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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Eating for Good Health – An Ayurvedic Perspective : Part 1

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

I am often asked what Ayurveda prescribes as a healthy diet. I hesitate to write down a fixed diet plan for many reasons: there are many diet fads these days which have become accepted as healthy diets (for example the vegan diet, keto diet, millets diet, etc). Most of this is contrarian to the principles espoused in the texts.

1. universally healthy

The second is that Ayurveda is the ultimate customised medicine. The texts opine that health, regimen and medicine should all be customised to the individual, and what works for one individual is especially unique to him / her. Therefore, what works for you is a customised blend of your food culture, what you are used to your prakriti, and where you live.

2. customised approach
The third is a very interesting reason: Ayurveda recognises the importance of “patterns and habits” in the way we eat, behave and live. The Acharyas tell us that even a great diet. Or a set of behaviours considered universally healthy cannot be suddenly introduced to the system, as the system, which has reached a sense of balance with whatever it is doing, will rebel in shock. So for someone who has persisted on a diet of fried bacon, bread and no vegetables, cannot be suddenly asked to substitute fish for fried bacon and introduced to a whole lot of vegetables. The Acharyas tell us that for the system that has been used to food which we consider unhealthy will react to healthy food (if introduced suddenly) like it would react to poison!

3. gradual is better

Obviously our notion of what is healthy food ad not healthy food will have to vary by region, season and availability of food. So if you live in a dry, hot desert I cannot tell you to eat broccoli all the time, despite the fact that it is considered a nutritional superfood.

 

So rather than speak about specific foods to eat, we focus our posts on how to eat. We saw a post this week on eight Ayurvedic eating techniques, and how chewing food well, eating on time, eating when hungry, etc are timeless principles of healthy living. We saw how even the right foods eaten wrongly can cause distress to the body.

 

Speaking further on foods to eat, here is our 2 part series on Ayurvedic eating for good health. Again, these posts are in the form of eating principles, and cover aspects of eating like ethical diets (vegan / vegetarian), eating timings etc. These are atleast as important as what you eat, so do read on.

 

As with all new information, please read this with an open mind. The science of Ayurveda has evolved over thousands of years and is extremely sophisticated in its understanding of both food and its effect on human beings. Many of the things I have written down may seem contrarian to what we believe in now – but the system has survived and thrived for thousands of years

  1. Timing is everything (in health, food & life)

The time of eating is at least as important as what you eat and depending upon your body’s condition, it is sometimes more important than what you eat.

Every organ system is said to have a particular time to cleanse itself and do necessary repairs. For example, the liver, the seat of pitta in our body, cleanses itself around midnight. Cleansing of organ systems occurs ONLY after digestion is through, nutrients have been extracted and toxins have been removed from the body. So if you are eating dinner at 11 pm, your organ systems will NOT cleanse themselves, and will wait until the next available time slot to do so. Which means your body will feel dull and sluggish the next morning (especially if you are consistently eating late).

This does not mean you can get away with eating junk food like a burger everyday at 7 pm for dinner. Do read point 2.

This is corroborated by many systems of traditional medicine. TCM opines that the window to eat breakfast is between 7 am – 9 am. When you consistently eat breakfast after this window, your chi energy or stomach fire energy gets weak and dampened. This in TCM is said to lead to digestive disorders, high production of gas in the system and an inability to digest foods leading to a high accumulation of toxins.

4.damp agni

 

  1. Ideal food is local, freshly cooked, lightly spiced and eaten warm. No spoiled food should be eaten. And no food should be stored, re-heated and eaten.

Ayurveda frowns upon the wonders of modern food preservation. In fact, the Charaka Samhita specifically says that for good health one should not eat too much of pickles, traditional papads or even traditionally salted and preserved vegetables (like vadagam and vathal).These references are to HOME MADE preserved vegetables, lentils and fruits. So this definitely rules OUT eating preserved, commercially processed foods like biscuits, sauces, etc which have a shelf life of 1 year or more (so most of the time we are eating stuff that has been made at-least 6 months ago in a factory and would contain several harmful chemical preservatives).
5. processed food
Local in Ayurveda means something that not only grows naturally within 100 miles of where you live. It also means eating foods you and your digestive system are accustomed to. So if you have grown up eating rice, rice will suit your system the most. Not quinoa. And not even millets. Any new food must be slowly introduced to your digestive system. (This does not take away from your responsibility of sourcing high quality food. Most of us grew up eating untainted, pesticide-free food – so this naturally means you should source the same now. And not just buy the first available pesticide sprayed pack of rice you find in the supermarket).

