natural system.


We hope this post resonated with you and you were able to get a sense of how deep, holistic and well thought out genuinely natural products based on Ayurveda are.

We also hope we gave you a sufficient sense of horror and disgust at how poorly thought through, bad for hair health and bad for the environment synthetic personal care products can be.

With the abundance that nature provides us, and the fantastic solid framework that Ayurveda provides us, we do not need to resort to synthetics to care for ourselves and our families. Do write to us with your questions, reflections and if you would like us to write about a particular subject you are seeking answers or insights to.

 

 

 

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Is grey hair bothering you? Krya shares 7 ways you can slow down premature greying today by changing your food and lifestyle habits

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We wrote about premature greying last week and how Ayurveda classifies premature greying. As we saw last week, Ayurveda is quite definitive, precise and holistic about exactly why premature greying occurs.

Premature greying is seen as a consequence of unchecked, aggravated Pitta dosha. In addition, repressing or not dealing with extreme anger and extreme grief (krodha and shokha) is also said to cause premature greying.

 

The connection between the Mind and body according to Ayurveda

All traditional medicine is able to see the connections between our emotions and the state of our health. In Ayurveda, every dosha is responsible for a certain kind of emotional trait. When this dosha goes out of balance (either too high or too low), Ayurveda is able to predict the corresponding emotional state. Similarly emotional states can also affect the doshas causing an imbalance.

 

Vata dosha and depression

Excess vata can cause fear and depression. Fear is very correctly connected to Vata dosha which is the dosha of mobility. All of us are programmed to react to adverse situations by either expressing “fright” or “flight” – both these responses are governed by Vata dosha which gives us the capacity to move swiftly and also helps us “get afraid”. In the same way, when we are afraid or depressed, our vata dosha can aggravate as this is the physical manifestation of our emotional state.

1. vata and fear

Aggravated vata dosha gives us dryness all over the body as dryness is the key quality of vata dosha. So your may find that your skin and hair are perpetually dry and flaky no matter how much moisturiser you may use. Vata also governs the organs of mobility and creativity so aggravated vata may manifest as a difficulty in falling asleep or aches and pains in your joints.

 

Pitta dosha and anger

Grief and anger are states governed by Pitta dosha. So when we constantly react with anger or grief to our external circumstances, we are overusing Pitta dosha. Similarly, if we physically aggravate Pitta dosha by overeating spicy, sour or salty food, we tend to respond much faster in anger than in patience.

2.pitta and fine lines

 

Aggravated pitta dosha increases fire all over our body. So you may find your skin and hair feeling dry as though you have been standing in hot midday sun for a long time. The hair turns grey, goes find and starts to thin and bald. The skin develops red, inflammatory conditions like prickly heat, sensitivity, rashes and acne.

 

Kapha dosha – weight gain and ennui

Kapha dosha in its normal, un-aggravated state is an important and strength giving dosha. It gives our mind and body “sthiram” or steadiness, and helps us cultivate the qualities of patience, gentleness, forbearance and generosity. When kapha dosha is in excess, in the physical level it can contribute to a feeling of sloth, lack of energy and ennui. When we over indulge in kapha aggravating foods like sweet and oily foods, and sweet and cold foods, we put on excess weight. In this situation we find ourselves in a vicious cycle where we are unwilling or lack the energy to do something about this excess weight. This excess weight is bought on by unchecked kapha based eating which in turn aggravates kapha dosha in the body which contributes to the mental state of sloth and ennui.

3. Kapha and ennui

 

In other times we may be in a mental state of sloth. We may have ennui in general and let ourselves or our surroundings go and not care to make a change. In this state, we are harnessing unchecked kapha dosha. In the mental state we may find ourselves quickly adding on physical weight or developing conditions like hypo thyroidism, PCOD, etc. We may also find that we are drawn to kapha aggravating foods when we are in this mental state!

 

Aggravated kapha dosha increases thickness, paleness and coldness all over the body. It also promotes unnecessary growth. You may find that the skin is cold to touch, lacks healthy complexion. You may also develop excess growth based skin and hair conditions like psoriasis and oily dandruff. The body may feel heavy, cold, thick and tired all the time.

 

Tackling aggravated dosha conditions

We have spoken a little about what happens to our moods, mind and body whenever one or more of our doshas are imbalanced. In Ayurveda, opposites bring moderation and balance to the body. So when pitta is aggravated, or vata is aggravated, we attempt to pull the body back to a state of balance by eating the opposite of the dosha that is imbalanced.

