Is post pregnancy hairfall giving you sleepless nights? Try Ayurveda instead. From Krya

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We have been speaking on the Krya blog on the benefits of the Abhyanga. We recommend that everyone incorporates the Abhyanga into their weekly regimen to experience the dosha balancing benefits of the practice.

In our posts on Pitta dosha yesterday and the day before, we mentioned what a vital piece of the pitta balancing puzzle the Abhyanga is. When done regularly and with the right oils, the practice of Abhyanga helps trap excess heat throughout the body and in the eyes, and releases this heat through the sweda or the sweat along with the debris, dead cells and micro organisms that are also dislodged from the skin during the practice.

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One of the most common reasons today for hair fall is the post partum loss of hair. Many of our consumers write to us in alarm having experienced a loss of volume of nearly 50% post pregnancy.

Western medical science tells us that a small amount of post partum hair loss is normal and inevitable. The rationale behind this is that oestrogen levels rise to extremely high levels during pregnancy. This drops to its normal level post partum – so the high oestrogen level contributes to thicker, fuller healthy hair growth during pregnancy. Post pregnancy as the oestrogen levels drop, there is supposed to be a temporary drop in hair growth which is supposed to adjust after a few months to the normal hair.

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You may use the pointed use of many “supposeds” in the paragraph above. This is because the reality is quite different.

A modern pregnancy and how it deviates from many of the principles proposed by Ayurveda

We will explore this subject over the course of more posts, but the modern pregnancy and the diet followed is very contrarian to the principles proposed by Ayurveda. Ayurveda treats pregnancy as a special condition, (not an illness) and proposes that the pregnancy woman be treated very differently from what is normally done as regards to the diet, herbs given, and lifestyle.

Every month as the foetus grows, Ayurveda adds herbs that are appropriate to that stage of growth.

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Here are some common contradictions in the Ayurvedic approach and a modern pregnancy. Once the pregnancy is established, Ayurveda‘s focus is on maintaining coolness and providing adequate amounts of nourishing, naturally sweet foods to sustain healthy growth. Therefore foods high in pitta like curd are considered strictly off limits. For the same reason, a pregnant woman is given copious amounts of tridoshic ghee and certain kinds of naturally cooling butters like navneetam to give the body a good amount of Sneha and maintain the right environment for the foetus to grow and thrive.

An increase in vata is not considered healthy in pregnant women. Also, as normal vata reducing measures like Abhyanga are contraindicated during pregnancy, aggravation of vata is controlled by strictly adhering to a simple, easy to digest diet and avoiding vata stimulating activities.

For example, Ayurveda would frown on air travel for pregnant women. It would consider this extremely vata stimulating. The main reason for taking this care is that normal vata reducing measures like Abhyanga, and in dire cases medicated procedures like vasti (medicated vata reducing enema) are not supposed to be done in Ayurveda.

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Vata is also carefully controlled to help the body prepare for the process of labour. For this reason, in Ayurveda, a pregnant woman is given carefully monitored medicated abhyangas towards the end of pregnancy in the 8th and 9th month. Medicated vastis (enemas) may also be added to clean out the body of any accumulated vata. We will see the reason for this emphasis on vata in the next section.

The effect of childbirth on vata dosha and Ayurvedic post partum care:

We have spoken at length about the differences between how Ayurveda treats the body and how Western science treats the body. This is evident even when we look at hair and skin disorders. As Ayurveda goes to the root cause of the disorder, it is able to be predictive and prescriptive and suggest holistic changes that tackle the problem much faster.

Nowhere is this more evident than how Ayurveda understands the action of vata dosha post child birth.

Soon after delivery, with the birth of the child and expulsion of placenta and other material in the womb, a large empty space forms in the womb. The nature of vata dosha which is made up of Vayu (wind) and Akash (space) is to rush in to fill this gap left behind by the newly born baby. This is why there is a strong Ayurvedic tradition of Sneha and Abhyanga for the post partum mother and child.

