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Last month, we explored how to incorporate spring detoxification into your beauty ritual through the use of 100% earth based cleansers & masks. We hope that this information inspired you to try this Ayurvedic ritual at home and even get creative blending your new Cleansers & Masks with fresh foods. We would love to hear about your experiences and recipes in the comments section below.

This month, in celebration and in accordance with kapha season, we would like to announce the launch of our newest product: Triphala Digestive Tonic. This highly revered traditional Ayurvedic formulation provides detoxification, nourishment and balance to the digestive system, healing the body from the inside out.

THE INDIAN SUPERFRUITS

Ayurvedic philosophy teaches us that in order to have vital, glowing skin and optimal health, we need to work on cleansing and nourishing the internal systems of the body. One of the most popular ways to do this is through the use of Triphala. This widely used formula is comprised of equal parts of three Indian superfruits: haritaki, amalaki and bibhitaki. Traditionally, these superfruits are pulverised into a powder and taken internally to support gentle, daily cleansing and a regular elimination pattern. Triphala attains these actions by drawing the ama (toxins) from the tissues of the body, back into the digestive tract, where it is then sent down into the colon. From there, the ama is successfully eliminated out of the body.

DETOXIFY & NOURISH

What makes Triphala unique is its ability to have both a detoxifying and also a nourishing effect on the body. So, how exactly does it support both cleansing and rejuvenation at the same time? This is due to the fact that Triphala is able to detoxify in a gentle way that doesn’t deplete the body’s strength. For example, when the large intestine, or colon, is not functioning regularly, one may experience constipation brought on by an imbalance in vata, loose stools created through an imbalance in pitta or sluggish, mucousy stools due to an imbalance in kapha. All of these scenarios create ama in the digestive system and therefore the rest of the body. As explained above, when used daily, Triphala helps to establish a regular elimination pattern which in turn, gently detoxifies accumulated ama from the body. Without the proper removal of ama, the rest of the body is not able to assimilate and absorb the necessary nutrients it needs to create a healthy and vital system. Also, Ayurveda teaches us that the colon is inextricably linked to the production of hair, skin and nails; hence, without healthy bowel movements these tissues will also not be able to produce in an ideal way. Thus, once Triphala is able to assist the digestive system in establishing regular, healthy elimination patterns, it is then able to detoxify through cleansing the body’s tissues, resulting in its ability to absorb nutrients which will nourish and rejuvenate it as a whole. In addition, Triphala strengthens and repairs the colon and is full of nutritional components like Vitamin C and antioxidants, making its effects even more tonifying to the body.

Let’s take a look at each herb that comprises the magical formulation, Triphala:

HARITAKI:

  • Is ideal to pacify vata dosha but is also a tridoshic herb, meaning it is balancing for all doshas
  • Known in Ayurvedic & Tibetan Medicine to increase awareness, creativity & wisdom
  • Acts as a gentle laxative & bowel tonic
  • Builds & Restores the tissues of the body, particularly the colon, lungs, liver and spleen

AMALAKI:

  • Is ideal to pacify pitta dosha
  • Builds & Restores red blood cell count
  • Detoxifies the liver & mouth
  • Rejuvenates the gums, bones, hair and nails
  • Relieves inflammation in the stomach & colon
  • 3,000 mg of Vitamin C per fruit

BIBHITAKI

  • Is ideal to pacify kapha dosha
  • Cleanses & Tonifies the colon
  • Expels kapha accumulation in the respiratory & urinary systems & digestive tract
  • Rejuvenates the lungs
  • Improves voice, vision & promotes hair growth

As you may have gathered, Triphala is considered tridoshic, which means it is appropriate for all constitutions or doshas. The herbal components of this formula will use their innate wisdom to understand, heal and detoxify the exact needs of your body

HOW TO INGEST TRIPHALA CHURNA

Our Triphala is offered in a powdered form and should be mixed with water. This method of ingesting herbs in Ayurveda is called a churna. Triphala churna is the traditional Ayurvedic way of taking this formula versus ingesting Triphala capsules.

We must warn you that the Triphala churna is not going to tantalize your palate; however, you will get used to its taste after time. We promise that after enough consumption, it will soon become a daily ritual that you will grow fond of and possibly even crave. You may be asking yourself, “if this churna doesn’t taste so great, why don’t you just put it into a capsule or tablet?” Well, it”s because of the wisdom of Ayurveda, of course! Ayurveda explains that when we ingest herbs in their powdered form through a churna, we are connecting more powerfully with the herbs and the earth element which they provide. Through this method, you can connect with the taste and the sensation of the herbs; building a relationship with your plant medicine and re-establishing a connection with Mother Nature.

To prepare your Triphala churna, we suggest an overnight, cold infusion process, also known as the Sheeta Kashaya in Ayurveda.

Here’s how it’s done:

In the evening, mix ¼-1/2 tsp Triphala powder into a ½ cup of tepid water. Allow this to infuse overnight. In the AM, drink the infusion, connecting with the grounding, healing properties of the herbs.

