Don’t kill the Dead Sea : on biological conservation & harvesting resources responsibly

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

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A crucial but unspoken part about running a Botanical company is displaying an appreciation for and sensitivity towards conservation. India contains literally thousands of medicinal herbs which are great for skin and hair. However, a few of these herbs are much more famous among consumers and therefore make a product easier to market or sell.

 

It will come as no surprise that the more famous a herb gets, the more vulnerable the plant becomes to over exploitation or stripping.

 

A case in point is Sandal and Red Sanders. Both these trees are very vulnerable to smuggling and over exploitation. Over exploitation means that there is simply too much careless logging happening of the trees without enough time and space being given to conserve the existing population. And when we continue to demand these trees, we permit unlicensed cutting, rampant smuggling and fuel a parallel economy where human rights are strongly affected.

 

This is why at Krya, despite easy availability of unlicensed Red Sandal, we refuse to use it in our products. We do not want our money and your money to support illegal trade and smuggling of this vulnerable plant.

 

We do use small amounts of Sandal in our products. This is purchased from a government authorised license holder who is permitted to log restricted amounts of Sandal. This means that we get Sandal only in small quantities and the costs that we get it at are extremely high. This also means that we get the genuine Sandal. Which has been logged responsibly under checks and balances. And given the Sandal is a rare and expensive herb, we learn as a company to use it judiciously, only in the appropriate formulations where Sandal is strongly required – therefore the system keeps everyone in check.

 

We have strongly resisted using imported materials in Krya, despite their obvious value for skin and hair. There was a time when Dead Sea minerals were a huge “in” resource to be used in skin and hair care formulations. It stands to reason that the Dead Sea is a finite resource. If every single person in the world wanted to treat their hair and skin with the minerals from there, we would not have a Dead Sea left.

 

Similar is the case with soil based products. Green French clay and Moroccan Rhassoul clay are both extremely nutrient rich soils that are beneficial for skin and hair and can be used for different complaints. However, this is soil that is endemic to a particular region and has been created by a unique set of factors that is specific to that region. For example, French green clay was first identified in rock quarries in southern France. Their unique green colour comes from iron oxides that occur naturally and decomposed kelp seaweed and algal plant matter giving the clay its natural tint. The process of forming this clay is extremely old – and the clay samples we get today could be tens of thousands of years old. IF we simply take this clay away, from across the world, we are depleting the local environment of this natural soil WITHOUT doing anything to add it back to the soil.

 

The same maxim holds for Moroccan Rhassoul clay too.

 

There are 4 principles that should be held onto when using natural resources:

 

  1. They should be harvested carefully with a view of ensuring that the plant / animal / mineral being harvested is not stripped and decimated from its natural surroundings. The harvesting technique should ensure rotation so that we give enough time for this resource to re-generate so we are not depleting it by our actions.
  2. They should be used carefully and not frivolously. Every ingredient must be used in the right quantity, not wasted and should go towards treating the ailment the ingredient helps cure.
  3. We should use easily renewable plat resources first – this list includes fruits and flowers which are meant for harvesting. This list also includes plants that are easy to cultivate, have a short life cycle and do not depend upon very strong environmental forces to form (erg: volcanic soil, dead sea minerals, Shilajit, etc)
  4. The use of ingredients must be LOCAL and SEASONAL. This is a maxim given in all the Ayurvedic texts which state that herbs which are LOCAL to you tend to work best for you. So even if “French green clay” or “Moroccan Argan oil” sounds great, what will probably work best for us in India are Coconut or Sesame Oil and any one of our medicinal herbs.

 

If we harvest and use herbs and resources as per the above 4 principles, we will not over exploit or drain our resources in one area.

 

The next time you shop for a skin / hair care product and it is advertised as containing imported ingredients like Dead Sea Minerals, Moroccans Argan Oil or rare Amazonian herbs, do consider buying something local instead. And when you are buying something local, and it advertised as containing extremely rare and expensive and hard to procure ingredients like Red Sandal, Shilajit or Saffron, check for its authenticity and legality as well.

 

Remember, we don’t just buy. We vote and send out a statement about the ethical, business and moral practices we would like to see around us. .

 

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Eating for Good Health – An Ayurvedic Perspective : Part 1

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

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

1. universally healthy

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

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

3. gradual is better

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.damp agni

 

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

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

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

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

7.cheese

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

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

 

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

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

8.putrefecation

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

10.idly

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


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

9-ubtan

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


 

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Ayurvedic superfoods – The Foxnut (Phool Makhana)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

What you see in the picture is 2 handfuls of fox nuts (Phool Makhana) being roasted with 1 – 2 teaspoons of ghee. The result is a very crunchy, crisp and wonderful native Super food which has many wonderful health giving properties.

Phool makhana roasted

Euryale ferox is described in Ayurveda as having properties very similar to Padma beeja (Lotus seeds) – this explains why the common term for Euryale ferox, a species of water lily is referred to as “Phool Makhana” a term more common to lotus and its by products.

 

Because it is a dietary powerhouse, the Fox nut is slowly making a comeback in India mainly for its versatile nature, its crispy texture when shallow fried and its bland taste which makes it suitable to be transformed into both sweet and salty dishes.

 

In earlier times, many of these uncommon foods would find their way into our homes at 2 times: as a vrat / upwas food and in Prasad. Even now, in traditional homes in India, during vrat (fasting) for Navratri or even Ekadashi, Fox nut is eaten instead of cereals and grains. It is also a very common auspicious food / Prasad, offered in Devi Mandirs in India, where it is soaked and sweetened and offered to devotees as Prasad.

 

Makhana is considered very similar in property to Padma Beeja (lotus seeds) and has been described in many Ayurvedic texts including from ancient times. The Charaka Samhita, compiled atleast 2500 years ago, classifies Makhana in the “shaka varga” (vegetable varieties) and classifies it as an aquatic “Shaka” (vegetable). Ayurvedic scholars like Professor PV Sharma opine that Makhana has been referred to even in the Atharva Veda as “Andika” an aquatic plant.

 

Ayurvedic properties of Makhana:

Makhana is said to have a “Madhura” (sweet) rasa after digestion and is described as “Sheeta veerya” (having cold potency), “Guru” (heavy in nature) and “Snigdha” (oily or unctuous). It balances Vata and Pitta dosha because of these properties.

 

It is considered “Vrushya” (vigour improving and an aphrodisiac), Balya (promotes strength and improves immunity), Grahi (absorbent and reduces watery diarrhoea), and “Garba Samsthapaka” – ensures a safe pregnancy.

Nutritional Profile of Makhana:

Makhana is rich in calcium and is said to have calming properties to bring down restlessness and insomnia (both classical vata aggravation symptoms). Makhana has a very high free radical scavenging activity and is a good anti oxidant. Makhana is said to contain both anti inflammatory and anti aging flavenoids and an anti aging enzyme that helps repair damaged protein structures within the body. Besides this, the seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc.

