6 ayurvedic strategies that help reduce Digital Addiction

are you a digital addict?
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Reading Time: 13 minutes

Kanye West did it. So did Ed Sheeran. Research tells us that when we practice this , our memory becomes sharper, we are able to sleep deeper, our posture becomes better, we are able to form more meaningful connections with people, and that we are open to more life changing perspectives and decisions.

What am I talking about? A Digital Detox program.

A conversation on another group I am a part of spurred this post. The author of the post shared that she felt that she was “digitally addicted” to social media and found that she had developed a need to stay connected and consume vast amounts of information. So she reached out asking for help and suggestions to help her digitally de-addict.

The number of responses in this discussion made me realise how much of a digital addiction problem all of us have. I began working at a time when I had no cell phone. I have even resisted using a cellphone for 2 – 3 years entirely and I avoided using a smartphone or using apps for a very long time. Yes even I find myself inexorably drawn to my smartphone. The ease of buying with pre-installed apps has left even someone like me, a self confessed Ludite, far more digitally addicted than I would like to be.

are you suffering from digital addiction?

Therefore I have written this post drawing on ayurvedic strategies to help everyone do a Daily Digital Detox. This post also shares the ayurvedic reasoning behind this, explains about the nature of vata dosha and how vata dosha is powerfully aggravated with digital addiction and what we can do everyday to control this addiction.

Background : Why it is critical to keep Vata Dosha in balance

We are all made of a combination of vata, pitta and kapha dosha. Each Dosha has its own set of functions in the body. The amicable and harmonious team work of all doshas in the body gives us a body in a state of health and balance and Mano gunas (mental traits) which are cheerful, positive and in control.

A combination of teh 5 great elemnts in balance gives us the correct and harmonious working of the mind and body

Vata dosha is made up of a combination of 2 Pancha mahaboothas (primordial elements) of Vayu (air) and Akash (space / ether). Hence vata dosha can be described as a combination of Mobility and lightness and speed due to the presence of Vayu and vast emptiness due to presence of Akash mahabootha.

Only Vata dosha has “Akash” or Space as a primordial element within it. This explains many symptoms of disease when vata is affected and also helps us understand the structural composition of organ systems which are givereend by Vata dosha.

When Vata dosha is in balance, the body has the ability of speed, lightness, mobility and the willingness to accept change. Vata dosha in balance gives us enthusiasm, creative fire, speed, willingness to get up and move the body, the capacity to talk in an animated and creative fashion. Vata dosha also helps provide “excitation” to the brain and is what get us “firing” with new ideas, thoughts, unique ways of doing things etc.

in balance, vata dosha gives us energy, creativity, mobility and lightness

Vata Dosha also governs important body systems. It governs all organs of movement (entire musculo skeletal movement) and governs transportation of all fluids, foods and wastes through the body and out of the body. So Vata in balance gives us timely “excretion” of urine, and bowel movements. Vata in balance gives us easy removal of menstrual wastes.

Due to the nature of urban living, the foods we consume and the high level of mental excitation, access to new information, fried food and vata exciting devices, most of us have an imbalanced Vata dosha (as it has been over used / over excited).

When vata dosha is over -used, it imbalances rather dramatically leaving you with insomnia, panic attacks, mood swings and depressive states, inability to fall asleep easily, tendency to wake up in the middle of the night several times apart from other issues. It also leads to catches in the muscular skeletal system, porosity of bones, weak teeth etc as the air in these parts increases due to excitation of Vata.

When vata is over used it leads to highs and lows in mental states besides many physical issues

Aggravated Vata dosha also leads to a chicken and egg situation which we will read about further . It leads to addictive behavior which in turn further excites Vata Dosha.

Digital Addiction and Vata dosha:

There is a growing body of research in Ayurveda which links the over use of smartphones and social media and even news to this state of imbalanced and over used vata dosha.

Vata dosha is light, mobile and subtle. Hence as these devices radiate at a minute level, are used close to the body, and use “Vayu “and “Akash” to pass signals, they easily stimulate and excite the nerve endings and subtle channels in the body causing minute, almost imperceptible movements in the body.

The medium and very nature of social media excites vata dosha

Due to this subtle excitation of cells, and due to the nature of the signals passed by these devices, and their nature of proving interesting and fresh stimulation to the mind, the overall vata dosha in the head and body is excited.