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Traditional childcare practices also follow this wisdom – the stomach of the mother is tied tightly using cloth and a trained nurse’s assistance is sought to give both the mother and the baby a daily Abhyanga and bath. Typically vata reducing herbs are used in the oil and the bath water. For the baby this helps remove the exhaustion of child birth. For the mother, this deters vata form increasing and also helps relieve her strain and tiredness post delivery.

Apart from physically reducing the space for vata dosha to rush in by tying the stomach and oleating the body, the new mother is also given plenty of ghee, and sweet, easy to digest foods like old rice, Mung dal and a careful selection of vegetables. Vata increasing vegetables and lentil preparations are avoided for some time. The emphasis is on giving galactologue foods and foods that enable the mother to recover her strength quickly without impacting dosha balance.

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The reality of modern post partum care

Conversation after conversation illustrates to us just how different the reality of having a baby in today’s world is. Most new mothers live in different cities from their parents and are usually working in high stress jobs almost right until their pregnancy. Maternity leave is usually around 3 months in many companies, after which these mothers rejoin work.

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Also, very few mothers are now having normal deliveries. A C section ensures that the much needed oleation and Abhyanga cannot be done until the stitches heal, costing the mother a lot of valuable progress in reducing vata dosha. Plus the absence of good Ayurvedic doctors or trained nurses who can help with traditional baby care in cities means that the Ayurvedic practices I have outlined remain unknown.

Of course, over and above this, modern doctors see ghee as an anathema. It is considered unhealthy and cholesterol inducing, so even regular people do not consume it. It is not seen as important for the post partum mom or the pregnant women, thus again depriving her of a valuable dosha balancing food.

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This means that when we at Krya get a call from moms who are losing hair at an alarming rate, we have already lost a valuable amount of time where we could have worked on the vata imbalance.

The connection between vata dosha imbalance and post partum hair fall:

We saw the shloka from the Charaka Samhita yesterday which talks about how aggravated pitta and vata dosha causes hairfall:

“  Tejoniladhau saha keshoboomim dagdhvashu kuryath khalitya narasya

Kinchitu dagdhva palithani kuryadhyareprabatham cha shiro roohanam”

“When high pitta combines with vata, it burns the hair from the roots very rapidly, causing baldness. If the pitta is not that high, it turns hair grey or fully white.”

So a post partum mom is already on a case of vata imbalance because of childbirth and the resultant gap in the womb. To this existing large vata imbalance, we can add an improper diet, lack of oleation, intake of food that is not conducive to her current state and we have the complete recipe for aggravated hairfall, hair thinning, premature greying and unhealthy hair.

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It is no wonder that all of our post partum Moms tell us that their entire body feels dry – their skin feels dry, rough and flaky. Their hair feels brittle, coarse and breaks easily when pulled or tugged or even when washed. They report seeing bunches of falling hair on their pillows when they wake up in the morning.

The 3 step Ayurvedic approach to post partum hair loss

We will spend a little more time tomorrow to elaborate further on this so you will have a handy reckoner of what to do to slow down your post partum hairfall. But here are the basic 3 Ayurvedic steps to establish your hair and health routine:

  1. Control the vata in your diet (and we have written several posts on the earlier)
    1. Reduce vata aggravating foods like bread, biscuits, ready to eat cereal, maida , fried food, aerated drinks
    2. Reduce vata aggravating vegetables in your diet – potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, peas
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    4. Reduce vata aggravating lentils in your diet – channa, rajma, dried peas (anything that is hard, and takes a long time to cook)
    5. Reduce water depleting drinks like tea, coffee , cola and aerated drinks
    6. Add vata controlling , nourishing foods – ghee, old rice, split mung dal, native vegetables in season like squash, gourds, carrots, beets
  2. Change some parts of your lifestyle to bring down vata
    1. Eat on time every day
    2. Eat warm, freshly cooked food
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    4. Focus on your food and eat in silence (talking while eating aggravates vata)
    5. Add a regular (twice a week) Abhyanga (head and body) to your routine which is done within the first hour of sunrise with vata controlling oils
    6. Cut down excessive travel
    7. Cut down vata aggravating practices like excessive cell phone and electronic screen usage
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  3. Add the right products to your regimen (and we will give your some recommendations below)

