Ayurveda - An Introduction
The word ‘Ayurveda’ comes to us from the ancient language of India [Sanskrit] and translates into [English] as ‘the science of everyday living’. Ayurveda teaches us that we cannot have true beauty without the desire to meet the needs of our body/mind in a proper way. Ayurvedic beauty rituals, therefore, emphasise understanding ourselves.
Ayurveda has long known that beauty is the result of what we choose to put into our mind & body, either tangibly in the form of a daily diet, exercise regime, beauty & healing rituals, or in the less tangible forms of thoughts, feelings & emotions.
From an Ayurvedic viewpoint, beauty is not only synonymous with balanced health, but also embraces the deeper, sattvic ideals of love, truth, freedom & peace.
The Five Great Elements or 'Maha Bhutas'
At the core of all Ayurvedic diagnosis & treatment modalities, is an understanding of the five ‘maha bhutas’ or ‘great elements’ – Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
These five great elements are perceived to be the fundamental building blocks of all things in the universe, five elemental forces which compose and enable the natural world and all living beings to function in harmony.
The doshas, known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha, provide a framework for understanding how the five elements interact with each other, to create an ever changing state of balance within the body.
We are all born with a particular Prakruti or nature, which means we have a specific and unique dosha balance, that is determined at birth. We all contain a mixture of the three doshas, most of us showing dominant signs of one or two doshas and lesser of the other.
Vata types feel the cold, have fine, delicate skin, tiny pores, tan easily & are cool to touch. Imbalanced, Vata skin becomes dry, flaky or rough & prone to fine lines, especially on the forehead & around the eyes.
Pitta types feel the heat, note their warm glowing cheeks are often lightly freckled or dotted with beauty marks & burn easily. Imbalanced pitta skin is prone to conditions such as redness, acne, rosacea, an oily t-zone, frequent breakouts in the T-zone & broken capillaries on the cheeks.
Kapha skin types have classically pale or rich olive skin, that is smooth, soft & lustrous. Imbalanced kapha skin becomes sluggish, may feel damp or a little oily & be prone to blackheads or congestion, including breakouts around the cheeks & cheekbone, up into the hair line & above the ears.