THE CONUNDRUM OF AGING.
When we’re young, we wish that we were older. We pine to stay out late and see R-Rated movies. But as time passes, we find ourselves searching for youth. We amass lotions and potions that swear to reverse the signs of aging and restore us back to that age of innocence.
Here’s a novel idea: Why not embrace aging? Rather than wistfully wishing we were younger, why don’t we honor the changes and all the beautiful knowledge that comes with it? That is what Ayurveda does. Ancient India’s ageless system of medicine proves that the grass can be green at any age—with the right mindset.
Ayurveda teaches us that aging is a gift. It allows us the opportunity to tap into our inner wisdom and celebrate the opportunity of each new day. Ayurveda’s approach to natural anti-aging is known as rasayana chikitsa, a holistic rejuvenation of mind and body that retains youthfulness and vitality. (Rasayana is an ancient sanskrit words that means path of essence.) The ethos of Rasayana is prevention and restoration: Various Rasayana therapy techniques care for the skin, hair, mind, and body, keeping it in optimal health and balance so we age with grace and longevity.
It’s a profound and freeing approach that can have incredible anti-aging benefits for our mind, spirit, body, and complexion.
Rasayana for Skin
Intentionally and consistently caring for the skin is the most powerful way to prevent and reduce signs of aging. As we age the epidermis begins to lose its water retention and the fatty substances that keep skin elastic and moisturized. It’s essential to nurture and replenish the skin with nutrient-rich essential oils, hydrating rosewater, and replenishing masks. With every treatment and application, take a moment to massage and appreciate the skin. This will help to keep collagen and circulation boosted and cellular turnover stimulate.
Rasayana for Hair
As we age our hair can grow brittle, dry, damaged, and dull. Ayurvedic treatments get to the root (literally) of aging hair issues. UMA’s Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil delivers clarifying extracts of grapefruit and lemon to remove impurities and nourish follicles, enhancing elasticity and strengthening hair from root to end. If you’re keen to make at at-home natural hair treatment, blend five to six tablespoons of Bhringraj (Ayurveda’s “King of Herbs”) with water to form a paste. Apply to the scalp and leave for twenty minutes before washing out. Bhringraj has been shown to thicken strands, stimulate growth, and prevent premature graying.
Rasayana for Mind
Meditation is an obvious—and important—practice for caring for the mind. Ayurveda recommends meditation coupled with a nutrient-rich diet rich with key Ayurvedic herbs for maintaining intellect and memory as time goes on. Organic carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and seasonal fruit are all recommended “memory foods” (while meat is particularly bad). The Ayurvedic herb Brahmi is highly touted for enhancing memory, cognition, and mood. Steep the herb in boiled water or milk for regenerative cup of tea.
Rasayana for Body
Almonds, walnuts, turmeric, and ghee are also vital ayurvedic ingredients to building ojas, our life essence, within the body. In addition to a balanced diet that fuels our digestive fire and creates ojas, you should also introduce the art of abhyanga, or massage, into your ritual to release toxins, improve muscle tone, and release stress. A 15-minute daily self-massage can make a world of difference in keeping the body limber. Sesame oil is great for aging skin with its warm, calming properties that nurture all of the body’s tissues.
The advice in this column is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease, or affect the structure or function of the body. The information herein does not constitute medical advice. Anyone suffering from a medical condition should consult with a physician. User reviews do not constitute a guarantee that you will achieve the same results—what works for one may not work for another.