In fact in many kinds of addiction (binge watching of television, alcohol, smoking, shopping, binge-eating etc), we can see the excitation of Vata dosha as a cyclical cause of the addiction. The addiction excites Vata dosha which gives us the “crack cocaine effect” which in turn leads to further addictive behaviour . Thus, we keep on steadily unbalancing and aggravating Vata dosha.

Any kind of addictive behavior has its roots in vata aggravation and also triggers vata aggravation

Over using the cell phone to talk: an example of vata aggravation

Many times, after a long call, we feel “buzzed”. The ear feels over heated. We are unable to shut down and feel the need to visibly calm down. This is an example where the use of a vata exciting device on an organ dominated by Vata dosha has led to vata aggravation.

Over using the ears can lead to vata aggravation

The ear is considered a sookshma organ governed by vata dosha. The fine and minute bones in the ear are less dense and light, with a lot of “Akash” and “Vayu” in built in them. This light and airy bone composition allows these bones to vibrate physically and pass on auditory signals received. When vata is in good balance, we are able to hear very sookshma noises and have good hearing.

When vata is over used in the ear, the bones are tired from over vibrating and passing on a lot of auditory signals. So, when we are habituated to hearing loud discordant sounds, live in a high traffic noisy road, or speak a lot over the cell phone, the ear’s capacity to hear is diminished due to vata aggravation.

Over stimulation and use of ears aggravates vata and impairs hearing

In particular, the use of a device that uses Vata based signals like the cell phone, when over used on the ear, leads to a dramatic aggravation in vata dosha.

This is why Ayurveda suggests doing karna abhyanga (ear massage with medicated oils) regularly to balance vata dosha in the ear – taila and abhyanga are the best balancers of vata dosha and this principle is used in Karna abhyanga as well.

Why Digital Addiction can derange Vata dosha

Social media has often been described as crack cocaine for the mind. The always-on nature of social media, constant use of images and sound, and the presence of so much new news excites the Vata carrying channels of the brain. Because of this excessive neural activity, a high amount of pitta is also  generated in the brain.

Social media is primed to aggravate vata dosha

Vata dosha by its nature is irregular and chaotic. Therefore when we over-use this Dosha, its chaotic and irregular effects extend to our daily routine and schedule. So we find that our sleep timings become irregular, we are unable to eat at the right time and the brain is so over stimulated that we are unable to go to sleep at our regular time.

Excitation of Vata Dosha almost always leads to the derangement and increase of chaos in our daily routine. Conversely, when our daily routine and schedule is extremely chaotic, we can detect that we are suffering from an imbalance of vata dosha.

Deranged vata dosha leads to chaos

To rein in deranged Vata dosha, we follow the principle of opposites in Ayurveda. We focus on cutting excitement to the brain, calming down the brain through the use of specific herbs and using sweetness, and unctuousness to balance the dry, light and excitable nature of Vata dosha.

6 Strategies from Ayurveda to reduce Digital Addiction :

Fixed Electronic cut off every day:

To rein in the chaotic nature of Vata dosha and to train the body to an atmosphere of lowered stimulation, we advise those who seem to have vata excitation an electronic cut off every day. This is easier to implement than a onetime social media cut off, and trains the body to look at the day in buckets – in which at least one bucket is used to calm the senses down.

A planned daily electronic cut off helps gradually reduce vata burden on the body

What do we mean by an electronic cut off?

  • Switching off the wi-fi router
  • Turning the phone into airplane mode
  • Shutting down the laptop
  • Not using an e-reader
  • Closing all screens including the television
  • No smartphone / radiating devices in the bedroom

Every time this is done, there is a stark difference in the quality of sleep – sleep is longer, deeper and more restful.

A practical way to implement an electronic cut off is to set a time limit after which you will not excite Vata dosha. There is no need to go aggressive on this time limit – you can start this as small as you like.

For example: You could set your electronic cut off to 8:30 pm every day. After 4 weeks of following this, you could work on moving the time back by 15 minutes. Steady practice of this limit and slowly increasing the timing is very useful in training your body and controlling vata dosha.

Remember: do not approach this with a heavy hand. Be gentle with yourself.