 

Krya’s products that can help with post partum hair fall:

As the Abhyanga is the cornerstone to reducing vata which is essential to post partum hairfall, the Krya Abhyanga system can help you in balancing your doshas. The Krya Abhyanga system comprises of our Abhyanga skin oil and a specially formulated ubtan (we have different Ubtans for men and women). The Krya Abhyanga oil with Vacha and Ashwagandha has been specially formulated with Vata reducing herbs like Bala, Sunthi, Maricha, and Jeera to keep the body warm and trap excess vata.

You can explore these products here:

  1. Krya Abhyanga skin oil with Vacha and Ashwagandha (unisex)
  2. Krya women’s Ubtan with Lotus Leaf and Lodhra
  3. Krya Men’s Ubtan 

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In addition to our Abhyanga products, we have 4 different hair systems depending on your hair type and hair issues.

  1. The Classic hair system helps pitta prone prakritis (straight or wavy hair that tends to get slightly oily – pitta dosha and therefore body heat is strong)
  2. The Conditioning hair system helps vata prone prakritis (wavy or curly hair that is typically quite dry, frizzy and experiences a lot of static – vata dosha therefore inherent dryness of skin and hair is strong)
  3. The Anti dandruff system helps if you have stubborn dandruff. We usually recommend treating the dandruff and then moving to a hair system that suits your prakriti
  4. The Damage repair hair system is if your hair has been severely chemically damaged
  5. The Intense Hair Oil along with other hair products we would suggest (if the hair fall is very strong due to other issues like severe medication, complicated pregnancy / delivery etc)

A holistic solution: the key to managing health

As we have been saying in the Krya blog, it is important to seek a holistic solution to your health. Skin and hair issues arise from a lack of balance in the body and are early warning signs. If we heed these early warning signs and take corrective action, we are able to prevent much bigger complications that could arise in the future.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post and also hope you were able to appreciate the difference in approach Krya follows when treating hair and skin problems. If you too are alarmed at your post partum hair fall and would like to consult us, do call us on 075500-89090 or write to us.

Remember, where there is health, there is beauty.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ashtanga Hridyam describes the qualities of vata dosha thus:

“Tatra ruksho laghu sheetah, khara sukshmachalo nilah”

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Change 2: Modify your Regimen to reduce vata imbalance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ayurvedic Tejas – Krya Abhyanga Series

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“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within” – Maya Angelou

As I was writing my to-do list for the day, I glanced at the bottom of the page to see the quote which I have put up here.

The inner light is referred to as “Tejas” in the Ayurvedic texts, and the English translations of this word are extremely inadequate. So when the Charaka Samhita refers to an abhyanga increasing the “Tejas” in the body due to nourishment of all dhatus, an English translation would read, “An abhyanga increases the lustre in the body / improve the complexion”.

However Tejas is much much more than the external appearance of skin. Tejas has to do with an inner light and a feeling of well being when all the 3 doshas are balanced, and when the dhatus are well nourished eternally by the copious application of oil regularly through the abhyanga.

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Different people report a different state of well being after an Abhyanga. People with a  predominantly vata based constitution report that their skin which is generally dry and itchy feels well moisturized, soft and nourished. Their joints feel supple and well oiled and they report feeling at peace, and able to bring in a strong amount of focus, and not as scattered as they usually would feel.

People with a predominantly pitta based constitution report feeling cooler as their eyes and skin release tremendous amounts of excess heat after an abhyanga. They feel less inclined to speak sharply or lose their temper and report feeling cool, calm and tranquil the whole day.

 

People with a predominantly kapha based constitution report feeling energetic and less sluggish and wide awake and focussed the whole day. They also report having a feeling of their internal blocks being cleared.