6. local food
The point about spoiled food is an interesting nuance and goes to our food culture. For example cheese eating is not a practice that is universal to many parts of India. It is usually common only in cold and hilly regions. In hot and humid regions, fermenting a dairy based food will quickly lead to rot, mildew and fungus. However the same food is very well preserved in a cold, hilly region.

Cheese, especially aged cheese, tends to be very salty, sharp and concentrated. In Ayurveda, this has all the makings of a pitta food group. So it makes sense to eat this food, if it is eaten traditionally, in a cold, hilly region where the atmosphere is low in pitta dosha. The pitta in the food is welcome to stimulate digestion.

7.cheese

However in a hot, humid city like Chennai or Hyderabad, where the atmosphere is full of Pitta, the pitta dosha from the cheese would over stimulate pitta dosha. Which is probably why in practice, it does not form a part of traditional food.

If you live in the city of your childhood, it is probably best to stick to your traditional food practice. If you live in a foreign city, it is still better to stock to your traditional food unless the weather and climate is dramatically different from what you are used to. If you are living in an utterly foreign land, it makes sense to slowly acclimatise and add foods and eating practices local to where you live, while continuing to eat traditionally most of the time.

 

  1. An ideal food for you is something that is digested quickly by you and puts the least amount of stress on your digestive system. This can differ from person to person.

Ayurveda believes the more effort the body has to take in digesting your food, the more energy is diverted away from your organ systems. Also, depending upon your state of health, if your food is difficult to digest, there is a possibility that your body will not complete the job of digestion within the allotted time. The longer your food sits in your body without being processed, the more poisonous it becomes to your body.

8.putrefecation

 

Food that is undigested and sits around in your body becomes “Ama” or undigested waste + toxin. Ama prevents the healthy functioning of your organ systems and leads to faster aging and illness. Ama can accumulate across every organ system, but is linked primarily to an improperly functioning digestive system, brought on by eating improper food.

Now how your digestive system will respond to your food group is completely unique. Some of us can easily digest fried food, and can eat copious quantities of this without losing sleep or productivity. Others are extremely sensitive to certain food groups: a single Chinese meal can set us back by 2 – 3 days when we feel dull and sluggish.

9.digestive ability
These digestion patterns tend to change as we age, and by season. They also change when we are under a high amount of stress. So it is important to listen carefully to your body and develop a sense of what works for you. Limit food experimentation to a window where you can take the consequences, and always plan for “cheat” or “treat” days.

  1. Many foods we think are healthy and should be eaten in copious quantities are considered unhealthy in Ayurveda

Many foods that we now consider healthy and are eating a lot of are considered difficult to digest in Ayurveda or are considered unbalanced as they are very high in one particular dosha: these include raw vegetables (yes salads!), raw sprouts, millets, brown rice or cereals with a high amount of husk on them, fermented foods like idly and dosa, cheese, curd, milkshakes. These must be eaten with the proper preparation and caution and at times when the body is capable of digesting them.

Example 1: Fermented foods like idly and dosa are considered high in pitta as they are sour foods. Eating them every day for breakfast will mean your pitta will increase. It is important to balance them with something like a coconut based dish as coconut is both cooling (and high in kapha) and will balance the pitta in the idly / dosa. (Please note that this does not apply if you spike your coconut chutney with an impossibly high amount of green chillies). Eating a fermented food with another pitta heavy dish like a Sambhar high in tamarind or acidic tomato based chutney will not be balanced.

10.idly

 

In this there is obviously a gradation. Freshly fermented idlis are lower in pitta dosha than 3 day old batter. Batter made at home is obviously superior to something bought from outside, because we can guarantee that no other additives like baking soda have been added. Idlis eaten in cold winter season are better for the body compared to idlis eaten in summer.

 

This is because in winter, the heat of the Idlis through Pitta dosha is opposite to the cold produced by the winter – so the load on the body is less. But an idly eaten is summer is far more stimulating to Pitta dosha.

 

When you are suffering from an intense imbalance of Pitta dosha, eating an idly everyday for breakfast can throw you out of gear and is not advisable.  The key, as always is finding balance.

 

Example 2: Raw foods are considered “lekhaniya” (scraping quality), and depending upon what kind of raw foods we are describing, they may be “rooksha” (dry), rough, and “guru” or difficult to digest.

 

An example of a “guru” raw food is raw beetroot. An example of a “rooksha” and “guru” raw food are raw sprouts. From a western, raw food perspective, eating raw food is considered healthy as we get access to many nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are destroyed when cooking. So eating the raw food as a juice, smoothie or as a salad is considered health boosting.

