Monthly Archives: April 2017

Beauty Comes From The Inside

The Concept of beauty in Ayurveda is different from other systems of medicine. The basic foundation of beauty is laid on the principles of health in Ayurveda. Beauty tips is an interesting subject because each society has a different idea of what beautiful is.

In short, it is noted that in Ayurveda the secret of beauty is the retention of health.

The term good Health in Ayurveda means the equilibrium of humors or what we call “Dosha’s”, the tissues, the proper functioning of bio-fire (ability to transform & Metabolize), timely elimination of metabolic wastes, which determine the physical health and the happiness of the self or the person. The sense organs and mind together constitute the picture of good health.

Ayurvedic health is the combination of physical and mental health. When something affects the body, it is also affecting the mind, when something is affecting the mind, it is apparent on the body. The mind and the body are a team, they work together. It’s the same thing in concepts of Ayurveda, this principle is applicable. “The face is the index of the mind.” As per the quotation, “the mental health also plays an important role in the maintenance of beauty”.

In beauty care, the concept of detoxifying or purifying procedures of Ayurveda ensure physical health and mental clarity. In addition to that, when the principles of yoga are added to the purifying process it will aid in attaining mental clarity and stability.

So, Ayurveda and yoga help in a united way in ensuring beauty.

External applications for beauty care are only superficial. They do not have much systemic effect. According to Ayurveda, beauty is the retention of health and health is not skin deep. The benefits of external applications or topical applications are temporary and limited.

Our skin is our largest organ, it is responsible for absorbing so much and it also takes in toxins from the environment. When we apply heavy lotions with chemical additives, that gets absorbed as well and our kidneys and liver are left with the clean up job. We suggest that nothing is put on the skin that cannot be ingested.

People are looking for more permanent results. Because of this we need to put more emphasis on staying healthy. We need to eat the correct foods, in the correct time in quantities that are proper for our individual body types.

In addition to that we need to allow our bodies to move and stretch. People need to learn to breathe more deeply and appreciate what they have. when we can find the happy place to dwell inside of us, we tend to be healthier.

The Maharishi Ayurveda Approach to Beauty

“Every person is born perfect. Inferiority is a mistake of the mind, a cloud covering the light. Dissolve the clouds by observing a balanced life with healthy habits. Nourish your mind and body. Connect with your own inner self. Celebrate your own magnificence and your beauty will always shine through.” -Dr. Rama Kant Mishra, renowned Ayurvedic physician and dermatologist

The Three Pillars of Beauty

Maharishi Ayurveda (MAV), the modern, consciousness-based revival of the ancient Ayurvedic medicine tradition, considers true beauty to be supported by three pillars; Outer Beauty, Inner Beauty and Lasting Beauty. Only by enhancing all three can we attain the balanced state of radiant health that makes each of us the most fulfilled and beautiful person we can be.

Outer Beauty: Roopam

The outer signs of beauty – your skin, hair and nails – are more than just superficial measures of beauty. They are direct reflections of your overall health. These outer tissues are created by the inner physiological processes involved in digestion, metabolism and proper tissue development. Outer beauty depends more on the strength of your digestion and metabolism, the quality of your diet, and the purity of your blood, than on external cleansers and conditioners you may apply.

General Recommendations for Outer Beauty

As we will discuss, the key to skin care is matching your diet and skin care routine to the specific skin type you have. Meanwhile, there are some valuable recommendations for lustrous skin, hair and nails that will be helpful to everyone, regardless of skin type.

  1. Diet: Without adequate nourishment, your collagen layer thins and a kind of wasting takes place. Over time, your skin can shrivel up like a plant without water from lack of nourishment. To keep your skin plump and glowing:
  2. Eat fresh, whole organic foods that are freshly prepared.

Avoid packaged, canned, frozen, processed foods and leftovers. These foods have little nutritional value and also they are often poorly digested which creates impurities that localize in the skin. The resulting buildup of toxins causes irritation and blocks circulation depriving the skin of further nourishment and natural cleansing processes.

