Humans have always appreciated and emulated beauty in all its forms as it has evolved over time. Recently, there has been a movement toward paring down the makeup routine in favor of a more natural look. While this trend sounds like a good idea, pulling it off places you in a bit of a quandary. You know beauty goes farther than being just skin deep, yet your skin is one of the most visible expressions of this, thus the amount of attention you place on making it appealing to yourself and others. So how do you acquire the enviable glow that makes the natural look doable?
The fact is when your inner world is vibrant, your outer world isn’t either—and vice versa. The skin hides nothing and reflects the happiness and health of your world. Ayurveda, along with other indigenous cultures around the world, teaches that you must not only pay attention to the physical but the mental and spiritual aspects of yourself as well in order to instill harmony. One does not exist without the other. Some of the most beautiful people are those who live with passion, love with all their heart, display confidence in who they are, and speak from authenticity. On some level, these people are satisfying all three aspects of themselves whether they know it or not.
To help you get started, here are ways to help you find your own unique brew of what brings out your inner and outer glow.
1. Know Your Dosha
A helpful place to begin is to learn about your mind-body constitution, or dosha. According to Ayurveda, there are three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each of them are present in varying degrees within each individual and they have their own functions and characteristics.
When your doshas are balanced, life flows with ease and optimal health is experienced. Knowing what your predominant dosha is will help determine the routine you need to follow in order to help achieve and maintain balance both internally and externally. When practiced regularly, this type of healing system is considered preventative and is good at catching problems before they occur, ensuring you always have natural radiance about you.
Try this: Take the dosha quiz to find out your dosha.
2. You Are What You Eat
One of the key principles in Ayurveda is the importance of having a strong digestion. The benefits of the body’s ability to metabolize food properly are:
- Increased energy
- Disease prevention
- Healthy skin
- Mental clarity
- Improved mood
Eating heavy foods like hamburgers and pizza ensures that you will feel dull and heavy, leaving little energy to make better choices in the future. Whereas eating foods that are fresh and nutritious brings with it a feeling of lightness and increased energy.
By encouraging easier and stronger digestion, you allow your body to direct energy toward repairing damaged tissues and the regeneration of skin cells. A good place to start is to ease off of sugar and processed foods and seek out plenty of fruits and vegetables along with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Try this: Incorporate more nuts and seeds into your diet such as chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds. Wild fish or fish oil is also an excellent source of omega-3.
3. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Poor sleep can impair physical health, emotional well-being, and general day-to-day functioning. The idea of getting your “beauty sleep” has legitimate basis. The feeling of waking up, feeling refreshed, and looking in the mirror and seeing a vibrant version of yourself is a fantastic feeling.
The amount of repair and regeneration the body goes through during the sleep cycle is amazing. If you are unable to have a good night’s sleep, you are obviously not benefitting from the health-giving effects. Ayurveda touts the importance of sleep and offers helpful recommendations on how to achieve restful sleep if this is something that eludes you. The amount of sleep you need depends on the individual. Most likely you already know what the right amount of sleep is for you; usually it is around 7 to 8 hours.
Try this: Eat a light dinner by 7:00 p.m. in order to allow time for your food to digest before going to bed around 10:30 p.m.
4. Meditate to Combat Stress
Post-meditation glows are one of the most serene and beautiful. The renewed sparkle in the eyes, the brightness in the face, and an attitude that says “it’s all going to be ok” are just a few of the changes experienced when you have a practice of stillness. Stress takes its toll mentally and physically and becomes the cause of a great many ills when it goes unchecked. Meditation is a great restorer of balance and harmony within all systems of the mind and body. Seek out a practice of stillness each day in whatever form you enjoy to reap the benefits.
Try this: Once a day listen to these guided meditations to help jump-start your meditation practice. If you want to learn more about Primordial Sound Meditation, the style of meditation taught through the Chopra Center, sign up for a live event or online course.
5. Treat Yourself to a Self-Massage
People often forget to nurture the largest organ of the body—the skin. One of the most loving acts you can do for yourself is to perform a self-massage. In Ayurveda, the term abhyanga is used in reference to the oil massage therapy traditionally used for healing and detoxifying the mind, body, and spirit.