11.raw
Ayurveda however says that the process of digesting this raw food dampens or weakens Agni, hence this food is not properly digested (especially when consumed in quantities that are much higher than what we are used to). So despite eating healthy foods, we could be increasing the ama in our body as the act of digesting this healthy food has weakened Agni.

 

Seasonal fruits and fruit juices are not necessarily a part of this list. But even here, temperance is advised – you cannot suddenly force the body to eat, digest properly and assimilate a very large quantity of fruit juice of fruit salad. Depending upon your constitution this can aggravate Agni, leading to diarrhoea, or leave you feeling sluggish and listless.

12.fruits
Example 3: Millets are now extremely popular across South India as a healthy replacement to rice. Ayurveda however considers many Millets as dry and difficult to digest, which makes sense as they are traditionally dry land crop. Substituting rice completely with Millets will mean that your vata dosha will increase. This is welcome if you have a health condition like diabetes where kapha dosha is high – so here the vata of the Millets will balance excess Kapha. In fact, millet is prescribed in diabetes for just this reason instead of rice. But if you have no such health conditions and have decided to substitute rice completely with Millets, you will be drying out your body, especially if you do this very suddenly.

13.millets
The benefits of Millets must of course be experienced by you. But this should form a part of your experimentative 10% and must be prepared using the correct format and in doses where your body does not rebel or where other symptoms like aggravated vata dosha develop.

 

Here are some of the ways you can experiment with Millets:

Changing the format of the cereal changes how your body digests it – In millets, flour is easier to digest as you have broken down the cereal physically and are not depending upon your digestive system to do this job. So if you would like to introduce Millets into your diet, perhaps Millet flour is a better first step instead of the millet grains.

13.millet flour
The timing of eating is everything, especially for a difficult to digest food. Noon time, when the sun is at its peak, is considered the time when your digestive system is the strongest. So this is the time your body can handle the rigors of digesting a difficult to digest food. Like millets. OR Quinoa. (After preparing it properly).

14.lunch
This list which I have compiled is by no means complete or a prescription in itself. This merely represents a starting point to think about your diet and your health. As with everything, your body and your health are unique and what works for you is something you will have to evolve with time and experimentation.

Part 2 of this post will tackle more of what Ayurveda says about food. In the meantime, do remember, there are no shortcuts to good health and good looking skin and hair. It is built meal by meal, and choice by choice.


Krya’s range of skin care products for pitta prone, normal to oily skin can be found here. Our skin range for vata prone, normal to dry skin can be found here. Our anti acne skin care products can be found here.   Apart from this, we have a range of products for Sensitive Skin (skin that is eczema, dermatitis & psoriasis prone) and for Sun Tanned skin . We also have a large range of Abhyanga-Snana products. 

9-ubtan

Our products are inspired by Ayurveda. completely natural, toxin free and extremely effective. If you would like help choosing the right Krya product for your skin, please call us (075500-89090) or write to us.


 

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Krya formulation Tuesdays – Krya classic skin oil with Manjishta & Chandana for oily skin

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

I recently received an email from a consumer asking for help to choose the right skin care products for her. She is a 21 year old girl who lives in a very hot and dry climate where temperatures are usually between 37 – 40 deg centigrade. She found that her skin was going dry in summer, so she opted for a reputed brand of moisturizing face wash (synthetic).

At first, her skin responded well and the sense of dryness was gone. Within a few weeks of continuing to use the face wash, this young girl found that her skin started to get much oilier than normal, and whiteheads and blackheads started to crop up.

Here’s where Ayurveda’s subtle nuances on diagnosing exactly which dosha is unbalanced can help us. Regular cosmetic science simply diagnoses dry skin as well, dry skin. So skin is simply subjected to an oilier lotion with a higher number of humectants. As all synthetic creams and lotions are made from a base that is derived from petroleum, we see that the product tends to be comedogenic (pore clogging) and is also not absorbed by the skin.

1.when dry skin isnt really dry skin

So any difference we see is surface, and we are not helping the skin at a deeper level. Also, because of the pore clogging nature of the products themselves, we are interfering with or impairing the normal functioning of the skin underneath.

 

Prakriti (individual constitution): a valuable tool to identify the correct dosha imbalance in skin

Ayurveda classifies our prakriti as the unique mixture of doshas that make up who we are. This is made unique by taking in factors like our age, the season, the climatic conditions where we live, the current stresses we go through, our life stage, etc.

