6 reasons for premature hair greying according to Ayurveda

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One of the common queries we get at Krya is asking for help with premature greying. Our customers are often indignant and tell us that they have great hair genes. Their parents and grandparents greyed well into their 50s. They are unable to understand why time has not been kind for them.

I too am a victim of premature greying. My hair started to grey when I was in my early 20s. By this time I had experimented so much on my hair, that I thought this greying was inevitable. I vaguely remembered reading something about how premature greying was genetic. My Mum had also begun greying although in her 30s. So I chalked my premature greying down to the effect of genetics and severe experimentation on hair .

Today I have much clearer answers, thanks to Ayurveda, about exactly why greying happens. Funnily, the answers in Allopathy and Western research continue to be vague and merely describe the symptoms without explaining what the actual cause behind premature greying is.

Modern medicine on premature greying:

Modern medicine states that damaged melanocytes are a cause of premature greying. Melanocytes provide both colour and regulate sebum for the hair. As is usually the case with allopathy, causality is not clearly established. So we do not know exactly why these melanocytes get damaged. Stress is speculated to be one factor.
Improper nutrition, hair colouring, excessive use of chemical hair products and hair dryers , and anaemia are other factors behind melanocyte damage. Therapies like radiation therapy and chemotherapy also contribute to melanocyte damage.

1. stress

Thyroid malfunction is also said to be a cause for premature greying.

Improper diet and stress is often blamed in Allopathy for all hair damage including premature greying. But, there is no clear cut recommendations provided to correct this damage. So people suffering from premature greying eat a widely varied diet. Our customers variously follow raw diets, protein heavy diet, high use of steamed sprouts, and salads, all in the quest to reverse premature greying.

Ayurveda on premature greying:

“Palitya (white hair) and Hariprabha(grey hair) is produced when the scalp is burned gradually by aggravated Pitta or aggravated Pitta with Vata dosha”  – Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana

The 3 doshas in the body:

As we know, there are the 3 doshas in the body: pitta, kapha and vata. Each dosha performs important functions in the body . We need a healthy balance of all three doshas for good health and well being. Depending upon our individual nature, environment, geography, genetics, each of us has a unique mixture of the 3 doshas. This unique mixture is our “prakriti” or our constitution.

When our doshas are in the right balance, they are called samya or normal. When our doshas aggravate upwards, it is called vriddhi or increase. As the sum of the 3 doshas always adds to the same number, when there is vriddhi of one dosha, another dosha decreases. This decrease in dosha is called ksaya. Ksaya of a dosha can be Alpa (mild), Madhya (moderate) or Utkrishta (severe), Ayurveda advises therapies ranging from diet control, external application and medicines to bring your body back to a state of balance.

2. balance

What does Pitta dosha control in the body?

Pitta dosha helps nourish the body by digesting food, and separating nutrients from wastes (Mala). It also produces heat and warmth through the body. Pitta stimulates desire, produces hunger and thirst. The colour & complexion of our skin, our intellect, understanding, courage and our decisiveness are also gifts of Pitta dosha.

3.pitta dosha

Premature greying: sign of aggravated Pitta dosha

Pitta dosha governs colour and complexion of skin and hair. Therefore Pitta aggravation provokes premature greying . This also affects our skin.  So skin  may develop greater sun sensitivity , break  out, or develop prickly heat.

4. acne

Pitta also governs digestion and our appetite. Aggravated pitta can result in an out of control appetite, where you are hungry much more frequently than normal. Or you could develop frequent diarrhea,  with loose and liquid bowel movements.

Pitta governs focus, clarity and our ability to manage anger. When Pitta is high we have anger management issues, and “erupt” often. We are also much more  irritable, get stressed easily and are unable to let go.

5.anger management

1.Basic Prakriti

Having a predominantly Pitta prakriti can itself lead to pitta aggravation. When a Pitta prakriti eats pitta aggravating food, and is in pitta aggravating situations, the dosha imbalances.

If our basic nature is Pitta dominant, we must be aware of this and seek food, practices and behaviours that keep us in balance.

2. Over exposure to the Sun

Ayurveda considers the sun as the source of all Agni in the Universe. Constant harsh sun exposure , especially during mid-day sharply increases Agni in the body. If we do not balance this excess Agni, Pitta dosha aggravates in the body. 6.beach

Beach holidays are a common way to accumulate excess Agni. Sun tan, dry and aged looking skin , sunburn are immediate effects of this aggravated Pitta dosha . When this is not addressed, it can build up to premature grey hair in time.

3. Undergoing Agni increasing treatments

Commercial tanning beds and skin treatments with uv light can be a cause of aggravated Pitta in the body. When these treatments are done, we are supposed to avoid any additional sun exposure.  If we do not follow this and eat pitta aggravating food, the pitta in the body will get aggravated.

7. treatments

Laser treatments for acne, wrinkles and hair removal also has similar Pitta aggravating effects. Similarly radiation based therapy and chemotherapy are also Agni increasing therapies. When these agni increasing therapies are used, you may experience faster premature hair greying .

4. Eating pitta aggravating food

Many consumers tell us they eat a balanced, homemade vegetarian South Indian meal .  Yet they experience premature greying, hair thinning and frequent breakouts.

Ayurveda tell us Pitta dosha is aggravated by eating sour, salty and spicy food.  We have a much more detailed post on this here.  If you are experiencing premature greying we recommend cutting down on tamarind, tomatoes, curd, packaged foods , red and green chillies and vinegar.

5. Irregular and scalp oiling

We have mentioned that Ayurveda is very particular about the care of the eyes, brain and scalp. This is because the eyes are a seat of Pitta. Through Pitta dosha, the eye is able to see, make observations and pass these observations to the brain which then analyses and makes sense of our world.

Ayurveda says that the constant working of the brain and the eyes produce ushna or heat. When this ushna is not released properly from the body, it affects not just the working of the body but also the brain and the eyes.

12. eyes

 

The brain and the eyes have a high amount of fatty matter or kapha built dhatus. When the heat in these areas builds up and is not released, it can affect these fatty tissues and impair their functioning.

For these reasons, Ayurveda advises generous and frequent oiling of our scalp and hair. The fine srotas and the openings in our head help dissipate heat generated by the eyes and the brain when we give this coating of oil in the scalp. Oil helps soothe the nerves in the brain, nourishes the brain and scalp and also acts as a medium to trap and send out excess heat.

As an additional benefit, this frequent and generous hair oiling helps keep scalp and hair in good health. We cannot overstate the importance of this practice of oiling.

13. hair oiling

 

Unfortunately, modern aesthetic trends dictate that our hair is left dry and un-oiled and is instead frequently shampooed with products that have drying and heat increasing synthetics in them. This has a very large effect on the pitta in our body. This is also a practice that is guaranteed to leave the hair dry and under nourished and can also hasten premature greying.

 

Stress: Reason no. 6 for Pitta dosha to go out of balance

Legend has it that Marie Antoinette’s hair turned white overnight the night before she was guillotined. We do not know the truth behind this legend. But what is true is the effect of grief and stress on our doshas.

14. marie aintonette

 

Ayurveda chikitsa believes in treating the mind and body and our diet and mental health have a great deal of synchronicity and correlation on our overall health and well being.

Ayurveda opines that whenever we suppress emotions like grief, this in itself imbalances pitta dosha in the body. Apart from grief, “krodha” (anger) is another form of stress. The twin emotions of “shokha” and “krodha” are listed as one of the causes of premature greying.

 

We have written an extensive post on how stress affects the body earlier. The truth of modern living is that we have a million small stressful things affecting us everyday and sometimes one or two really big issues as well. It is important to deal in a healthy way with the stress that affects us.  Ayurveda advocates constantly examining our minds and lives and seeking a state of balance which is unique to ourselves and our circumstances.

 

To sum up:

Ayurveda believes that premature greying is a trait of pitta going out of balance. In this post we have looked at 6 reasons why Pitta dosha can go out of balance. These are as follows:

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

Any or all of these reasons can give you classic signs of Pitta dosha going out of balance like premature greying, acidity, GERD, Ulcers, frequent stomach upsets, adult acne and high skin sensitivity, cracked heels and palms and fine ,thinning hair. When we address the cause behind these symptoms, we pull the body back to a state of balance and work on the core issue.

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

 

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

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

  1. Krya Classic Hair Oil with Yellow Eclipta & Indian Gooseberry
  2. Krya Classic hair mask with Rose Hip & Liquorice
  3. Krya Classic hair wash with Rose & White Bhringaraj
  4. Krya Classic hair nourishing system (all 3 above products at a special price)
  5. Krya festive abhyanga hair wash with Vana Tulsi & Rose

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

  1. Krya after sun face wash with Vetiver & Indian Madder
  2. Krya calming after sun face mask with Indian Madder & Liquorice
  3. Krya after sun body wash with Arjuna & Ashwagandha
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How aggravated pitta dosha damages your hair and acclerates greying. Krya shares insights from Ayurveda to help you control aggravated pitta dosha for great hair health

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

We have been deluged with consultation requests this past month at Krya. Our consultations usually take us a while as we ask for extensive information on diet, lifestyle, current hair and skin regimen, etc. Our recommendations are sent on the basis of the information received and each one is tailor-made and unique. In the last month, I have sent out recommendations as varied as waking up at 5:30 am every day, to walking in the moonlight in the terrace on full moon day, and in one case, doing evening worship of their favourite deity (Ishta devata) every evening with a sesame oil based lamp.

