A note from Joy: I'm absolutely thrilled to be sharing a guest post with you from Kristen Ma, co-founder of Pure + Simple Beauty. She is a wonderful example of beauty from the inside out. I had the pleasure of an ayurveda lymphomaniac facial at Pure + Simple and I highly recommend it. It was extremely dosha balancing and rejuvenating.
As an esthetican and former acne-sufferer, I personally understand the frustration of having less than perfect skin. But after over a decade of breakouts and meltdowns, I was introduced to the science of Ayurveda, and with it, discovered how beauty ailments displayed and expressed my bodys imbalance rather than just being a blow to my self-esteem. From this viewpoint, we are our most beautiful when we exude health - our skin is vibrant and moist, our hair is thick and shiny and our bodies are strong and fit. Ayurveda says that these are indications that our internal energies were in perfect balance.
Ayurveda, is an ancient Indian method of healing which, literally translated, means science of life. This science uses diet, exercise, lifestyle and outlook to maintain balance, and believes that health is the harmonization of mind, body and spirit. Ayurvedic doctors have often described staying healthy is an ongoing struggle. Like a swimmer in the ocean, we must balance among the waves and compensate for the various up and down extremes that our environments and stressors place us in. And while it takes a lot of discipline to keep remembering this as we get caught up in our day to day lives, a steady stream of blemishes, fine lines or eczema rashes serve as a strong reminder.
So, in many ways pimples are a great thing as they help motivate us to really understand our bodies and how to take care of them they are a physical monitor of whether we are properly taking care of ourselves.
Energy is central to Ayurvedic philosophy, and it identifies three types of energy called doshas which we possess in unique proportions: Vata dosha (air energy), Pitta dosha (heat and fire energy), and Kapha dosha (water and earth energy). When one or more doshas are excess or deficient in our natural energetic composition, it leads to skin and body imbalance, and later, disease.
Vata is represented by air. And, like air, embodies lightness, movement and dryness. People high in Vata take on these qualities with slim, willowy frames, dry hair and thin skin. Vatas are open-minded, creative types who are highly conceptual, but too much of this dosha creates over-thinking, anxiety, and scatteredness. Physically, Vata-excess depletes and dehydrated our skin; our bodies lose muscle and bone-mass; and leads to premature aging. One of the best ways to combat high air is through oil. Taking oils lubricates and nourishes our internal body while oiling our skin protects and moisturizes it. Sesame and sunflower oils are best for Vata as they are rich and warming (promoting circulation). Another Vata-reducer is slow, restorative yoga such as Hatha yoga, as it pacifies nervous energy.
Pitta, is characterized by heat and fire. People with high Pitta energy are prone to internal heat and inflammation (this concept is similar to yang energy in Chinese Medicine). Pittas are fiery type A personalities who are natural organizers and leaders. When Pitta is in excess, one of the first symptoms is skin sensitivity. Rosacea and acne displays inflammation in the skin and capillaries. While those of us with acne or rosacea often avoid oil, in fact, Pittas should use coconut oil as it is an anti-inflammatory and an anti-bacterial. This, along with avoiding fried, hot, spicy foods and intense cardiovascular exercise greatly helps high Pitta and, in turn, beauty ailments such as acne, rosacea, eczema and sensitive skin.
Kapha: Earth + Water
Kaphas energetic elements are earth and water. This dosha is wet, heavy, accumulating and storing (this dosha is ain to yin energy in Chinese Medicine). Kapha predominant people have voluptuous bodies, oily skin, thick hair and strong nails. Emotionally, they are grounded, sentimental and dislike change. When Kapha is excessive, water-retention, puffiness and clogged pores result. Kaphas should use hazelnut oil on the face and mustard seed oil on the body to heat and clear accumulation. Internally, eating warming, spicy foods, doing fast-paced exercise (such as ashtanga yoga), and rising early help treat Kapha ailments. Vigorous massage and lymphatic drainage are also good as they break up Kapha stagnation.
When we see beauty Ayurvedically, it becomes less about vanity, and more focused on rebalancing our own energies. Not only does this help us achieve beautiful skin, but inspires us to examine ourselves more deeply. It is a much healthier way to pursue beauty, moving us away from fixing imperfections, towards self-care through the pursuit of wellness.