Each of these factors contribute to our prakriti at any point in time. Depending upon where we live, season, age, etc, our natural prakriti may see an increase in specific doshas or a decrease in specific doshas. This can cause an imbalance which can lead to skin, hair or other health issues.

 

Example 1: Life stage and diet affecting prakriti

Take the case of a Vata-Pitta prakriti individual. She is around 30, and has just delivered a baby 2 months ago. She is not following standard pathiyam diet and is instead eating a lot of sour and spicy food. Her hair is greying and is also looking very dry, with brittleness and snapping of the hair when ebbing combed.

 

In Ayurveda, we would analyse her condition thus:

Being a Vata-Pitta prakriti individual, she is already subject to the drying, mobile influence of Vata and heating influence of Pitta. As she is in her 30s, age-wise she is in Pitta dominant stage of her life. As she has just given birth and has not followed proper pathiyam and post partum abhyanga, her Vata dosha will be in excess. As she is now eating Pitta increasing foods, pitta prakriti will also be in excess.

2.post partum greying

 

So we see vata and pitta vitiated condition in hair like premature greying, drying of scalp, and brittleness of hair. If we further question her, we may also see dryness and redness in skin, presence of youvana pidaka (acne on back and skin), aches and pains in the back and hips and IBS or constipation depending upon what is being eaten.

For this lady, we should give pitta and vata pacifying (shramana) measures. Her diet must be corrected, eating timings must be regulated, and vata pacifying measures like Abhyanga should be adopted. Hair oiling must be done with a pitta reducing oil and ghee intake and stomach and back exercises must be done to regulate both doshas and promote strength and vitality in the body.

 

How is skin diagnosed in Ayurveda: an example

Taking the example of the young girl who had written to us about her skin. She is 21, and lives in a hot and dry climate. In this age, pitta is generally dominant. Pitta may have gotten worse by the pitta in the environment because of high temperature.

Skin can go dry in Ayurveda because of 2 reasons: Vata dosha dominant climate so in peak winter, due to cold weather, we see “rooksha” or roughness in the skin.

Skin can also go dry in hot sum. So when we spend a day at the beach, or stay outside in very hot weather, we see that the skin goes dry and parched when the sun removes moisture from the skin. Tanned skin is also dry due to high heat. However, it does not crack like skin does in cold and dry weather. Instead it burns and becomes tight and uncomfortable due to excess pitta.

3. sun aggravated dryness

 

The herbs and anupana used for vata related dryness and pitta related dryness will therefore be completely different. For vata related dryness, we use moisture-rich herbs and seeds like almonds, charoli, and sweet herbs like Yashti (Liquorice) and damage repairing herbs like Ashwagandha.

The herbs and anupana used for pitta related dryness are quite different. We use pitta balancing herbs like Neem, Durva, Sariva, etc. All these herbs suck out excess Pitta and improve the skin pigmentation and darkening brought in by excess pitta. We use circulation and rakta rejuvenating herbs like Manjishta and Daru haridra. We also use rejuvenatory and skin improving herbs and fruits like Brahmi, Mangoes, etc.

4. neem

 

 

Facial care in Ayurveda: cleansing rules

Skin cleansing is done following a rigid set of rules in Ayurveda. Skin is always cleansed with a well thought out combination of herbs, grains and lentils. This ensures that the skin’s pH and barrier function is well maintained. Depending upon the prakriti of the individual and ritukala (season), specific herbs are added to the base.

When cleansed this way, the sebum levels in the skin are never suddenly depleted or added to. Skin remains soft and does not feel parched and tight. Most importantly, the cleansing is strongly functional and removes clogs and toxins from the cells leaving the skin free to continue its normal functioning.

5. gentle ayurevdic clenaisng

Facial skin is always cleansed in cool or luke warm water. The cleansing is done using gentle circulatory movements and is done after yogic exercise or any sort of movement to help flush out toxins from the skin pores.

 

The role of lepas (creams), oils and leave on masks in Ayurveda:

Try as we might we do not see references to leave on skin products in Ayurveda. Certain lepas (creams) are formulated specifically for diseased skin conditions like burns where the skin requires the healing effect of herbs and cannot be left open and unprotected.

Masks or short leave on products are routinely referenced too and used in Ayurveda. Sometimes this could be a part of the bathing routine itself where the ubtan / bathing powder is itself used like a mask. Sometimes, a specially formulated mask is used to transfer the healing and repairing properties of the herbs to skin.

6. lepas and masks

 

The concept of emulsions is very well known in Ayurveda: so many ancient recipes for Ayurvedic creams exist. However, lotions are not a common skin care format in Ayurveda. For skin application, different kinds of oils are routinely used.