1.moonlight walk

All of our recommendations and insights come from the first principles followed in Ayurveda. While different Acharyas of the Brihat and Laghu trayi series of textbooks have varying nuances in their use of herbs to treat dosha aggravation, they concur on the symptoms of how dosha aggravation can affect skin and hair.

Sometimes the symptoms we see today are not described in the Ayurvedic texts. For example, excessive shampooing with alternative excessive sebaceous secretion and scalp dryness and flaking is a problem unique to the last 10 years in India. This can be further aggravated by over use of the air conditioner, poor diet, poor sleep and excessive travel in some cases to lead to a vata like dryness of hair and scalp.

2.urban stress

Alternatively in a pitta dominated prakriti, excessive shampooing can set up an aggressive increase in sebum secretion – this usually necessitates further washing, may be accompanied with skin disorders like acne and in severe cases fungal dandruff.

To understand the effect on the body with these new age problems, we first understand the effects of the chemicals used in synthetic shampoos and their current, documented consequences. We then apply this into the Ayurvedic framework and understand how the doshas are pulled out of balance with our new habits and come back with a series of recommendations.

Our series on hair loss starts today with the first kind of hair loss we see at Krya, related to aggravated pitta dosha and how Ayurveda diagnoses the cause and treats it.

 

Pitta aggravated hair loss and damage – hair thinning, premature greying and male pattern baldness

The Ayurvedic texts state that Pitta dosha is what provides intelligence, focus, leadership traits and the ability to get things done. This dosha is dominated by Fire / Agni, and without adequate amounts of this dosha, you will have no appetite and digestion, the key to absorbing nutrients will not take place. Pitta dosha is also responsible for imparting colour, complexion to the body and is the key dosha behind blood production.

However, when in excess, unchecked Pitta dosha can burn vision, increase anger and sharpness, can push the focus from safe to dangerous levels, and most pertinently for this blog post, turn hair grey , cause hair thinning, and aggravate premature balding and androgenic pattern baldness.

3.pitta greys and thins hair

Pitta can be aggravated due to 2 reasons: our nature and basic constitution is tending towards Pitta dosha, or we are constantly putting ourselves in situations or eating foods that are jacking up our natural pitta levels in the body.

 

Pitta nature: some clues

In cases of aggravated Pitta dosha, we look for a tendency towards decisiveness, a love for control, a need for getting things done completely, discomfort around ambiguity and many other signs that point to classic A type personalities. Pitta prakritis typically have reddish hues in their skin and hair. They are extremely uncomfortable in high heat, often sweating profusely, skin flushing quickly in the sun, and are prone to diarrhea, and other pitta related disorders.

6-pitta-prakriti

These people will typically have noticeably warm skin – we often see instances where they leave a heat imprint on the chair they are sitting (t will feel hot or warm to touch if they have left the chair), are quick to anger and stress, and describe themselves as being “full of heat”.

Pitta prakritis also gravitate towards pitta aggravating food – they love sour, salty and spicy foods like curd, tamarind, mangoes, pickles, etc. Their tolerance of these foods is much higher than others – but as the dosha builds unchecked, they can also develop an abnormal sensitivity to these foods, while continuing to crave them.

5.pitta craves pitta

Pitta prakritis tend to have fine hair with abundant oil production in their scalp and skin. The hair tends towards brown red tones and the strands are usually finer and not that thick. The skin has a noticeable amount of reddish tones – these are people who will have visible blushes and will burn easily in the sun.

Pitta aggravation usually results in premature greying, thinning of hair and male pattern baldness. As pitta prakriti hair is already fine and thinning, when the dosha is aggravated, the scalp becomes easily visible as the fineness of hair no longer covers the hair completely.

 

Situations / diets when Pitta dosha can get aggravated even if your basic nature does not have dominant Pitta prakriti

Eating a  high dose of pitta aggravating foods, especially if this is your go-to comfort food can push pitta very quickly out of control. For example, over-eating certain South Indian preparations like vathakuzhambu, tamarind based rasams, curd rice, pickles, over dependence on fermented foods like idli, dosa, can all push pitta dosha out of balance.

6.fermented foods high in pitta

In one instance we found that one of our consumers who was displaying pitta aggravated hairfall and greying had been eating a single item of breakfast every single day for a year out of convenience – either idli or dosa everyday – this would have definitely pushed her pitta dosha out of balance.

An increase in stress levels can also trigger your Pitta dosha – this is the dosha that helps you in the classic flight or fight situation – this is the dosha that will help you analyse the situation and decide your response. So if your stress levels are out of control, your pitta dosha will usually get aggravated.

An elevation at work, even if at a creative / satisfying job can mean greater levels of responsibility both for P&L and people – this usually demands that Pitta dosha comes to the party and give you necessary characteristics to cope with the situation. At stressful times, this can aggravate this dosha. This does not mean that you should expect to grey or go bald the minute you receive a promotion. It means that you should recognise the greater demands on your body with a  promotion and take adequate care to provide your body with the right foundation to handle this increased stress.

7.promotion pitta

 

 

Krya recommendations for Pitta aggravation:

Ayurveda teaches us that Pitta has 2 primary seats: the stomach and the head, so all Krya recommendations to bring aggravated Pitta under control concentrates on these 2 areas.

In order to harness the digestive Agni and ensure it is kept in balance, we advice the reduction of Pitta aggravating foods that can cause Agni to rage beyond control. We also add pitta reducing foods which are opposite in nature to Pitta to bring aggravated Pitta under balance: these include foods like coconut, bitters like bitter gourd, ghee which is tridoshic, Mung dal which is cooling and balancing in the stomach, and properly boiled milk which is cooling and nourishing to all dhatus.

8.cooling foods

Eating a steady quantity of food and on time is especially important in aggravated pitta – when Agni is very high and is not given food on time, it can rampage through the body and consume the dhatus leading to conditions like gastric ulcers. Therefore eating at the same time everyday nod eating a sufficient quantity of the right food is very important.

To physically cool the pitta generated by the activity of the eyes and the brain, we advise application of some of our Pitta balancing hair oils that have been formulated with classic pitta balancing herbs like Amla, Bhringaraj, etc.

4.krya classic hair oil

We also advise a regular abhyanga to bring down Pitta throughout the body. This helps dislodge excess pitta through the body and removes it through Sweda (sweat) and secretions from the eyes. It is extremely important during this abhyanga to ensure you do not sleep in the afternoon. This halts the removal of Pitta through the eyes, and Pitta can severely increase in the eyes leading to vision impairment.

 

Application of Herb based Kajal / Anjana

Application of anjana, or herb based Kajal (collyrium) is also very useful in aggravated Pitta. The Ayurvedic texts advice that Anjana should made from important herbs like Daruharidra, oils like castor oil and ghee. Please avoid all lead and petroleum based synthetic eye liners / fake kajals as these are a colossal waste of your time.

10.castor oil for kajal

The eyes are a specially designed organ system. Pitta dosha allows the vision to be focussed and helps the brain process the impulses seen and received by the eyes. But the entire organ itself is made up of fatty deposits which are important for the fine capillaries and other blood vessels that are present in the eyes.

Pitta cannot be allowed to increase unchecked in the eyes as it will consume these fat deposits and make the eye unstable and impair vision. This is why Ayurveda is so particular about eye care.

Pitta has to be continuously balanced in the brain and eye by using cooling oils on your scalp. The eye is to be washed frequently with cool water to remove excess pitta through the water. Anjana application helps both cool the eyes and also removes dirt that can build up in the fatty layer of the eye. This dirt is removed by use of herbs like Daruharidra which literally flushes dirt out through tear secretions from the eyes.

 

Harnessing pitta dosha through colours and clothing

Ayurveda also uses colour therapy and herbs to control aggravated doshas. Pitta dominant prakritis are asked to avoid wearing fire colours (red, orange) in general and use cooling pastel shades. At Krya, we advise wearing white dominated clothing in the evening when you have come back from work.

Similarly, if the linen in your home (curtains, upholstery) is in cool pastel shades, it helps balancing pitta aggravation. This is especially true in rooms where you rest and sleep in.

11. cooling sheers

Pitta prakritis also have a tendency to go overboard with stress and are unable to switch off. So at Krya, we advise adopting phone / laptop / work cut off time. We also advise taking up of a non work related hobby which channels that pitta dominant focus into another, unrelated pleasurable activity – vegetable gardening is something we have seen brings a lot of pleasure and helps balancing pitta dosha.

Silver, Milk, ghee and Moonlight are 4 naturally available cooling substances (and phenomena of nature) that are very useful for balancing pitta aggravation. So we advise sitting in moonlight on full moon nights to absorb the moon’s rays. Milk (when prepared properly) is very useful in cooling pitta and nourishing dhatus as is ghee.

