My skin was riddled with acne, my hair was brittle, and I constantly felt bloated. I couldn't figure it out, so I went to several dermatologists, but nothing was helping. Nothing, until I introduced Ayurveda into my beauty routine and upped the ante with healthy fats, warming herbs, and breathwork.
When our system is clogged, it prevents us from digesting our food properly, causing toxins to build up and get reabsorbed into the body. This manifests on skin as acne, dullness, and dehydration. If your diet is nutrient-dense but you're not absorbing the nourishing qualities because of poor digestion, you'll be going around in circles.
Ayurveda has wonderful solutions that can help detoxify the body by improving digestion and eliminating toxins, all the while nourishing and lubricating it internally. This ancient Indian practice is technically a medicine practice, but it's also applied to skin care and holistic body healing. Your happiness, the food you eat, the things you drink, and your skin are all one. Rather than existing independently, each informs the other — here are five ways I maintain a wholly functioning body.
1. Use organic ghee.
Ghee is a shelf-stable form of clarified butter that's been used for centuries in the traditional cuisine of India, where it's also prized for its wellness benefits. It's made by melting pure sweet cream butter until water completely evaporates and milk solids are separated out. It's close to clarified butter, but it's cooked longer, resulting in a deeper, "nutty" flavor. Ghee is my top "beauty" fat because it helps moisturize skin from the inside out and makes it radiant and supple to the touch.
How-to: Aim to have 2 teaspoons a day; I cook my food in it and add it to my grains for a unique taste.
2. Sip on ginger tea.
Ginger is known as one of the main healing spices of Ayurveda. There is an ayurvedic sutra (verse) that says that everyone should eat fresh ginger just before lunch and dinner to enhance digestion. Not only does ginger stoke the digestive fire, but it also whets the appetite, improves assimilation and transportation of nutrients to targeted body tissues, and clears the microcirculatory channels of the body, making it a beauty essential!
How-to: To prepare ginger tea, take 2 inches of fresh ginger, grate it, and add these pieces to a cup of boiling water and steep it for around 10 to 15 minutes. Sipping on this tea before having a meal will help you absorb those "beauty nutrients" better.
3. Change your perspective.
All inverted postures help increase blood circulation to the face and head, which can help give us that natural face lift and rosy pinkish glow. Inversions include headstands, shoulder stands, and bridges. You can start with holding a posture for 1 minute, then eventually working up to 5 minutes.
How-to: Check out mbg's definitive guide to a kaleidoscopic array of inversions: "27 Mind-Blowing Inversions From Rockstar Yogis."
4. Practice pranayama (deep-breathing exercises).
Kapalbhati pranayama (skull-shining breathing technique) is an extremely powerful Ayurvedic breathing technique to detoxify the body — clearing the lungs brings more oxygen into the body, throws carbon dioxide out, and helps give a pretty instantaneous boost to the skin.
How-to: Aim to do this for 10 minutes every day on an empty stomach.
5. Try triphala.
Triphala is one of the most potent formulas for beauty in traditional Ayurveda medicine. Its ability to cleanse while nourishing the body makes it a detoxifying staple made of a preparation of three fruits — bibhitaki, haritaki, and amla — which have potent healing properties. The herbs work as a gentle laxative by stimulating the peristaltic actions of the intestines to improve elimination while removing toxins. Amla is also loaded with vitamin C, which helps keep the skin bright and hair shiny.
How-to: Take 1 teaspoon of triphala powder mixed with a glass of warm water before sleeping.