Daily Shavasana:

This is the yogic pose most of us love to hate. Sometimes we end up sleeping while attempting to do this pose. Other times we are fretting while doing this pose, mentally calculating how long it would take to go home, shower and hit the office.

Our yoga teachers have always stressed on the high importance of doing correct Shavasana as a part of a good yoga practice. In the case of digital addiction and vata excitation, Shavasana again is a crucial aid.

The basic working of the Shavasana calms the mind and stills it by helping us focus entirely on the breath ,after cutting out any visual distractions by the simple act of closing our eyes.

The Shavasana is recommended to be done for at least 10 minutes or more after a 45-minute yoga practice. Similarly, after nearly 8 hours of continuous screen time and mental stimulation, a 15-minute Shavasana is essential to still the mind.

Daily Shavasana practice helps calm and still the mind

With this practice, the mental activity and strain drops, vata and pitta is calmed down and we are left ready for the next part of the day, i.e. dinner, time with family and alone time. This practice greatly aids in improving sleep quality.

Tip: Ensure Shavasana is done AFTER Sandhya time / twilight or during Sun rise and Sun set. If you are hungry after getting back from work, eat a light snack before doing a Shavasana.

Complete Sensory deprivation:

Ayurveda tells us that the smooth governing of the Idruyas (5 sense organs) is only done by Vata dosha. The skin, which is an important sense organ and Touch, is completely governed by Vata dosha.

Therefore an important ayurvedic practice to help balance Vata dosha is to cut down use of the 5 sense organs. This can be done by a daily sensory deprivation practice . So, after a day of working online with social media, etc, you can take a 15-minute sensory deprivation break in the evening, perhaps close to electronic cut off time.

During this time, dim the lights, remove any strong fragrances from the room, cut off all sound, and lie down and wear a blindfold / eye mask. Do not go to sleep – but lie in Shavasana (again). 15 minutes of this every day is very helpful for vata excitation.

This is strongly recommended for those in creative fields, jobs which involve a lot of social media consumption, those in Digital marketing, IT, etc. You will find that the brain is calmer, able to focus better and that your food cravings are lower after this practice.

Tip: If you do not have time to do a sequential shavasana followed by a sensory deprivation pose, you may combine both and do this as one practice . However doing these 2 practices sequentially helps till the mind much better.

The Ultimate Sensory deprivation treatment – Kutir Praveshika method

The ultimate sensory deprivation technique is followed in the Ayurvedic Kutir praveshika method, an ancient rejuvenation technique followed in Ayurveda, described in the Charaka Samhita. In this method, the patient enters a solitary hut, which has been constructed on Ayurvedic and Vastu principles. In this hunt, by the special construction methods used, light, air, sound, aroma and touch inputs are strictly controlled. The Kutir / hut is usually constructed in a solitary, well chosen place without any strong flow of wind.

Kutir praveshika is an ayurvedic long term sensory deprivation treatment used for rasayana therapy

The patient eats a strictly controlled diet, with properly chosen rasayanas and meets no one in this period of Kutir praveshika. This treatment starts from a period of one month and goes upto 1 year. It is called as a rejuvenation treatment that is almost like a “re birth”. The texts tells us that it is acutely life extending and rasayana (rejuvenating and youth giving) in its benefits. This treatment methodology has been reintroduced in India, and practitioners and recipients of this treatment methodology tell us of amazing reversal in age and health after this method.

Most of us do not have the psychological strength nor do we have the family circumstances or time to undergo such a tough and extreme treatment process, nor is it even needed. But even practicing this at a small level everyday as described above, can greatly help balance the mind and body and improve our health.

Night Sky Gazing:

This is an Ayurvedic technique designed to balance over use of Sookshma (close / minute) vision and helps calm Pitta and Vata dosha down. We also suggest it for those who have mild depression, panic attacks and other signs of vata aggravation.

As we gaze into the night sky, we expand the vision from a minute field to a vast field. This relieves the tiredness in eye muscles. As there is a change in the light patterns between a phone screen and the night sky, Sharma(fatigue) in the minute channels is reduced.

night sky gazing calms and soothes ethe mind, balances vata and pitta

Plus, in this technique, we harness the infinite nature and vastness of Akash as we stare at the night sky. The acharyas tell us that this gives us a sense of belonging in the larger world, and we also gain perspective about the actual size of our problems.