 

Many specific facial oils are referred to in Ayurveda: kumkumadi tailam is one such formulation, which has now become extremely well known (we will do a separate post on this later on the Krya blog). This is a very ancient formulation said to have been developed by the Ashwini Kumaras. Kumkumadi tailam is generally used for youvana pidaka (Acne) or skin which has hyper pigmentation, blemishes and darkening due to excess pitta or sun exposure.

7. kumkumadi tailam

Generally even these facial oils are used pre-bath. The texts also allow for application at night on damp skin in very minute quantity. When doing a leave on application of any skin care product, we must take great care to understand the right dosage of the product for our skin. The product must be easily absorbed by the skin and should not persist, and clog its pores.

 

How does very dry skin occur as per Ayurveda:

I often receive emails from consumers stating that their skin is very dry and literally “drinks up” moisturiser. So they are dismayed when I tell them I have no natural substitute to their leave on moisturiser. Being used to routinely applying a leave on moisturiser, our no-moisturiser-on-skin policy is received with dismay.

 

Here are some points where Ayurveda differs when it comes to slathering skin with moisturiser:

  • Skin is supposed to perspire and do heat exchange with the atmosphere keeping the rest of the body cool
  • Sweda (sweat) is an important vehicle to remove excess salts, and toxins which are excreted form the body. The proper production of Sweda supports other excretory organs like the kidneys which can get overloaded if your skin does not do its work
  • Therefore the goal of Ayurvedic skin care is to properly moisturise the skin and all its layers and then cleanse it well so the minor srotas (circulatory channels) are open and functioning well to do their job of heat regulation and cleansing.

8. Sweda

This leads me to the main reason many of us like using a moisturiser: dehydration due to the AC at home / work.

 

Skin dehydration due to high usage of the air conditioner:

If we work in an air conditioned environment, we are subjecting our skin and body to microbes which are constantly being circulated in the stale air, low humidity and temperatures which are not ideal for the body. Living and working in an air conditioned environment sharply increases vata in the body so skin becomes dry, and aches and pains increase. When vata aggravating food is added to this (tea, coffee, crisp, and dry food, junk food), the vata aggravates even more.

10.ac and coffee

In this environment, it is good to eat a meal which is rich in good fats like ghee, avoiding dehydrating drinks like tea and coffee and taking breaks from the ac environment to give your body a break. It is also important to stay hydrated and ensure you drink a minimum amount of clean water (preferably warm) to keep vata from being unbalanced.

 

The use of Ayurvedic facial oils to supplement skin healing, nourishment and moisture retention:

When you eat right, cleanse right, and broadly live right and either avoid the ac or supplement for the AC, you will find that your skin is able to generate enough sebum to protect it.  A weekly Abhyanga is a very important health giving practice that is extremely beneficial to skin and hair health as well. Once this is done, skin requires only small amounts of external moisturisation to aid it during difficult seasons like winter or to overall boost its radiance and lustre.

 

Therefore a popular Krya recommendation is the use of appropriate facial oil, in very small doses to help the skin balance and heal itself. The facial oil is usually applied in very small quantities before a bath and left on for 15 minutes before cleansing, if the skin is very dry to begin with. This helps protect the skin until its health is restored and it is able to help itself.

9. moisture plus skin oil

 

Another very beneficial way to use facial oil is at night. Here we use even smaller quantities of oil, as a little oil goes a very long way o skin. Facial oil is applied 1 hour before sleeping on clean, damp skin. The slight amount of dampness on skin helps take up the oil being applied. Precisely 3 – 4 drops of facial oil are used and very gently and lightly massaged onto damp skin using the ring finger. The oil is left on at night.

—-

The needs of different kinds of skin vary, and skin also needs sometime getting used to a new routine. We advise that you start slowly (application before bath) and then graduate to night time use. When in doubt, use less product and not more.

 

The Krya Classic skin oil with Papaya and Jatamamsi:

We have been working and re-working our formulation with the classic range for some time now. This variant has been in existence at Krya for more than 1.5 years now, and with every successive batch, we have made minor tweaks to the formulation based on our growing body of research and consumer feedback.

 

The Krya Classic skin oil with Manjishta and Chandana has been formulated with 22 nourishing, oil balancing and pitta balancing herbs and fruits like Manjishta, Chandana (Sandal), Lodhra, Brahmi, Neem. We also add complexion enhancing and blemish reducing seasonal fruits like papaya into the oil.