Through simple touch, you have access to wealth of healing possibilities. Here are a few of the many benefits:
- Calms the nervous system
- Boosts skin elasticity
- Lubricates the joints
- Increases circulation
This is appropriate for almost everyone to perform and is extremely balancing for all doshas. Incorporating this practice into your daily routine would make a huge difference on skin health and improving the inner workings of the body.
Try this: During the day, take a quiet moment to do a 5 to 10 minute mini self-massage. Close your eyes and massage the head, back of your neck and the bottoms of your feet. You’re in control so go as slow or deep as you like.
6. Don’t Forget to Breathe
Take a moment to notice your breath. Do you breathe shallow from the lungs or deep from the belly? Ideally, you should be breathing deeply from the belly. Breath gives power to your life force and you wouldn’t survive very long without it.
In addition to fulfilling its role in the functioning of the body, breath has the power to calm the nervous system and is why you sigh when you feel overwhelmed. There is nothing more refreshing than taking a nice deep breath of fresh air if you’ve been inside all day. Your skin benefits greatly from the increased circulation and purification that takes place when you breathe deeply. Practices such as yoga place great importance on performing breathing exercises, called pranayama, to help maintain balance and overall health. Try doing some breathing exercises each day and notice the difference it makes. It might feel awkward at first, but your body will pick it up pretty quickly.
Try this: Place one hand on your belly and breath in through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, then exhale out your mouth for 8 counts. After completing 4 rounds, resume normal breathing. Perform this once a day.
The importance of hydrating gets a special mention because of how often people tend to ignore it. Your body is made up of approximately 60-70 percent water. As a result, water plays a pretty big role in all sorts of bodily functions and needs constant replenishing through drinking fluids and eating foods that have high water content. One important task is water’s role in flushing waste or toxins from the body, helping to improve complexion.
How much water is needed varies from person to person and depends on body weight, activity level, and climate. A good indication of adequate water intake is if your pee is light and clear. If it’s cloudy or dark, you are not getting enough water. Always listen to your body signals as to whether or not you are getting enough fluids.
Try this: Add lemon, mint, cucumber, or berries to your water to make it more exciting to drink. If you travel a lot, purchase a collapsible water bottle to take with you and fill anywhere.
8. Cleanse with the Seasons
It’s possible for your body to reach its threshold for how much it can tolerate processed foods, stress (good and bad), and beauty care products it can naturally detoxify. Symptoms of overload are associated with the following:
- Skin problems
- Persistent headaches
- Bad breath
Getting into the habit of doing a seasonal cleanse is a powerful way to get back on a healthy track. Cleanse or detox in this context doesn’t mean deprivation. Instead, it’s about listening, nourishing, and cleansing the body in a way that that changes your life for the better. How deep you want to go with your cleanse is up to you.
Try this: Choose one day where you will take in everything in liquid form. For example, a healthy shake in the morning, blended up lentil soup for lunch, and blended carrot soup for dinner. Drinking lots of water in between. Feel free to eat a green salad or some nuts and fruit if your body needs it as a snack. At the end of the day, notice how you feel.
9. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Beauty
Opting for natural and gentle when it comes to body care is a good rule of thumb when exploring ways to enhance your body’s innate glow. A fun way to ensure you know exactly what is going in your product is to make it yourself, which can be a lot easier than you might think.
From toothpaste and deodorant to mascara, there is a recipe for most anything. Do a search on the internet or go on Pinterest and there will be a plethora of information. In general, less is more. Your body knows how to take care of itself better than you think; sometimes you just need to step back and let it do its thing.
Try this bath salt recipe:
- 2 cups Epsom salts
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 30 drops of lavender essential oils
- 10 drop of peppermint essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Store in an air-tight jar and use 1/4 cup per bath.
Feel free to try one or all of these recommendations and don’t limit yourself to just what is on this list. Exercise wasn’t discussed, but we all know it’s important to include for total well-being. Ayurveda encourages self-care as part of a daily routine and not just something you do every once in a while.
Taking time to love and nurture your mind, body, and spirit, even if it’s 5 minutes here and there, is the quickest way to allow your innate beauty to shine brightly. It’s there, right now, just waiting for you to unleash it. Pretty soon your new slogan will be “no makeup, no problem!”
If you are feeling called to lead, teach, and deepen your practice, Chopra Center Certifications may be the next step for you. Learn More.