 

Contraindications for Makhana consumption:

Makhana should not be consumed if Kapha is very high, if the person is already constipated (as it increases constipation) and in any bloating disease.
Who can consume Makhana?

Everyone except the above set of people. Makhana is very safe and is indicated for consumption in pregnancy and lactation and for children. Makhana is also a good food to consume if you are trying to conceive (for both Men and women) as it improves fertility and chances of conception.

Makhana is also a good food to consume if you are showing signs of excess pitta (premature greying, hair thinning, high BP, stress) and if you are showing signs of excess vata (insomnia, restlessness, inability to sleep, fluctuating appetite, weight loss, dry hair and skin).

Makhana is also a good food to introduce to growing children. It can be an excellent substitute for unhealthy fried food like chips and popcorn.

 

Makhana preparation:

To improve the Vata and Pitta quenching properties of Makhana, we usually shallow fry the Makhana in ghee. You need to use 1 – 2 teaspoons of ghee and simply move the Makhana across your frying pan – in 2 – 3 minutes, the Makhana becomes very crisp and crunchy and ready for addition into any food.

 

Suggestions for including Makhana in the diet:

  • As a quick breakfast cereal substitute: Makhana makes a great substitute to hollow processed breakfast cereals. After preparing it as suggested above, you can eat it dunked in warm milk. This is a surprisingly filling and satisfying breakfast.
  • As an addition to any cooked Indian breakfast dish(Upma, Poha) or even rice dish (Biryani Pulao),– you can add prepared Makhana once your main dish is done to amp up the nutritional content of the dish
  • Makhana also makes a great addition to any Raita when it is semi powdered
  • As a snack substitute to Potato Chips and Popcorn

 

As we have mentioned, the key to achieving good health, great skin and great hair is 3 pronged: The right food, Right Regimen and the right set of products work TOGETHER to give you the results that you need.

Hope you found this post interesting and insightful. I also hope this post inspired you to introduce the Phool Makhana into your diet.

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Ayurvedic herbs: Properties of Durva (Cynodon dactylon)

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

It is festival season in India, and many of us have been celebrating Vinayaka / Ganesh Chaturti . This is a festival dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed remover of obstacles, who ushers good beginnings and prosperity. One of the herbs used to worship Lord Ganesha (apart from Modaks!) is Durva Grass. So today’s blog post will talk about this sacred herb and how we use it in Krya for our skin care oils.
1. divine durva

The legend behind the use of Durva for Lord Ganesha:

The word Durva can be broken into 2 parts – Duhu + avam and the words can be translated to mean “ that which brings that which is far away, closer”.

Durva grass (arugampul) is probably familiar to those who worship Lord Ganesha. This sacred grass is used in the worship of many deities but is especially used when praying to Lord Ganesha.

Legend has it that the demon Analasura caused havoc in the 3 worlds and emitted fire from his eyes. The Gods prayed to Lord Ganesha and asked him to save them from Analasura. In the battlefield, Analasura attacked Lord Ganesha with fireballs. Lord Ganesha assumed his vishwaroopam and ate the demon in a single swallow.

Having eaten Analasura, Lord Ganesha’s body started to increase in heat and he became very uncomfortable. First the moon came to help Lord Ganesha and stood on his head. This was not enough to quench the heat emitted by Analasura. Then Lord Vishnu gave Lord Ganesha his sacred lotus to hold. Even this was not enough. Then Lord Shiva lent Lord Ganesha his snake and tied it around his belly to help release the excess heat. Even this did not help.

2.restless ganesha

 

Finally a few Maha Rishis came to Lord Ganesha’s rescue with 21 sets of Durva Grass and placed it together on his head. The Durva Grass was able to do what the Moon, Vishnu’s sacred Lotus and Shiva’s sacred Cobra were not able to achieve together – it brought down the excess heat generated by the demon Analasura from Lord Ganesha’s body.

3.relaxed ganesha


The medicinal properties of Durva Grass:

Mythologically and in Ayurveda and Siddha lore, the Durva grass is revered for its spiritual and medicinal properties.

Charaka refers to Durva grass as one of the 10 great complexion promoters. Ayurvedic texts refer to Durva grass as “Sahasra virya” denoting its multi fold strengths and versatility in use. It is considered complexion enhancing, astringent, moisturizing, demulcent and cooling for the skin. Durva is also considered very good for the eyes and is therefore regarded as a good ophthalmic drug.

4.durva grass

 

The Ayurvedic texts recommend use of the Durva in many skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema and even pitta induced skin conditions like prickly heat, etc as a direct paste for skin.

Because of this pitta reducing, wound healing and skin restoring property, Durva is the key ingredient in many classical Ayurvedic skin preparations like Durvadi Tailam which is used for external application in severe skin diseases and large wounds.

Durva at Krya:

We use Durva in our skin oils which are meant for dry, severely dry , and skin with disorders like eczema, psoriasis, etc.

For example, The Durva grass is a key herb in the Krya Moisture Plus skin Oil. As you are aware, we do not make post bath moisture products at Krya, as we follow the traditional medicine led philosophy of moisturizing the skin before a bath. This is because of 2 deep reasons: Traditional medicine generally considered that skin functions best when it is left to breathe without anything blocking the pores. So moisturisation is usually done as a pre-bath activity.

The moisturisation process is usually done with oil, again for a few reasons: oil has the texture that allows a variety of massage movements which in the process helps eliminate toxins and improves micro circulation. Also depending upon the oil, there is also the possibility of balancing the doshas which leads to better health.

Durva in Krya Moisture Plus Skin Oil:

The Krya Moisture plus skin oil has been formulated for vata prakriti skin. This skin tends to be generally normal to dry and can feel tight, dry and uncomfortable in cold and low humid weather. The oil uses a combination of rasayana, complexion enhancing and demulcent herbs. Durva and Dadima (the pomegranate fruit) are the lead ingredients in this oil and they are supported by other skin regenerative and repair herbs like Kushta, Ashwagandha and Brahmi.
5.moisture plus skin oil

The Krya Moisture plus oil is a very skin nourishing and moisturizing oil. Our consumers also use this oil as a night cream and a regenerative face serum before they go to sleep at night. Regular use enhances the complexion, makes the skin supple and soft and evens out skin tone.

Durva in Krya nourishing baby massage oils (Lemongrass variant and Palmarosa variant)

Durva is also a key herb used in the Krya nourishing baby massage oil – in both variants. This baby oil was developed specifically for children with chronically dry or irritation prone skin. Such children would not be able to use the Krya traditional Baby Massage oil because of the high use of stimulating and warming herbs with the product.