11. Krya classic skin oil resized

The oil also uses sneha (oils) like Neem and Tamanu which classically help balance sebum secretion and are useful for pitta prakriti skin.

 

As we have seen in the example shared above, even Pitta prakriti skin can go dry in certain conditions. This is a dryness which comes with excess heat, so a skin moisturising product that works with skin without disturbing Pitta and adding excess oiliness will suit this skin. Continued use of the product helps work on minor skin blemishes, scars and evens out skin tore and lustre. The anti bacterial nature of many of the herbs and oils used also helps preventing microbial infection and the occurrence of cystic acne with regular use.

 

To sum up:

On Formulation Tuesdays, we generally focus a lot on how we make the formulations we discuss for that day, and our philosophy behind the herbs, oils and manufacturing process followed. As I re-read my post, I notice that the post discusses the concept of Ayurvedic skin care in much greater detail than the formulation itself.

I hope this background was useful to you and you were able to understand, appreciate and resonate with the differences between how Ayurveda cares for your skin (vs. modern cosmetic products). Our ongoing Formulation Tuesday series is designed to improve transparency and give you a greater understanding into how we think about, design and manufacture our products. We believe that greater transparency promotes better choices and helps you make better decisions on what you apply o yourself or use around you in your home.

 

If you have any questions on our products, the philosophy behind our products, or a specific question on skin and hair, please do get in touch with us.
Krya’s skin oils can be explored here:

 

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

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

rule-of-3

 

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

The Ashtanga Hridyam describes the qualities of vata dosha thus:

“Tatra ruksho laghu sheetah, khara sukshmachalo nilah”

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

qualities-of-vata

 

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

 

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

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

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

an-ayurvedic-bath

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

 

Change 2: Modify your Regimen to reduce vata imbalance:

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

abhyanga

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

cut-down-stimulation

 

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

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

desi-cow-ghee-for-vata

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

fresh-food

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

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

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

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Krya Ayurveda series: The effect of unbalanced vata on skin & hair

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

We had written yesterday about the pada abhyanga and how this dinacharya can go a long way in calming excess vata down. The proper balance of the doshas as per your individual constitution helps you maintain a sound mind and good health.

In our continuing education series on Ayurveda, you will find that we pay a lot of attention to the Vata dosha in your body. The proper functioning of the vata dosha hepls the functioning of all sense organs including the largest one in our body, the Sparsanendriya / our skin.

The fundamental quality of Rajas (cohesion) which ensure our hair grows deep rooted and strong is also governed by Vata dosha. So any discussion on skin and hair in ayurveda needs a deep rooted discussion on Vata dosha. We also focus on Vata dosha, as Krya focuses its work on city dwellers. City and city dwelling leans towards excess vata as the excitement, energy and constant stimulation of the city excites our vata dosha. It is therefore no surprise that more than 50% of dis-eases experienced by city dwellers has its roots in unbalanced vata.

We are happy to present today’s blog post by Dr.Anupama Santosh on how unbalanced vata affects skin and hair. We hope you find her post as insightful and practical as we did – we also hope that this post (and this series) inspires you to take a good look at your body and health and make the changes necessary to maintain its health and well being.


 

I often hear this at my practice at Shreshtha Ayurvedic Centre:  “Doctor,

  • I really take care of my hair. But still I have hair fall. I don’t understand this.
  • I eat lot of nuts and salads. But I still have dull skin and hair.
  • I exercise regularly and follow a great lifestyle; still I do not seem to feel healthy and energetic.
  • I oil my hair regularly, but I still have hair fall
  • I thought my hair fall is due to the water and I started using drinking water to wash my hair. But still my hair is thinning and becoming dry and rough
  • I make sure to moisturize my skin, but it still looks aged and lined.

WHY?”

 

My one answer to all these concerns is this: Hair and skin care is not skin-deep. It is much more than that. Your hair and skin is actually the mirror of your overall health.

For example, hair is considered as a byproduct/end product of the metabolism of the Asthi dhathu (the skeletal system). This means that only when the metabolism of various other systems of your body is working to their optimum, you can have good hair and skin. Only when there is abundant water in the river, the cascading waterfall looks beautiful, spectacular and full of vitality. To address a weak and poor waterfall, you have to address its root cause: the lack of water in the river.

Most often, a consultation for hair fall takes the longest time than any other, because the root of the issue is mostly deep within. Healthy hair does not grow on an unhealthy body. The health and luster of your hair and skin is an indicator of overall tissue health. The goal of great hair and skin can be achieved only when we start working from inward to outward. So, it is absolutely important to look deep in to other areas of life, which are seemingly not connected to hair and skin care. If we address these issues, some of which are a part of our constitution and some which are developed due to lifestyle unsuitable for us, we are automatically close to great hair and skin.