No matter what your dosha type is, what you will feel after a regular abhyanga is a feeling of well being. Your entre body feels light and strong – the texts describe this as the “vigour and energy of a lion in the forest”. Your skin flows with Tejas – one can only describe this as an inner light switched on in your body.

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The practice of an abhyanga followed by a Snana with herbs and grains is not supposed to be a once a year ritual. It is prescribed as a Dinacharya (daily ritual) that helps maintain good health. Even if it is not possible to follow an Abhyanga every single day, the texts prescribe 2 days every week to do an Abhyanga for Men and Women – these days are decided by their auspiciousness and the deities that govern these days. So Fridays, governed by Goddess Lakshmi are considered auspicious for an abhyanga and traditional Snana for Women. In addition Tuesdays are also considered auspicious for Women to take an Abhyanga and Snana.

Saturdays, the day governed by Lord Shani, is considered auspicious for Men to take an abhyanga and Snana. This is said to promote good health and longevity. In addition, Wednesdays are auspicious also for Men to do an abhyanga + Snana to promote the intellect.

In this way, the texts have ensured that we do an Abhyanga atleast twice a week to promote good health and well being.

If you have been looking at adopting good health giving routines , do start with the Abhyanga. Here are some Krya products / bath systems you could explore to make your Abhyanga special.

  1. Krya Abhyanga Oil with Vacha and Ashwagandha (for the bi-weekly abhyanga – dosha balancing, fatigue reducing oil)
  2. Krya Abhyanga Bath powders for Women & Men – classic, tradition-inspired Bath powder that is cleansing, toxin removing and refreshing on skin – perfect post Abhyanga
    1. Krya Abhyanga Bath powder for Women with Lotus Leaf & Lodhra
    2. Krya Abhyanga Bath powder for Men with Vetiver & Van Tulsi

 

 

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Krya Ayurveda series – Balancing vata dosha through your feet

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It is interesting how the state of your feet reveal a lot about your dosha type and helps traditional medicine diagnose the state of your skin and health.

Ayurveda defines twin goals as its objective: the promotion of “Ayu” (long life) and the promotion of “Ayush” (health). Most treatises say that with the right care, proper following of prescribed health regimes, a human being should be able to live for atleast a 100 years free from disease. In my experience, I have seen this to be true of many of the great yoga gurus like T Krishnamacharya, BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois, who all lived well beyond 90, and were mobile, extremely sharp and teaching and working until their very last day.

The most special quality of traditional medicine systems is their ability to form a holistic view and see the patterns between different parts of the body and the organ systems – no traditional medicine will dived itself by organ parts or systems. The body is treated as a whole and the corrections that are to be made are deduced by observing different parts of the body and forming seemingly disparate connections.

 

The role of Vata dosha in the body:

I have spoken about vata dosha and how it 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 move 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).

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

I have mentioned before how 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.

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Vata vitiating measures:

When we use products, or engage in treatments that dry out our body, we are removing moisture and therefore increasing vata in the body. So lack of oiling, no regular abhyanga and the use of drying products on hair and skin are also factors that can increase vata in the body.

Vata also increases when we selectively consume vata promoting foods – these include foods that promote wind like potatoes, cabbage, excess amount of lentils, high amount of raw foods and fried foods and even healthy foods like Millets.

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The quality of air that we must keep in mind the most is its ability to move rapidly and fill gaps – unlike pitta and kapha dosha which are immobile, vata is extremely mobile. So every time we leave our internal body dry, use products that deplete moisture, and over engage with vata dosha, we are leaving gaps in or body for vata to rush in and grow in excess.

The dance of the 3 doshas in the body is a fixed sum game: so whenever one dosha goes in excess/ reduced the other 2 doshas go down / up to make up the difference. So the vitiation of one dosha, if left untreated always leads to complications caused by other doshas.

 

Symptoms of vitiated vata dosha:

One of the questions we ask people who write to us with symptoms of dry lifeless hair and skin is to ask them to observe the state of their nails, especially toe nails. Ayurveda states that hair and nails are both made from asthi and majja – bones and marrow from the body. So in one sense, the quality of your hair and nails reflect the quality of your bones and marrow – so if your hair is dry, weak, lifeless and your nails are not in the pink of health, this reflects that your body needs to be taken care of.

