Ayurveda—one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world—is based on ideas that we can all get behind, even if it’s not already part of your wellness routine. Cultivating a balanced lifestyle, eating a healthy diet, and taking a holistic approach to illnesses (i.e., addressing root causes, not just relieving symptoms) are all key to Ayurveda. So how do you start incorporating this ancient healing tradition into your routine? Turns out, it’s not as complicated as you might think.
What is ayurveda?
Let’s start from the beginning: Ayurveda originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It’s rooted in the belief that good health comes from a balance between mind, body, and spirit. In Ayurveda, all matter is said to be made up of five elements: prithvi (earth), agni (fire), jal (water), vayu (air) and aakash (ether). These elements manifest in our bodies as three basic principles or types of energy (known as doshas in Ayurveda): vata (ether and air), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (earth and water).
The three doshas govern how our bodies and minds function. Everyone has a unique blend of the three doshas, but there’s usually one predominant dosha that is your main life force. In Ayurvedic tradition, it’s thought that disease, discomfort, and health issues are linked to an imbalance of your doshas.
To ensure your doshas are in balance, Ayurveda recommends using a variety of techniques including lifestyle changes, diet, herbs, and cleanses. To learn some easy ways to cultivate the balance of our doshas, we turned to Uma founder and Ayurveda practitioner Shrankhla Holecek for her easy ways to add Ayurveda into your life.
Detoxing—it’s not what you think
Detoxing is often recommended as part of Ayurveda, and a detox can range from simple daily practices to intensive, occasional cleanses. Two of Shrankhla’s favorite daily detox rituals are drinking a glass of warm water with lemon on an empty stomach in the morning and oil pulling. Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic procedure that involves cleansing the mouth with virgin coconut or sesame oil. Just take 10 ml of oil, swish it inside your mouth for about 20 minutes, and spit it out. Rinse well with warm water. According to Shrankhla, this ritual removes toxins from the body, eliminates bad breath, and naturally whitens teeth.
Mental detoxing is just as important. Repressed emotions are thought to be the cause of many health issues, so relieving stress is a crucial part of Ayurveda. Shrankhla recommends managing stress by practicing meditation, eating a healthy diet and using the right essential oils. “My favorites for managing anxiety are chamomile, vetiver, lavender and sandalwood,” she says. “For an extra-therapeutic boost, try Uma Pure Calm Wellness Oil, which integrates nine essential oils in an age-old formula to promote physical and mental peace.”
Get your beauty sleep
Ayurveda recommends hitting the hay at 10PM and getting up when the sun rises. “That may be less than practical for some of us,” says Shrankhla, “So here are a few suggestions that work easily for all: Drink a cup of hot milk with honey, turmeric, and pistachio powder before bedtime. If dairy isn’t for you, go with chamomile tea. Massaging the soles of your feet with sesame oil (or Uma Pure Rest Wellness Oil if you’re looking for even more powerful relief) will help tremendously.”
Try these easy diet tweaks
In Ayurveda, diet and exercise are crucial to cultivating balance. The healthiest diet for you depends on your predominant dosha, but for everyone, Shrankhla recommends a combination of roasted fennel and coriander seeds mixed with a pinch of salt to boost digestion and metabolism. Bonus tip: Water boiled with barley (and then strained) and coriander tea are thought to help reduce water weight and relieve bloating.
Add Ayurveda to your beauty routine
While Ayurveda focuses on creating beauty from the inside out, there are topical Ayurvedic treatments you can try. Shrankhla swears by aloe vera, Kumkumadi Thailam (saffron oil), and her secret trick for an instant glow—a face mask made of powdered sandalwood, grated almonds (soaked overnight), and honey.
Looking for Ayurvedic tips for acne? Shrankhla recommends face masks with Fuller’s Earth clay, honey, and turmeric. You can spot-treat blemishes with a mixture of tea tree, clove, and orange or lemon essential oils diluted in grapeseed oil. (If you’re not a DIY person, give UMA Deeply Clarifying Face Oil a try.)
Massages and herbal baths
“Massages and herbal baths will also keep your skin in top shape as they relax your nerves,” says Shrankhla. “Use 10-12 drops of your favorite essential oil as a soothing addition to your bath. You can also use fresh herbs wrapped in a muslin bag. Massages—using the right oil for your dosha— are hugely beneficial. Massaging towards the heart will help boost your circulation for glowing skin.”
No matter what your dosha is, you can explore Uma’s collection of beauty and wellness oils to incorporate Ayurvedic tradition into your beauty routine.