  1. Favor skin nourishing foods.
  1. Leafy green vegetables contain vitamins, minerals (especially iron and calcium) and are high in antioxidant properties. They nourish the skin and protect it from premature aging.

  1. Sweet juicy fruits like grapes, melons, pears, plums and stewed apples at breakfast are excellent for the skin in almost everyone.

  1. Eat a wide variety of grains over different meals and try mixed grain servings at breakfast and lunch. Add amaranth, quinoa, cous cous, millet and barley to the wheat and rice you already eat.

  1. Favor light, easy to digest proteins like legume soups (especially yellow split mung dhal), whole milk, paneer (cheese made from boiling milk, adding lemon and straining solids) and lassi (diluted yogurt and spice drinks).

  1. Oils like ghee (clarified butter) and organic, extra virgin olive oil should be included in the diet as they lubricate, nourish and create lustre in the skin.
  2. Use spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, and black pepper to improve digestion, nourish the skin and cleanse it of impurities.

  1. Avoid microwaving and boiling your vegetables. They lose as much as 85% of their antioxidant content when cooked in this way. Steaming and sautéing are best.

Caring for outer beauty through knowledge of skin type

Besides these general recommendations the key to Outer Beauty is to understand the difference in skin types so you can gain the maximum benefit from your individualized skin care regimen. MAV identifies three different skin types based on which of the three main metabolic principles (doshas)- present in everyone, but to different degrees- is most dominant in your body.

Vata Skin

* Description: Vata is composed of the elements of air and space. If you have a vata skin type, your skin will be dry, thin, fine pored, delicate and cool to the touch. When balanced, it glows with a delicate lightness and refinement that is elegant and attractive. When vata skin is imbalanced, it will be prone to excessive dryness and may even be rough and flaky.

* Potential problems: The greatest beauty challenge for vata skin is its predisposition to symptoms of early aging. Your skin may tend to develop wrinkles earlier than most due to its tendency to dryness and thinness. If your digestion is not in balance, your skin can begin to look dull and grayish, even in your 20’s and 30’s. In addition, your skin may have a tendency for disorders such as dry eczema and skin fungus. Mental stress, such as worry, fear and lack of sleep, has a powerful debilitating effect on vata skin leaving it looking tired and lifeless.

* Recommendations for care

With a little knowledge, you can preserve and protect the delicate beauty of your vata type skin. Since your skin does not contain much moisture, preventing it from drying is the major consideration. Eat a warm, unctuous diet (ghee and olive oil are best) and favor sour, salty and sweet tastes (naturally sweet like fruits, not refined sugar) as they balance vata. Avoid drying foods like crackers. Drink 6-8 glasses of warm (not cold for vata types!) water throughout the day and eat plenty of sweet, juicy fruits. Going to bed early (before 10 PM) is very soothing to vata and will have a tremendously positive influence on your skin. Avoid cleansing products that dry the skin (like alcohol-based cleansers) and perform Ayurvedic oil massage to your whole body (abhyanga) in the morning before you shower.

Pitta Skin.

* Description: Pitta dosha is composed of the elements of fire and water. If you have a pitta skin type your skin is fair, soft, warm and of medium thickness. When balanced, your skin has a beautiful, slightly rosy or golden glow, as if illuminated from within. Your hair typically is fine and straight, and is usually red, sandy or blonde in color. Your complexion tends toward the pink or reddish, and there is often a copious amount of freckles or moles.

* Potential problems: Among the many beauty challenges of pitta skin types is your tendency to develop rashes, rosacea, acne, liver spots or pigment disorders. Because of the large proportion of the fire element in your constitution, your skin does not tolerate heat or sun very well. Of all the three skin types, pitta skin has the least tolerance for the sun, is photosensitive, and most likely to accumulate sun damage over the years. Pitta skin is aggravated by emotional stress, especially suppressed anger, frustration, or resentment.