Silver is a very good metal for Pitta aggravated prakritis – eating out of a small silver bowl / plate can help transfer the cooling properties of silver into your body and is a very strong traditional practice as well. Wearing silver, like traditionally silver anklets and toe rings were worn, helps transfer some of these cooling properties to your body. Please note that silver is traditionally worn only below the waist and gold is worn above the waist.

12.silver anklets

Our next few posts will describe the five other causes of hair fall as well. Through these, you should be able to gain an insight into your skin and hair as well, and help your body regain its balance and health.

 

4 critical practices that Krya recommends to keep pitta dosha in check:

  1. Daily Hair oiling – if your situation is very stressful or if your pitta is already out of control, daily hair oiling can keep you cool. Apply ¼ – ½ teaspoon of the Krya hair oil and massage well on scalp. Do not wash off. We have used this very successfully in the case of consumers whose job demands extreme travel in the sun, people in high stress, and pitta aggravation brought on by improper diet. The reduction in excess pitta is quite instant and dramatic.
  2. Addition of cow ghee to the diet: eat atleast 1 teaspoon of melted cow ghee per meal every day, especially in high stress times. Cow ghee is good in beneficial fats and especially helps you think and focus well in stressful times.
  3. Drastically cut down on sour and spicy food especially if your pitta is already aggravated- we recommend a total ban on sour foods like tamarind, tomatoes, curd, mangoes and amchur and completely eliminating red and green chillies and pickles from your diet. Commercial Chinese food is also a culprit in pitta aggravation – ajinomoto is both processed and commercial Chinese food uses a high amount of acidic foods. Cutting down these foods drastically helps slow down premature greying . You will notice a difference in body heat and hair strength within a month.
  4. Head to toe Abhyanga in the first hour of sunrise with warm oil . You will notice the greatest benefits if you combine Keshya abhyanga along with full body abhyanga . This abhyanga is best done as close to sunrise as possible as this gives the body the entire day to release excess pitta. Ensure that you do not strain digestive system on this day with heavy food as this can undo the benefits of the abhyanga.

 

Krya products recommended for Pitta aggravated hair fall like hair thinning, fineness, premature greying, and related hair loss:

  1. Krya Classic Hair system (consists of an oil, wash and hair mask) – the entire system is formulated using classic pitta balancing herbs like Amla, Bhringaraj, Methi, Hibiscus flower, etc.
    1. The Krya Classic hair oil noticeably brings down aggravated Pitta and has been rated by our consumers very highly to improve hair growth and hair strength.
    2. The Krya Classic hairwash gently cleanses without stripping hair of natural sebum.
    3. The Krya Classic hair mask is designed for use once a week – it uses pitta balancing and hair growth promoting herbs to help the health of your hair and scalp
  2. The Krya Abhyanga system for Men and Women (consists of the Krya Abhyanga oil and either a Women’s ubtan or a Men’s ubtan. ) The system is designed to balance aggravated vata and pitta dosha. Most urban dwellers additionally have aggravated vata dosha due to their long commutes, nature of work, uncertain eating timings, etc. This together pushes vata dosha along with pitta dosha out of balance
    1. The Krya Abhyanga skin oil with Vacha and Ashwagandha noticeably brings down aggravated vata and pitta. Users report seeing a reduction in vata related aches and pains and balancing of excess pitta through the body with regular use.
    2. The Krya Abhyanga bath powder for Women with Lotus Leaf and Lodhra – formulated to cleanse skin after an abhyanga. Helps remove excess oil, dead cells, debris for the skin without stripping it of moisture. Prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors as a natural soap substitute.
    3. The Krya Abhyanga bath powder for Men with Vetiver & Van Tulsi – formulated to cleanse skin after an abhyanga. Helps remove excess oil, dead cells, debris for the skin without stripping it of moisture.
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My transformative hair story : an authentic account of how I damaged my hair and then restored it back to health with Ayurveda. Krya shares a true story.

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I was on a hair consultation call yesterday, and as I was summarising my recommendations, S (the consumer in question) asked me something which most of my consumers ask me:

Do you think I will be really able to see a difference if I make the diet and regimen changes you have suggested? They seem very logical and like something I should do. But most of your conversation has been about this – I actually thought we will spend time discussing your products, but most of the time you have been telling me what to eat and what to do. I am surprised, hopeful and yet apprehensive – my doctors have told me that at my age I should expect my hair to grow less, but you are telling me I can see actually see a change. Is this even possible for me“

We have been sharing a lot of personal transformative journeys here in the Krya blog. Our post two days ago shared the hair journey of one of our consumers where her hair went from deeply damaged to healthy with strong growth by simple changes in her regimen and by using the Krya classic hair system.

Krya is a company that has been built on authenticity and our blog posts, ideas, formulations and pretty much everything we do at the company comes from our experiences and our journey. In that spirit, I decided to share my hair journey today in the Krya blog. I share this more as a before and after post, with emphasis on how damaged my hair was in the before and how simple, meaningful changes have helped its restoration in the after.

I share this post to provide hope. Too many of us have got it into our heads that we are “un curable” in some way. That we have peaked and reached the end of any transformative changes we can see in our external appearance and well being. Too many of us believe that only cosmetic driven transformations are now possible for us. This is not true, and I am witness to this. Read on.

 

My hair history

I started out with really long, thick, gorgeous hair fed by the south Indian love for copious amounts of hair oil and weekly baths with homemade herbal hairwash powders. Growing up, there was also healthy suspicion for new fangled synthetic shampoos.

I cut my hair for the first time, when I started working. I ditched my mother’s herbal hairwash and began using extremely expensive synthetic  shampoos. I also started experimenting with hair colours. My hairfall started in my mid twenties aggravated by my hair experimentation.

I altered my hair’s texture twice – I permed it twice and then straightened it within 3 months of being permed. I started aggressively experimenting with colour – I started with streaks, then global highlights, and then went in for global colouring.

This is what my hair looked like when I was 30.

1. my hair at 30

 

At this time I was using 5 extremely expensive products on my hair. A colour protecting shampoo and a conditioner, an intensive colour mask, a night serum, and a spray on product every day as I combed and set my hair to keep it looking glossy and in good health.

What this attractive colour and expensive styling hid was not pretty: I washed my hair every single day as my sebum secretion was out of control. My hair would start looking limp, dull and greasy by the end of the same day. Despite my short length, my hair was full of split ends. When I woke up in the morning, my pillow would be full of hair, and I started leaving trails of hair everywhere. My stylist now started suggesting re-bonding or hair conditioning treatments to help with my hair.

2.alarming hair loss

My hair epiphany

My hair epiphany came to me one day in a lab at the company where I worked. My friend was a principal researcher at the lab in charge of formulating hair care products. We were in the midst of another argument on how synthetic products were no good, and I scoffed as I repudiated her arguments.

“The products I use cost me a huge sum of money every month, and they come from the most reputed companies. My hair stylist is a celebrity stylist, and she has worked on so many people’s hair. The hair colour I use says it is gentle and ammonia free. I am probably losing hair because of stress. It can’t be the products I am using on my hair because they are so expensive / look so technically researched / come from such reputed companies”.

My friend simply snipped a strand of my hair and put it under the merciless 200X magnification of her microscope and urged me to take a look.

What I saw broke my heart.

My hair’s cuticular structure was full of gaps. The scales were serrated, broken and jagged looking. My hair looked like a poorly held together bale of dried hay – frizzy, full of static and coarse looking.

3.chemical colouring damage

My scalp was alternatively oily and dry. I had severe flaky dandruff with constant, maddening itchiness which would subside only if I shampooed every day. If my hair was left unconditioned it would generate static electricity as I combed through it and it constantly felt rough and coarse.

I also started losing hair in a classic male pattern baldness pattern where I saw hair receding very fast from my forehead. To hide this, my stylist would suggest bangs or a style where hair would flop on my forehead – because of this I would also constantly get acne attacks as the dandruff flakes kept falling on my forehead and chin.

 

The present day:

Here is a picture of my hair that was taken today at the Krya office. The reddish colour you see is because of the sunlight streaming into our office. My hair is naturally a shade of dark brown with reddish tints in the sunlight, which I suspect is due to my pitta dominant prakriti.

hair transformation final

 

From the time I was 29, when I had serrated and rough hair, severe dandruff, excessive oiliness, hairfall and poor hair growth, to today when I am 38, I have experienced deep transformative changes in my hair.

These transformative changes have happened despite the ups and downs in my personal life. And these changes have come inspite of my deep personal losses, the stress of becoming an entrepreneur and running a young company, and the constant juggling and tensions created by leading an urban life and managing aging parents and family members.

 

My current Krya hair routine and regimen:

Krya hair products used: To balance my pitta-kapha prakriti, I use the Krya classic hair oil and the Krya classic hairwash. I oil my hair copiously before washing it. I have found that unlike my twenties, because of the gentle and non invasive nature of Krya’s hairwash products, my hair stays light and non oily even after 3 – 4 days of washing.