4.opposites bring balance

 

We also practice external applications, use products and follow therapies that aim to reduce the dosha that is in excess. By using this principle of opposites, we bring the body back to balance.

 

What does Pitta dosha control in the body?

Normal (prakrta) Pitta dosha helps nourish the body by performing the function of digestion and helping separate nutrients and nourishing parts of the food from waste products. Pitta dosha also produces heat and warmth through the body. It stimulates desire, produces hunger and thirst. The pitta dosha also determines the colour and complexion of our skin, and is responsible for our intellect, understanding, courage and our decisiveness and ability to get things done.

 

What aggravates Pitta dosha?

We discussed 6 reasons why Pitta dosha aggravates in detail last week. These reasons are as follows:

  1. Having a pitta prakriti and aggravating our dosha by choosing pitta aggravating foods and practices
  2. Over exposure to the Sun
  3. Undergoing agni increasing treatments
  4. Eating Pitta aggravating food
  5. Not oiling the hair and scalp regularly
  6. High stress that is not addressed or dealt with properly

Any or all of these reasons can give you classic signs of Pitta dosha going out of balance like premature greying, acidity, GERD, Ulcers, frequent stomach upsets, adult acne and high skin sensitivity, cracked heels and palms and fine, thinning hair.

 

We will now see what we can do to bring this aggravated Pitta to balance.

 

Will bringing my aggravated Pitta dosha turn my grey hair black?

Ayurveda tells us that we cannot reverse the colour of hair that is already grey or white. However, hair, skin and all the cells of our body are constantly renewing themselves. By bringing Pitta dosha back to balance, we can slow down the process of greying and delay this process of aging.

This means that instead of growing more and more grey / white hair, there is a good chance you can grow new black hair when you bring Pitta dosha back to balance.

 

7 Pitta reducing foods, habits and practices to follow:

Any dosha balancing regimen has to start by reducing or eliminating the foods, habits and practices that caused the aggravation in the first place. So as we explained in our earlier posts on pitta dosha and what aggravates it, we start by reducing or eliminating salty, spicy and sour food, over exposure to heat, situations that put us in grief or anger, and we learn to control our stress.

In addition:

  1. Eat bitters

Bitter foods and bitter herbs help cool down Pitta dosha. Bitters are also used as medicines that involve pacifying or balancing pitta based diseases like jaundice which is seen in Ayurveda as a disease of aggravated Pitta.

6.bitter controls pitta

 

Bitter vegetables like bitter gourd, bitter greens like methi and palak and all native greens, and bitter spices like methi seeds, coriander seeds all help cool down excess Pitta. Preparations like Neem leaf chutney are also culturally eaten around the beginning of summer to herald the beginning of the traditional New Year. This is again an excellent practice to help cleanse the body and to tackle the build up of excess pitta in the start of the season.

7.bitter leaves in summer

 

Similarly, bitter herbs are excellent for topical use on skin, scalp and hair in aggravated Pitta like conditions. Krya extensively uses bitter herbs like Nimba (Neem), Vacha (Sweet flag), Kalmegh (Maha Nimba), Kushta, etc in skin and hair formulations.

 

  1. Eat and apply Amla

There are several pitta pacifying herbs and fruits in Ayurvedic lore. However, in our set of recommendations, we have made it a point to separately mention the Amla (Indian gooseberry). This is because it is an extremely powerful rasayana (youth giving) herb, is very powerful in its pitta pacifying nature and is also an excellent culinary and external application herb.

Amla is also called the “Dhatri phala” or the fruit which acts as a nurse, because it is so medicinally valuable and powerful. It is one of the hoariest herbs in Ayurveda and finds use in formulations spanning diseases and medical conditions.

8.amla the dhatri

 

In cooking, the Amla is a very valuable herb. Although it has a sour taste at first in the mouth, it is the only fruit which has all the 6 tastes (rasas) inside it, according to Ayurveda (sweet, sour, salty, astringent, bitter, spicy). It is very sweet and soothing on digestion and therefore helps build the dhatus and is regenerative in its action.

