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The restorative power of Ayurveda

When people ask me to describe my wellness or beauty routine, my answer is simple: Ayurveda. Translated to mean ‘life knowledge’, Ayurveda is one of the world’s first holistic healing practices. Practiced in India for over 5000 years, it utilizes natural methods to restore balance in the mind and body, which is why I rely on it as a healthy, effective way to get back to my best self.

Ayurvedic methods include using diets, herbal treatment and meditation to maintain well-being and tackle the source of health problems. Modern medicine, on the other hand, often targets merely the symptoms to offer temporary relief.

Today, though most of us turn to modern medicine for cures, Ayurveda still has its place in our daily lives. It is now primarily used in the beauty industry, with many like myself replacing manufactured beauty products and treatments with Ayurvedic alternatives for a more holistic way to look and feel well.

As complex as it may sound, treatment can often be as simple as using milk to cleanse the pores, or mixing turmeric and sandalwood to reduce acne. My own simple yet effective beauty regimen involves dipping a cotton ball into a bowl of raw milk and dabbing it onto my skin. This helps remove blackheads and cleanse my pores, leaving my newly moisturized skin smoother.

Beauty aside, Ayurveda can also be used to boost well-being. My personal favorite Ayurvedic trick to staying in shape is simple: drinking warm water. Warm water stimulates the digestive system, making it a great way to aid the body in the digestive process. Adding a drop of lemon to your warm water, especially in the morning, can also help cleanse the body by ridding it of toxins.

Ayurveda also promotes wellness through another ancient Indian practice—yoga. The ‘Surya Namaskar’ or ‘Morning Salutation’ has been proven to boost moods and inspire physical and mental well-being, so I make it a point to do it first thing in the morning. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Stand upright, bringing your palms together at the heart, in what is referred to as the mountain pose.

  2. Inhale and sweep your ar

    ms overhead, keeping them straight. Gaze up as you do so, lifting the heart and expanding the chest. Feel free to bend backwards a little, stretching your spine and back muscles.

  3. Exhale and bend forward, from the waist, placing your hands beside your feet.

  4. Inhale and perform a lunge, with your left leg in front and your right leg stretched back. Ensure that your left leg is placed squarely between your palms.

  5. Exhale and bring your left leg back parallel to your right leg, so you’re in a plank position. Then, holding your breath lower your body so that all five points- your hands, chin, chest, knees and feet- are in contact with the floor.

  6. Slowly inhale, pushing through your hands and arms, arch your back and fold into the cobra pose, with your back bent, arms straight and tops of the feet touching your floor or mat.

  7. Lift your tailbone as you bend into the downward dog pose. Exhale.

  8. Transition into another lunge, this time with your right foot forward and your left leg stretched back as you inhale.

  9. Shift your left foot to meet the right as you move into a forward fold and exhale.

  10. Inhale and stand upright, sweeping your arms overhead as you stretch back a little.

  11. Return to mountain pose. Exhale and bask in your newfound energy and calmness.