This ayurvedic method is consistently recommended for panic attacks, depression, digital addiction, and vision problems.  It can also greatly help stressed out mothers who need some time to themselves.

Pada abhyanga:

Pada abhyanga is a recommended ayurvedic dinacharya / ayurvedic practice that should be done everyday for good health. Charaka Samhita tells us that with regular pada abhyanga, coarseness, roughness and stiffness of the feet is reduced. Fatigue reduces as does numbness in the feet. Similarly pada sphutana (cracking of soles), is removed, and Acharyas tell us that feet are endowed with firmness, stability .

More germane to this post, the practice of Pada Abhyanga reduces imbalanced Pitta , and nourishes the eyes, improving vision. Therefore this is a drishti prasdaka practice (practices that improves drishti). Further the Acharyas observe that “Marut” or “Vata dosha” is brought under control. Interesting we are also told that due to regular Pada abhyanga, there is freer movement and flow in blood vessels without any constriction. This is why we advise Pada abhyanga for those who are highly stressed with elevated BP levels.

Pada abhyanga helps reduce vata and pitta build up, improves vision and deepens sleep

Because of the pada abhyanga’s strong balancing effect on imbalanced Pitta and Vata throughout the body, and particularly the head region, this is an excellent practice to counter the effects of digital addiction.

If you are in the grip of digital addiction, Pada abhyanga should be done every night for 3 weeks – this gives a very quick and deep relief from vata aggravation. For extreme vata aggravation we recommend using the Krya Intense Abhyanga oil as it is formulated with higher degree of vata balancing herbs.

Hair Oiling:

When digital addiction is leaving you sleepless with vata aggravated sleep (light and poor sleep quality), night head oiling is recommended. It is best done just before sunset so the oil can slowly work on calming vata over 2 – 3 hours until you go to sleep.

Head oiling helps calm down the brain and strongly reduces pitta + vata buildup

Any good ayurvedic oil that helps calm Pitta and Vata should be chosen. At Krya all of our hair oils (except the Intense and Lice hair oil) can be used for Pitta and Vata calming effects. But for extreme Vata aggravation, we recommend using Krya Harmony hair oil (best choice) or as a second alternative,  the Krya Conditioning hair oil. These 2 oils are formulated as vata + pitta balancers, especially Harmony hair oil. We use a large set of brain calming and rejuvenate herbs like Brahmi, Jatamansi, Guduchi, deodar, etc.

If using Krya Harmony hair oil for strong digital addiction and vata aggravation, please warm the hair oil slightly. Use this warm oil to massage the head and scalp well, preferably around Sunset or within the first hour of Sunset. If this timing is unsuitable, the head can be massaged 1 – 1.5 hours after dinner, atleast 30 minutes before sleeping. In the second case, after oil massage, as a precaution to avoid Kapha aggravation, please use Rasanadi choornam.

The consistent use of this hair oil has a brahmanya (nourishing) effect to the brain. The herbs calm down stress, and balance imbalanced vata and pitta dosha – obviously this works best when you follow all the other strategies described above in conjunction with hair oiling.

To sum up:

In this piece, we discussed the new malaise of social media and Digital Addiction. We examined this problem through the lens of Ayurveda and understood how digital addiction can trigger and excite vata dosha and Pitta dosha in the body.

Therefore, we looked at 6 Ayurvedic strategies that help in digital addiction to balance imbalanced Vata and Pitta dosha in the brain. These are:

  1. Electronic cut off
  2. Shavasana
  3. Sensory deprivation practice
  4. Night Sky gazing
  5. Pada Abhyanga
  6. Hair Oiling

In our work at Krya, we have observed the deep and potent effects of following all of these ayurvedic practices to calm down unbalanced Vata dosha in the case of digital addiction, high stress, lifestyle change or even temporary stress / grief. These practices come straight from the Ayurvedic texts and have been recommended by our acharyas after a deep study of the doshas and how each one of them affects both the mind and the body.

This is a part of Krya’s continuing series on Ayurveda. We write this series to educate, inspire and empower you to adopt these seemingly simple, yet astoundingly well though through and deep Ayurvedic practices to regain your health and well being.