* Recommendations for care

Avoid excessive sunlight, tanning treatments and highly heating therapies like facial or whole body steams. Avoid hot, spicy foods and favor astringent, bitter and sweet foods which balance pitta. (Again, naturally sweet, not chocolate and refined sugar!) Sweet juicy fruits (especially melons and pears), cooked greens and rose petal preserves are especially good. Drinking plenty of water helps wash impurities from sensitive pitta skin. Reduce external or internal contact with synthetic chemicals, to which your skin is especially prone to react, even in a delayed fashion after years of seemingly uneventful use. Avoid skin products that are abrasive, heating or contain artificial colors or preservatives. Most commercial make-up brands should be avoided in favor of strictly 100% natural ingredient cosmetics. And be sure to get your emotional stress under control through plenty of outdoor exercise, yoga and meditation.

Kapha Skin.

* Description: Kapha dosha is composed of the elements of earth and water. If you have a kapha skin type your skin is thick, oily, soft and cool to the touch. Your complexion is a glowing porcelain whitish color, like the moon, and hair characteristically thick, wavy, oily and dark. Kapha skin types, with their more generous collagen and connective tissue, are fortunate to develop wrinkles much later in life than vata or pitta types.

*Potential problems If your skin becomes imbalanced, it can show up as enlarged pores, excessively oily skin, moist types of eczema, blackheads, acne or pimples, and water retention. Kapha skin is also more prone to fungal infections.

* Recommendations for care

Kapha skin is more prone to clogging and needs more cleansing than other skin types. Be careful to avoid greasy, clogging creams. Likewise, avoid heavy, hard to digest foods like fried foods, fatty meats, cheeses and rich desserts. Eat more light, easy to digest, astringent, bitter and pungent (well-spiced) foods as they balance kapha. Olive oil is the best cooking oil and a little ginger and lime juice can be taken before meals to increase your characteristically sluggish digestive fire. Take warm baths often and use gentle cleansers to open the skin pores. Avoid getting constipated and try to get some exercise every day to increase circulation and help purify the skin through the sweating process.

Inner Beauty: Gunam.

Happy, positive, loving, caring individuals have a special beauty that is far more than skin deep. Conversely we all experience the quick and deleterious effect on our skin from fatigue and stress.

Inner beauty is authentic beauty, not the kind that shows on a made-up face, but the kind that shines through from your soul, your consciousness or inner state of being. Inner beauty comes from a mind and heart that are in harmony, not at odds with each other, causing emotional confusion, loss of confidence, stress and worry. Inner peace is the foundation of outer beauty.

Maintain your self-confidence and a warm, loving personality by paying attention to your lifestyle and daily routine and effective management of stress (I highly recommend the TM technique for its scientifically-verified benefits on mental and physical health and reduced aging.) You will also be healthier and feel better through the day if you eat your main meal at midday and make a habit of going to bed early (by 10 PM is ideal.)

Remember, kindness, friendliness and sincerity naturally attract people to you. On the other hand, being uptight or tense makes people want to walk the other way, regardless of your facial structure, body weight, or other outer signs we associate with attractiveness.

Lasting Beauty: Yayastyag

In order to slow the aging process and gain lasting beauty there are two additional key considerations beyond those already discussed,

  1. Eliminate toxins and free radicals in the body: The main deteriorating effects of aging come as toxins and impurities (called ama in Ayurveda) accumulate throughout the body. These toxins may begin as free radicals in the body, or over time may become oxidized into free radicals, all of which contribute to premature aging in the body. For lasting health and beauty it is essential to avoid and neutralize free radicals, to prevent impurities of all kinds from accumulating and to remove those that have already become lodged in the body.

The most powerful cleansing therapy in Maharishi Ayurveda is “panchakarma” therapy, a series of natural treatments ideally performed twice yearly, that involves 5-7 days in a row of massage, heat treatments and mild herbal enemas. Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of undergoing this cleansing program once or twice a year to prevent impurities from accumulating, localizing and hardening in the tissues. Just as we change the oil in our cars regularly for optimal performance and lifespan, Ayurveda recommends that we cleanse the “sludge” from our tissues on a regular basis through panchakarma treatments.

Best of all, panchakarma treatments are luxurious, blissful, and make you feel (and look) completely rejuvenated in just a few days time. I have had many a patient who told me that friends asked them afterwards if they had gotten a facelift, they looked so fresh and youthful!