The Krya nourishing baby massage oil uses 19, powerful, skin rejuvenating Ayurvedic herbs including Vata (Sacred Banyan), Udumbura (Sacred Indian Fig), and Ashwattha (Sacred Peepul). This is apart from the prominent use of fresh Durva grass Swarasa (juice) and Durva grass kalpa (fresh herb paste). The herbs are extracted using the Tila Paka method into 3 organic oils ( Sesame, Coconut & Mahua ) and Organic Kokum butter.

 

The use of these healing sacred herbs has a very soothing and nourishing effect on tender, irritable, sensitive skin. Parents find that skin health is improved, the flare-up skin episodes reduce in volume and intensity, and baby’s skin is overall much healthier and balanced.

Durva in Krya Sensitive Skin Oil

Durva also goes into the Krya Sensitive skin Oil with Cardamom & Neem. This oil forms a part of the Krya Sensitive Skin range for adults and children separately, designed for skin that has a tendency to develop conditions like contact dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis. In this oil we use a mixture of skin healing, cell regenerative, pitta and kapha balancing herbs like Ashwagandha, Kushta, Lodhra, Yashtimadhu and Manjishta.

The Lead ingredients of Durva grass, Neem and Cardamom support these skin healing and regenerative herbs by balancing excess Pitta, enhancing the complexion , reducing the growth of fungal and bacterial organisms and improving skin health.

To sum up:

So there you have it: that’s a brief glimpse into the properties of Cynodon dactylon /  Durva which goes into Krya’s skin care products. As we have said before, Ayurvedic herbs are potent and strong, and must always be tailor made using the right anupana to suit your constitution. Do not attempt to self medicate. If you feel internal consumption of Durva could help you, please meet an Ayurvedic Vaidya who can diagnose your condition and prescribe Durva in the right dose and right format for you.

We do herb related posts at Krya to give you a glimpse into just how potent, powerful and good for us the plants used in Ayurveda are. We hope you found this post inspiring and useful. Do leave your thoughts and comments on this post below. If you would like us to write about a specific herb , do leave that in your comments as well.

 

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Hair 101 on Wednesday by Krya – The Acid Mantle

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

The more I read and delve about the human microbiota, the more fascinated I am. Did you know for instance, that our first microbiota colonised us when we slid out of our mother in a vaginal birth? The microbiota we are exposed to via our mother’s vaginal microflora forms the basis of the microorganism colony we host throughout our life. Research in fact tells us that babies delivered via C section actually have a completely different set of microflora and a special effort needs to be taken to establish a good colony of microorganisms across a c-section baby’s body.

Science tells us that we contribute only 1/10th of our cells. The balance 9/10ths of the cells that form the total of our bodies is contributed by microorganisms. So a good team of microorganisms literally makes the difference between health and ill health for us.

Western Science is still not finished with finding out just how much our gut health infuses everything we do, and I mean EVERYTHING.

For example: A helicobacter pylori infection is many times the cause of gastritis or ulcerative colitis. Research tells us that if left untreated, this also affects the gut brain axis leading to co-morbidities like depression, anxiety and if left untreated, Alzheimer’s diseases. So the right bacteria can keep you both happy and healthy. And the wrong bacteria can leave you both ill and depressed.

 

This is perhaps why Ayurveda is so concerned with the gut and the outer surface of the body. Every good ayurvedic Vaidya will first figure what you eat, how you eat it, how much you eat, when you eat and how you eliminate it. And this will form the basis of everything your body will end up doing. Similarly Ayurveda is quite obsessed with what you apply on your person – your hair, your skin. The connection between what you apply on yourself and your health is very well established in Ayurveda. In fact many powerful herbs are delivered via the skin itself and can influence the organs within your body when simply applied on your skin.

Last week, we did a post on the Krya page about our acid mantle and how it is formed on the skin and scalp. This acid mantle is our body’s first resistance barrier to all disease and is formed by a tag team of us and all our friendly symbiotic micro organisms. When we are a good host to our symbiotic bacteria, they multiply and form a robust acid mantle for us keeping our disease and help us heal quickly.

But if, on the other hand, we are a careless and downright cruel host, we can just kill them and send them away, leaving huge gaps in our acid mantle for parasitic and hostile bacteria to colonise us instead.

The single greatest health decision you can make is to constantly think about your microbiota and figure out what keeps it intact. So here are 6 ways we think you could help your microbiota:

  1. Always oil your scalp and hair using cold pressed vegetable oil and Ayurvedic herb based oil. This oil tends to be mildly acidic and helps feed your microbiota well and supports your natural fatty acid sebum secretions. The oil and the herbs feed your microbiota promoting the growth of symbiotic, helpful micro organisms.
  2. 3.hair oilingAvoid harsh cleansers anywhere on your person. A single soap bath or the use of synthetic shampoo can severely damage your acid mantle taking you days to restore it. Always use a natural hair or skin cleansing product with no synthetic surfactants. This is why Ayurveda limits the use of plant surfactants only to hair cleansing. Skin is usually only cleansed using oil, grains, lentils and herbs.
  3. 8. a better hairwashAvoid petroleum based conditioners, or skin moisturizing products. They do not support the healthy growth of microbiota on your acid mantle and also clog the scalp and skin.
  4. 5.avoid toxinsAvoid using very hot water to cleanse your skin or hair. Heat destroys your acid mantle.
  5. Always rinse your mouth in plain, clean water after every meal or drink. The presence of a high amount of sugar in your mouth alters the oral microbiota promoting bacteria that cause dental cavities. Rinsing your mouth in plain clean water after every meal or drink allows friendly bacteria to colonise your mouth.
  6. Cut down sugary food, artificial sweeteners, and transfats in your diet. These tend to promote the growth of hostile bacteria and change the quality of your natural oil secretions, attracting harmful micro organisms.

 

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7 Ayurvedic productivity tools – On World Productivity Day

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

It is my cherished belief that Ayurveda, the science of health, well being and longevity, continues to be relevant today, despite the many quick fixes, short cuts and pills that are easily available to us. This is a science that is as old as our culture, and has stood the test of time for the last 5000 plus years, UNTIL the last hundred odd years in India.

 

blog post 1 - ayurveda

 

Ayurveda has been able to hold its own and learn from and absorb the learnings from so many different cultures which have come into India, learned from our sciences and added back to our learnings. So what we have is a vast body of medical knowledge that spans different aspects of life from daily care of ourselves, the care of women and children, the science of anti aging, surgery, etc. What is left of Ayurveda in our country is only a remnant of a remnant – due to neglect, lack of pride and understanding in our ancient medicine, and because of the dissipation of traditional home medicine and knowledge of herbs. Still, this remnant of a remnant, when practiced everyday and diligently helps bring us to preventive health care.

 

I have mentioned that all the Acharyas record that only 15% of diseases require the assistance of a Vaidya. Most conditions that we are seeing today can be prevented by following the right diet, living well and managing the beginning symptoms with traditional home interventions.