If you have any queries on this post or about any of our products, please call us (0-75500-89090) or email us.

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Abhyanga modification for Spring (Vasanta Ritu)

abhyanga modification suggested for vasanta ritu - by krya
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Reading Time: 8 minutes

The abhyanga is a powerful Dinacharya that gives us good health and well being. When done regularly it helps improve strength, balance aggravated doshas and also improves skin health and hair health. However, as we have seen, Ayurveda also advises following Ritucharya practices. These are changes / modifications to food habits and daily practices in each season.  In today’s post we will look at the abhyanga modification to be done for Spring (Vasanta Ritu).

In our earlier post on Vasanta Ritucharya, we have covered why a change in habits is required in this season. In Spring (Vasanta Ritu), just like ice melts in the Mountain tops due to the presence of the sun, the Sun’s movement helps melt accumulated Kapha in our bodies too.

Just like ice melts in the mountain top in spring, kapha melts in our body in spring

As this Kapha beings to circulate in the body, we experience a surfeit of mucous related issues like colds, runny noses, hay fever, etc. Particularly if we did not follow the Ritucharya rule in Winter about putting accumulated Kapha to work through intensive exercise, we will have to deal with aggravated Kapha in spring.

The presence of this liquid Kapha in the body creates a few challenges to the practice of abhyanga in spring. As there is more Kapha circulating in the body, there is a resistance to oil absorption.

Also, as Kapha tends to increase heaviness and stiffness in the body, we must be VERY careful during Abhyanga NOT to contribute further to this feeling of “gurutva” or heaviness and stiffness in the body.

Abhyanga Contraindications :

Before we get into the post on the abhyanga modification to be done in spring, here are some basic precautions to follow while attempting this Dinacharya.

  • Do NOT do Abhyanga is you are pregnant or are menstruating
  • Do NOT do Abhyanga if you are tired, have had low sleep or are otherwise fatigued
  • Do NOT do abhyanga if you are running a temperature, have a fever or are ill
  • Do NOT do an abhyanga if you have indigestion or any gastric complaint
  • Do NOT do an abhyanga AFTER a heavy meal or in the evening
  • Do NOT do an abhyanga after an intensive workout or after heavy sun exposure

Abhyanga contraindications and general rules should be followed in all seasons.

Abhyanga modification for spring (Vasanta Ritu):

1. Yoga / Exercise BEFORE Abhyanga

In Winter, we recommend doing intensive exercise or doing housework AFTER doing an Abhyanga. When this practice is done in Winter where the external cold is high, the warmth generated by the body during exercise helps in the deeper and better absorption of the oil. However the exercise has to be of an intensive level in order to generate warmth in a cold season.

An important part of the abhyanga modification in Spring is a change in the order of exercise and abhyanga . As Kapha is already melted and circulating in the body, we recommend warming the body with light exercise or housework BEFORE starting the Abhyanga.

In vasanta do exercise before abhyanga

This exercise BEFORE the Abhyanga helps settle down circulating Kapha. It also helps the body warm up internally and allows the oil to penetrate the skin better in this season.

2. Do Abhyanga early

We have written earlier about how the day is divided into 4 hour parts and how each part is dominated by a particular dosha. The period between 6 am – 10 am is dominated by Kapha dosha, when we all wake up, do an abhyanga, bathe, eat breakfast, etc.

Doing an abhyanga in the Kapha period is generally not recommended. This is much more of a problem in Spring when aggravated Kapha is already flowing freely through the body. So if you are doing an Abhyanga between 6 am – 10 am, please do the Abhyanga as early as possible in this 4 hour period.

An early morning abhyanga is recommended in Vasanta

Even if you are unable to wake up before dawn for abhyanga, try and do your abhyanga in the early part of the Kapha period.

This abhyanga modification is recommended to ensure that the abhyanga leaves you feeling light and refreshed. Doing an abhyanga at 9 am vs 6 am will make your body feel stiff and heavy as you are applying oil ( a kapha increasing dravya) in a high Kapha time During a Kapha dominant season.

Late Abhyanga in Kapha peak = Aggravated Kapha

3. WARM the oil before Abhyanga

Warming oil is a generally useful suggestion throughput the year. However, it is especially relevant in Vasanta Ritu to avoid cooling the body and aggravating Kapha further.

