Ayurveda is a widely spiritual beauty/life practice, found in all parts of India. It’s the science of life, Ayu meaning knowledge and veda meaning life in Sanskrit. Ayurveda is an eternal science – no beginning or end. It’s over 5,000 years old and stresses on the balance of three elements: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Hygiene is also a central practice of the Ayurveda system, regularly involving baths, and cleansing of teeth, skincare and eye washing. There’s also a strong focus on “inner beauty” rather than just on the external.
The practice of panchakarm works to release toxins from the body using oils and massage therapies over a period of time. The goal of Ayurveda is to lead a life of vitality. Ayurveda has a set of reference points that allows us to understand ourselves and our lives in greater detail. Ayurveda practices the human observation to diagnose. It’s about self-understanding and uses herbal medicines, mediation, yoga and special dietary meals to cultivate the idea that we are all one.
Among the many oil treatments, our favorite is Abhyanga. It is a full body oil massage that’s used to correct the flow of Vata (check me out below!). Warm medicated oil made specific for the patient is poured onto their body with long strokes in circular motions. The therapy is meant to be extremely calming and to reconnect the nervous system and nourish the heart. After the treatment, you’re put into a steam bath called Svedhana, which draws excess pitta out of your body, and encourages the other doshas to create balance.
Shirodhara was also a daily treatment that consisted of an oil flow over the forehead. It’s said to treat insomnia, stress, and gives patients an effortless understanding of their pure consciousness. I felt very lightheaded and very much at peace after just one treatment. The oil is poured from a clay bowl onto the forehead in patterns. It’s infused with mind-calming herbs that opens the 6th and 7th chakra, heightening the senses and intuition.
Ayurveda massage oil is a spiritual and artistic science. Just the practice of making the oil takes five to six days. You spend all morning collecting herbal plants from the garden that are all focused on balancing the doshas. You start by smashing all the herbs in a large bowl. An essential part of making the oil is a purity of the mind and the dedication of everyone involved. They believe the energy of the creator is transferred to the oil, so it’s crucial to be in a state of peace.
Make sure to add this beauty treatment, next time you’re in India! Would you try any of these ayurveda treatments? Let us know in the comments below.
Pictures by Christina Gatti http://christinegatti.com
Retreat: Rasa Ayurveda Kerala India http://rasaayurveda.com