 

We have mentioned how sour taste aggravates Pitta dosha. Using Amla as the souring agent in your food vastly improves the nutritional quality of your food and also reduces the Pitta component of your food. You can use it in its fresh form , as a juice or a paste and even as a dried power to add sour taste to your food instead of conventional and pitta aggravating souring agents like tamarind, mango, lemon juice, tomatoes, etc.

 

Fresh amla is nutritionally more powerful than dried amla. If using dried amla, make sure you use it within 6 – 9 months of drying. Choose a trusted source for this. Do not buy dried Amla powder – if possible buy dried amla pieces and powder just before use as this helps retain its nutritional qualities.

9.dried amla

 

Amla is the only heat stable source of Vitamin C. This means that you can boil it and use it in strongly boiled dishes like typical Indian cuisine without any worry of losing its nutritional properties. Amla is better eaten as a food than drunk as a tea or eaten as a supplement. When eaten as a food, it helps us assimilate the nutrients of the rest of our food as well.

 

Amla is also an excellent anti aging herb. We use it extensively in Krya’s Moisture plus range of face washes, face masks and face oils meant for dry or aging skin. We also use Amla extensively in our Hair products, both oils and washes and powders.

 

  1. Eat desi Cow ghee regularly

One of the very best ways to bring aggravated Pitta and vata dosha under control is to eat high quality, grass fed and hormone free, desi (native) cow ghee.

Cow ghee occupies a very special place in Ayurveda and there are literally hundreds of ways it is used in Ayurveda. Cow ghee is considered tridoshic in Ayurveda and there is extensive literature on how this cow ghee should be sourced, how the cow and her calf must be treated, right down to different ways of making this ghee.

10.Kamadhenu

 

Most people across various medical conditions can benefit eating Cow ghee. As can all of us with small dosha imbalances and no major health issues.

 

There was a time in the western world when Cow ghee was universally panned as being bad for the heart and for the arteries. The western world has now reversed its stand. Grass fed cow ghee is one of the very high, in demand fats. Western medicine and nutritionists are now saying what Ayurveda has been saying all along – that limited small quantities of good quality cow ghee is very good for the body, and the arteries and the heart. And consumption of cow ghee does not clog the arteries – using oils like palm oil, dalda and vanaspati does.

 

Unfortunately this is yet to hit India. So in India, we routinely have consumers asking us how we can recommend ghee when it may lead to weight gain.

 

Nothing can be further from the truth. We will do a separate post on the properties of cow ghee. But for now, if you are experiencing pitta aggravation, eating 2 – 3 teaspoons of ghee per day along with your food can rapidly bring down your pitta aggravation. You will find that your skin texture improves within 2 months of regular ghee consumption and a reduction in your pitta aggravation.

11.melted cow ghee

Cow ghee is important at almost every stage as per Ayurveda. Children need regular cow ghee as this is the stage of brain development and the fat in cow ghee helps proper brain and dhatu development. Old people need cow ghee to help lubricate their joints and bring down inflammatory conditions.

Young adults need cow ghee to help cope with mental stress and prepare their body for fertility. People in their 30s- 50s need cow ghee as this is naturally the time of increased pitta. Cow ghee consumption helps balance this aggravated pitta.

12.ghee for all ages

Remember: Eat only freshly melted liquid cow ghee and not solid. This helps control kapha and mucous production which could increase if you eat un-melted cow ghee. Go for high quality cow ghee: by this we mean ghee that is churned using the proper Ayurvedic technique, sourced from free range, grass fed indigenous cows that are treated well.

 

Also remember: We are talking about Desi Cow ghee here and not Desi Buffalo Ghee. Buffalo Ghee has entirely different properties and is not recommended for universal consumption.

 

Ayurveda is very conscious of the karmic effect of foods. If you source dairy or produce from poorly treated, inhumane conditions or pesticide sprayed areas, the pranic quality of that food is also poor. Ensure your dairy is sourced from humane, well treated, well reared and well raised cows where the calves are treated well too.

 

  1. Treat Agni well and eat on time. Eat only when you are hungry.

In Hindu mythology, Agni is given the status of a God. Lord Agni is always given offerings of food, ghee and herbs, as he is always hungry and looking for food.

You may remember your Mahabharata with reference to Lord Agni. Arjuna and Krishna burned the Khandava forest to build the capital city of Indraprastha. They offered the entire Khandava forest to Lord Agni and he consumed every single tree and living being in the forest to satiate his hunger. Pleased after his meal, he blessed both Arjuna and Lord Krishna.