HAPPY SPRING CLEANING

As we move deeper into spring, or kapha season, use this transitional time to be in and listen to your physical body. Notice if you are feeling stagnant, lethargic, have dull skin, brittle nails or indigestion. These can all be signs of ama accumulating in the colon.

If you are ready to try a method of daily, gentle detoxification, commit to incorporating Triphala churna into your dinacharya or daily Ayurvedic rituals. We assure you that this ancient Ayurvedic formula will not steer you wrong. Stay tuned this month for more ways you can incorporate Triphala into your day and experience radiant, lasting beauty!

Written by: Trudy Collings, co-founder/ Edited by: Leah Klatt, co-founder

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PAAVANI Ayurveda by Directors - 1M ago

Many common foods can be mixed into your PAAVANI Cleansers & Masks to create a self-care ritual made for a queen! Organic, natural foods are packed with nutrients, enzymes and vitamins that nourish & build your body, so, why not apply these actions to the skin?

Let’s take a look at some common household foods that can support skin health:

  • Fruits are an excellent source of enzymes and vitamin C, thus adding them to your skincare routine will help brighten the skin.
  • Yogurt has natural probiotics which produce lactic acid to help break down dead skin cells and also reduce the appearance of blemishes.
  • Milk helps to deeply nourish and hydrate the skin.
  • Honey is antibacterial, full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, making it an ideal go-to for many common skin ailments.
  • Oils that are high grade and unrefined mimic the skin’s natural production of sebum, helping to heal, protect and balance the integrity of the skin.

This spring, get your creative juices flowing and try adding a mixture of fresh, organic fruit, yogurt, milk, honey and/or oil to your Cleanser & Mask Ritual. Don’t have a PAAVANI Cleanser & Mask yet? Try using the suggested foods on their own to create a fresh, organic mask that will naturally nourish, hydrate and soften your skin.

Below are some recipes to help get you started in the kitchen, whipping up your very own Cleanser & Mask blend:

VATA (for dry skin)

  1. Use your Wooden Bowl & Spoon to mash up an Organic Avocado &/or Banana.
  2. Mix with your Vata Cleanser & Mask or use on its own.
  3. Apply to face and neck with gentle upward circular motions (do not scrub).
  4. Leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes while you lie down with legs raised to increase blood supply to face.
  5. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  6. Finish with your PAAVANI Toner and Serum.

You can also try combining:

  • Raw cow’s milk
  • Heavy cream
  • 2 drops of lemon juice
  • Almond oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Yogurt

PITTA (for sensitive skin)

  1. Use your Wooden Bowl & Spoon to mash up an Organic Pear &/or Apricot.
  2. Mix with your Pitta or Clarify Cleanser & Mask or use on its own with honey.
  3. Apply to face and neck with gentle upward circular motions (do not scrub).
  4. Leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes while you lie down with legs raised to increase blood supply to face.
  5. Wash off with cool water.
  6. Finish with your PAAVANI Toner and Serum.

You can also try combining:

  • Coconut milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Ground orange peel
  • Sunflower oil
  • Chopped fresh coriander

KAPHA (for oily skin)

  1. Use your Wooden Bowl & Spoon to mash up an organic strawberry &/or papaya.
  2. Mix with your Kapha or Clarify Cleanser & Mask or use on its own with honey.
  3. Apply to face and neck with gentle upward circular motions (do not scrub).
  4. Leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes while you lie down with legs raised to increase blood supply to face.
  5. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  6. Finish with your PAAVANI Toner and Serum.

You can also try combining:

  • Safflower oil
  • Almond oil
  • Ground lemon peel
  • Yogurt

TRIDOSHIC (for balanced skin)

  1. Use your Wooden Bowl & Spoon to mix Organic Yogurt with your Tridoshic Cleanser & Mask or simply use on its own.
  2. Apply to face and neck with gentle upward circular motions (do not scrub).
  3. Leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes while you lie down with legs raised to increase blood supply to face.
  4. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  5. Finish with your PAAVANI Toner and Serum.

You can also try combining:

  • Almond oil
  • Honey
  • 2 drops of lemon juice

We hope that you find these recipes to be a fun and inspiring way to rev up your Cleanser & Mask Ritual!

Written by, Leah Danielle Klatt & Edited by, Trudy Claire Collings

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PAAVANI Ayurveda by Directors - 1M ago

Many common foods can be mixed into your PAAVANI Cleansers & Masks to create a self-care ritual made for a queen! Organic, natural foods are packed with nutrients, enzymes and vitamins that nourish & build your body, so, why not apply these actions to the skin?

Let’s take a look at some common household foods that can support skin health:

  • Fruits are an excellent source of enzymes and vitamin C, thus adding them to your skincare routine will help brighten the skin.
  • Yogurt has natural probiotics which produce lactic acid to help break down dead skin cells and also reduce the appearance of blemishes.
  • Milk helps to deeply nourish and hydrate the skin.
  • Honey is antibacterial, full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, making it an ideal go-to for many common skin ailments.
  • Oils that are high grade and unrefined mimic the skin’s natural production of sebum, helping to heal, protect and balance the integrity of the skin.