Other free radical busters include: reducing mental stress, eating antioxidant foods like leafy green vegetables, sweet, juicy fruits and cooking on a daily basis with antioxidant, detoxifying spices like turmeric and coriander.

  1. Add rejuvenative techniques to daily living:

The daily activities of life in the modern world systematically wear us down and speed up the aging process. Ayurveda maintains it is crucial to practice daily rejuvenative regimens to counteract the stressful wear and tear of everyday life. According to Ayurveda the most important rejuvenative routines for your life are:

  1. Going to bed by 10:00 PM. This simple habit is one of the most powerful techniques for health and longevity, according to MAV.

  1. Meditate daily. Any meditation that does not involve concentration (which has been shown to increase anxiety) can be very helpful. I highly recommend the twice-daily deep rest and enlivenment of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, whose benefits have been verified by over 700 published research studies.

  1. Eat organic, whole fresh food that is freshly prepared. There is an Ayurvedic saying: “Without proper diet. medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need.” Be sure to avoid those leftovers, processed and microwaved foods for better nutrition and vitality.

  1. Perform Ayurvedic oil massage in the morning (abhyanga). Morning oil massage purifies the entire body, reduces anxiety and stress, helps prevent and heal injuries and supports circulation. It is especially helpful in creating a radiant complexion and keeping your skin youthful. Research shows it may also help prevent skin cancers.

  1. Practice yoga asanas. Maintaining flexibility and circulation is key to health.

  1. Practice pranayama (yoga breathing) techniques. Pranayama enlivens the mind and body. Ideally practice the following sequence twice a day. Asanas, pranayama and meditation.

Summary

Everyone’s unique beauty shines forth when they have radiant health and personal happiness. Beauty is a side effect of a balanced, fulfilled life. Supreme personal beauty is accessible to everyone who is willing to take more control of their health in their day-to-day life through time-tested principles of natural living.

For most of us, beauty is not a gift but a choice. Every woman can be radiantly beautiful simply by beginning to lead a healthier life. You will be rewarded by the glowing effects you will see in your mirror each day and the powerful, bliss-producing effect your special beauty has on everyone in your life.

Nancy Lonsdorf M.D. received her M.D. from Johns Hopkins and did her postgraduate training at Stanford. She has studied Ayurveda with some of the world’s most renowned Ayurvedic physicians in India, Europe and the U.S. Dr. Lonsdorf has 17 years of clinical experience with Ayurveda and is currently the Medical Director of The Raj Ayurveda Health Center in Vedic City Iowa.

Weight Loss and Beauty

Raw diet promotes beauty. To begin with, one reaches his or her ideal weight more readily and maintains it with much less effort than on a cooked diet. Many people lose 15 pounds in a month or two with no feeling of deprivation whatsoever. Obese people lose much more than that while eating raw fats all they want, including raw “ice cream,” avocados, nuts and olives. Raw fats (from avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, coconut butter et al.) are actually needed by the body to maintain youthful skin, hair and glands. They are rich in the essential fatty acids linolenic acid and linoleic acid that are denatured by heat.

Raw food pioneer Dr. Ann Wigmore wrote, “The effectiveness of live foods and fresh juices, especially wheatgrass juice, has bankrupted many complex theories about why we become fat and how to reduce quickly … Among our guests at the [Hippocrates Health] Institute, the average weight loss per week is between four and fifteen pounds” (The Wheatgrass Book, p. 59).

Studies have shown that raw food is less fattening than the same food cooked. According to Dr. Edward Howell, raw fats are not fattening and seem to belong in “a special pigeonhole in nutritional speculations” (Enzyme Nutrition, p.109). While cooked fats accumulate in the body and become very detrimental to our health, raw fats contain lipase (deficient in many obese people), the enzyme involved in metabolizing fat properly.

The word “Eskimo” means “raw eater,” as the Eskimos traditionally ate nothing cooked but subsisted chiefly on raw meat and blubber. Dr. V. E. Levine examined 3,000 primitive Eskimos during three trips to the Arctic and found only one person who was overweight.