 

Is your state of health unbalanced, or in need of correction?

Answer a simple “yes” or no” to the following questions:

Say yes if this is the way you have felt consistently over a long period of time (I have always been/felt  like this)  OR if you have been feeling this way recently ( I never had/felt this before, but it is happening more often now)

Mind and moods:

  • I think and worry excessively
  • I think of the same thing over and over again
  • I feel a sense of nervousness, anxiety, panic and fear often
  • I am full of enthusiasm while starting something, which exhausts very quickly. Working in spurts and bursts than consistently
  • I am very active, sometimes restless, but I have low stamina
  • I am easily exhausted and irritable

Joints & tendons

  • My neck and other joints feel stiff, often
  • I often develop twitches and tics in the eyes and lips
  • I experience sudden spasms and pain in the muscles
  • My bones hurt and I can hear a creaking sound in the joints

 Skin:

  • My skin has darkened
  • My skin feels dry and rough patchy skin
  • My skin is dry or chapped
  • I am seeing skin wrinkles showing up prematurely
  • My skin is dry and lustreless
  • I have dark circles under the eyes and general darkening of complexion

blog-post-1

Sleep

  • My sleep is light and often interrupted

 Appetite and Digestion

  • I have constipation, gas, bloating, dry, hard stools
  • I have low body weight or varying body weight
  • My appetite and digestion is irregular/variable: I feel extremely hungry on one day and loss of appetite on another

 Nails and Hair

  • My nails are hard, brittle, rough and cracked
  • My hair is dry, rough and coarse and tangles easily
  • My eyes become dull very quickly

 Climate , environment and reaction to it:

  • I dislike the cold and the wind
  • I am unable to tolerate loud noises
  • I love the heat and feel ‘active’ after getting sun
  • React quickly to climatic change

befunky-collage

 

 Periods

  • My periods are irregular
  • I experience scanty blood flow in my periods

 Teeth and gums

  • I often have teeth and gum problems
  • My teeth are sensitive to cold

 Lifestye

  • Excessive use of gadgets for work or entertainment
  • Long commutes, late nights, eating out often

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If your answer is yes for most of the above, some of the following changes may help you towards better health and well being for your body and mind.

 

Prescribed dietary modifications :

  1. Food should be well cooked and warm
  2. Food should be consumed on time
  3. Cooked food is better than raw. Too much raw food like cold salads, should be avoided especially in the morning and evening

blog-post-4

 

 

  1. Choose fruits which are naturally sweet and sour like banana, avocado, melons, mangoes, coconut, oranges, plums, cherries, grapes, lemons, figs, dates etc.,
  2. Though fruits are good for you, a fruit-only diet is not suitable
  3. Natural sour foods like lemon and oranges are suitable, but avoid sour curd, vinegar, pickles and overly fermented food like old dosa/idli batter/ alcohol. Sweet wines in small quantities are better for you than beer or hard liquor.

 blog-post-5

  1. Spices like fresh ginger, cumin, ajwain, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, garlic are useful. Avoid green chillies.
  2. Over eating or heavy foods will quickly lead to digestive problems
  3. Though salt is good for you, use it in cooked food moderately, do not consume fried salty foods

 blog-post-6

  1. Vegetables like green beans, okra, radish, turnip, sweet potatoes, onion
  2. Whole grains like rice, wheat are suitable more than oats and millets. The grains should be well cooked with butter/ghee/oil.
  3. Bread and processed food like noodles, canned food and food items made with maida/all purpose flour are not suitable. Drying foods like biscuits, chips, khakra, popcorn, crackers should be avoided.

 blog-post-7

  1. Dairy products are suitable, but not in cold form. Warm milk can be consumed with cinnamon, nutmeg or turmeric and unrefined sugar
  2. Moong dal is better than Tuvar dal, Rajma and Chana. When other dals are used, cook with turmeric, cumin, pepper, hing or coriander
  3. Almond is the best nut for you. Soak them overnight and remove the skin and eat in the morning. Pumpkin seeds are good too. All other nuts should be consumed moderately.

 blog-post-8

  1. Fats and oils should be a part of your regular diet. Choose the oil which you are habituated to, as your family diet, than choosing new oils like olive oil. (They may be a healthy option in themselves, but your body may not be able to digest). Take cow’s ghee with rice, wheat and pulses. Moderate use of oil and ghee in all forms except deep fried is beneficial to you.
  2. Well cooked chicken, goat meat, fresh fish and eggs are suitable
  3. Frozen items like ice cream should be consumed rarely
  4. Choose nourishing drinks and warm drinks over aerated drinks
  5. Stimulant drinks like coffee, tea are not suitable and should be taken rarely and always with milk.