This spring, get your creative juices flowing and try adding a mixture of fresh, organic fruit, yogurt, milk, honey and/or oil to your Cleanser & Mask Ritual. Don’t have a PAAVANI Cleanser & Mask yet? Try using the suggested foods on their own to create a fresh, organic mask that will naturally nourish, hydrate and soften your skin.

Below are some recipes to help get you started in the kitchen, whipping up your very own Cleanser & Mask blend:

VATA (for dry skin)

  1. Use your Wooden Bowl & Spoon to mash up an Organic Avocado &/or Banana.
  2. Mix with your Vata Cleanser & Mask or use on its own.
  3. Apply to face and neck with gentle upward circular motions (do not scrub).
  4. Leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes while you lie down with legs raised to increase blood supply to face.
  5. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  6. Finish with your PAAVANI Toner and Serum.

You can also try combining:

  • Raw cow’s milk
  • Heavy cream
  • 2 drops of lemon juice
  • Almond oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Yogurt

PITTA (for sensitive skin)

  1. Use your Wooden Bowl & Spoon to mash up an Organic Pear &/or Apricot.
  2. Mix with your Pitta or Clarify Cleanser & Mask or use on its own with honey.
  3. Apply to face and neck with gentle upward circular motions (do not scrub).
  4. Leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes while you lie down with legs raised to increase blood supply to face.
  5. Wash off with cool water.
  6. Finish with your PAAVANI Toner and Serum.

You can also try combining:

  • Coconut milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Ground orange peel
  • Sunflower oil
  • Chopped fresh coriander

KAPHA (for oily skin)

  1. Use your Wooden Bowl & Spoon to mash up an organic strawberry &/or papaya.
  2. Mix with your Kapha or Clarify Cleanser & Mask or use on its own with honey.
  3. Apply to face and neck with gentle upward circular motions (do not scrub).
  4. Leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes while you lie down with legs raised to increase blood supply to face.
  5. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  6. Finish with your PAAVANI Toner and Serum.

You can also try combining:

  • Safflower oil
  • Almond oil
  • Ground lemon peel
  • Yogurt

TRIDOSHIC (for balanced skin)

  1. Use your Wooden Bowl & Spoon to mix Organic Yogurt with your Tridoshic Cleanser & Mask or simply use on its own.
  2. Apply to face and neck with gentle upward circular motions (do not scrub).
  3. Leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes while you lie down with legs raised to increase blood supply to face.
  4. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  5. Finish with your PAAVANI Toner and Serum.

You can also try combining:

  • Almond oil
  • Honey
  • 2 drops of lemon juice

We hope that you find these recipes to be a fun and inspiring way to rev up your Cleanser & Mask Ritual!

Written by, Leah Danielle Klatt & Edited by, Trudy Claire Collings

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The spring equinox has arrived and there are a plentitude of amazing Ayurvedic practices one can implement to slough off those heavy winter layers that may be weighing you down both physically and/or mentally. According to Ayurveda, spring, known as kapha season, is an optimal time to gently detoxify the body and mind. From kitchari cleanses, to cleaning out your closet, to increasing your physical exercise, there are a myriad of ways to reset, recharge and revitalize.

As a skincare company, we are constantly reminded of the detoxifying benefits of a daily Ayurvedic skincare routine. Traditionally used, powdered clay-based cleansers & masks, are the perfect way to draw toxins out of the body while also promoting smooth, clear, healthy radiant skin. Our dosha specific Cleanser & Mask Ritual Kits were launched earlier this month to further encourage the use of powdered herbs and clays in one’s skincare routine. This ritual gives its user an opportunity to take time out of their day to connect with the spirit of the clay and herbs that are lovingly cleansing and nourishing the skin. Each Ritual Kit includes an eco-friendly Wooden Bowl & Spoon to mix and activate the Cleanser & Mask with our Floral Water to create a detoxifying herbal scrub. This practice is ritualistic and meditative, easily becoming one of our favorite parts of the day.

If you would like to learn more about how PAAVANI Cleansers & Masks work, check out our interview, A Skincare Routine From & By the Earth, with Rumin Jehangir. Rumin is an Ayurvedic specialist and creator of the Ayurveda inspired company and digital journal Chit.Chaat.Chai. Last month we had the opportunity to sit down with Rumin and chatted about all things Ayurveda. We specifically discussed our Cleansers & Masks and how their formulations came to include clay for all the doshas. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Rumin over chai and had deep belly laughs, as we learned of one another’s backgrounds, interests and common love for Ayurveda. Thank you Rumin for your support and all you do to share Ayurveda with the world. You are a true inspiration to us and we look forward to the next time we get to share space with you.

Written by Trudy C. Collings & Leah D. Klatt, co-owners of PAAVANI Ayurveda

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This month, we are encouraging all things which promote self-love, because we believe that loving the self should come first. Ayurveda has a deep history of empowering self-love in a myriad of beautiful, nurturing, accessible ways and you do not need to book a day at a fancy Ayurvedic spa to access it. All you need is some DIY Ayurvedic beauty rituals to let your inner beauty and love shine. At PAAVANI, we formulate all of our products with this in mind. Bringing Ayurveda into your homes and daily rituals is what inspires us to work, with devotion, each day.

