Water, the Elixir of Life…

In Summertime we think of water… lake days, beach trips, boating, all around playing in water. But drinking it? There are lots of people out there that do not get enough water. Ancient Ayruveda & Modern Medicine both recommend at least eight 8oz. glasses of water a day. I found a few articles that I want to share with you about the importance of water…

In the article “WATER, how 8 glasses a day keep fat away” I found that water helps to maintain proper muscle tone by giving muscles their natural ability to contract and by preventing dehydration. The body will not function properly without enough water and can’t metabolize stored fat efficiently. When our body does not get enough water it goes into “survival mode” and stores excess water which shows up as swollen & puffy skin, usually in the feet, legs, and hands. So to get rid of excess water you must drink more water. If you are trying to loose weight, water is essential.
(source: article by Dr. Donald S. Robertson)

In a different article by Dr. SavithaSuri (an Ayruvedic physician) I found these benefits:

Healthy glowing skin: A well hydrated skin prevents dry skin and formation of wrinkles. Increased water intake moisturizes the skin from inside. It maintains the elasticity of skin and gives young looks. Water acts as a fountain of youth.

Keeps Cardio Vascular system healthy: Researches have revealed that, drinking water regularly reduces the risk of heart diseases. The scientists say that dehydration increases the viscosity of blood and plasma which are risk factors of heart disease.

Good Digestion: Water is very essential for digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. Well hydrated body cells function normally and efficiently. Water helps in expelling waste products produce during metabolism.

No Constipation: Inadequate consumption of water and lack of fiber in diet cause constipation. Drinking 14 glasses of water per day along with good fiber diet ease bowel movement and relieve constipation.

Alert mind: Dehydration can affect mental alertness. Frequent ingestion of water keeps the mind alert and prevents dizziness which occur due to dehydration..

Regular Detoxification: In resent years our environment is full of toxins like pesticides, industrial wastes, vehicle exhausts etc. These toxins enter human body and get collected in tissues. Drinking lot of water help to eliminate these toxins from body. Hence drinking clean and pure water regularly in large quantities help to flush these toxins and prevent diseases which arise from accumulation of these toxins.

Apart from the benefits mentioned above , water regulates body temperature and boosts the immunity of body.
**Sports persons are always advised to drink plain water instead of aerated drinks.**

 Home remedies using water
 *Drinking 8 – 10 glasses of water per day flushes the toxins from body, hydrates the skin well and reduces acne and pimples.
*Spraying water frequently on face and body helps to keep dry skin soft and smooth.
*Drinking a glass of water before every meal helps in weight reduction.
*Drinking plenty of water help to reduce dark circles.
*Good water intake keeps headaches at bay.
*Warm water consumption eases discomforts caused due to bronchitis and arthritis.
*Drinking ½ glass of warm water once in 2 hours helps in indigestion.
*Consuming water in between meals help in good digestion.

Water not only keeps us healthy, but it keeps us alive. Keep lots of water handy and enjoy the benefits!

Happy Summer!

Beautiful face…

Show your face some love

Our skin keeps us in constant connection with the textures and energies of our world – so it’s no wonder our faces reveal so much about our mental, emotional, and physical status. “When we care for ourselves well, our authentic beauty reflects in our skin,” (Evan Healy, Ayurvedic aesthetician & founder of Eponymous all-natural skin care line).

To keep facial skin growing, Healy recommends giving yourself a wonderfully uncomplicated flax seed facial. Grind flax seeds in a coffee grinder, or buy and pre-ground meal (such as Bob’s Red Mill). It’s all good, a flax meal facial paste is pure simplicity and great for every skin type.
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The concentrated essential fatty acids in flax seed moisturize and protect the skin, and the texture of the hulls stimulates circulation; cleans away dirt, sweat, and excess oils; and sloughs away dead skin cells. Plus, the flax seed – like all seeds – packs prana, or life energy. Releasing prana to your skin energizes and vivifies.
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To increase the healing benefits, Healy recommends that you follow your facial with a nourishing turmeric-yogurt mask. (Turmeric powder can be purchased at your local Indian grocery or organic grocery store)
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…how
Prepare nourishing mask by mixing 2 tablespoons plain yogurt with 1/3 teaspoon honey and a pinch of turmeric powder. Set aside.
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…scrub gently
At the bathroom sink, splash water onto your face. Then mix a little warm water with 2 teaspoons ground flax seed to form a light paste. Apply a thin layer to your skin and massage in circles all over your face, spending some extra time gently scrubbing any oily or rough areas.
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Rinse well with cool or warm water. (Never hot! Hot water stresses delicate facial skin and strips away protective oils.) Pat dry.
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…relax into the mask
Next, spread the yogurt-turmeric mixture evenly over your entire face. Lie down and relax for 10 minutes, taking full, deep breaths and making conscious effort to release any tension you may be holding in your jaw or forehead.
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…seal in the goodness
Rinse with cool water and pat dry. If you’d like, follow with a spritz of rosewater or other aromatherapy facial spray, and apply a moisturizer or serum, such as Evan Healy’s Pomegranate Repair Serum. Finish by patting your damp face with clean hands to “seal” the good effects of your facial into your skin.
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Your natural glow is all the makeup you’ll want!


