What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient system of natural health care that’s been practiced for thousands of years in India. Using simple dietary and lifestyle changes combined with herbal remedies, Ayurvedic traditions are used to restore balance in the mind and body. Find out more in our introductory guide to Ayurveda.
For over 5,000 years, Ayurveda – the sister science to yoga – has been the traditional medical system of India.
But what exactly IS Ayurveda, how do you know which products to use and how can it improve maternal and child health?
We’re glad you asked!
In this article, we’ll go over:
- What Ayurveda is
- Understanding Ayurveda Doshas
- How Ayurveda can improve maternal and child health
- The best Ayurvedic skincare products
Scroll down to learn more.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic science that focuses on the body, mind and spirit connection.
Through an abundant resource of lifestyle practices designed to keep you feeling strong in your body and balanced in the mind, the Ayurvedic treatment plan to healing focuses on five Sense Therapies:
Taste: Ayurvedic Nutrition
Touch: Abhyanga (self-massage with Body Oil)
Sight: Chromeotherapy (Color Therapy)
Sound: Mantras & Time in Nature
Smell: Ayurvedic Aromatherapy
Understanding Ayurveda Doshas
In order to know which foods, oils for massage, colors, mantras and scents are best for an individual, Ayurveda understands that there are five elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth) that comprise the three doshas:
The doshas make up the physical, mental and emotional bodies of each person. Each one of us has all three doshas but they combine in unique ways which make each of us who we are.
Let’s look at the doshas in more detail…
Vata dosha is made of the ether and air elements.
Ether and air are both considered light, dry, mobile and cold. Thus, if someone is predominant in vata dosha, they will have a harder time gaining weight, more easily experience dry skin and hair and they are typically the first person in the room to feel cold. In a stressful situation, vata types have the tendency to feel fearful, anxious and overwhelmed. Some Ayurvedic recommendations to bring balance to vata dosha include eating foods like root veggies, soups and stews and avoiding light, dry foods like raw veggies and salads.
The best body oils for vata dosha are almond and sesame oil since they bring abundant moisture to the skin. We love the Vata Body Oil to help hydrate and soften dryness.
Grounding colors like olive, golds and browns help to ground vata dosha. Spending time in nature will help steady and calm vata types. Some essential oils we recommend to balance vata include sustainably harvested jasmine, lavender and jatamamsi. Applying an Ear Oil & Nose Oil such as the one we carry from PAAVANI Ayurveda will also help restore health and balance to dry vata dosha.
Ranging from $32 to $55
Pitta dosha is comprised of predominantly fire with a little bit of water and its qualities are hot, light, slightly oily, unstable and sharp.
When people are predominant in pitta dosha, they tend to have a medium frame, their skin can be described as sensitive and/or prone to inflammation and when they become stressed, their default emotions are anger and irritability.
Oftentimes, pitta types feel hot because of the abundant amount of fire in their constitution. To restore balance to pitta dosha, the 5 Sense Therapies focus on bringing in a cooling and soothing energy. For example, herbs like cumin, coriander and fennel are excellent to cook with because they help reduce heat in the digestive tract.
According to Ayurveda, sunflower oil has a cooling nature and is one of the best body oils for pitta dosha. We adore this Pitta Body Oil due to its ability to soothe even the most sensitive of skin. Cooling colors of blue, whites and silvers help calm a heated, pitta type mind. Essential oils like honeysuckle, sandalwood and rose are excellent forms of aromatherapy to soften hot and sharp pitta types. The Pitta Spritzer found in this Aromatherapy Ritual Kit is a must for anyone experience heated emotions!
Ranging from $32 to $55
Kapha dosha contains the earth and water elements.
These elements are considered heavy, stable, static, dense, moist and cold. Hence, if someone is predominant in kapha dosha, they have a solid physical structure and can have a harder time losing weight versus people predominant in vata or pitta doshas.
Kapha type skin is thick and has relatively few wrinkles; however, it can readily experience congestion and cystic acne. In the mind, it can be difficult for kapha type people to stay motivated and they can lack enthusiasm because of their heavy and dense nature.
Ayurvedic recommendations to balance kapha dosha include favoring warming, pungent herbs like black pepper, cayenne and basil to stimulate digestion. For abhyanga (self-massage), using a light body oil that will not clog the pores, such as safflower oil is ideal. Safflower oil is found in this Kapha Body Oil.
To awaken the senses, bright and bold colors like red, orange and yellow should be utilized. As for aromatherapy, citrus oils like grapefruit, mandarin and bergamot are wonderful options for kapha types. Nose Oil is also helpful for kapha types as it clears congested nasal passageways.
Ranging from $32 to $55
How Ayurveda can improve maternal and child health
According to Ayurvedic Physician, Smitha Bajpai:
In an effort to regain the strength that is lost during pregnancy and childbirth, Ayurveda focuses on both the mother and the newborn for up to forty five days. Post- childbirth, the digestive power of women is weak while at the same time, her nutritional needs increase to meet the dual purpose of regaining her strength and to breastfeed her child. Therefore a light, carminative, nutritious and liquid diet is suggested in contrast to the sweet, oily and heavy diet during pregnancy.
A woman’s postpartum diet should be gradually stepped up from liquid to semi-solid and solid by the 10th day after childbirth. After a period of 30 days she should gradually return to her routine diet. The dietary regimen allows time for the body to recuperate as well as protect the digestive functions of the woman’s body thereby reducing morbidities related to the digestive system in her ensuing normal life cycle.
Diet for the initial five days comprises of: rice gruel with medicated herbs like laghu panchmula (a group of light and digestive herbs like chavya, chitrak, pippali, pippali mool and shunthi).
Her diet from 5 to 10 days after childbirth comprises of: rice, kulattha (horse gram) green gram soup, mutton soup, barley, fruits, ghee, vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, cucumber and always drink warm/hot water to help with the digestion.
Her diet from 11 – 30 days should include rice, ghee, jaggery, khas khas kheer (poppy seed pudding), sweets made from musali, ajowain, methi, shatavari.
Read further: Role of Ayurveda in Promoting Maternal and Child Health.
The best Ayurvedic skincare products
When shopping for anything that goes on or in our skin, we make sure that it passes The Tot Safety Test. This means we dive deep into third-party testing and ingredients lists to make sure we’re not exposing ourselves to any potentially toxic chemicals such as harmful preservatives, PEGS, Petrochemicals, harmful phthalates, synthetic fragrances and parabens.
The reason we love PAAVANI Ayurveda so much is their transparency in their product and commitment to using organic, wild-harvested, non-toxic, and good enough to eat ingredients! Equally passionate about sustainability, PAAVANI Ayurveda products are packaged in non-leaching glass instead of plastic and each label is printed on recycled paper with non-toxic inks.
There is so much we can learn from the ancient healing system of Ayurveda. When people begin to incorporate this holistic science into their lives, a sense of conscious awareness is cultivated and stronger sense of self develops.
To learn more about your unique blend of the elements,
Find out more about the story of PAAVANI Ayurveda
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