Bathing is a ritual that fosters more self-love. It connects us with our physical bodies, allows our minds to experience calm and creates ease in our hearts. Today, we are sharing with you a Ginger Detox Salt Bath Recipe, perfect for late wintertime. Seasonally, we are entering kapha season and with an increase of kapha dosha in the natural world, our minds may feel a little cloudy and uninspired, our bodies may experience stagnation, lethargy and stiffness while our skin may be congested and oily. To remedy this, Ayurveda teaches us that now is the time to begin a gentle detoxification process to uplift the mind, body and our senses. When we gently detoxify, we increase circulation, warmth and feel revived.

This Ginger Detox Salt Bath will create some heat and you may break a sweat. Therapies that make you perspire or sweat in Ayurveda are called svedana therapies. When we sweat, toxins that have built up in the organs of the body release, circulation increases and our skin even benefits from this practice. Clogged pores expel the dirt, grime and toxins, decongesting the skin, while moisture is brought to the surface, rehydrating the skin and the minerals and salt contained within sweat, naturally exfoliate and brighten. A Ginger Detox Salt Bath is also an excellent remedy for joint pain, swelling and digestive upset. It calms the nervous system and can keep us healthy during cold and flu season. Subtly, the bath will help you let go of any negative self-talk and release whatever emotions or thoughts have been weighing you down, making space for more self-love and acceptance.

This recipe blends magnesium-rich Epsom salt with your choice of Himalayan or dead sea salt. Both are mineral rich and further aid in the detoxification process. Baking soda has a mild exfoliating effect on the skin and has also been known to reduce blemishes. Dry ginger will help the body to sweat, cleanse and heal. We have also chosen several kapha balancing essential oils for you to play around with and create an aromatherapy profile of your own.

Please note, this recipe is ideal for reducing kapha and vata doshas. If you are experiencing a pitta imbalance, please omit the dry ginger powder when making your bath salts, as ginger is too heating when pitta dosha is already vitiated. Some other contraindications of using this bath include rashes, skin irritation/inflammation and/or open wounds.

Ginger Detox Salt Bath Recipe

2 cups Epsom salt

½ cup Himalayan or dead sea salt

½ cup baking soda

¼ cup ginger powder

25 drops essential oil

essential oils:

to soothe the nervous system: bergamot, lavender, palo santo

to uplift the mind: lemongrass, neroli, lemon, orange

to clear congestion: eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary

1. Combine salts, baking soda and ginger powder together in a large bowl.

2. Slowly combine essential oil into the bowl, while stirring.

3. Bottle your creation in an airtight container, like a mason jar.

The Self-Love Bathing Ritual:  

*this ritual is best to do in the evening

1. Arrange what you need for your bathing ritual: a favorite towel, bathrobe, slippers, candles and bath salts.

2. Draw a hot bath and drink a soothing cup of our Bliss Blend Tea.

3. Light the candles, play some soothing music & dim or turn off the lights.

4. Add ¼ cup of the bath salts to the bathtub. *You can also place the bath salts in a muslin bag if you do not want to put the bath salts directly into the bathtub to save on clean up time.

5. Soak for 15-20 minutes, reflecting on what you love about you & what is no longer serving you, then let it go.

6. Emerge from & drain the bath.

7. With your skin still damp, perform your self-abhyanga with PAAVANI Body Oil to continue the ritual of self-love & nourishment.

8. Continue the detoxification process of your skin, using your PAAVANI Cleanser & Mask. Follow up with PAAVANI Facial Toner & Serum to balance & nourish.

9. Wrap up in your favorite robe & continue winding down for the evening.

Written by: Trudy Collings, co-founder of PAAVANI Ayurveda

Edited by: Leah Klatt, co-founder of PAAVANI Ayurveda

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Beauty sleep is no joke! When it comes to self-care routines that will provide lasting beauty, adequate shut-eye should be at the top of your list. Ayurveda considers proper rest to be one of the 3 Pillars of Life necessary to living healthy and harmoniously. It’s just as important as food and sex! Without enough sleep, we deprive our body and mind of the ability to function optimally and our ojas, responsible for the foundation of our immune system, becomes depleted. Plus, our body is not given the proper time needed to detoxify and repair, both crucial to maintaining that healthy glow.

To ensure that your beauty sleep game is on lock, Ayurveda has some helpful nighttime rituals to help your body and mind unwind, relax and let-go before drifting off into dreamland…

1. Decrease Stimulation. We take in a lot of stimulus throughout our day, and too much right before bed can put us into overdrive, making it a challenge to turn off the mind. About an hour before you start winding down for bed, turn off your screens (i.e. computers, televisions, tablets, and yes, even your phone). You can also dim the lights in your house or light candles for an old school vibe, to help signal to the body that it is time for sleep.