*Part of a 4 part Ayurvedic Self Care series taken from Yoga Journal that I want to share with you!*
Reference: Yoga Journal, October 2010

Beautiful hair…

Care for your crowning glory

For thousands of years, Indian women have kept their tresses lovely with sumptuous scalp oils made from coconuts, herbs, flowers, and spices. Scalp oils promote thick, lustrous, healthy hair. But they’re also used to ward off colds and flu, relieve headaches, keep you cool in hot weather, and repair frayed nerves. Rubbing warm oil into the scalp area is a deliciously calming experience that helps protect the mind from the over stimulation of daily life.

You can use plain coconut or sesame oil, or pick a ready-made herbal oil (such as Aromabliss Vamakesi Hair Oil). Incorporating traditional Ayurvedic botanicals like brahmi and bhringraj, this artisanal hair oil supports a healthy agni (metabolism) in the scalp. Either way, you’ll feel pampered and centered as you treat your hair to decadent conditioning.
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…how
First, brush your hair thoroughly and wash out any hair-care products. Then, warm 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil in a metal spoon over a flame or an aromatherapy diffuser. Your scalp is more sensitive to temperature than other areas of the body, so carefully test the oil temperature for safety and comfort by trying a few drops on your inner arm.
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…rub it in
Apply oil to the crown of your head, working downward and outward with your fingertips. Massage your scalp using a pinching motion, bringing the fingertips and thumbs together, then releasing. Move hands forward and back, then side to side, covering the entire head.
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Next, make small circles on the scalp with your fingertips, maintaining an even, enjoyable pressure as you work from the hairline back to the base of the skull. To finish the massage, rub your open palm in wide circles all over your scalp.
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…take a moment
Finger-comb the oil through your hair and leave it on for 15 minutes as you relax. Gently shampoo with a mild cleanser, towel dry, then let your hair finish drying naturally. If you feel inspired, add ornaments or fresh flowers to it.

*Part of a 4 part Ayurvedic Self Care series taken from Yoga Journal that I want to share with you!*
Reference: Yoga Journal, October 2010

Beautiful eyes…

Our eyes let us see the beauty of the world. Without your eyes how would you know what the ocean looks like, or a multi-colored Fall leaf? How would you know the feeling you get when looking at the sun hidden behind a cloud… how it radiates and the rays of light shoot out like happy thoughts?
We too often take advantage of our eyes, let’s give them a chance to be spoiled.

“Our eyes both perceive and reveal our beauty. A regular eye-washing practice can leave them clear and bright” (Dr. Harigeetham). Also, bathing the eyes can help rejuvenate tiny muscles that have been taxed by hours of computer use or driving.
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Harigeetham recommends infusing your washing water with triphala. The Ayurvedic herbal powder – made up of the amaiaki, haritaki, and bibhitaki fruits – is a blood purifier and whole-body rejuvenator and has properties that support the ophthalmic nerves and eye muscles.
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After the washing, consider applying the dark eyeliner known as kajal (also known as kohl). “Kajal reduces glare in bright light, sharpening the vision, and encourages the growth and darkness of eyelashes,” Harigeetham explains. If you choose an Ayurvedic herbal formulation, which contains almond oil and flower extracts – you’ll also be nourishing and strengthening the tissues around the eyes.
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…how
First, prepare the triphala infusion by boiling 1 teaspoon of triphala powder in 1 cup of water for about 10 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool completely; strain thoroughly.
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First, bathe.
Wash your face with cold water. Then, using a cupped palm, bathe each open eye with cool triphala water 3 times. Rinse the face with a bit of pure water, and pat dry.
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Then, cover.
Layer organically grown rose petals, cucumber slices, or cilantro leaves over each closed eye. (All three are cooling and refreshing to the eyes.) Place a cotton pad over each eye; then tie a band of muslin cotton or a bandana around the eyes to create a loose blindfold.
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Look around…
Lie back in Savasana, relax, picture something beautiful, and begin to do 5 cycles of each of these 5 eye exercises with your eyes closed:
*Rotate your eyes clockwise.
*Rotate your eyes counterclockwise.
*Move your eyes in a figure 8, looking to the upper left, lower right, upper right, lower left.
*Look straight up and then straight down.
*Look left and right.
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Then, rest.
Now, relax and breathe for 20 minutes. Release the blindfold. Immediately direct your vision to a beautiful sight, object, or photo that makes you feel calm and connected. If you’re using kajal, apply it now.
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As you transition back to your day, allow your vision to remain “soft,” letting the scene of the world come to you with effortless focus. If possible, avoid harsh lighting. Let your inner vision come forward.