 

blog post 2 - holistic living

 

Most of us do not suffer from full fledged disease: rather, we suffer from the symptoms of a lack of balance. When we do not take action based on these warning signs, our condition progresses further until it becomes a full blown disease.

 

But today I am taking a step back from even these early warning signs of imbalance, and moving instead to having a useful and productive day. As an entrepreneur, I measure my output every single day, and cannot afford to have a single day where I perform less than par. This is where following the well laid down principles of Ayurveda help me get the most out of my day. Why I am speaking about productivity today? Today happens to be World Productivity Day. While you can measure and increase productivity by adopting software and productivity tools, I am looking at productivity the old fashioned way.

 

Does my body and brain work well, without needing stimulation, without any highs and lows, in a state of balance and steadiness to help me achieve my best work? How do I reach this state?

blog post 3 - ayurvedic productivity

 

Here are 7 Ayurvedic productivity tools to help you achieve a state of laser sharp focus, precision along with an even positive temper:

  1. Understand your body’s capacity to absorb food and eat only as per this capacity
    1. This changes as per season, health and mood
    2. You cannot understand this if you are eating unconsciously, having an animated discussion while eating or eating while watching television
  2. blog post 4 - focus on your foodEat only upto 85% of your capacity at any given meal
    1. Food “expands” when it is being digested, so you will always feel “full” about 10 minutes after you have finished eating
    2. Food requires space (Akash) to move, circulate and get digested. If your stomach is full of solid matter, there is no “Akash” for your food to get assimilated
  3. Stop eating atleast 2.5 hours before you go to sleep
    1. This ensures your food is well digested before you go to sleep
    2. This ensures that when you sleep, your body gets better rest because it is not busy in digestion
    3. This also ensures that your food is well assimilated and waste is thrown out well the next morning
  4. Give your body time to wake up and assimilate the day before plunging into activity. Avoid mental stimulation and talk for atleast an hour after waking up
  5. blog post 5 - ease into the dayYour body requires daily asana (yoga) practice to stay in shape and assist all bodily functions. Even a 15 minute practice every day is a huge help.
  6. Do an abhyanga every single day – if not atleast twice a week. The abhyanga strongly balances all doshas, and allows the removal of excess vata dosha and pitta dosha. This helps keep your mind sharp, focussed, clear and even.
  7. blog post 6- abhyangaCultivate evenness of expectation and living. Seeking balance in health involves living a balanced life. Give yourself time to achieve your goals and tae on only reasonable targets. Always be holistic about your decisions and do not sacrifice the long term for the short term.

 

The above 7 Ayurvedic productivity tools are simply a tiny fraction of the wealth and wisdom available in Ayurveda. Life philosophy forms a large part of Ayurveda where the texts force us to really look within and understand who we are and what makes us tick.

 

A happy world productivity day to you from us at Krya. Remember: In Balance lies the Key.

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

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

The Origins of Ayurveda

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

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

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

The Ayurvedic Canon

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  1. Madhava Nidhana
  2. Sarangadhara Samhita
  3. Bhavaprakasha

 

The Ideal Ayurvedic Vaidya (Doctor)

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

Caraka Samhita defines the ideal medical student as

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

—Caraka Samhita 3.VIII.6

 

So what does this mean for us today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ahara : Correct Nutrition

Vihara : Correct activities

Achara : Correct lifestyle

Vichara : Correct thoughts

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

 

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

  1. Jeevani : Ayurveda for Women by Dr PLT Girija

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

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

jeevani

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

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

 

  1. Living Easy with Ayurveda by Dr JV Hebbar

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

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

living easy with ayurveda

  1. Everyday Ayurveda by Dr Bhaswati Bhattacharya

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

everyday ayurveda

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

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

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

 1.abhyanga

 

The importance of the Abhyanga for good health:

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

Abhyangam aacharet nityam sa jaraa shramavaataha 

Drushti prasaada pushti aayu susvapna twak daardhyakrut

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

 

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

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

 

General Health benefits of doing an abhyanga:

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

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

2.better sleep

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

3.better skin better hair

 

The importance of choosing the right products for your Abhyanga:

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

 7-krya-bhyanga-oil

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

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

4.herb transport

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

5.avoid toxins

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

 

Step by step description of how to do the abhyanga:

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

6.abhyanga room

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

7.generous qty of oil

 

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

 

Special abhyanga techniques for certain body parts:

Legs:

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

8. Massage for legs

 

Chest:

  • Use open and upward strokes for the chest area

 

Abdomen:

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

 

Arm:

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

9.Massage for arms

 

Massage for the ears:

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

10. ear massage

 

When NOT to do an abhyanga: some pointers

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

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

11.when not to do an abhyanga

 

Post Abhyanga care:

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

 

Ensure you do NOT do the following:

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

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

 

Here is what you should DO on abhyanga day:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

For adults:

Krya Men’s Abhyanga system which consists of

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

MEn's abhyanga system

For Babies (age: 0 – 1 years):

 

For Kids & Toddlers (age – 1 +):

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

12-kids-ubtan

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

 

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Culture, stories, spirituality & ayurveda: celebrating the Divine feminine this Chaitra Navratri with sacred flowers

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

Today marks the start of several auspicious periods according to the Hindu calendar. Today is the Amavasya, or the New Moon day, which is a good time to start new activities. Today is also the day Gudi Padwa and Ugadi are celebrated across different parts of India to herald the New Year.

And today is also the first day of the 9 day Chaitra Navratri, a celebration of the 9 aspects of the divine Feminine. Therefore we thought it would be appropriate to do a short post on some of the sacred flowers in Ayurveda and how they are used in the worship of the divine Feminine.

 

The opportunities that sacred festivals give us:

To us, immersing ourselves in divinity and worship shows us the path to treat ourselves with reverence. When we decide to wake up at a specific time, bathe well and cook in an atmosphere of love and reverence and offer this food as Prasad, we show ourselves higher standards of living. Eventually these rituals become part of our life as we treat our lives with care and reverence, mirroring how we worship our deities every day.

1. everyday reverence

Apart from daily worship, festival times also give us a rare spiritual opportunity. The ancient texts tell us that when we worship at a common time or during a collective festival, the power of collective worship gives us access to a great deal of positive, spiritual and divine energy.

 

Worshipping the divine Feminine in the week:

At Krya, we advise a Tuesday and Friday abhyanga routine for Women. Friday is considered the day the Divine Feminine Energy is strongest in the week. We worship her in different forms like Devi Lakshmi, Devi Saraswathi, Maa Durga, Devi Meenakshi, etc.

2. abhyanga

To receive the divine feminine energy and invite the Goddess into your home, a Friday abhyanga by women is considered extremely auspicious – the benefits of this Abhyanga are twofold.