2. Say NO to Caffeine. Think twice before ordering that afternoon chai or having a bite of chocolate for dessert, as the effects of caffeine can last up to 6 hours. Instead, sip on some organic, warm, milk of your choice with 1 tsp of Ayurvedic Golden Milk or ¼ tsp of Nutmeg to put your mind at ease. If you are not a fan of warm milk, drink some herbal tea with calming, nervine sedative herbs like our Hydrate Blend or Bliss Blend teas to soothe the nervous system, while calming the body and mind. Add coconut oil or ghee to any of these options for a tasty, moisturizing, ojas building boost!

3. Pranayama. Breathing techniques like Alternate Nostril Breathing, or Anuloma Viloma, are simple yet profound breathing exercises that can literally be done anywhere and help to quickly balance and relax movement in the mind. Pranayama can be stimulating or calming, so make sure you choose a breathing practice that is grounding to the nervous system. We recommend trying Anuloma Viloma, also known as Nadi Shodhana, or a slow, mindful belly breath.

4. Practice Asana. Resting and forward folding postures like Bālāsana (child’s pose), Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold) or Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining butterfly) can relieve tension in the body and relax the mind, especially when practiced before bed. Just like pranayama, asanas can be both activating or grounding. Be sure to stick to postures that are calming to the nervous system for your nighttime practice. If you are feeling called to attend an evening yoga class, yin and restorative yoga are ideal.

5. Meditate. Meditation is a beneficial tool for allowing the mind to intentionally let go of any stress from the day while cultivating inner joy and peace. Try listening to a guided Yoga Nidra meditation to help the body and mind drift off to sleep. Journaling can also be a helpful way to move thoughts out of the mind. Try writing down 5 things that you are grateful for to end each day on a positive note.

6. Take a Candlelit Bath. Romance yourself! Steep your body into a luxurious organic Coconut Milk Bath made with oat flour, epsom salt, turmeric, rose, lavender, shatavari and cardamom to ease your mind, relax your body and soften your skin. You can also try adding essential oils of Lavender, Jasmine or Cedarwood when drawing your bath to further heighten your relaxing, aroma-therapeutic experience, and get your body and mind in the mood for sleep.

7. Incorporate The Abhyanga Ritual. Oil the body through the practice of Abhyanga, a traditional Ayurvedic self-massage offered with warm oil to cleanse the lymphatic system, calm the nervous system and hydrate the skin. This loving ritual is traditionally offered in the mornings, but can also be a beautiful way to nourish and ground yourself, relieving any tension leftover from your busy day. Pair with your evening bath by offering it to yourself before or after your soak in the tub. Use slow, long, heavy strokes and calming herbal infused body oils to support your ultimate sleep goals.

8. Love Your Feet. Massaging oil into your feet at night can not only help to relieve the stress from your day, but your feet are also major absorption points of the body, making them excellent for applying grounding, resinous essential oils like Jatamansi, Vetiver or Sandalwood to help promote sound sleep.

9. Pamper Your Pores. Washing your face at night should be as much of a priority as brushing your teeth. It is important to remove any make-up, dirt, debris or unwanted energy from the day. Going to bed with a clean face will support the longevity and health of the skin, while also allowing your pores to breathe deep and rest with ease. Try one of our Cleansers & Masks or full Skincare Rituals.

10. Go to Bed at the Same Time Every Night. Preferably before or around 10 pm is ideal. Ayurveda believes that the doshas govern specific times of the day. At 10 pm pitta hours start to kick in; therefore, it is best to tuck yourself into bed before the motivated energy of pitta activates and you find yourself caught up in your second wind. This is also a pertinent time for the body to purify and repair itself from the day so that you can begin tomorrow feeling restored and renewed. Having a set sleep schedule will also allow your body to get into a healthy circadian rhythm, allowing it to internally know when it is time to wind down and hit the hay.

Although tempting, resist immediately incorporating this entire list tonight, as you don’t want to overwhelm your evening. Remember, this is about relaxing the body, not pushing yourself to do more in your day. Start by choosing just a few practices to infuse into your night. Once you have taken a liking to a practice and it becomes a non-negotiable part of your evening routine, like brushing your teeth, consider adding on more. You may find that you only need to incorporate a few of the suggestions, or you may find yourself slowly wanting to weave in more. Get creative and start with the routines that you feel called to do. Soon, your Ayurvedic evening rituals will guarantee you not only catching adequate ZZZ’s but also have you falling asleep, looking and feeling like a queen.

By Leah Danielle Klatt

co-owner of PAAVANI Ayurveda

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Many of you may have heard of ear candles to clear wax out of the ears or are already in the practice of using q-tips regularly, but have you ever tried using an ear oil? It is no surprise that Ayurveda recommends using oil to maintain the health of the ears, as Ayurveda, India’s traditional healing system, is a huge proponent of using oil in and on all parts of the body. Oil is revered so highly in the Ayurvedic tradition that even the sanskrit term snehana, which means “to oil the body”, also translates into “to love the body”. Therefore, even 5,000 years ago in ancient India, they understood a concept which is making a comeback today; self-care translates into self-love. When you oil yourself through Ayurvedic practices such as an ear oil, you are also loving the body through self-care.