13.khandava forest

 

Just like in Mythology, the Agni in your body is always hungry. When Agni increases, as when Pitta dosha is aggravated, the hunger in your body increases even more. This is why excess hunger is also a sign of dosha imbalance in Ayurveda. Appetite, like everything else, has to be balanced and normal.

We have talked about what the right meal times are in previous posts. Meal times should follow the course of the Sun to maximise digestive ability and nutrient absorption.

 

It is important to feed the Agni in your body on time and in correct quantity so that he is properly satiated. Skipping meals, eating at varying timings and not eating the right quantity can all aggravate Agni and therefore Pitta dosha.

Similarly, eating when Agni is not ready is also a sure fire (pun intended) path to disease. It is far better to skip a meal when you are not hungry than to eat on schedule even though you have no hunger. This builds toxins, ama and diseases and blockages in the body.

14.agni angered

Remember: Starving the Agni in your body, means that it will eat your body / tissues inside instead. This is the cause for diseases like Ulcers. Ensure you eat steadily on time. Similarly eating when you are not hungry will increase toxins and slow down nutrient absorption. So respect your body’s Agni.

 

  1. Take proper pitta balancing precautions whenever you are exposed to heat , light or the Sun is increased

We spoke about how overexposure to sun and heat and light treatments can increase the Agni in your body. Ensure that when this exposure is inevitable you take sensible Agni reducing precautions.

When exposed to the Sun, do not strain your Agni by over exercising, eating heavy food, working late or doing an abhyanga. Do not eat immediately after sun exposure or a heat based treatment. Take a cooling down period of 30 – 45 minutes where you sit indoors and drink normal temperature or warm water.

15.cool down

 

Once your body has been accustomed to the indoors and has a chance to naturally cool down, you can then take a shower and use Agni reducing herbs and pastes to further cool down your body. Do not bathe, eat cold foods or drink cold drinks immediately after sun exposure.

If the nature of your work requires constant sun exposure, ensure your diet is low in pitta aggravating foods and that you eat cow ghee and add the pitta reducing foods and regimens we have mentioned in this post and earlier.

 

  1. Use Agni reducing external applications like hair oil, skin oil and herbal Kajal (Anjana)

We spoke yesterday about how the eyes are an important seat of Pitta dosha and how the heat generated in the eyes and brain has to be reduced on the spot. The use of herbal Kajal (anjana) and herbal hair oil is well documented in Ayurveda for the same.

Herbal Kajal generally used eye soothing herbs like daru haridra, ghee, castor oil, Bhringaraj, etc to remove excess pitta and to remove the dirt encrusted in the eyes through tears. This helps keep the eyes in good working order. Apart from use of Anjana, Ayurveda advises balanced use of the eyes.

Cleaning the eyes with clean cold water, first thing on waking up and  – 3 times during the day also helps flush our impurities and keeps down excess pitta.

16.eyes

 

Remember: do not use your smart phone, e-reader, laptop within the first 2 hours after you wake up and in the last 2 hours before sleep. This prevents shock to the eyes, allows rest and allows the eye muscles to slowly unwind and repair themselves.

Using a good herbal hair oil frequently, helps calm the brain and dissipate excess heat from the head. This also incidentally keeps the hair strands in good health, repairs cuticular damage and maintains the hair strands in good elasticity, strength, and gloss. It also helps promote hair growth.

For cooling the head, we recommend late evening oiling of the scalp using small quantities of hair oil. About ¼ – ½ teaspoon of hair oil should be warmed in the palm and used to gently massage the scalp alone. This amount of hair oil is usually well absorbed by the scalp. With regular use you should notice good, peaceful sleep and freshness in the morning as a sign that this practice is working well for you.

17.frequent oiling

 

Besides night oiling, Ayurveda also recommends copious hair and scalp oiling just before a hairwash. This also helps dissipate heat and helps coat the hair strands and protect them well and keep then in good health. Depending upon your level of familiarity with this, you can leave your hair oil for upto an hour or two before hairwash.

Remember: Please do not strain yourself by leaving hair oil on overnight or for several hours if you are not used to it. This will do you more harm than help you. Always accustom your body gradually to any practice. We advise leaving hair oil on for no more than 15 minutes to start with. This duration can be increased every 3 weeks after (6- 7 usage occasions) by 10 minutes. This duration should be gradually increased until you can leave hair oil for 45 minutes – 1 hour on your head before washing off.