 

At a physical level, this abhyanga helps cleanse your body extremely thoroughly and activates the major srotas / channels within the skin. This aids release of toxins, and calms down vitiated doshas. Internally it also helps the working of the bones and joints, settles the stomach and leaves your body in a state of tridoshic balance.

On a spiritual level, the Friday abhyanga is said to increase the Sattvic energy in your body. This helps you attract the divine Sattvic energy of the divine Feminine and helps its manifestation in your home, workplace and in every area of your life.

 

 

Navratri: 9 days of worshipping the divine feminine, 4 times every year

Navratri means “9 nights” and is a period during which the Divine Feminine is said to be readily accessible to this world and is willing to grace our home if we invite her. Traditionally, the Navratri period falls 4 times in the Hindu year. Each Navratri falls at the beginning of a specific season as per the Hindu calendar.

The most popular Navratri is Sharad Navratri which is held in the Sharad / autumn season falling in September / October ,post monsoon season. This 9 day festival ends in Vijayadasami or Dusshera.

3.sharad navratri

 

The second Navratri celebrated in India is Chaitra Navratri which begins today. This 9 day worshipping of the divine Feminine ends in Rama Navami, which celebrates the birth of Lord Rama.

4.chaitra navami

 

The third Navratri period is Magh Navratri which is celebrated in winter in January – February. The fifth day of this Navratri festival is celebrated as Vasant Panchami where Goddess Saraswati is revered through music, poetry, different forms of art, and also kite flying.

5. basant panchami

 

The fourth Navratri period is Ashadh Navratri which marks the beginning of Monsoons in India in June – July.

 

Sacred Flowers to worship the Divine Feminine and their properties according to Ayurveda:

The Divine Feminine is revered in religions across the world. She is seen as the source of creativity, and in Hindu philosophy, metaphysical reality is considered a manifestation of the divine Feminine. Creation is considered the divine play of the Goddess and she is considered the fount of beauty, compassion, self realisation, love and protection.

6.divine feminine

We have written before about how Ayurveda and the use of herbs have deep cultural and religious symbolism. The worship of Gods and Goddesses, for example, involves the use of specific herbs that suit the divine energies attributed to these Gods and Goddesses.

Today, at the start of this 9 day Divine Feminine period, we will look at 3 sacred flowers that are used to worship the Divine Goddess and their medicinal properties

 

Sacred flowers in India and their Ayurvedic properties:

Japa (Hibiscus rosa sinensis) for Goddess Parvati:

The Tripurasundari ashtakam is a beautiful 8 stanza shloka to the Goddess Tripura Sundari and was composed by Acharya Adi Sankaracharya. The entire shloka is dedicated to Goddess Tripurasundari, the beauty of the 3 worlds and the consort of the Three Eyed One (Lord Shiva). One of the stanzas says this:

“Vidambhitha japa ruchim vikhacha chandra choodamanim,
Trilochana kudumbhineem tripurasundarim asraye “
In the paragraph above, Adi Sankara mentions that the Goddess likes the fully bloomed Japa flower. The Japa flower finds atleast 2 more mentions in this Shloka, which is of deep significance to students of Ayurveda.

7.japa

In Hindu religion, the Mother Goddess is considered the fount of expressive energy, the womb of the entire world and the Supreme One which gives form to thought. This creative force is represented as a rush of heat and energy which manifests in everything we see around us.

It is therefore no wonder that the divine heat of the Goddess is adorned with the cool red Japa flower, or the Hibiscus flower. The Japa flower is used to reduce and balance the Pitta energy of the Goddess.
8.japa for kalima
Many Mother Goddesses are worshipped with the Japa flower, especially the forms which are considered high in creative energy and the energy of destruction. For example, Goddess Kali in Kalighat Temple of Calcutta (one of the primary shaktipeeths in India) is also adorned with red Japa flower. Similarly, Goddess Tripura Sundari in Tripura, the playful Goddess of creation is also adorned with Japa flower.

Japa in Ayurveda:

Ayurveda considers Japa as a pre-eminent hair herb, and this is because of its pitta balancing property. Just like it is used to cool and balance the Mother Goddesses’ fiery creative energy, it is used in Ayurveda to soothe and cool the head and the scalp which are heated by the workings of the eyes and the brain.

Japa is used extensively in hair formulations as the head is considered one of the seats of Pitta.

In order for optimal working of the brain and the eyes, Ayurveda says that this region has to be kept cool (so you literally and figuratively maintain a cool head). Therefore oils meant for the head are always prepared with cooling and pitta balancing herbs like Japa, Bhringa, Mandukaparni, etc.

Japa in Krya

Japa goes into many of Krya’s Hair Oils, hair washes and hair masks, especially the products meant for pitta type hair. The Krya Classic hair range extensively uses Japa flower. Japa while cooling, is not suitable for use in body wash and oil formulations as it can trigger vata dosha.

9.japa in krya

 

Kamala (The Lotus) – Nelumbo nucifera for Goddess Mahalakshmi:

The lotus is associated with purity and beauty in Hinduism, Buddhism and in Ancient Egypt as well. Egyptian scholars associated the Lotus flower with re-birth as they observed that the flower closed at Night and re-opened its petals with the arrival of the sun.

10.kamala

 

In Hinduism, the Lotus is associated Goddess Lakshmi and her divine consort Maha Vishnu.

Acharya Adi Sankaracharya has composed a beautiful stotra called the Kanakadhara Stotram in praise of Mahalakshmi. Legend has it that Adi Sankaracharya was begging one day for alms. A poor woman who wanted to offer the young sanyasi some food, could find nothing in her home except an amla fruit. In her generosity, she gave this amla fruit to Adi Sankaracharya. Moved by her compassion, Adi Sankaracharya composed the Kanakadhara Stotram requesting Goddess Mahalakshmi to shower wealth on the generous woman.

Legend says that the single amla given generously away to this boy was converted by the Goddess Mahalakshmi into a shower of amlas made of pure gold that rained from the roof of the poor woman’s home.

11.kanakadhara stotra

Such is the generosity and compassion of Goddess Mahalakshmi who is moved when she sees similar qualities of generosity, compassion and sharing of wealth and food. It is said that rather than mantras and rituals, Goddess Mahalakshmi graces a home which is filled with a charitable attitude, soft speech and generous hearts.

Just like a lotus rises from the mud, Goddess Mahalakshmi is said to have risen from the Ocean of Nectar when it was churned by the auras and divas.  She is depicted sitting on a fully blossomed Lotus (Kamala), showering wealth, riches and prosperity with grace and compassion on all her devotees.

12. goddess lakshmi

 

Incidentally, the Amla (Phyllanthus emblica) is the favourite tree of Goddess Mahalakshmi, as is evident even in the Kanakadhara Stotram where she blesses her devotee with golden amlas.