4.krya classic hair oil

18-krya-classic-hw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to constantly remind myself to do the additional night time oiling which we recommend at Krya – we call our oiling formula the 2*2 oiling.

I have found that when I religiously follow the Krya oiling formula, there is a greater release of excess heat, I am able to sleep better, and I am not as irritable or sharp because my pitta dosha is under control. I ensure I do my nightime oiling especially if I am under a lot of stress and unable to switch off from my deep focus – these are signs of pitta dosha getting aggravated so hair oiling helps me control this.

 

Other Krya products I use for dosha balance

I am extremely particular about my weekly abhyanga. I understand that a twice a week abhyanga would help me much more, and that is something I am slowly trying to incorporate into my routine.

I use the Krya Abhyanga oil with Vacha and Ashwagandha for my Abhyanga. All city dwellers have high vata, and I am no exception. This is also because I am constantly using vata aggravating devices like my smart phone and computer and my work also requires that I speak to consumers on the phone for a long time for their skin and hair consultations.

5. womens abhyanga system

On Abhyanga day, I ensure that I apply a small amount of warm abhyanga oil to my ear canal and massage my ears well to bring down vata as the ears are an important secondary seat of vata. I also pay a great deal of attention to my fingers, wrists and feet. As I type a lot on my computer keyboard, I find that my wrists and fingers need special attention – this helps them stay pain free and vastly helps me balance Vata dosha in my body.

I have found that the Abhyanga routine has been extremely helpful to me to balance stress, bring down vata associated aches and pains, help me sleep and pacify excess pitta dosha and keep my digestive Agni on track.

Krya skin products I use:

On a daily basis, I religiously use the Krya Classic facewash or the Krya Moisture Plus facewash to wash my face. My patchy, uneven skin and reddish pigmentation and greasiness which I saw in my 30s are a thing of the past. My skin stays smooth and flake free even in very cold weather without application of a synthetic moisturiser.

I am extremely partial to the Krya Women’s ubtan for a bath everyday. This is perfect for pitta prakritis like myself and helps me feel very fresh and great smelling even after a long day at work – it helps me completely avoid use of a synthetic deo.

 

Things I am careful about in my diet:

I am extremely particular about ensuring that I do not aggravate my pitta dosha by eating spicy or sour food. I do not use pitta aggravating red and green chillies in my food. On the rare occasions I use pitta aggravating tamarind, I ensure that it is balanced with coconut to bring down its pitta nature.

6.spicy food

I add a lot of fresh amla (a great rasayana food) and bitters to my diet as both help balance my doshas and bring down my pitta aggravation – so you will find me eating vegetables like bitter gourd atleast once a week, even if somewhat reluctantly.

7. bitters

I am also very particular about including certain kinds of dairy in my diet. I eat a small amount of melted ghee in every meal. This ghee is sourced from dairy collected from indigenous cows and is not commercial ghee (from foreign breeds). Ayurveda is particular about eating this kind of ghee to balance all 3 doshas and to harness digestive fire.

 

I eat only organically grown vegetables, fruits and grains. I am partial to Mung dal, as Ayurveda considers it cooling and tridoshic. I avoid difficult to digest lentils like rajma, vatana, etc. I also avoid re-heating and eating food as it tends to increase ama / toxins in the body and usually eat warm, freshly cooked food.

 

We are extremely particular to ensure that we do not use devices like the Microwave oven which is now clearly known to be an extremely harmful method of cooking food. Ayurveda clearly says that Agni should be used to cook and transform food which is why a wood fire cooked meal is so much more tasty , healthy and delicious (a wood fired pizza tastes so much better than a commercial pizza for example). Obviously we do not have a wood fire in our home, but the second best option is the agni from your regular LPG cylinder.

 

What’s in my lunch box today:

Ayurveda teaches us that we are, literally, what we eat. The food that we eat is transformed into the dhatus of our body, mamsa (flesh), majja (marrow), asthi (bones) and keshya (our hair). The food that we eat nourishes us through the rakta (blood) and Rasa (lymph) that runs through our body, carrying nutrients to every part of our body.

If the food is high in dosha balancing and nutritive components then it stands to reason that our dhatus, mamsa, majja, asthi, keshya, rakta and rasa will also be full of life and health.

Our lunch today comprises of heritage native rice (this is a variety called kichli samba) that is unctuous and sweet. With this, I have plain Mung dal, which has been flavoured with turmeric, salt and roasted jeera powder. Along with this I am eating a native variety of beans called “kothavarangai”, or Cluster beans. Lastly, our lunch comprises of a key Ayurvedic factor – warm, freshly melted ghee.

8. lunch box today

Ayurveda teaches us that rice is sweet, cooling, and unctuous and provides the right balance of “kapha” the body needs for growth and heath. Mung dal is the most tridoshic dal you can eat – it is cooling on the stomach and especially helps pitta prakritis like myself. It is the primary dal recommended even in pathiyam diets when you are sick, when your digestive fire is weak, or when you are recovering or in a post partum diet.

Ayurveda recommends native vegetables as much as possible, which is why our diet is high in local beans, gourds and other vegetables like pumpkins.

Cluster beans and any variety of beans are generally considered high in vata dosha. To avoid aggravating vata dosha, the beans are to be cooked using sneha (oil or fat), and using warm, carminative spices like jeera, turmeric and dhania, which is what has been done today.

Melted ghee from a native cow is essential in Ayurveda to provide small amount of good fats for the body, help in nutrient assimilation and absorption, harness the Agni in the right way, and balance all 3 doshas.

 

To conclude:

I am 38 years old – this is considered not young by most standards. I live the difficult life of an entrepreneur. My life has a lot of uncertainty and stress because of the path I have chosen.

 

Yet, by following Ayurvedic first principles, and sticking to a sensible regimen atleast most of the time, I have been able to effect a noticeable, transformative change in my hair, at the most stressed period of my life.

 

So here is where I end by saying this: if I can, you certainly can. As we are fond of saying: beauty comes from the right basics – good food, good routines, good sleep, good products. Not just by cosmetic or external applications.

 

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Incorporating an Abhyanga for good health – Krya tells you how you can use this ancient Ayurvedic practice for balance, well being and great skin and hair

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Reading Time: 12 minutes

I have a pitta constitution, is sesame oil okay for an abhyanga?

Can I use plain sesame oil for an abhyanga? Must I necessarily use specialised abhyanga oil?

I am used to Mustard oil, especially in Winter – is it okay to do an abhyanga with this?

Why are you so against Olive oil? I am told it is great skin oil. Why can’t I use it for my Abhyanga?

I remember my Grand Mum adding hibiscus flowers to sesame oil for my hair – can I apply that for my body as well?

Our previous posts on the Abhyanga elicited a lot of doubts and queries on how to incorporate the Abhyanga into your daily / weekly regimen. This post addresses many of the subtle nuances behind an abhyanga with insights on why certain choices are made (like the choice of a base oil) to give you greater health benefits.

 

An Abhyanga is a part of every single Samhita and Ayurvedic text and is mentioned by every great Acharya from Acharya Charaka to Acharya Govind Dasji Bisagratna (of the Bhaisajya Ratnavalli) as an essential part of the Dinacharya (daily practices) for a healthy life. The Dinacharya also describes practices like waking up at Brahma Muhurtha, quiet contemplation before dawn, Yoga, Pranayama and activities related to cleansing like the Gandusha and Snana.

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An Abhyanga can be seen as a part exercise, part examination of the body, part toning of organ systems like the digestive system, maintenance of the musculo skeletal system, care of the skin and deep cleansing of the entre body. Most importantly, along with the above, the Abhyanga helps in balancing all 3 doshas of the individual, bringing the whole body back to a state of alertness, vitality and balance.

 

This definition of the Abhyanga from the Indian system of Ayurveda makes it very different from the western concept of a massage for relaxation, which is why at Krya, we insist on using the original Sanskrit term, ‘Abhyanga” and not the term massage to describe this Dinacharya.

 

As the Abhyanga is seen as a part exercise for the entire body, it was used in several ways:

  1. For the aged and infirm who cannot do strenuous exercise the abhyanga is to be performed by a well trained specialist who would work the muscles during the process of Abhyanga slowing down degeneration and decay. If this specialist is not available, a self abhyanga can also be done. Old age is considered high in vata dosha – therefore oil which uses vata reducing herbs is recommended.
  2. For the active sportsperson, the Abhyanga is used as a part of the cool down to relax tense muscles, bring them back to a state of normalcy and prevent muscular tears due to stiffness and over use. As exercise excites vata dosha, vata reducing herbs aid bringing the body back to a state of balance. In addition, regenerative and repair based herbs like Ashwagandha, Brahmi, and Manjishta are very useful when added to the oil.

