It’s been a full month since I’ve been introduced to the world of Ayurveda. I don’t know that my life has drastically changed just yet, but I’ve made changes — both external and internal — that I can feel have already started to get me moving in the right direction. (An interesting side note: I just accidentally typed “I don’t know that my mind has drastically changed just yet” – instead of “life”… So fitting, as my mind is the apparent cause of my need for healing).
Among those changes are two significant ones. The first is my weekly attendance of Lilavati’s slow flow yoga class, where we feel and breathe… move and listen… feel and breathe… and feel some more. It’s a class filled with infinite wisdom, powerful mantras, intoxicating oils, and a palpable energy. I constantly struggle with the ability to silence my mind – and this issue comes right to class with me — but I have been becoming more and more aware of it as the moments pass, and I make more of an effort to detach myself from the burden of my thoughts with the dawn of every day.
The second significant change I’ve made has been to my skincare routine. As you all may be aware, I’m quite gung-ho about natural beauty products, but I must admit that I’ve been using acne products (like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid) for years. Years. Thirteen years to be exact. I know that these things are not good for me, but every time I tried taking a break from them in the past, it seemed that my skin would get worse and worse – it was as if my skin had become addicted to these chemicals. I knew I needed to stop. I just didn’t know how.
After my first abyhanga, I learned that my skin was incredibly dehydrated – and these acne products were only making it worse! Lilavati put me on a new skincare regimen, which I’ve been on for about a week and a half now. Holy cow, you guys. My skin feels totally new. I still have blemishes – this is something that will be worked out as I make more progress in my internal healing – but my face just feels totally moisturized. It’s such a drastic change that I have to stop myself from touching my face to enjoy the softness of my skin every few minutes. It’s wonderful.
This week, I’d like to give you a glimpse of the products (all homemade by Lilavati in small, beautiful batches) that I’m using on a daily basis.
Lilavati told me not to use any cleansers on my face in the mornings. “You don’t want to over-wash,” she said. This was the hardest part for me to adjust to, mentally. I was so used to washing and washing and washing, trying to keep my skin “clean”. Instead, I’m just to rinse off with water and a small sponge each morning. I can then apply this special light green mixture to my face before heading out into this world. This product is one that Lilavati doesn’t offer on her website. It’s for special cases – and I guess I’m one of those. It smells fresh and light, almost lemony with a hint of spice. I can’t trust my nose to tell me what it’s made of, but I know that my skin loves it.
Come nighttime, I massage Varnya cleansing oil onto my face. In Sanskrit, Varnya is the illuminating quality that arouses glow and luminosity. The cleanser is made with aloe and apricot kernel oils, as well as olive leaf, rose hips, rose buds, jasmine, lavender, turmeric, neem, and a bunch of other incredible herbs and oils.
After splashing this off my face, I mix a little bit of this clay-like powder with a little bit of the Varnya oil and pat all over my face, forming a type of mask. I’m not sure exactly what it’s made of, but I love this part. I leave this mask on for a few minutes… maybe 3, maybe 15 – however I’m feeling. It gives my skin a slightly cooling sensation, and when I rinse it off, my skin feels incredibly saturated with fresh moisture.
After my nightly face wash comes what may be the most important part of my day – mentally, at least. My daily abyhanga – a full-body massage that I give to myself using oil. Since Lilavati has identified me as mostly Pitta, I use a calming and cooling oil that has been created specifically to relieve obstructed heat within the body. It’s made with sesame, coconut, and sunflower oils; as well as brahmi, jatamansi, manjista, rose, sandalwood, fennel, lavender, calendula, and chrysanthemum herbs; and then tagetes, fennel, and lavender essential oils. As I massage this into my skin, I try to relax as best as I can. I focus on every breath in and out, as well as the feeling of the oil touching my skin. This physical and mental practice helps to get everything flowing in the body. This flow allows trapped energy to be released from the body, healing the being both inside and out.
So there you have it: a look at the new products that I have happily welcomed into my life, and a snapshot of my daily routine. I’d love to hear about your ayurvedic regimens, too. Please feel free to share!
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