 

Kamala in Ayurveda

Kamala is a revered flower in Ayurveda and is extensively used in pitta and rakta pitta disorders. It is considered nourishing and comforting to the dhatus and is said to relieve illusions, hallucinations, and physical and mental agony brought on by jwara (fevers).

Kamala is indicated in Ayurveda in thirst, burning sensation of the body, certain cardiac ailments, vomiting and unconsciousness. Flowers of the Kamala are considered diuretic, astringent and a cardio tonic.

 

 

Kamala in Krya

When available, Kamala goes into our specialised pitta formulations like the Krya Sensitive skin bodywash. This bodywash powder is used for skin conditions like acute dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis where there is severe itching and inflammation. Both these are indicative of pitta imbalance, so Kamala flower is used in this formulation.

 

Amla in Ayurveda and Krya:

Though not a flower, we have already mentioned how the Amla is associated with both Mahalakshmi and Mahavishnu. The Amla is a revered herb in Ayurveda and is used to balance all 3 doshas.

In Krya, Amla is used across our entire range of our skin and hair care formulations for its pitta pacifying, and rasayana (rejuvenative) and healing properties.

13.amla in krya

 

Palash (Butea monosperma )– for Goddess Saraswati:

Goddess Saraswati is the third facet of the divine Feminine in Hinduism. She is revered as the patron Goddess of learning, knowledge, music and the arts. Goddess Saraswati is known by many powerful synonyms in ancient Hindu Literature.

14.goddess saraswati

She is called “Brahmani” – the goddess with the power of Brahma, i.e. to create. She is also referred to as “Brahmi” which is the Goddess of all sciences. So a company like Krya owes its lineage to Goddess Saraswati. She is referred to as “Bharadi” which is the Goddess of History.

She is also referred to as both “Vani” and “Vachi” – the goddess who is the patron of both music and melodious speech or “vak”. Just like Goddess Mahalakshmi who believes in the flow of wealth through generosity and compassion, Goddess Saraswati indicates to us that true music and art flow from the sweetness of our daily speech.

15.music

 

Goddess Saraswati is also Varneshwari – the goddess of akshara or letters and Kavijihvagravasini – the Goddess who dwells in the tongue of poets.

The mount of Goddess Saraswati is the white Hamsa or the swan. In Hindu mythology, the Hamsa is said to be the bird when offered a mixture of milk and water is able to separate the milk from the mixture and drink it alone. Therefore, with the Hamsa as her vahana, the Goddess Saraswati symbolises the ability to discriminate and choose wisely.

16.hamsa

 

Palash flowers in Ayurveda and popular culture:

Just under a month ago India celebrated Holi. Today, Holi is a festival replete with commercial advertising and synthetic, toxic colours.

17.synthetic holi

 

Traditionally, Holi was an important cultural festival to mark the onset of spring. One of the meanings behind Holi was that the ritual symbolically depicted the dance and playfulness between Krishna and his Gopis.

18.radha holi

In Ayurveda, Holi was a festival that came just before the onset of summer. Summer is usually characterised by pitta based disorders like measles, chickenpox, etc. The traditional Holi gulal therefore used water based extracts of Palash, and other flowers which were designed to cool down excess pitta and keep skin infections at bay.

 

Palash is an important sacred flower in India. It is a favourite of Goddess Saraswati. It is commercially important because of its hardy wood and the resin exuded by the tree called Gum Kino. The flower itself is extremely pitta pacifying and helps prevent and cure pitta based eruptions like measles, prickly heat, chickenpox etc. It is soothing and healing on skin.

19.palash

 

Palash in Krya:

Happily, Krya will be shortly receiving its first shipment of wild harvested, pesticide free Palash flowers, just in time for our scorching summer season.

We plan to use Palash in our Classic and Anti Acne skin care formulations and also sparingly in our Moisture Plus and Sensitive skin formulations. Palash will also go into our hair colour range to see how it works in our reddish – brown series of natural hair colour.

20.coming soon to krya

 

The Sacred in the Everyday:

We hope this post gave you an appreciation of a few of the sacred flowers in Indian and Ayurvedic tradition and how these flowers are used to celebrate and worship different aspects of the Divine Feminine.

We have always seen the Krya Blog as a celebration of Ayurveda, Indian medicinal tradition and a place to discuss how we can safely and effectively care for ourselves and our families without resorting to the use of harmful and polluting synthetics.

Sacred festivals and spiritually charged times like Navratri always help us to re-focus our energies at Krya. we find that these times give us a new appreciation of what we are doing, help us appreciate the wonderful herbs, grains, lentils and flowers that we use even more, seek more divine energy as we make our products and help us re-affirm our commitment to what we are doing.

Often we are bogged down by the demands of our daily life and do not put proper care, attention and reverence into how we care for ourselves. We are tempted to skip our yoga practice, or postpone our abhyanga as we are late for work. Or we decide to open a packet of processed ready to eat noodles and eat this for dinner instead of lovingly cooking a meal for ourselves with real ingredients.

It is our hope that as you read this post, you are inspired to take the long-cut for yourself – and you develop a fresh appreciation for the Dinacharya that you need to do for yourself. Because when we worship the sacred and immerse ourselves into the divine, we carry a small part of that Divinity into us and everything we do.

A happy Chaitra Navratri to you from us at Krya.

 

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The Toxin-free, great-for-skin alternative to a synthetic moisturiser : Krya shares why you should ditch your day cream and choose Ayurveda instead

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We received an interesting query on the Krya page today and it set me thinking that this is something I should be talking about in the Krya blog.  “Do you have a day cream”, asked a customer, and this is one among many such queries for people asking us for safe moisturizing products.

 

What goes into a synthetic moisturiser?

A synthetic moisturiser is made up of emollients, emulsifiers, sometimes humectants, preservatives, fragrances, colours and sometimes granular particles like micro beads.

Emollient: An emollient is the “moisturising” part of the moisturiser. However, while a natural emollient like a cold pressed vegetable oil is actually good for your skin, petroleum based synthetic emollients clog skin and canwill increase the chances of acne and other infections.

1.chemicals

Emulsifiers: Emulsifiers are further chemicals added to synthetic moisturisers. These chemicals are added to make the cream / lotion stable and ensure they do not separate. Synthetic emulsifiers are typically made from petroleum and hydrocarbon derivatives and are notorious in triggering allergic reactions on skin. Again these are better used on your car then your skin.

Humectants: Humectants are substances designed to draw moisture to the surface of the skin. There are many natural substances that perform this role like honey and glycerine. However, when synthetic humectants like PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) and PG (Propylene Glycol) are used in products, they add to the occlusive barrier formed by petroleum. This makes the skin “un breathable” disturbing its functionality, and triggering acne, bacterial attacks and allergic reactions.