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  1. For the infant whose body is just developing, the abhyanga is used as an aid to help the body’s development. Here the texts advice using kapha building and muscle building herbs like Mulethi, Bala, etc.6-baby-abyanga
  2. For the stressed working man or woman, the abhyanga helps reduce excited vata and pitta dosha. It also aids tranquillity and balance, pacifying the overwrought mind and body. So here cooling and pacifying oil for the head is suggested and a vata reducing oil for body abhyanga is suggested.
  3. For the post partum mother, the abhyanga helps build the body’s immunity, removes tiredness and exhaustion caused by child birth and baby care, and helps in rebuilding muscles and strength. The main emphasis here is on providing warmth and vata reduction to remove exhaustion, and to ensure there is no mucous production during this time which can in turn affect the baby.

 

How does an Abhyanga restore health back to the body?

City living is considered high and vitiating to Vata dosha. This combined with high commute times, constant travel, air travel; use of vata exciting devices like the mobile phone, computer, and constant use of the brain ensures that most of us have aggravated Vata dosha in excess of what we should have.

 

The Ayurvedic texts tell us that when Vata is in excess it contracts the minute channels (srotas) all over the body. This means that Rasa dhatu (lymph fluid) which is responsible for our strength and immunity has a narrower passage to flow through, which means that the body is depleted of its vital nutrients. When Rasa dhatu (lymph) is constrained, it in turn affects the free movement of rakta dhatu (blood).

 

When Rasa dhatu and rakta dhatu have a constrained flow in the body, we will feel exhausted, fatigued, mentally worn out and can also get easily over wrought, depressed and anxious in difficult situations. Our response to these situations is to make use of external stimulants like tea and coffee to help us keep going at work. Unfortunately, tea and coffee further aggravate and increase Vata dosha leading our body into a vicious cycle of imbalance.

3-fatigue

This is why Ayurveda prescribes the use of a Taila Abhyanga and the use of specific Sneha like Cow ghee internally in vitiated Vata.

 

The external application of Taila in the abhyanga works by trapping excess vayu from the skin. As the abhyanga is done continuously with warm oil, it helps trap vayu along with minute debris, dirt and dead cells through the skin surface and helps it leave the body through Sweda (sweat) generated after a vigorous abhyanga. As the action of the taila is warm, unctuous and penetrating, it is the opposite of vata dosha which is cold, rough and light – this in effect helps bring down the excess of vata dosha and restores the body back to a state of balance.

 

The internal use of cow ghee frees up the internal constrictions and allows the smooth passage of Rasa and rakta dhatu. This is because ghee is minutely penetrating (sookshma), demulcent and moisturizing in its action, and is pacifying to all 3 doshas, especially pitta and vata dosha.

 

What are the 5 positive changes I can immediately see after a month of regular Abhyanga?

Please remember that an abhyanga alone will not do if you have vitiated vata dosha. You must make necessary changes to your diet, include cow ghee and make a few lifestyle modifications as well. All modern devices excite vata dosha (cell phone, e readers, laptops, i pads) so ensure you set a diligent cut off every night after which you will allow your body to recover from the impact of using these devices.

If you have been sincere about implementing small diet and lifestyle changes along with a once a week abhyanga, here are some changes you should see:

  1. You should find it much easier to fall asleep – insomnia or an inability to fall asleep easily is typically symptoms of vata aggravation. As your vata is brought back to a state of balance, you should be able to fall asleep much easier.
  2. If you have been feeling maudlin, depressed, anxious and negative in general, you should be seeing a change in your disposition. Aggravated vata is considered to lead to mood swings and depression in the texts. When this is brought under control, you should see a change in your outlook on life.

4-moods

 

  1. You should see a positive change in your ability to digest food and your appetite. Vata aggravation brings about inconsistency in digestive ability and appetite. With vata under control you should be able to digest your food much better and should get hungry at roughly the same time and regularly every day.
  2. Higher energy and less aches and pains during the day – vata dosha has its seat in the joints, lower back and all organs of movement including the neck and shoulders. You should experience vitality and new life in all these areas and should wake up feeling fresh and full of energy.
  3. Change in hair and skin texture – when vata goes out of control, the first 2 systems to feel its effects are your skin and hair. You hair will become coarse, rough, brittle, have split ends and break easily when combed, when tugged or when wet. Your skin will also start looking rough, dull and can also start becoming much darker than usual. When your vata is under control, you should be able to observe lustre in your skin, an evening of skin tone and your hair should get much stronger. The elasticity of your hair should be slowly restored which means you should be able to comb / pull it without it snapping and breaking.

5-storonger-hair

 

Why is sesame oil used in an Abhyanga despite it having a pitta nature? Will it suit everyone?

All Ayurvedic texts are unanimous in their opinion of Sesame oil. It is considered the best taila for pacifying vata aggravation. As vata aggravation is the most common cause of most diseases (50%), sesame oil is used as the base taila in almost all skin and hair formulations. In fact when the texts do not specify the exact taila to be used and simply mention the word “taila” we take it to mean Sesame Taila as the word “Taila” is itself used interchangeably with sesame Oil.

6-sesame

We have mentioned that external application of taila requires a small amount of heat. This heat improves the penetrative ability of the taila and helps it enter the skin much faster. This heat also makes the action of the oil “sookshma” or minute and helps deliver the herbs to the body much faster.

 

This is why Sesame oil is preferred over oils like Eranda (Castor) even in applications for the hair. Despite the fact that castor oil is much more “cool” oil compared to Sesame which is required for hair and scalp applications, Castor is dense and not as Sookshma compared to sesame because of its cold nature. This means that castor does not work as fast as Sesame and is not as effective as sesame to deliver herbs to the body.

 

Depending on the formulations used, we can balance the nature of oils. However, it is important to note here that while Sesame is considered pitta in nature, it is not as pitta in nature like Mustard oil for example. So the Ayurvedic formulators were wise in recommending Sesame as the base oil of choice for tackling all Dosha based disorders.

 

The Krya Abhyanga Oil, for example is designed to control excess vata which is a common complaint and also balance Pitta. We do this by formulating our base oil sesame with herbs like Bala (Sida cordifolia), Sucukrika (Tamarind leaf), Nirgundi (Vitex negundo). Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) which are revered vata balancing and pacifying Ayurvedic herbs. Along with this we also use Pitta pacifying herbs like Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Vacha (Acorus calamus), Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia).

7-krya-bhyanga-oil

While sesame oil remains the base oil, the Krya abhyanga oil also uses small amounts of Coconut oil and Kokum butter for their pitta and vata pacifying properties and many skin benefits.

 

When in doubt, and you do not have access to a specially prepared abhyanga oil, sesame oil is the best and safest bet for you and will work for all constitutions. Ensure it is prepared properly as described below.

 

The 4 step Oil preparation process for Abhyanga to suit all prakritis (individual constitutions)

Once you have chosen your base sesame oil, it is important to prepare it so that it helps your body, aids dosha balance and restores health back to you.

 

The rationale behind this is simple: all Tailas and Snehas are kapha promoting. By this, we mean that their consumption or application aids growth and strength. However, this also means that if they are applied unprepared, you can quickly accumulate mucous in your body as kapha is also responsible for accumulating mucous in the body (along with accumulating strength).

  1. Coarsely pound ¼ teaspoon of cumin seeds (jeera) and 1 pepper corn. The idea is not to make a fine powder but to simply bruise the spices so that they begin releasing their properties into the oil

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  1. Warm your sesame oil in an iron vessel, preferably.
  1. Into the hot oil, add the coarsely pounded spices PLUS ¼ teaspoon of raw rice. The addition of the raw rice helps remove moisture if any from the oil and ensure it does not splutter or retain any traces of moisture when applied on skin. Ensure the spices do not char or burn in the oil. Once you see foam coming up in the oil and the jeera has become reddish and is swollen, it is time to filter out the oil.
  1. Filter out the rice and spices from the oil. To this hot oil add your Abhyanga oil of choice. Apply the oil mixture when bearably warm on your skin.

 

In Ayurveda, we do not reheat oil which has already gone through the Tila Paka process. This is why to apply warm oil we add a small quantity of plain warm base oil to our specially prepared Abhyanga oil and apply this mixture warm.

 

We recommend using pure Krya Abhyanga oil for your Abhyanga or sesame oil prepared as mentioned above. Please note that Sesame oil is a stop gap measure as it does not contain vata pacifying herbs.  A specially prepared Abhyanga Oil is much better in the long run for your Abhyanga as it does a much better job of dosha balance. 

 

Notes:

  1. If you are prone to severe kapha accumulation (frequents coughs and colds), you can also add a tiny piece of dried ginger to your coarse spice mixture.
  2. If you have any manner of skin allergy, psoriasis or eczema, skip the pepper and ginger and only add cumin (jeera) and raw rice to your oil.
  3. If you find this irritating, simply warm the oil with raw rice alone and use this as your Abhyanga base oil.

 

The difference between Keshya Abhyanga and the Abhyanga for the body

We have spoken before about the differences in the constitution of the head and the body. The head carries the brain and the eyes, both of which are organs made up of fatty tissues. Kapha dosha is an important dosha here which has helped create the fatty tissues that make up both the eyes and the brain.