In Spring, use warm oil for abhyanga

This abhyanga modification is recommended to help penetrate the skin and body much better. Warm oil is lighter, more sookshma and penetrates skin much faster than cold oil. Cold oil can further aggravate Kapha in the body.

Cold Oil = More Kapha

4. Use LESS Oil and Massage MORE

Due to the high amount of Kapha circulation in the body, using a high amount of oil during Abhyanga can potentially cool and stiffen the body due to aggravated Kapha. Therefore in this season, it is advisable to use slightly less oil than normal during Abhyanga and MORE massage + movement.

In vasanta, use less oil fo abhyanga with more massage

This abhyanga modification helps us get the benefit of abhyanga in this season without deranging kapha dosha.

More oil = More Kapha = More stiffness

5. Squeeze the limbs well during Abhyanga

An abhyanga massage with squeezing action is called Mardana.  Mardana massage is very useful in Spring as it helps draw out Kapha out of the body and ensure it does not get stuck and cause heaviness and stiffness in the body.

Use a downward squeezing action (mardana) especially in limbs.

Mardana action is suggested in Spring Abhyanga to constrict the movement of Kapha

This abhyanga modification is suggested to remove the feeling of heaviness and stiffness in the body which is common in this season. This restrains Kapha from spreading easily in the body. It also directs its proper flow and encourages movement out of the body.

6. Soak LESS after your Abhyanga

Generally we recommend waiting for 15 minutes after your Abhyanga. This “soak time” is useful to help the oil to penetrate deeper into the body. It also gives you a breather after a rigorous Abhyanga routine before you begin your Snana.

In Vasanta Ritu, the Soak time after Abhyanga should be very short. If you are a Sinusitis sufferer or are prone to coughs and colds, you may skip the soak altogether and directly begin your Snana. This is an important abhyanga modification in this season to prevent kapha aggravation.

The more you soak, the colder your body gets.

Cold = Kapha.

7. Bathe TWICE after Abhyanga

Bathing (Snana) is a critical practice to be done correctly in Vasanta (Spring).  When the snana is done correctly, the body feels well cleansed, and light after Abhyanga without any Kapha aggravation.

In Vasanta, it is a good practice to do Two Snanas (scrub the body, rinse and repeat) with a herb ubtan.

Bathe twice after abhyanga in vasanta

This abhyanga modification is suggested for 2 reasons. It ensures BOTH that applied oil is removed and that body is left cleaner as the Snana removes oily secretions deep in the srotas. If oil remains on the body in this season, you will feel stiff and heavy due to Kapha aggravation.

Krya’s Ubtans are best for post Abhyanga baths – our regular bodywashes just cannot remove oil as cleanly as our Ubtans do. but even our Ubtans will have to be used twice in this season, because of Melted Kapha.

8. Bathe in reasonably warm water:

Many Krya consumers complain to us when we remind them that according to Ayurveda, this season is Vasanta (Spring) and not Greeshma (Summer). Due to urbanization, urban heat effect and climate change, our once mild Vasanta (spring) feels hot, boiling and like a scorching summer.

But it IS NOT summer, not yet. Even though the weather is hot, your nose and throat might feel runny, you will sneeze more . These are signs of melting Kapha.

Melting Kapha = Vasanta / Spring.

In Summer, Kapha would have finished melting and would no longer circulate freely in the body.

To ensure that you do no further add to aggravate Kapha, please bathe in warm and not cold water. Bathing in very hot water will further liquefy Kapha. So your bathing water must be warm but not very hot.

bathe in warm and not hot water in Vasanta

9. Avoid aggravating Kapha & Pitta by Ahara (food) or other activities on Abhyanga days

Eating Kapha OR Pitta aggravating food / doing Kapha + Pitta aggravating activities in Abhyanga days. Kapha aggravating food will add to already excess Kapha in the body. Pitta aggravating food will melt more Kapha causing more runniness, colds, and more circulation of melted kapha.

10. Ensure your scalp is as dry as possible in this season

In this season, a wet scalp may mean sinus and kapha aggravation. Please use Rasanadi choorna LIBERALLY in this season: Inhale it, apply it on the crown of the head, on the sinuses of the head, behind the ears, etc.