Karna purana is the Sanskrit term for the Ayurvedic technique of administering warm oil into the ear canals. Used daily, this self-care practice works as a preventative medicine to maintain optimal health of the ears and jaw. It can also be used in a more therapeutic sense to pacify specific imbalances often caused by excess vata accumulation and aggravation brought on by cold and windy weather, overstimulation, and travel. According to Ayurveda, the ears are a physical place in the body where vata resides. Vata dosha is considered to be highly mobile, cold, dry and rough and these qualities are easily imbalanced through the daily pressures of modern life. The antidote for this in Ayurveda is karna purana. This ancient practice calms vata dosha by bringing in the opposing qualities- warm, moist, stable & smooth. Some of the benefits of using ear oil as explained by Ayurvedic Specialist, Dr. Manisha Kshirsagar, are that it:

-reduces dryness or itching in the ears

-prevents ear infections

-reduces tinnitus or ringing in the ears

-reduces tension in neck & jaw to diminish TMJ

-relieves headaches

-assists in reducing vertigo

-reduces congestion from wax or yeast overgrowth

Ayurveda recommends using an ear oil as part of your daily dinacharya, or morning self-care routine. It can also be a nice practice to infuse into your night time ritual. Here is how to perform karna purana:

DAILY USE: Gently massage 1-2 drops of warm Karna Purana Oil into each ear canal.

WEEKLY USE: Lie down & rest on your side. Place 5-8 drops of warm oil into exposed ear. Relax & let the oil absorb for 5 minutes. Release excess oil from the ear with cotton ball. Repeat on opposite side.

*To warm the oil, submerge the glass bottle in hot water for 5 minutes. Make sure the oil is not too hot prior to administering.

Traditionally, this ritual is performed with sesame oil due to its warming, nourishing, anti-microbial and moisturizing properties. At PAAVANI, we like to take a modern approach to this tradition, by also infusing organic lavender into our sesame oil for its antibacterial, anti-fungal, analgesic, calming and soothing properties. Together, this combination becomes a simple, yet effective way of balancing and maintaining optimal ear health. We hope that learning more about the many benefits of karna purana will help inspire you to begin the traditional Ayurvedic practice of oiling your ears!

Written by PAAVANI Co-founders, Leah Klatt & Trudy Collings 

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I have noticed that each year, around the same time, I grow weary of the long, hot, dry summer months and begin to look forward to the cool wind and showers of fall and winter. Not only do I grow tired of the persistent California heat, but also of summer foods like green salad, summer squash, and BBQ. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that last part because I am forever grateful for the bountiful summer gardens and for evenings, spent outdoors firing up the grill. In late summer, however, my heart inevitably begins to yearn for heartier fall vegetables like kale, chard, collard greens, and winter squash. More than once I have caught myself in the kitchen daydreaming about cooking up a hot, nourishing bowl of ayurvedic vegetable soup or stew, all cozy inside with the fire burning and cold rain pouring softly outside.

Now that it’s mid-January, my summer daydreams have become a winter reality. Outside it is cold and wet, while inside, my husband has the wood burning stove going and I’m preparing to cook hearty and delicious ayurvedic vegetable soups and stews! Some of my favorites include a faux meatball soup, sweet potato & carrot vegetable soup, and vegetarian chili. Although this sounds like quite a few, I feel like I have not been making the most of soup and stew season because I have not made one of my absolute favorite seasonal recipes yet, a vata dosha calming ayurvedic butternut squash soup!

Just to backtrack, I did not grow up cooking. When I was a child, my Mom was not keen on having me in the kitchen to help. I understand her hesitance now that I am older and I am the one cooking the majority of the meals in our home. Like my predominantly pitta Mom, I usually have a game plan in the kitchen and enjoy cooking solo. In my college days, I taught myself the way around the kitchen and really began to cook in my junior year. At that time, I had a job at a local Gainesville, Florida bookstore called Goering’s Books. I worked the late shift from 3-9 pm. This was around 2007 when the Amazon Boom was just beginning to shut down local bookstores left and right. Unfortunately, Goering’s itself was feeling the effects of the e-commerce shift. Most nights were quiet in the bookstore which was not great for business but, on a positive note, it gave me ample time to read and peruse the store shelves.

The cooking section began to draw me in as I pulled many a cookbook from the shelf. I started writing recipes in my Moleskin Notebook and ended up creating my own personal recipe book. I started with a blackberry basil crumble recipe from Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Whew, I am glad I wrote that one down—so good. From there I added a few more of my favorites. The 6th recipe I jotted down was a butternut squash soup from Book Lover’s Cafe Recipe Book by Ian Schleifer. Book Lover’s was a local vegetarian cafe and bookstore I loved to frequent. Their menu was clean, simple and fresh. With just a few ingredients, the butternut squash soup was so easy to make, perfectly suited to a students budget. Today, I still find this soup to be absolutely perfect in every way. I love how it brings me back to the days when I was just learning my way around the kitchen. I love how simple this recipe is and for its vata-pacifying and nourishing properties, making it perfect for those chilly fall and winter days.