Cooked starches are also very fattening. Farmers have even learned that it is necessary to feed their animals cooked food to fatten them up for maximal profit. Hogs do not get fat on raw potatoes, but cooking the potatoes makes them gain weight.

In addition to reaching your body’s ideal weight, many other beauty factors blossom on a raw diet. Cellulite, which is thought to result from eating heated fats, gradually disappears with the consumption of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. On a raw diet, elimination of cellular waste and increased lymphatic drainage helps remove cellulite.

As the body’s old cells are replaced with new, healthy cells through proper nutrition that only a raw diet provides, your hair grows in thicker and at times wilder. It may even regain color after having been gray, as did Ann Wigmore’s. Your skin may become as soft and smooth as it was in your youth. Your nails will be strong, clear and shiny. Facial lines may fade or disappear; the face’s pasty, white complexion becomes ruddy or rosy. People may remark on how much younger you look. Your eyes will sparkle.

The Hippocrates Health Institute, one of the places where people have gone to learn about the raw food diet, was once described by Cosmopolitan magazine as the “well-kept secret” of beauty and rejuvenation of various famous Hollywood movie stars and celebrities. Now the news media are letting the secret out.

When Demi Moore appeared in a bikini in the Charlie’s Angels movie Full Throttle and looked every bit as great as the women younger than her, the word went out that the secret was her raw food diet. Other celebrities who have caught the wave include Alicia Silverstone and Woody Harrelson.

Model Carol Alt wrote in her book Eating in the Raw that the raw diet helps her stay beautiful, slim and young-looking. She attributes her current youthfulness and stamina to having eaten primarily raw food for eight years. She explains that in her thirties she had to starve herself and exercise a lot to stay trim. But as a raw fooder she is able to eat anything she wants, as long as it’s raw, and she maintains her weight effortlessly, without ever feeling excess hunger. In addition, she claims she has better abdominal definition without exercising than she did as a cooked fooder who exercised regularly. She also has fewer wrinkles.

Health and beauty are intertwined. Dr. Herbert Shelton wrote, “The woman who maintains her health and youthfulness will retain her attractiveness. If she permits her health to slip away from her, if she values indulgences and frivolities more than she does health and impairs her health in the pursuit of false pleasure, she will lose her BEAUTY; and no art of the cosmetician and dressmaker will be able to preserve it for her.”

Researcher Arnold De Vries writes, “In the final analysis, we must regard beauty, health and youth as intimately related. To the extent that you preserve one in your physical being, you also preserve the others. The uncooked fruit and vegetable diet, pure water, sleep and rest, sunshine, strong relationships, exercise, fresh air, fasting if necessary, and abstinence from drugs, vaccines, serums and other toxins are the prime requirements in your attempt to preserve your youth, health and beauty as long as you can” (The Fountain of Youth).

The face becomes more beautiful with a raw diet. “Skin loses its slackness and puffiness and clings to the bones better,” write Susannah and Leslie Kenton (Raw Energy, p. 90). “The true shape of the face emerges where once it was obscured by excess water retention and poor circulation. Lines become softer. Eyes take on the clarity and brightness one usually associates with children or with super-fit athletes.”

Nutritionist Natalia Rose, author of The Raw Food Detox Diet, profoundly praises the raw food diet as being the key to permanent weight loss. It’s a lifestyle in which a woman can even attain her perfect shape without formal exercise or counting calories or grams of fat or carbohydrates and regardless of having had several children. The skin tone improves as cells become healthier and tighter. One dares to go out without make-up.

Tonya Zavasta describes her lifelong obsession with attaining beauty, which she finally discovered in her 40s through a 100% raw food diet. In her book Your Right to Be Beautiful, she explains how each of us can fulfill our full beauty potential, which is robbed by the toxic accumulation of cooked foods, dairy, wheat, salt and drugs. “Beauty lies latent under cushions of retained fluids, deposits of fat and sick tissues. Your beauty is buried alive” (p. 134).