**Click on these links to see where to buy kajal and triphala**

*Part of a 4 part Ayurvedic Self Care series taken from Yoga Journal that I want to share with you!*
Reference: Yoga Journal, October 2010

Beautiful feet…

Our feet, they’re what connect us to Mother Earth, our foundation. We use them everyday, depend on them, walk all over them, stuff them into uncomfortable shoes… I think it’s time we thanked them.

Give some good vibration to your foundation
We all know how good it feels to get out tootsies rubbed. But foot massage as a facial? Yes, “Foot massage can relieve eye strain, relaxing and opening the face and allowing our beauty to shine through easily” (Melanie Sachs, author Ayurvedic Beauty Care). Sachs words are backed up by the classical Ayurvedic text, the Ashtanga Hridaya, which identifies four major nerves in the feet that connect to the eyes.

Holding and massaging your feet with your own hands can help reintegrate the subtle energy pathways flowing between the upper and lower body. And well-massaged feet connect more completely with the earth when you stand or sit with your feet on the ground, giving your whole being a more stable and relaxed foundation. “Plus, Well-oiled feet are also more protected from cracking and peeling, reducing changes for fungal and bacterial infections” (Sachs).

…how

First, create a foot soak that meets your current needs, using one of the following recipes:
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to cool down…
Fill a foot tub with cool water and mix in a tablespoon of honey and a handful each of dried lavender and fresh rose petals. You can also use lavender or rose essential oil. This will soothe the mind.
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to warm up…
Fill a foot tub with lukewarm water and add 1 teaspoon of ginger powder. This will invigorate the body and increase circulation.
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to relax and rejuvenate… 
Fill a foot tub with very warm water and add 3 tablespoons per gallon of Epsom salt. This will reduce any swelling and alleviate fatigue.
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First, soak.
Submerge your feet, relax for 10 minutes, then remove your feet and pat them dry. Next, give yourself a foot massage, using sesame, olive, or coconut oil. Apply the oil generously throughout your massage.
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Then, touch.
Starting with your right foot, massage in circles around the ankle. With your left hand, squeeze down from the base of the calf muscle all the way to the heel bone, 3 times. Holding the heel, pull back on the ball of the foot, flexing and stretching several times. With small circular movements, massage the spaces between all the toes, pinching the webbing between finger and thumb. Glide your thumbs up and down the grooves between the tendons on the top of the foot.
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Now turn your foot over so the sole is facing you and hold it in both hands, with your thumbs just under the ball of the foot. Press your fingers into the top side of the foot, stretching the base of the toes apart. Then use your thumbs to “milk” each toe, sliding from the base over the tip of each toe several times.
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Next, massage vigorously from heel to toe using the heel of your hand. Walk your thumbs along the outer edges of the foot, along the arch, and deeply into the edge of the heel. Use your knuckles to massage the arch to relieve back tension.
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Hold your ankle with your right hand and the top of your foot with the left, rotating the foot clockwise, then counter-clockwise. As Sachs would say, “It’s a spinal twist for the foot!”
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Grasp your big toes and rotate it fully, as if you were drawing a large circle with the tip of the toe. Then rub the toe between the palms of your hands to ease neck pain and tension, and the base of your little toe to ease shoulder tension. Finally, using the flat palm of your hand of your left hand, massage the entire sole of your foot in a figure-8 pattern.
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To finish, slap the sole of your foot a few times. Then press the palm of your hand to the center of the sole of your foot. Feeling the subtle energy at this marma (pressure point) encourages a healthy flow of apana vayu, the grounding, downward movement of vata, the Ayurvedic air principle. Repeat the entire sequence on the left foot.
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almost done…
Finally, rinse your feet with warm water, dry thoroughly, and slip them into clean cotton socks, which will allow your feet to feel protected, soft, comfortable, and responsive. Let a smile drift upward to your face.
Reference: Yoga Journal, October 2010