DOSHIC QUALITIES

In Ayurveda methodology, fall and winter are considered to be vata dosha season. During this time of year, vata dosha can easily go out of balance due to the colder temperatures settling into the natural world. To counteract the cold, Ayurveda recommends incorporating plenty of root vegetables and winter squash into the diet. The heavy, warming, moist and soft qualities found in vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, yams, acorn and butternut squash help counteract the light, cold, dry and hard qualities of the air and ether elements that make up vata dosha.

If you suffer from dry skin year-round or experience dryness in the fall and winter, it is because vata dosha is increased within your body. An increase in vata can result in things like dry skin and hair, constipation, gas, anxiety, and worry. Preparing ayurvedic vegetable recipes like this butternut squash soup will help you maintain your balance of vata dosha. Butternut squash is rich in vitamin C which helps build collagen production and supports the structure of the skin. Vitamin A is also found in butternut squash and it is necessary for sebum production. The ability to produce sebum is essential to maintain hydrated, supple skin.

So, if you are looking for an ayurvedic squash soup that also helps maintain the health & vitality of your skin, please try this one! This vegetable soup recipe is simple, versatile, full of vitamins and minerals and always pleasing to the palette. If you like it, maybe even add it to your own recipe book.

Ayurvedic Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

-vata, +pitta*, +kapha*

Symbols for how this dish affects the doshas:

“-” means calms & helps balance this dosha

“+” means increases & aggravates this dosha

“0” means neutral effect

*this dish is okay in moderation for pitta & kapha in the winter season

SERVINGS: 10

PREP TIME: 30 minutes

COOK TIME: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 10-20 sprigs of thyme, stripped from stems
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 cups of water
  • cubed squash
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped

PREPARATION

Saute for 10-12 minutes:

  • 10-20 sprigs of thyme, stripped from stems
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, minced

While sauteing, chop 2 cups of carrots. Then, peel, remove seeds and chop 1 medium Butternut Squash* into cubes.

Add to Saute:

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 cups of water
  • cubed squash
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped

Simmer 20 minutes, until squash is tender. Remove bay leaf and cool soup slightly.

Place soup in a blender once slightly cooled.

Lastly, add cream or milk, if desired, and a dash of nutmeg.

All of us at PAAVANI are wishing you a warm and comforting winter season. May we all have time to slow down and make food mindfully, with loving hands.

* Feel free to substitute butternut squash for any other winter squash that you like. You may change the character of the soup by adding a few tablespoons of minced fresh ginger to the saute, use cilantro instead of parsley and coconut milk instead of cream. Please note, using cilantro instead of parsley and coconut milk instead of cream will result in a cooler soup and could be a great option if pitta dosha is aggravated.

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“She’s a rare breed. Youngest of 13 siblings. Never had a cavity. Drove a car until she was 97 years old. Attributes it all to whole milk, her pickles, and Jesus.”

My friend, Max, texted me this the other day about his 103-year-old grandmother. I chuckled to myself, picturing this scenario, and couldn’t help but think of Ayurveda, India’s 5,000-year-old traditional medicine which supports Max’s grandmother’s claim that whole milk, in all its forms can, in fact, keep humans healthy.

What is Ghee?

Let us begin by looking at the many forms of milk. Milk can be consumed as the pure liquid itself or it can be churned to make butter, one of our favorite kitchen ingredients. Butter can also be clarified to make ghee, becoming its purest form of oil and also Ayurveda’s love affair. Ghee is made by slowly cooking butter until the milk fat solids begin to reduce, caramelize and separate from the oil. Sugar and water also become reduced and separated through this process. What you are left with once the milk fat, sugar and water are reduced is what we call clarified butter or ghee. This highly revered oil is an extremely healthy alternative to butter, with a high smoke point, making it ideal to cook with. You can use it in place of butter on your bread, when sautéing and while baking.

Ghee for Skin Health

Ghee is not only useful in the kitchen, it is also wonderful for the health and vitality of your skin. It has been used for centuries in India due to its deeply moisturizing effects and is known to brighten the complexion, reduce dark circles under the eyes and hydrate even the driest of skin. If you have not tried ghee topically, now is the time to try. Oiling the body in Ayurveda is called abhyanga. Abhyanga is an excellent way to maintain the moisture and suppleness of your skin, even in the dry, cold months of fall and winter, also known as vata season.

In India, there is another term for applying oil to the skin, it is called snehana. Snehana has a couple translations, one being ‘to anoint oneself with oil’ and another translation is ‘to love oneself’. To oil the body is one of the ultimate forms of self-love and self-care. When we oil ourselves, or perform abhyanga, we are connecting with our sense of touch and our physical bodies. It is a sacred ritual that can help us cultivate confidence, respect and nourishment for ourselves. When we have self-love and a strong connection with ourselves, we can then impart these qualities out into our daily interactions with the world.

Ghee & Ojas

As you can see, ghee is revered as one of the most precious oils in Ayurveda. It is known to help build ojas or physical and mental strength and stability. When we have healthy ojas, we have a strong immune system and the ability to withstand stress. Thus, if the body is feeling weak and depleted or emotional feelings of fragility and sensitivity are coming up, Ayurveda would recommend building ojas through the diet. Some of the main foods that build ojas are raw, whole milk, almonds, dates and of course, ghee.