Preservatives: we have chronicled the issues with Parabens that are commonly used as preservatives before. The very least toxic effect of a paraben is skin irritation. Many of them have been linked very strongly to hormone disruption, developmental toxicity and breast cancer.

 

The need for safety in today’s moisturizing products – a few case studies

We at Krya are increasingly alarmed at the cavalier way in which human safety is sidelined while formulating personal care products. Countries are slow to understand the effects of synthetics when used in products, and the collective effect of using a large cocktail of synthetics is little understood until it is often too late.

For example, with the growing hue and cry over Parabens, we now have many leading personal care companies proudly declaring that they now use Phenoxyethanol as a “safer preservative”. Phenoxyethanol is allowed to be present at a concentration of 1% in skin care products. However, it comes with several warnings by the U.S FDA. For example, any accidental ingestion of Phenoxyethanol even at these low concentrations can be toxic and dangerous to infants.

2.phenoxyethanol

 

If Phenoxyethanol and Chlorphenesin(another so-called safe preservative) are present together in a product, it could lead to depressed breathing in infants and in those already in poor health. For this reason, breastfeeding mothers are not supposed to use any personal care products containing Phenoxyethanol to avoid any risk of transmission to the child.

Now here is another piece of information: Chlorphenesin is a powerful synthetic used to counter muscle spasms in full strength. It is used in small doses as a preservative along with Phenoxyethanol. This is the combination that the FDA has warned against: the toxic combination of the Central nervous system depressing Phenoxyethanol and the muscle action suppressing Chlorphenesin which when used together slows down breathing in infants and geriatrics. And this after applying a seemingly harmless looking skin cream!

Methylisothiazolinone or MI is another among the thousands of suspect ingredients in skin and hair care products. In the UK, doctors first raised the alert against this preservative in 2013, when they said that 1 in 10 eczema sufferers were allergic to this ingredient which triggered rashes and extreme skin swelling. This year, scientific advisers to the EU have called for a ban on using MI in leave on products and a dramatic reduction in the allowed MI percentage in rinse off products.

3. MI

 

However it Methylisothiazolinone is still not outlawed and is being used across the world in products formulated for both adults and children across hair and skin.

 

How were moisturizing products formulated in the ancient world?

After reading the above horror stories, any reader would no doubt ask us the logical question: how did we formulate moisturising products earlier? Was there ever a need for any of these additional horror ingredients?

In the western world, the first reference to cream comes from the 2nd century Greek physician Galen. Galen formulated a simple cold cream which was made from only 3 ingredients: beeswax, olive oil, and rose water. Galen made a simple oil in water emulsion using beeswax as a natural emulsifier, similar to how we would make mayonnaise or salad dressings.

4. galens cream

 

Obviously the shelf life of this formulation could not have been very long – depending on the climate this cream may have lasted between 1 – 3 months. Being a simple olive oil based emulsion, this cream would have been used in cold weather for spot application and to protect the skin from rough cold winter wind.

 

How were moisturising products formulated in India?

Ayurveda and Siddha both document the use of a rich variety of fats of both animal and plant origin to make moisturizing products, pomades and oils. Depending upon the fat used, you could get a product of oil like consistency or a thick paste like consistency which is similar to that of a cream.

For example: Natural Beeswax (from the hive of a real bee and not synthetically derived) is documented for its skin and wound healing properties in both Ayurveda and Siddha. Natural Beeswax is often used in Ayurvedic products meant for scar healing, in fire accidents and in very putrid, oozing wounds where there is a need to isolate the healing body from the external environment. In these cases, pure honey is also added along with the beeswax to seal off the wound, provide moisture for the broken skin layer and allow healing to take place.

5.beeswax

 

The use of certain kinds of plant butters is also recorded in Ayurveda among specific communities and regions. For example, kokum butter, which is used by Krya in the Krya extra conditioning hair oil ad the Krya Moisture plus skin oil, is extremely well documented for its hydrating properties. Kokum butter is quickly absorbed into skin and scalp and is intensely hydrating, making it very suitable for dry and frizzy hair and very dry skin. At room temperature, kokum butter becomes solid, so this product is often used for making cream / paste like skin and hair care products in Ayurveda.

6. kokum butter

 

Ghee is also another ingredient liberally used in Ayurveda for formulations meant for pitta skin or hair conditions. Again like kokum butter, Ghee is solid at room temperature, so the addition of a good quantity of ghee makes a formulation thick, unctuous and cream like.

 

Thickening without parabens and PEG – traditional skin and hair care in Ayurveda

At Krya, by the use of Ayurvedic herbs, formulations and processing techniques, we are able to deliver excellent skin and hair care oils which have varying textures.

For example, the Krya Moisture plus Skin Oil has been designed for the use of extremely dry or aging skin. We recommend use of this oil as a night, leave on application and also as a pre-bath oil. In the night application, the oil is used in very small quantity (3 – 4 drops) and applied on cleansed skin and left on the entire night.

Our users report that with regular use of this oil, the skin develops an excellent lustre, evenness of complexion and filling in of small lines.

7. moisture plus

 

While the Krya Moisture Plus skin oil has been made using base oils like Sesame and Coconut Oil, the final texture of the oil is moderately thick , does not run quickly over skin and leaves the skin feeling well moisturised without any oiliness.

The secret to this texture change is the Ayurvedic processing technique we follow called the sneha Kalpana process. Ayurveda recommends the Sneha Kalpana process to “prepare” an herb infused oil for skin or hair application by the use of fresh juices of herbs (Swarasa), decoctions of dried herb tubers, roots, stems and bark, herb pastes and cold pressed vegetable base oil.

The Sneha Kalpana process uses “Agni” or fire to boil all these different ingredients so that the properties of the herbs are transferred to the oils. In this process, the particle size and texture of the oil is completely transformed.

8. sneha kalpana process

 

Many of us might have applied raw coconut oil on our skin. We often find that it is runny and feels extremely oil and is sometimes not very well absorbed especially if we have severely dry skin.

However, the same coconut oil, when processed in the sneha Kalpana method, alters in texture as it absorbs the herb Swarasa, kwatha and kalpa to become thick, much more moisturising, less runny and more effective.

When we finish the Sneha Kalpana process, we get a dense, moisturizing, dosha balancing and stable oil.

 

Moderate Shelf Life without Phenoxyethanol – the Ayurvedic way

We spoke earlier about the dangers of several new fangled preservatives like Phenoxyethanol. A true Ayurvedic product does not use any preservatives because the Ayurvedic manufacturing process itself ensures a moderate shelf life, and there right texture for the application.

So you might notice that the maximum shelf life we give to our products is 12 months. Our skin and hair oils have a shelf life between 9 – 12 months. We achieve this without adding either natural preservatives like essential oils which may be unsuitable for certain people or synthetic preservatives like parabens, Phenoxyethanol, etc.