 

Heat melts kapha, so Ayurveda believes that it is important to maintain coolness in the brain, scalp, head and eyes for the organs to function well. The activity of these organs by themselves increases Pitta or heat in the body. As we see, process information, think and use our intellect we use up vital nutrients and generate heat in the body. So Ayurveda says we should constantly cool this area and apply tailas which soothe the brain and eyes, and allow them to relax and rest.

9-eyes-cool

 

This is also the reason behind using only cool water to wash the eyes and lukewarm – body temperature water to wash the hair. Hot water should never be used above the neck area.

 

The taila designed for this area is therefore necessarily different. We use cooling, relaxing and soothing herbs like Bhringaraj, Brahmi, Nimba and Amla. All of these herbs balance pitta, help in the release of ushna (heat) from the scalp and cool and relax the brain and the eyes. In addition, as this area is high in kapha, we use sweet kapha promoting herbs that are useful in hair softness, and growth like Mulethi etc.

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This is why Krya recommends a separate oil for the head and the body. The same cooling oil when applied to the body will aggravate vata dosha further and could also upset Kapha dosha. The warming, Vata reducing oil of the body when applied to the head can increase Pitta and heat in the body, which is the very thing we are trying to control in this area which is already very Pitta prone.

 

End notes:

We hope this post and our previous post on the Abhyanga have helped clear some basic doubts on the Abhyanga. 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 as a tool 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 or call us on 075500-89090.

 

Krya products for Abhyanga:

  1. Krya products for Abhyanga:
    1. Babies
    a. Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & Ashwagandhab. Krya Ubtan for Baby girls with Rose & Himalayan Turmeric
    c. Krya Ubtan for Baby boys with Chamomile & Rosemary

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  1. 2. Kids
    a. Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & Ashwagandha
    b. Krya Kids Ubtan with Gotu Kola & Cassia flower

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  1. Men & Women
    a. Krya Abhyanga Oil with Vacha & Ashwagandha
    b. Krya Women’s Ubtan with Lotus Leaf & Lodhra
    c. Krya Men’s Ubtan with Vetiver & van Tulsi

abhyanga-system

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The quick crasher to an Ayurvedic Abhyanga: Krya tells you how you can incorporate this into your daily regimen

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

At the college where I spent 2 years learning about Business, we had an interesting term called “the crasher”. This was a quick, useful and practical download given by your classmates who attended every single class during the term. The crasher was essential if you had a) not attended too many classes and b) wanted to know just the right stuff to help you pass. At this point I am not going to discuss whether I was giving or receiving the crashers and we will move on to the subject at hand: the Abhyanga. If you have been reading our posts, you would have seen the importance Ayurveda gives to this practice.
The Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic Dinacharya – a practice that should be done Dhina (daily) for good health. An Abhyanga is advocated for almost everyone in Ayurveda – infants, young children, men and women.

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An abhyanga is prohibited for the following groups of people:
1. Pregnant women
2. If you are running a temperature, have a digestive disorder or are acutely ill
3. 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)
4. Immediately after a meal

A daily abhyanga should not be started cold turkey and may not even be possible for most people. Krya recommends a weekly or a bi-weekly abhyanga for adults and children and a daily abhyanga for infants under a year of age. If a daily abhyanga can be given for children upto 2 years this will greatly aid their muscle development.

Ayurveda prescribes Tuesdays and Fridays for Abhyangas for Women and Wednesdays and Saturdays for Abhyangas for Men.

The Ayurvedic secret to youthfulness and health – the 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
3. Improvement in digestive ability – reduced wind, reduced feeling of constipation, reduced feeling of incomplete bowel movements
4. Better mental sharpness and clarity – you can go on longer without feeling tired, fatigued or irritable
5. 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-insomnia

What is the best oil for skin beauty and health? – Krya weighs in

Sesame oil is the base oil of choice for an Abhyanga. It can be used throughout the year and is beneficial for different dosha types in different ways. Because of its slightly warming nature, it helps bring down Vata dosha which is cold and rough. It is a very good “anupan” (medium) for many of the Vata reducing herbs Ayurveda recommends in an Abhyanga. It also helps liquefy Ama and dirt very easily from the body during the process of the Abhyanga – which ensures that these toxins leave your body quickly.

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Coconut oil is not the best choice of oil for an Abhyanga. It is kapha promoting and if not prepared properly can lead to mucous accumulation in the body. Mustard is not suitable for use in summer or for people with sensitive skin. Castor oil is too thick and cooling for the purpose of the Abhyanga. Olive oil, Argan Oil and other foreign oils have not been studied and classified as well as native oils in our Ayurvedic texts. So it is best to use these oils very sparingly for the Abhyanga as we do not completely understand the effect their use can have on your doshas.

5-local-oils
The Ayurvedic texts advise using oil which has been heated well and has naturally cooled to a warm temperature for an ideal Abhyanga. The warmth of the oil allows for better skin penetration and also helps in the trapping, liquefaction and expelling of toxins from the body.

It is best not to directly heat specially prepared Ayurvedic oils like the Krya Abhyanga Oil (as this could make these oils lose some of their nutritive properties). Instead, please heat plain sesame oil and add the specially prepared Ayurvedic oil to this hot oil. Apply the oil mixture when bearably warm on your body.

Ensure the Abhyanga is done as close as possible to Sunrise, ideally within the first hour of sunrise. This ensures that the body is given the whole day to release aggravated doshas, and that the temperature of the day does not make the process of abhyanga uncomfortable for you.
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Keep vata dosha at a minimum during the Abhyanga:
As the very purpose of the Abhyanga is to reduce excess Vata dosha, keep the influence of Vata dosha to a minimum while doing your Abhyanga. So switch off your fan or your air conditioner, close the windows and do the Abhyanga in a closed room where there is no draught or cold seeping in.
Do not talk too much at this time, or use electronic equipment like your laptop, phone, e-reader as all of these aggravate Vata dosha.

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A strong vigorous massage is the key to a good Abhyanga ,not a long soak

An Ayurvedic Abhyanga is not a gentle, relaxing massage. It is considered equivalent to physical exercise which is why you are not supposed to strain yourself after an Abhyanga with more exercise. The Ayurvedic abhyanga uses brisk, up-down movements to generate heat over the surface of the skin, relax the muscles and allow for deep and fast penetration of the Abhyanga oil.

Special attention is to be paid to all the seats of vata like the ears, waist, hips, lower back, legs and all the joints like the wrists, ankles, shoulders, fingers etc. These points should be well oiled and rotated well to release any excess vata immediately.

Small bones and organ systems like the fingers and toes often store tremendous amounts of vata, especially for those of us who use laptops and smart phones. These systems should be massaged well to remove fatigue and release excess vata dosha.

8-fingers-and-toes
The feet are also paid special attention in an Ayurvedic abhyanga. The feet store tremendous amounts of pain and excess vata dosha and are the key to managing insomnia and fatigue especially if you have been facing a lot of stress, poor eating and late nights. This is such an important part of the abhyanga that there is a special term for this: the pada abhyanga. For those with very high vata dosha, a daily pada abhyanga before sleeping every night can be extremely beneficial.

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The end point of an abhyanga is that your body should begin generating Sweda / Sweat – this is a sign of toxin elimination and removal of excess ama from the body which has been liquefied by the oil, the herbs and the strong massage.

You can aid Sweda generation by doing extremely light work after the abhyanga – like sweeping a small portion of your house, or doing any physical chore to aid the generation of heat and toxin removal. Do not do this light work if you generally exercise very regularly, are extremely tired physically or have been under severe stress.

An ideal oil soaking time after an Abhyanga is 10 – 15 minutes, especially for Abhyanga beginners.

Snana and skin cleansing after an abhyanga to ensure toxin removal – and the myth of the Ayurvedic soap
To completely cleanse the toxins that are flowing out of the body after the Abhyanga, Ayurveda recommends a Snana with a specific set of herbs, grains and lentils. The lentils and grains chosen are chosen for their granular and dirt dislodging capacity, to help literally wedge out the dead cells, debris and toxins that have arisen from the body after the abhyanga. The herbs chosen differ as per the season and the body type. Pitta reducing herbs like Chandana, Usheera (Vetiver) etc, are usually used in summer for example. A soap is not prescribed in Ayurveda for any manner of skin care, including post abhyanga . For post Abhyanga only an Ayurvedic ubtan is ideal as it is able to physically dislodge dirt, debris, dead cells and toxins from the body.
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Use the Ayurvedic ubtan by applying it in a circular cleansing motion on your body. The grains should not feel too gentle nor should they be too harsh or scratchy on skin. They should be able to remove excess oil from the abhyanga and the ama generated without making your skin too dry. Certain base grains are inappropriate in cold weather – for example besan and channa are not good cold weather grains and can make dry skin even drier if used inappropriately.

10-besan

Ayurveda recommends using warm water for a Snana post an abhyanga for the portion of the body below the neck. For the head and hair, water should be at the same temperature as the rest of your body (so it should not feel either cool or warm on your head). This is extremely important to ensure there is no damage to the brain, eyes or the nerves from the use of water at an inappropriate temperature.

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.