She goes on to explain that on a diet of uncooked foods, “The landscape of the body will change. Fat that has accumulated in pockets under the eyes and at the jaw will melt away. The lumpy potato look of one’s face will give way to sleek and smooth contours. The surface of the skin will become soft and smooth but still firm and supple. Visible pores will diminish. A sallow skin with a yellow pallor will turn into a porcelain-like complexion” (p. 137).

She furthermore describes the radiance and glow produced internally when there is “an abundance of clear, pink, almost transparent cells that light up the face,” which is produced by superior blood circulation. Even the most beautiful supermodel would be enhanced by a raw food diet. She notes that the modern-day version of beauty is more in harmony with health than perhaps ever before, hence “the quest for beauty, instead of a narcissistic preoccupation, becomes a noble pursuit.”

Tonya came across many women who would not eat a raw diet for their health, preferring just to take medications. However, they would go raw for beauty, as there is no pill for beauty. In her book Beautiful on Raw, ten women contributed their own experiences of how raw diets added to their beauty.

Various observations were that hair grew out with color instead of gray, sometimes with natural waves or curls, and fingernails grew strong, long and shapely. Cellulite vanished effortlessly. Puffiness in the body and face disappeared, and the skin cleared up. These women often get complimented on the “glow” of their faces. They feel confident without make-up. Their inner beauty and confidence also radiate. They look younger than ever and have no fear whatsoever of getting old. One of the women is 64 and still gets checked out by “the young whippersnappers” when she is at the gym!

Interestingly, many of them, before eating raw, had never been called “beautiful” by anyone, even when they were much younger. One of the women wrote about suddenly becoming aware of the benefits of being attractive, benefits which one who had always been beautiful would take for granted. People were nicer to her, cops didn’t give her tickets, and salespeople waited on her first.

The authors of Raw Food/Real World explain, “People who eat only raw, plant-based foods have an unmistakable shine, like a pregnant woman in her second trimester or someone newly in love. They have a radiant positive energy.”

You Can’t Be Beautiful Unless You’re Healthy

So you want to be beautiful. But how does one achieve true inner and outer beauty? The first step to achieving true beauty is really quite simple. To be beautiful on the outside, you must make sure you’re beautiful and healthy on the inside. This is why it’s of utmost importance to take care of your body’s physical health, your inner health, along with your mind and inner self.

Outer beauty truly is directly related to inner health and wellness. You can’t have one without the other, so it’s best to take a pro-active approach to your physical, mental and emotional health to be able to achieve that outer “glow” of beauty that has become so desired in today’s society. But make sure you’re realistic. You aren’t achieving outer beauty if your objective is simply to LOOK more beautiful.

True outer beauty comes with a sense of acceptance of self, a true peaceful spirit and a lack of obsession over physical appearance. One can’t be beautiful if they are obsessed with being beautiful. If you try to use and follow every beauty tip you’ve ever come across or are told, then you won’t succeed in becoming beautiful- you’ll only drive yourself crazy in the attempt to achieve beauty.

Society’s obsession with beauty is based on the superficial, and those who are beautiful and healthy tend to not be noticed as often. As unfair as it may be, it’s even more unfair to worry yourself to death or obsess over it. Developing an obsessing or striving for perfection will damage your physical and mental health, sometimes to the point of no return.

While outer beauty is a good goal, something nice to strive for- it shouldn’t be the entire basis of any health regimen you follow, nor should it become all you focus on. Embracing your own differences and those of others around you is key to being healthy, happy and beautiful. But you can’t embrace your differences if you obsess and view those differences negatively.

If your nose is “too big” or “too small,” recognize that it’s a difference that makes you who you are. If you feel you’re “too heavy” or “too thin,” realize that you are who you are. Simply strive to live as healthily as possible, and don’t fret about the rest. If you find yourself overweight- living healthy, eating properly, and getting enough rest will work wonders and eventually your body will find itself going towards the weight it needs to be.

And of course, you should always try to get enough sleep each night. Don’t over-exert yourself physically or mentally, and make sure you’re eating healthy meals and drinking plenty of water. Proper rest, physical activity and nutrition are of utmost importance for both your physical health and your outer beauty. Your mental health is also helped by maintaining proper nutrition and a good sleeping schedule.