 

  1. Develop practices and strategies to deal with stress, grief and anger

We have many bizarre and new strategies in place in the modern world to help us cope with our emotions. Sometime back, I read with concern about a chain of outlets in Japan that were designed to help Japanese executives cope with anger.

Japan is a society where anger and many private emotions were not easily expressed in workplaces, out of respect for hierarchy and seniority. This has been documented as leading to a lot of frustration, stress and rage in modern Japan. The Japanese chain I mentioned, offered a service where you could rent the outlet for an hour, and then express your anger by breaking all the china and bric a brac especially left for you to give you the satisfaction of expressing your rage!

Ayurveda tells us not to express anger but to cool it down or prevent its build up. Grief on the other hand has to be let out, expressed and shared.

18.pranayama

 

There are many practices in Yoga and Pranayama and Bhakti Yoga that help us deal with our emotions. For Anger and grief, Ayurveda explains that we should adopt breath control and practice Pranayama. We are also encouraged to express and write down our grief. If we are spiritual, we are asked to practice Bhakti yoga and surrender to the divine presence.

 

We are also asked to regulate our daily schedule so we are able to rein in dosha excesses that may be cropping up because of improper hours or diets.

 

Whatever be your strategy, if you have unexpressed grief and unresolved rage, this is a sure path to dis-ease (and grey hair). Work on it.

 

To sum up: 7 ways of balancing Pitta aggravation in your body:

Ayurveda believes that opposites bring about balance. In this post we looked at 7 ways to rein in excess Pitta and bring balance to the body. These are:

  1. Eat bitters
  2. Eat Amla
  3. Eat cow ghee
  4. Treat Agni well and eat on time. Eat only when hungry.
  5. Take proper pitta balancing precautions whenever your exposure to heat , light or the Sun is increased
  6. Regularly use Agni reducing external applications like hair oil, skin oil and herbal Kajal (Anjana)
  7. Develop practices and strategies to deal with stress, grief and anger

We have successfully used these techniques in our lives, for our employees and with many of our consumers to help them with aggravated Pitta dosha, especially in the skin and hair. Remember if your hair is greying much earlier than it should, or you are constantly breaking out, you have much greater control on your body than you think you do. When we address the cause behind these symptoms, we pull the body back to a state of balance and work on the core issue.

We hope this post resonated with you and you were able to get a sense of how deep, holistic and interconnected the science of Ayurveda is. Do write to us with your questions, reflections ad if you would like us to write about a particular subject you are seeking answers or insights to.


Here are some Krya hair and skin products that are suitable to a Pitta based prakriti or to help bring down excess Pitta:

Hair products : Suit straight, slightly oily hair that has a tendency to grey prematurely, is fine or is experiencing Pitta symptoms like thinning:

  1. Krya Classic Hair Oil with Yellow Eclipta & Indian Gooseberry
  2. Krya Classic hair mask with Rose Hip & Liquorice
  3. Krya Classic hair wash with Rose & White Bhringaraj
  4. Krya Classic hair nourishing system (all 3 above products at a special price)
  5. Krya festive abhyanga hair wash with Vana Tulsi & Rose
  6. Krya harmony hair oil (especially suited for high stress, grief and vata aggravation)

 

Skin products: suit Pitta prone skin that is normal – oily, sweats well, has a tendency towards body odour, and is sensitive to heat and gets red or inflamed easily when pitta is out of balance . This skin may also experience occasional acne:

  1. Krya Classic face wash with Green Tea & Chamomile
  2. Krya Classic face mask with Rose petals & Guava
  3. Krya Classic Skin Oil with Carrot & Wintercherry
  4. Krya Classic Body wash with Rosemary & Cassia flower

 

For acne prone skin, we have the following Krya products:

  1. Krya anti acne face wash with Guava & Lodhra
  2. Krya anti acne face mask with Daruharidra & Lodhra

 

For skin that is frequently exposed to the sun, we have the following Krya products:

  1. Krya after sun face wash with Vetiver & Indian Madder
  2. Krya calming after sun face mask with Indian Madder & Liquorice
  3. Krya after sun body wash with Arjuna & Ashwagandha
  4. Krya Zingy After Sun Bodywash for Men with Lemon Eucalyptus & Green Tea

 

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