By boiling our oils for upto 10 hours until all the water from the herb juices evaporate, we have removed any medium that can be suitable for fungal and bacterial growth. We follow several precautions to check for complete water evaporation as outlined in the texts and also used specially designed traditional oil boiling vessels made of metals like brass that retain heat much longer, allowing for complete water evaporation.

9.sneha kalpana - no preservatives

By following this authentic Ayurvedic process, we not only ensure that our oil is rich in botanical nutrients. We also ensure that the product is stable and can work well for you for a moderate amount of time.

 

The rich use of botanical herbs – to give you nutrient dense products that really work

Classical Ayurvedic formulations and proprietary Ayurvedic formulations like Krya’s are rich in the use of powerful botanical herbs.

For example: We use Winter cherry (Ashwagandha) and Moringa leaf in the Krya Classic Skin Oil, along with the Swarasa of Daucus carota (carrot) and Ananas comosus (Pineapple) . These herbs are extremely useful in even-ing out acne based scars and blemishes, in correcting the oil balance of oil prone skin and offering moisturisation without creating a medium for bacterial attack or acne.

10.classic skin oil

 

The herbs we have outlined form just a small proportion of the many herbs used. Like all Ayurvedic formulations, the Krya skin and hair oils use large quantities of between 10 – 16 different herbs carefully chosen for a particular skin or hair condition.

This makes an Ayurvedic moisturising product rich, complex, holistic and real food for your skin. It does not use simplistic and poor synthetics like petroleum or hydrocarbons which work against the skin and interfere with its natural functioning.

 

Leave on vs. wash off: the Ayurvedic view point on moisturisation

Here is the difference between Ayurvedic skin care and synthetic skin care: the skin is never supposed to be left feeling dry or in need of a moisturiser during any part of the skin cleaning and care routine. So if your cleansing routine is leaving your skin in need of a moisturiser, you should actually be switching cleansing products and not looking for a better moisturiser.

The Ayurvedic skin care routine we prescribe at Krya is minimal, sensible, simple and extremely effective:

  1. Cleanse your skin only with our lentil, grain and herb based cleansers (we have options separately for the face and the body and for different skin needs)
    1. This cleansing deep cleanses skin and activates and unclogs all the minor srotas – so your skin breathes better, eliminates better and regenerates better
    2. This cleansing cleanses WITHOUT stripping your skin’s acid mantle or sebum barrier – this means your skin feels plum, moisturised and nourished after your bath without adding a moisturising product
    3. Cleansing to restore the right balance of synergistic microflora – this means that your body odour reduces, and you remain sweet smelling without resorting to a synthetic deo

11. herb cleansers

  1. Spot application of our skin oils – prebath. For special areas that get dry because of constant exposure to the elements or as a normal part of aging (face, elbows, legs, knees, sometimes arms), we recommend application of one of our Skin Oils. We have different kinds of skin oils for different skin needs. All our oils can be applied on your face and your body.
    1. Night application of our skin oils for the face – if you are looking for a safe night cream replacement and are above 30, the Krya skin oils are a synthetic free, wonderful replacement to toxic night creams. The oils support the natural functioning of your skin; gently penetrate the skin and supply the nutrition required based on your needs. The oil is to be applied in miniscule quantities (2 – 3 drops) on cleansed skin, 30 minutes before sleeping.
  2. The occasional use of our grain and herb based specialised face masks
    1. If you have special skin conditions like acne, or are looking to supplement your skin care routine, we advise using one of our face masks once a week or once a fortnight.

So from a series of 7 – 8 different products for skin, what we recommend is the use of 2 – 3 products (the oil for face and body, the face wash and the body wash). Occasionally you may use the face mask as a pick me up.

Along with a good diet a healthy lifestyle, these few products are all you need for good quality skin.

 

Skin moisturising options at Krya:

I started this post with a question that is often asked of us: what are our options in moisturising.

I end this post telling you that you should choose your skin care products as carefully as you chose your food. Just like none of us want to eat Endosulfan contaminated rice or Monocrotophos contaminated strawberries, none of us should be choosing ethanoxypenol laced skin creams or moisturisers.

Your skin and hair are bio-engineered to perform very specific and important functions. In their performing of these functions they are supposed to look great. However, when we unknowingly apply damaging, toxic and suspect ingredients on your hair and skin, their health diminishes and they start looking the worse for the wear.

The careful selection of a few well crafted and well thought out natural products are all your skin and hair really needs to function really well and look its best.

Here is Krya’s range of skin care products for different needs:

  1. Krya’s Classic skin range – designed for normal to oily pitta prone skin. This skin has an occasional breakout, has an oily t-zone, and is sensitive to heat and the sun and gets easily flushed in heat
    1. The Krya Classic Skin Oil with Carrot & Wintercherry
    2. The Krya Classic facewash with Green Tea & Chamomile
    3. The Krya Classic Bodywash with Rosemary & Cassia Flower
    4. The Krya Classic face mask with Rose petals & Guava
  2. Krya’s After Sun Range – designed for skin with high sun exposure, heat sensitive, sun exposure induced dryness and high tanning and pigmentation (due to sun exposure)
    1. The Krya Classic Skin Oil with Carrot & Wintercherry – use at night to encourage skin healing and repair
    2. The Krya Soothing After Sun face wash powder with Oatgrass & Mint
    3. The Krya After sun bodywash powder with Arjuna & Ashwagandha
    4. The Krya After sun soothing herb face mask with Liquorice & Rosemary
  3. Krya’s Anti Acne Range – designed for skin that has severe acne
    1. We do not recommend use of a skin oil until the eruptions have reduced in number. Once they have come down , you can use the Krya Classic skin range,
    2. The Krya Clarifying Anti acne face wash with Guava and Lodhra
    3. The Krya Anti acne Face mask with Daruharidra and Lodhra
    4. Acne prone skin does well with the Krya Classic bodywash
  4. Krya’s Moisture Plus Range – designed for normal to dry skin that tends to be flaky around the mouth and eyes, feels rough, dull or lifeless and seems to “drink in” moisturisers.
    1. Krya Moisture Plus Skin Oil with Durva and Pomegranate
    2. Krya Moisture Plus Face wash Powder with Gotu Kola & Liquorice
    3. Krya Moisture Plus Body wash powder with Kushta & Indian Liquorice
    4. Krya Moisture Plus face mask with Fennel & Orange Flower
  5. Krya’s Sensitive Skin Range – designed for skin that is prone to eczema or psoriasis with skin thickening, dryness, crust like scab formation, intense itching and skin darkening in the problem area
    1. Krya Sensitive Skin Oil with Cardamom & Neem (NEW) – we have had excellent results with our Sensitive skin oil – regular use accelerates skin healing, cuts down skin thickening and brings skin back to its original colour with minimal scars and blemishes
    2. Krya Sensitive Face & Bodywash with Lodhra & Lotus flower
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