Dry your hair quickly and efficiently using 2 towels if necessary. Do NOT sit in an air conditioned car / environment with wet hair.

Keep the scalp dry in Vasanta

If you find that your scalp is sweating, you may still use Rasanadi choornam to ensure the water does not seep into the sinusitis aggravating Kapha.

Cold = water freezing on scalp = Kapha.

Krya’s Abhyanga Products for Vasanta Ritu:

Classic Abhyanga Snana Range: general purpose for all Prakritis especially Pitta leaning prakriti

This Abhyanga Snana Range is a general Abhyanga Oil + Ubtans suitable for all prakritis, with no major aggravation in any one dosha. The Krya Classic abhyanga oil is a 34 ingredient proprietary formulation. The herbs and herb compositions have been carefully chosen from the classical samhitas. This is a balanced Abhyanga oil which helps balance all 3 doshas. It is suitable for both Men and Women and is a general abhyanga oil that can help all prakritis.

The Krya Classic Abhyanga oil goes with either the Krya Women’s Ubtan (Classic) OR the Krya Men’s Ubtan (Classic).

 

If you are a high Kapha prakriti, we advise using less Abhyanga oil which has been well warmed, more vigorous massage and bathing twice with the Ubtan – this is a guideline to ensure there is no further Kapha aggravation.

Intense Abhyanga Snana Range:

If you are intensely Vata dominant, or are a Post Partum woman or have an INTENSIVE exercise routine (marathoners, regular gym goers), the Intense Abhyanga Snana range is more suitable for you.

We have also recommended Intense abhyanga Oil for those on a low fat / limited fat diet and a Vegan diet – such diets usually aggravate Vata very quickly – so if you are on one and are noticing skin darkening and sudden weight loss, it is time to both re-examine your diet and use the Intense abhyanga Oil.

The Krya Intense Abhyanga Oil is a 41 ingredient proprietary formulation. This oil has been formulated to balance aggravated Vata dosha, so it is warming and intensely Vata balancing in nature. It is not recommended unless your Vata dosha is really out of balance. Pitta aggravated individuals might find this oil too hot and warming for their liking. In some cases Kapha aggravated individuals can also use this oil. If you have any queries, please call / write to us seeking clarifications.

The Krya Intense Abhyanga oil goes with the Krya Women’s Ubtan (Intense) which is a new launch. This is a special women’s ubtan designed with a high amount of Mangalyam (auspicious), Vata balancing , astringent, skin health improving herbs. This is especially suitable for post partum women.

We do not yet have a Krya Men’s Ubtan (Intense) – so to go along with the Intense Abhyanga oil, Men can continue to use Krya Men’s Ubtan (Classic).

To sum up – abhyanga modifications in spring

We hope this post gave you a good idea of both the importance of Abhyanga as a Dinacharya and the correct modifications you should be following in this season to get the most of your abhyanga.

If you are keen on adopting this Dinacharya, but still have questions, please write to us or Call/WhatsApp us (0-75500-89090).

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

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

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

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

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

Nature of vata dosha and its role in the body

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

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

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

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

Why does Vata dosha get aggravated easily in city people?

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

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

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

Where does Vata aggravation show up in our body?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

To sum up:

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

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

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

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

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

Krya products suggested to bring aggravated Vata dosha under control:

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

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

 

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

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

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

1.millets health fad

 

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

 

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

 

Basic Ayurvedic framework:

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

2.basic ayurvedic framework

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

 

The importance of Vata dosha:

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

3.city living vata

 

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

 

What happens when Vata dosha is aggravated?

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

4. dry hair

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

 

Why does Vata dosha get aggravated in a stressful job?

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

5.corporate life

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

 

How can my diet help control Vata Dosha?

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

 

Example 1: Millets

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

 

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

6.bajre ki roti

 

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

 

7.kambu kanji

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

8.breakfast cereal

 

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

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

9.dry crisp foods

 

External oil application: the other Key to controlling Vata dosha

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

10. oil application

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

 

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

11.vata pacification

 

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

12.abhyanga days

 

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

13.krya abhyanga oil

 

To conclude:

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

7. Krya intense hair system

 

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

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

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

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

 1.lack of nutrition

Can we guarantee new hair growth?