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The asthi and majja, like the rakta is formed from the food we eat. When we eat the right food, and when our organs are in good shape to absorb nutrients, the process of forming our body is said to be good. Similarly, if the organs of Mala (excretion) like the skin, kidneys and lower intestine need to be functioning well to remove the waste products from the body, to ensure the channels are free and clear from toxins for nutrition assimilation to happen.

Food and external application are the twin routes to keeping the body in shape. Ayurveda emphasises on the roles of both anna and daily regimens to be followed (external application) to nourish, feed and maintain the body’s health.

An excess of both Pitta dosha and vata dosha can cause cracks in your heels. The cracks formed due to aggravated Pitta dosha are less deep compared to the cracks formed by vitiated vata dosha. The heel cracks formed due to aggravated Vata dosha can be deep, where you can see a layer of fat and tissue underneath the cracks, leading to pain when you walk.

Cracked heels are not a cosmetic problem: they are your body’s way of letting you know that you are off balance.

 

The quickest way to manage vitiated vata:

Vata dosha is the dosha that responds the quickest to the sense of touch as it is the dosha that governs all the sense organs. So every sense organ like the eyes, ears, skin, respond well to measures that decrease vitiated vata.

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The is why our single point prescription for any form of dryness (dry hair, dry skin, dry feet, lifeless skin, dullness, constipation, improper bowel movement, pain in joints) starts with an abhyanga (oil massage). By bathing the body in oil and massaging it vigorously, we control the spread of air. By increasing the warmth in the body, we liquefy fat / kapha and encourage it to come to the surface. By cooling the body, we also cool down pitta / Agni in the body. This is why an abhyanga is considered tridoshic and so beneficial for the body.

The Charaka Samhita states that if a twig is dipped in oil and massaged vigorously every day, no force can break this twig – it can be only bent but not broken. Similarly a daily / frequent abhyanga adds strength, glow and nourishment to the body and gives it the strength to withstand disease, old age and delays ageing.

Nail care in Ayurveda:

As the nails are a precursor to bone and marrow health, it is important to keep them in good health. Ayurveda recommends that the feet be observed atleast once a week in minute detail to ascertain signs of dosha vitiation. Nails should be clean and free from artificial colours and nail polish so that you can examine their colour, smoothness and growth to see if your body is working well.

Application of nail polish has long been deduced to be extremely harmful to the body. Nail paints are loaded with substances like dibutyl phthalate that are carcinogenic. The phthalate family is linked strongly to breast cancer, precocious puberty and has adverse foetal effects like low birth weight, and changes in foetal mental and motor development.

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In addition to their strongly adverse effects, the application of nail paint seals off the nails from interacting with the environment, and does not give us a chance to continually examine the state of our health.

Pada abhyanga:

Pada abhyanga is a strongly recommended Dincharya in Ayurveda. This is especially suitable for high vata vitiation – so if you generally have late nights, irregular eating schedules, dry skin and hair, cramping and pain during periods and incomplete bowel movements, a daily pada abhyanga before sleeping is very beneficial.

If you are not doing a daily abhyanga, a Pada abhyanga is beneficial between your regular abhyanga days. A Pada abhyanga is also beneficial; when you are not allowed to do a full Abhyanga due to certain health conditions.

A Pada Abyanga is also an excellent complementary Abhyanga practice to remove the fatigue of the day, calm down high mental stress and to assist you or your family members during periods of high mental stress (board exams, board exam results, etc).

How to do a pada abhyanga and when:

If your vata is out of control, a nightly pada abhyanga before sleeping is very beneficial. Else once a week as a part of a good maintenance routine, especially on Sunday morning is beneficial.