 

Lifestyle modifications

  1. Avoid multitasking, bring in more routine and consistency
  2. Spend time to organize your day at home and work
  3. Choose warmth over cold wherever and whenever possible
  4. Choose calmness and serene over loud and harsh. (Eg. While listening to music)

blog-post-9

  1. Room temperature is better than AC environment
  2. Develop a habit of applying oil on head and body at least twice a week, if not more. Seasame oil based oils are best suited for you.
  3. Learn relaxation techniques and meditate regularly even if it is for 5 mins.
  4. Remember to replenish your energy with at least 7-8 hours of sleep

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  1. Bring in discipline in food, exercise, sleep and work
  2. Smoking is best avoided
  3. Avoid frequent changes in work, routine, place and timings. Favour stability vs excitement.
  4. Avoid rigorous and excessive exercise. Choose light, slow but regular exercise like short strolls, yogic stretches, and learn breathing techniques

blog-post-11

 

  1. An afternoon nap of 10-15 minutes will help you avoid exhaustion
  2. Take deep breaths in between tasks and avoid rush
  3. Accept and begin to love the complexion, colour, texture, nature of your hair and skin. Take loving care of it rather than build anxiety trying to change it with curlers, straighteners, hair dryers, chemical peeling, and bleaching. Indulge rarely and replenish and nourish without fail. Healthy and nourished skin and hair will always glow.
  4. Avoid chemical shampoos, perpetual use of hair gels, hair dyes and hair sprays.

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  1. Make your house and work place soothing with gentle, soothing music, colours, art and fragrant smells
  2. Avoid excessive partying, late nights and if you indulge, compensate with soothing and relaxing activities
  3. A gentle pace with less hurry and more awareness is the recipe

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Last, but not the least, in spite of our knowledge of good and bad, we will indulge sometimes (this is called pragnaparadha in Ayurveda). Have a good time, but do not feel guilty and depressed. Quickly take remedial measures

As some of you may have guessed, we mostly discussed about Vata related symptoms, constitution, food and lifestyle today. Vata is the driving force of the other doshas and is mostly responsible for all aspects of health and disease. So, by balancing Vata through some small, but powerful changes, we have taken a big step towards a healthy mind and body. Great hair and skin is a given in a healthy body.

A note of caution: These are general suggestions to suit people with the above mentioned symptoms. Adopt these guidelines suitably after contemplation. You know your body better than anyone. If needed, take the help of your Ayurvedic doctor to customize the most suitable diet and lifestyle for you to enjoy a healthy mind and body. Your Vaidya may also suggest some herbs to balance the doshas. Be rest assured, that your hair and skin care regimen begins here.

 

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Dr.Anupama is an Ayurvedic consultant at Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center based in Bangalore. She believes that the Ayurvedic way of living is more relevant today than ever before. Her success in treating infertility cases has earned her immense love and gratitude from her patients. She is also a medical consultant for some Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical companies and advises them on product formulation and development of proprietary Ayurvedic medicines.

 

About Shreshtha Ayrvedic Centre, Bangalore

Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center, founded in 1997, is run by leading Ayurvedic consultants Dr.Santosh and Dr.Anupama. Though the center is located in Koramangala, Bangalore, patients from various parts of the country visit, owing to the genuine Ayurvedic treatment made available here. Apart from the consultation services, the center is equipped with a good pharmacy stocking Kottakkal medicines and organic lifestyle products. A Panchakarma center is also maintained at the center, which offers none of the spa kind of massages ( which is often confused for Panchakarma), but authentic, classical chikitsa with curative effect. To reach out to the growing demand of patients outside Bangalore, Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center started their Online consultation portal and also shipping facilty for prescribed medicines, which has had an overwhelming response. More details on www.ayursambhasha.com and Shreshtha’s facebook page.


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.
More articles in the Krya Ayurveda series:

  1. The Science behind hair oiling for healthy hair and basic health
  2. Making friends with Ayurveda – a guest post by Dr.Anupama Santosh, Shrestha Ayurveda
  3. The search for safety in the products we use on ourselves
  4. Ayurvedic Skin care in hot and humid India 
  5. The connection between your feet and your hair – pada abhyanga for health

 

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