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.
1-afternoon-nap

The food on the day of the Abhyanga should be freshly cooked, light, warm and easy to digest. Most importantly it should be eaten on time so that there is no strain on the digestive system.

End notes:
We hope this Abhyanga crasher has helped clear some basic doubts on the Abhyanga. 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 as a tool 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 or call us on 075500-89090.

Krya products for Abhyanga:
1. Babies
a. Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & Ashwagandha

b. Krya Ubtan for Baby girls with Rose & Himalayan Turmeric
c. Krya Ubtan for Baby boys with Chamomile & Rosemary

11-baby-ubtan

2. Kids
a. Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & Ashwagandha
b. Krya Kids Ubtan with Gotu Kola & Cassia flower

12-kids-ubtan

3. Men & Women
a. Krya Abhyanga Oil with Vacha & Ashwagandha
b. Krya Women’s Ubtan with Lotus Leaf & Lodhra
c. Krya Men’s Ubtan with Vetiver & van Tulsi

abhyanga-system

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An acne program that works – natural, authentic and holistic. Krya tells you how

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Reading Time: 13 minutes

“Hello Team Krya,
Hope you’re well. Sorry for the late reply. The anti acne face wash has been working brilliantly for me. It’s no less than magic. Skin feels AMAZING after it. Regarding my hair, my existing hair feels much stronger now. Regrowth is still taking time. I haven’t been consistent with the abhyanga so far.. Thank you so much “ UN, Mumbai

Here is a bit of background to this email. UN is a young aspiring model who lives in Mumbai and had gotten in touch with us for a skin and hair consultation in August. He was exhibiting the classic signs of high Pitta – acne and hair thinning and was alarmed at the state of his skin and hair, given his profession. He was put on a pitta balancing diet with suggested regimen, lifestyle modifications along with a series of Krya products designed for pitta balance.

His email to us reporting drastic improvement in his skin is extremely encouraging – it means we are on the right track and that his dosha balance has begun improving. If the regimen is fully adopted, we should be able to see much stronger results on his hair as well.

What is acne?

Western science treats acne as a skin disorder where the hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oily secretions from the skin (sebum). Depending upon how often this acne is picked, and the dust and pollution around the sufferer, the skin will have blackheads, whiteheads, be greasy, and may have scarring as well.

what-is-acne

Western cosmetics have also evolved to support this theory: so people are classified by the oil production on their face as those with oily skin, normal skin and dry skin. As the pimples are filled by sebum and dead cells, all external synthetic anti acne cosmetics focus on only 3 goals:

  1. Dry up the oil secretions on the surface so that the pimple is drained using alcohol based toners, and surfactant based washes
  2. Aggressively sanitise the skin so that there is no bacterial contamination of the skin
  3. Use highly astringent substances to give the skin a feeling of being “cool and non greasy”

The problem with cosmetic approaches to acne

Benzoyl peroxide is a common chemical used in anti-acne products. It is a known skin, eye and respiratory irritant. There are also a few concerns about its eco toxicity and its effect on other important organ systems within the body.

Triclosan is another common ingredient used in anti acne products for its anti bacterial effect. There is growing research to suggest that the increased use of Triclosan is giving rise to the growth of superbugs – bacteria resistant to antibiotics. A few studies also indicate that Triclosan could be a thyroid and hormone disruptor.

Oral contraceptives have also been used widely to treat acne. This has been linked to semi permanent and permanent changes in hormone secretion and birth defects if wrongly used in pregnant or lactating women.

synthetic-toners

The use of alcohol extracts in the toners sold for acne prone skin is also extremely troubling – besides being an environmental and respiratory hazard, this substrate is extremely drying and aging on skin. With constant use it upsets the natural sebaceous secretions on the skin, and dries out permanently areas of the skin where sebaceous secretions are fewer causing the early appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Similar effects are seen in the use of salicylic acid based anti acne products – topical application typically results in dry skin and skin darkening especially when used by people with a darker skin type.

What is acne according to Ayurveda?

Ayurveda treats acne as a pitta disorder where pitta dosha is vitiated. This could arise as a result of the person’s prakriti (individual constitution), the climate they live in (tropical climates tend to have a pitta aggravating effect), food eaten (sharp, spicy, salty, sour food tends to aggravate pitta dosha), nature of work (high level of stress, focus, aggression required).

tropical-climate

As the root cause of acne is identified as out of control Pitta dosha, an Ayurvedic company like Krya will attempt to correct this dosha imbalance by changes to the food, changes to the way you conduct your life, additions to your daily regimen, and changes to the products you use.

Pitta dosha deconstructed

In the Pancha mahabutha theory of Ayurveda, Pitta dosha which is made up of Agni (fire) is usually held responsible for the outbreak of acne. The seats of Pitta in the body are the Amasaya (stomach), sveda (sweat), Lasika (watery discharges from soft tissues and membranes like Lymph), Rudhira (blood), rasa (the nutrients absorbed by the body after digestion), Drk (the eyes) and Sparshana (the skin).

properties-of-pitta-dosha

Do make a note of all these diverse organs which are controlled by Pitta, because we will soon see the connection between what you eat, the nutrients you absorb, your eye sight and the state of your skin.

The Ashtanga Hridaya describes the qualities of Pitta dosha thus:

“Pittam sneha teekshano ushna laghu vishram sara dravam”

“The characteristics of Pitta dosha are Sneha (oiliness), Teekshana (sharp and intense), Ushna (Warm or hot), Laghu (light), Vishra (offensive or strong odour), Sara (fast moving) and Drava (liquid like).

Skin and hair characteristics of people with high Pitta dosha

As Pitta is oily and warm, people with high pitta dosha will have oily skin and hair with a feeling of heat. This means they will feel increases in temperature much more. Pitta is the seat of liquid secretions and offensive odours, so people with high Pitta dosha will sweat much more than others and may often have strong or intense body odours.

Pitta is also fast moving so all fast moving skin disorders come under Pitta’s influence: this include redness or itching that spreads on skin like prickly heat, measles, chickenpox and acne.

Pitta dosha affects hair by burning it and thinning it down and burning out its natural colour. So if your pitta dosha is high, you will grey faster, you will start balding faster and your hair will also thin much faster.

symptoms-of-pitta-dosha

The connection between your food and acne

Pitta dosha comprises of 5 types of Pitta which operate in different parts of the body using the intensive metabolic activity of Agni to give the body its vital nutrients. In acne we are concerned with 2 important types of Pitta Dosha.

The Bhrajaka Pitta dosha is located in the skin. This form of Pitta dosha gives skin what we are looking for in all skin products – true lustre and radiance from within.

But here is the key to understanding how Pitta dosha operates. The master key to Pitta dosha is the Pachaka Pitta dosha. The Pachaka Pitta dosha operates in your stomach and its key role is to digest your food and separate the useful part of your food which can be reabsorbed and separate the useless part which gets excreted.

The Pachaka pitta in your stomach, nourishes and kindles the other forms of Pitta including the Bhrajaka pitta which affects your skin.

Food and digestion: the master key to acne and greying

If Pachaka pitta, which handles digestion in your stomach is the key to all pitta dosha we must understand how we can influence Pachaka pitta through our food and our lifestyle.

For people with a predominantly pitta constitution, the Agni in their body is very high and intense. Think of it like a forest fire which rages out of control if left unchecked. So the key to controlling the disorders of high pitta lies in controlling the Pachaka pitta in the stomach.

4 diet changes to control acne:

  1. Reduce the intensity of Pitta by reducing Pitta increasing foods: – eliminate or reduce highly salty, highly spicy and highly sour foods which include:
    1. Red and green chillies

red-chillies

b. Curd

curd-rice

c. Tamarind, Kokum, Tomato, Raw mango

d. Foods that are high in salt – papad, wafers, commercially produced salty snacks, commercial chips

e. Foods that are high in salt – preserves, pickles

pickles

f. Pitta increasing oil seeds – sesame, sesame oil

g. Pitta increasing pulses – Tuvar / arhar dal (Pigeon peas)

h. Pitta increasing sugars – jaggery

  1. Reduce the aggravation of Pitta by feeding it on time
    1. Eat strictly on time at the same time everyday
    2. Eat with the sun – follow the sun cycle so that you eat when digestive power is aided by the sun. If you eat lunch at 2:30 pm for example, you have to rely on your internal Pitta dosha to supply a high amount of digestive fire power. If you eat lunch at noon on the other hand, the sun will help your internal pitta, so energy is not depleted from your body

midday-lunch

c. Do not skip or delay meals – Pitta will rage on, feeding on your soft tissues leading to disorders like ulcers in advanced cases or a feeling of light headedness

  1. Add Desi (native) Cow Ghee
    1. Desi Cow Ghee is the primary Ayurvedic food weapon to control Pitta dosha. It calms down agni in the body and channels it by reducing its intensity but keeping up its strength

desi-cow-ghee

b. Desi Cow Ghee is light and aids digestion so helps the job of Pitta

c. Desi Cow Ghee is also tridoshic – so it acts without weakening the other doshas

  1. Add foods that are cooling and opposite to that of Pitta dosha
    1. A small amount of bitters help calm down Pitta – this is why Ayurvedic solutions for acne use bitters like Neem. Similarly eating a small amount of bitter foods like bitter gourds are very useful in bringing down Pitta

bitters

b. Add cooling foods to the diet: Aged Mung dal, the liberal use of coconut, mucilaginous vegetables like okra, ash gourd, pumpkin, and beetroot, native greens are all useful vegetables to add in Pitta disorders. Ensure the vegetables are pesticide free, fresh and in season.

okra

The way we live our life can itself be aggravating Pitta dosha. So we will see next the regimen changes we advise when Pitta dosha is aggravated.