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

 

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

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

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

 

General regimen and diet to be followed:

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

6.hot water

Notes on diet and eating regimen:

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

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

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

 

Foods to avoid / reduce:

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

10.water

 

Notes on foods to avoid:

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

 

Regimen changes:

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

11. do not stress out hair

Notes on regimen changes:

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

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

 

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

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

To conclude:

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

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

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

Krya products suggested for PCOD and PCOS related hairfall:

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

 

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

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

The Origins of Ayurveda

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

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

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

The Ayurvedic Canon

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  1. Madhava Nidhana
  2. Sarangadhara Samhita
  3. Bhavaprakasha

 

The Ideal Ayurvedic Vaidya (Doctor)

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

Caraka Samhita defines the ideal medical student as

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

—Caraka Samhita 3.VIII.6

 

So what does this mean for us today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ahara : Correct Nutrition

Vihara : Correct activities

Achara : Correct lifestyle

Vichara : Correct thoughts

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

 

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

  1. Jeevani : Ayurveda for Women by Dr PLT Girija

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

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

jeevani

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

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

 

  1. Living Easy with Ayurveda by Dr JV Hebbar

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

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

living easy with ayurveda

  1. Everyday Ayurveda by Dr Bhaswati Bhattacharya

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

everyday ayurveda

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

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

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

 1.abhyanga

 

The importance of the Abhyanga for good health:

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

Abhyangam aacharet nityam sa jaraa shramavaataha 

Drushti prasaada pushti aayu susvapna twak daardhyakrut

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

 

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

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

 

General Health benefits of doing an abhyanga:

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

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

2.better sleep

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

3.better skin better hair

 

The importance of choosing the right products for your Abhyanga:

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

 7-krya-bhyanga-oil

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

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

4.herb transport

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

5.avoid toxins

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

 

Step by step description of how to do the abhyanga:

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

6.abhyanga room

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

7.generous qty of oil

 

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

 

Special abhyanga techniques for certain body parts:

Legs:

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

8. Massage for legs

 

Chest:

  • Use open and upward strokes for the chest area

 

Abdomen:

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

 

Arm:

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

9.Massage for arms

 

Massage for the ears:

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

10. ear massage

 

When NOT to do an abhyanga: some pointers

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

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

11.when not to do an abhyanga

 

Post Abhyanga care:

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

 

Ensure you do NOT do the following:

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

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

 

Here is what you should DO on abhyanga day:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

For adults:

Krya Men’s Abhyanga system which consists of

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

MEn's abhyanga system

For Babies (age: 0 – 1 years):

 

For Kids & Toddlers (age – 1 +):

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

12-kids-ubtan

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

 

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

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

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

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

1.abhyanga

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

 

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

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

2.pitta dosha

 

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

3. Krya hair oils with amla

 

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

 

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

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

4.abhyanga sunrise

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

5. avoid spicy food

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

7. Krya intense hair system

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

8.pcod abhyanga

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

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

9.light physical work

 

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

9.light physical work

 

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

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

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

11. vata dosha

 

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

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

12.vata dosha excitement

 

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

 

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

13. Krya harmony hair oil

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

 

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

14.abhaynga vata 

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

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

15. warm oil

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

16.warm liquids

 

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

 

To conclude:

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

17.abhaynga - to sum up

 

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


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

For adults:

5. womens abhyanga system

MEn's abhyanga system

 

For Babies (age: 0 – 1 years):

11-baby-ubtan

 

For Kids & Toddlers (age – 1 +):

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

12-kids-ubtan

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

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

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

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

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

1. synthetic shampoos

 

In the beginning we only had herbs:

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

 

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

2. herbal smoke

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

3. shampoos

 

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

 

The fallouts of using a synthetic shampoo

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

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

4. rough dry hair

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

 

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

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

 

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

5. raincoat

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

6. silicones

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

7. itchy scalp

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

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

 

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

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

8. indian hair

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

9. krya hair system

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

10. krya hair wash

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

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

 

Differences between Ayurvedic hair care and synthetic hair care

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

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

11. rose in classic hairwash

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

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

12. herbal hair oil

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Observable stages of hair improvement:

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

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


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

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

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

 

 

 

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