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Wash your feet extremely well, preferably with a grain based wash ensuring the pores of the skin are roughly cleaned and opened. Dry the feet very well and begin abhyanga using a medicated sesame based oil. If vata affliction is very high, warm, melted ghee may also be used. Using Melted ghee also helps with excess pitta if it is an issue.  Pay a lot of attention to the soles of the feet – The soles of the feet contain Marma points corresponding to many organs like the kidneys so a strong regular massage is said to be very beneficial to the entire body.

Once the soles of the feet are done, pay attention to the toe nails and the nail beds. Apply a good amount of warm oil / ghee copiously ‘watering” the nails to ensure oil penetrates the cuticles and the nail bed. This is also a good time to clean the nail beds and shape your nails without damaging the cuticles in any way.

Once the pada abhyanga is done, wait for 15 – 20 minutes before removing excess oil from the feet. If your vata dosha is very high, you can simply wipe off the excess oil with a warm and moist towel. If this is done, wear loose cotton socks over your feet to retain warmth and ensure the oil does not smear onto your bed linen while you sleep.

Otherwise, you can wash your feet again with a grain based wash and then dry the feet well. Whether your vata dosha is high or not,you must clean the excess oil using either of the 2 methods suggested.

Benefits of a good pada abhyanga:

The immediate benefit of a good pada abhyanga is that excess vata is controlled and you get sound sleep. Generally vitiated vata results in disturbed, light sleep that leaves you feeling tired and irritable the next morning. This settles within 2 – 3 regular pada abhyangas.

Apart from directly affecting the health of the feet and ensuring there are no cracks, dry skin or stiffness around the toes and ankles, in the long term, a pada abhyanga improves clarity of vision, reduces fatigue, improves strength of feet and improves the circulation of rakta in the body. Pada abhyanga along with an overall body abhyanga and kesha abhyanga (hair oiling) are the 3 important external oleation routines prescribed in Ayurveda for good health.


This is a part of Krya’s continuing education series on Ayurveda for the benefit of Krya’s consumers and our blog readers. This is imperative as knowledge and belief in Ayurveda is fast falling and there is a rise in unscrupulous elements who are exploiting people’s inherent belief in Ayurveda with sub standard products / advice.

Our work consists of 2 parts: the first is in disseminating good quality information that is interesting and engaging to help you understand how relevant Ayurveda is to your life. The second part of our work is in research, formulating a manufacturing a high quality set of support products that are designed to help you maintain the health of your hair, skin and body (externally). We hope that our work inspires you to take charge of your health and follow simple, consistent and meaningful health routines to help you lead a better life.

 


Krya’s list of abhyanga-snana products can be found in the links given below:

Krya for abhyanga and pada abhyanga: Skin Oils

Unique features

  • Processed using traditional, skin health enhancing and regenerative herbs like Ashwagandha (Winter cherry), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Moringa, Liquorice, etc
  • As per the Ayurvedic tradition, all of Krya’s skin oils are processed with warming herbs like cumin, ajwain and dried ginger to ensure the body’s kapha and mucous level does not increase with the oil application. This is especially important when making skin oils for babies, as babies are generally high in kapha dosha, so the oil should not further vitiate this kapha.
  • All the herbs we use in our oils are either organically cultivated or wild harvested and are free from synthetics, pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Our herbs are processed in our cold pressed, manually extracted, full of goodness base oils of coconut, sesame, apricot, tamanu and kokum butter
  • The oil processing is done on gentle heat and takes upto 8 – 10 hours of gentle manual stirring per batch. The oils then steep for 7 more days in aromatic herbs before they are bottled and packed.

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Krya Abhyanga-Snana : Ubtans

Unique features

  • Processed using organic grains, seeds and forest collected herbs that are extremely nutrient rich and beneficial for skin
  • The herbs are carefully sorted, cleaned, washed where necessary and solar dried at a gentle temperature before processing
  • Each herb is processed separately as per Ayurvedic Dravyaguna standards and then carefully blended for the final formulation
  • We take care to ensure that the natural aroma and properties of the herbs are maintained
  • Our ubtans are perfect post abhyanga to remove excess Abhyanga oils from skin and cleanse thoroughly yet gently, without stripping skin of essential oils.
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