Regimen changes to make in Pitta disorders:

  1. Regular hair oiling – One of the important seats of Pitta is the Sira (head), and this is the seat which generates Ushna (heat) by the activity of the eyes and the brain. When this Pitta is left uncontrolled, it not only greys hair prematurely, causes thinning and balding, but it also affects vision. Apart from directly affecting the hair and the eyes, excess pitta in this area ultimately affects digestion, Pachaka Pitta and therefore your skin. The hair oil chosen should be formulated with pitta cooling and pitta channelling herbs so that it effectively traps the constant pitta being generated and releases it from the scalp. Please note: that a mineral oil based hair oil SHOULD NOT be used on the head as it increases pitta dosha.

pitta-reducing-hair-oil

  1. Weekly / Bi-weekly Abhyanga – The practice of a regular abhyanga unclogs the srotas of excess oil secretions, and gives the heat generated by the body an effective medium to be trapped and come out. The process of the abhyanga generates heat, helping unclog blocked skin pores and removing dead cells, micro organisms and excess sebum. Oil application may seem contrarian when viewed from the Western lens – if we see the problem of acne as being simply oily skin, then oil application seems unjustified. But if we view acne through the lens of Ayurveda and understand aggravated Pitta as the problem, then an abhyanga is perfect. When done with the right oil and in the right manner, an abhyanga traps excess pitta immediately and effectively and leaves the body in a state of balance. Regular abhyanga practitioners will find that their skin and hair improves in appearance, their digestion improves and their moods become much more balanced. This is the magic of the abhyanga!

abhyanga

 

  1. Practice of meditation to calm down the body and bring down high stress levels – Meditation and pranayama (along with yoga) are extremely useful in controlling the high focus, high stress and high tension brought on by aggravated Pitta. The mind becomes clearer and sharper and is able to work better when given a restful and healthier environment.

meditation

  1. Reduce eye strain: As the eyes are also an important seat of Pitta, we advise reducing eye strain by following a few Ayurvedic methods.
    1. Start your day by rinsing your eyes in clear cold water. You can blink your eyes rapidly in cool water held in your palm.
    2. Gaze into the horizon around sunrise and sunset. The rays of the rising sun at dawn especially are very good for the entire body and the eyes

dawn

c. Gaze into the rays of the moon on Poornima – walking on bare sand or the earth on full moon days after moon rise is extremely beneficial for the body especially to cool aggravated Pitta dosha

full-moon

d. Take a screen break every hour and give your legs and eyes a change – walk over to your friend’s desk or better still, walk around the block post 3 pm to give yourself a break

e. While E-readers are better for the environment, they will strain your eyes much more compared to physical books. Ensure atleast half your reading is on physical books

printed-books

f. Read less in artificial light and at night. Utilise natural, unshielded light (unfiltered through glass panes or windows) much more for work that involves your eyes.

Ayurvedic treatment of Acne and acne scars

We have seen how Ayurveda diagnoses and treats acne, so you should expect a different approach from Krya’s anti acne products as well. We have seen how western cosmetics superficially attack acne. The focus there is on removing excess oil through surfactants and alcohol, controlling sebaceous production and the use of anti bacterial agents to control the spread of bacteria.

We have seen the environmental and personal dangers behind the ingredients used on these products. Apart from these, most acne sufferers find that their skin becomes patchy, dull, unbalanced and loses its radiance with these solutions. Faster aging of skin is also a common complaint with the rapid appearance of wrinkles and fine lines with constant product use.

The most differentiated aspect of a Krya anti acne face wash is that it is one of our most gentle face wash products among a range which is already very gentle. This is very different from how western cosmetics are formulated – a synthetic anti acne face wash will usually be very drying and stripping on skin.

gentle-face-wash

Why does Krya treat acne prone skin extremely gently?

Krya follows the Ayurvedic rule of opposites when treating acne which is a Pitta prone disorder. Pitta is strong, intense, sharp and rapid. We formulate our acne products to be cool, gentle, mild and soft on skin.

So you will find that the Krya anti acne face wash is very soft textured, very gentle on skin, cleanses very mildly and does not provoke any intense or adverse reaction. Among all our products it is the most gentle and healing.

Natural herbs to combat acne and reducing scarring

The Krya anti acne skin products use our special patent-pending production process and herbs recommended by Ayurveda to work on acne prone skin. Manjishta (Indian madder) is one of the herbs we use extensively in Krya’s anti acne products. Manjishta is a gentle, bitter herb that is renowned for enhancing complexion and radiance.

herb-enriched-krya-acne-products

Acharya Charaka describes Manjishta as a Jwarahara (reduces fever) and Acharya Sushruta describes it as a Pittasamaka (balances Pitta). All the Ayurvedic texts have described Manjishta as a herb that enhances complexion and radiance of skin. It is a famous Rakta Shodaka herb (blood purifying herb) in Ayurveda and Siddha. When used in our products, Manjishta improves micro circulation of the skin, cleanses well, draws out toxins and evens out scarring and complexion with regular use.

We use Manjishta in 2 ways in our acne products – Manjishta forms part of our medicated lentil base where we make a special herb decoction for acne into which our lentils and grains are steeped in for a day. In this way, the base lentils and herbs are charged with the medicinal properties of the herbs used in the medicated decoction.

patent-pending

Apart from this, Manjishta is also used separately in the formulation as an ingredient.

Lodhra (Symplocus racemosa) is another famous Ayurvedic skin repair herb that we use in the Krya Anti acne products. Lodhra is astringent, cooling and a tonic Ayurvedic herb. It helps gives firmness to skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and helps reduce pitta in skin.

Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) is another renowned Ayurvedic herb used to reduce acne in Krya’s anti acne products. It is widely known as a drug given to improve cardiovascular health without side effects. Arjuna is an astringent Ayurvedic herb and is also classified in the list of “Udarda prashamana” herbs – that are used to treat certain skin disorders and infestations like ring worm. Being cooling in nature, it balances pitta dosha. We use it in Krya’s anti acne products to bring down the inflammatory effect of acne, shrink down pimple volume and cool aggravated pitta. It also helps treat minor skin infections which may arise in recurrent or cystic acne.

arjuna-1

These are just a small sample of the 31 Ayurvedic anti acne herbs used in the Krya Anti acne face mask and the 19 Ayurvedic anti acne herbs used in the Krya anti acne face wash. Details of both of these products can be found on the Krya website.

In addition to our acne products, here are some associated Krya products that will help bring down acne, and balance pitta dosha as described above:

  1. Krya Classic Hair Oil with Amla & Bhringaraj to cool the head, reduce pitta in the eyes and the scalp

classic-hair-oil

  1. Krya Abhyanga Oil with Vacha & Ashwagandha for biweekly Abhyanga to reduce overall body pitta

The final pimple solution from Ayurveda

Through this post, you should be able to understand how the Ayurvedic treatment for acne is unique, different, well rounded and holistic. The difference lies in understanding the root cause of acne unlike western treatments which are merely superficial.

When viewed as a pitta disorder, the solution to acne becomes multifold: the use of high quality, timely food which is right for you, a balancing regimen that brings down dosha imbalance through corrected behaviour and the use of high quality, and natural herb filled products that are formulated based on Ayurvedic first principles.

It is no wonder that our consumer, UN, saw an almost magical cure to his yearlong acne problem. In fact he is also seeing changes in the health of his hair by just working on reducing his Pitta holistically.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post and also hope you were able to appreciate the difference in approach Krya followed when treating hair and skin problems. If you too have battled acne , scarring, stubborn pimples or are alarmed at rapidly greying hair or hair fall, and would like to consult us, do call us on 075500-89090 or write to us.

As we often see and say at Krya, true beauty comes from wellness, and wellness alone.

 

 

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

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

rule-of-3

 

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

The Ashtanga Hridyam describes the qualities of vata dosha thus:

“Tatra ruksho laghu sheetah, khara sukshmachalo nilah”

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

qualities-of-vata

 

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

 

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

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

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

an-ayurvedic-bath

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

 

Change 2: Modify your Regimen to reduce vata imbalance:

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

abhyanga

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

cut-down-stimulation

 

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

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

desi-cow-ghee-for-vata

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

fresh-food

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

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

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

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Ayurvedic Tejas – Krya Abhyanga Series

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

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

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

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

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

oct-19th-2016-blog-post-abhyanga-1

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

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

 

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

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

blog-post-10

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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