The Gift of the Cows

Ghee is considered sacred in Ayurveda and Hinduism not only because of its various health benefits and medicinal applications, but also due to its origin from cows. In Hinduism, cows are sacred and are symbols of life and a main source of food for many. I would like to point out that when Ayurveda was born over 5,000 years ago, there were no factory farms; all dairy products were raw, unadulterated, and from healthy cows living their lives in nature. It is our duty today in the modern world to choose raw dairy products from companies with ethical practices, where animal well-being is just as or more important than the bottom dollar. Ayurvedic Practitioner, Katie Silcox eloquently explains in her podcast The Ghee Spot, that cows freely give of themselves to us, providing us with a sacred gift from the universe, ghee, which we should never take advantage of.

The Ayurvedic Conclusion

So to recap, Ayurveda believes that organic, fresh, pure ghee can support a healthy, stable body through its ability to hydrate the skin, build the ojas of the body and promote even greater self-love. Essentially, ghee can be thought of as pure love gifted to us from the cow. This pure love is passed from the cow into the oil, and in turn this oil gives us the ability to impart greater self-love and self-care onto ourselves. What a beautiful selfless gift!

Western Science & the Benefits of Ghee

For those of you that want western scientific evidence on the benefits of ghee, let’s take a moment to dive in even deeper. In the West, the thought of consuming ghee for its health benefits might seem a bit backward because we are programmed to believe that fat makes fat. However, we must have a paradigm shift and understand that healthy fat makes healthy fat, while unhealthy fat makes unhealthy fat. One cannot live without the intake of fats. Healthy fats from ghee, in the form of omega-3’s or 6’s, keep our joints lubricated, skin and hair lustrous, insulate our bodies, provide protection for our internal organs, boosts our ojas (immune system and mental strength), power our brains, lower cholesterol and prevent acute and chronic disease.

Ghee also contains butyric acid which is known to heal internal wounds, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. It also strengthens the colon, and promotes regular elimination patterns. Some vitamins in ghee include Vitamins A, E, D and K. Vitamin A is essential in keeping eyesight strong, while Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant and hydrating effects, Vitamin D keeps our bones healthy and Vitamin K supports heart health. These vitamins also assist in proper functioning of the immune system.

In Conclusion

I strongly believe that for centuries, people, including my friend Max’s 103-year-old Grandmother, whom was raised on a 400-acre organic dairy farm, have truly benefited from the fresh and high-quality dairy sources that were readily available throughout human history. In today’s world, in order to receive the pure love and health benefits from ghee, we must consciously choose the highest quality, organic butter available to us. When looking for butter or ghee sources, remember to always look into the practices of the dairy farm and if you have the opportunity to purchase local butter and make your own ghee, then choose to do that.

Where Do You Buy Ghee?

Ask for ghee at your local grocery store. If they do not carry it, I would check out if there is an Indian market in your area that does. As far as brands go, I recommend Purity Farms Ghee. This dairy uses high quality sweet cream butter from pastured cows on small organic-certified farms. Another ghee I have fallen in love with is Mamma Sattva Ghee. It is made in small batches in Chico, California from certified-humane pasture raised Jersey Cows. Mamma Sattva only produces their ghee on the new and full moons, which I also love. In a nutshell, it is important to confirm that the ghee you are buying is made in harmony with nature. This will be the most beneficial to your health and well-being.

Make Your Own Ghee

The thought of making my own ghee intimidated me a bit at first; yet, it truly is a simple process. After a few times of making it, you will feel like a pro.

You will need:

> 1 glass pint jar

> 1 mesh strainer

> cheesecloth (optional)

> 4 sticks organic unsalted butter

> soup pot

Directions:

  1. Choose a pasture raised, unsalted, organic butter to make your ghee. The higher quality the butter, the better the ghee.
  2. It is important to make ghee with mindfulness. Allow other thoughts to subside and your ghee making to become the point of focus. Turn this process into a form of meditation.
  3. Start with 4 sticks of butter. This makes 1 pint of ghee.
  4. Place the sticks of butter into a deep pot and place the pot on a burner.
  5. Set the burner to the lowest setting.
  6. The butter will begin to melt and you will start to hear a snap, crackle and pop. This is the milk fat solids separating from the clarified butter/oil.
  7. Stay close to the ghee as the process only takes around 15-25 minutes or less.
  8. When the ghee becomes silent, it is time to turn off the burner and remove the pan from the heat. You will see brown flecks at the bottom of the pan.
  9. Allow the ghee to sit and cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Have a mesh strainer and/or cheesecloth ready to strain the ghee into your glass pint jar. If you do not have cheesecloth handy, a mesh strainer will suffice. If you do have cheesecloth, place it in the mesh strainer before straining the ghee. The strainer and/or cheesecloth will catch the milk fat solids as the ghee fills your pint jar.
  11. Allow the ghee to sit with the lid off until it is completely cool. Once it has cooled down, fasten the lid. Ghee has a longer shelf-life than butter, so it can be stored in the fridge or kept out next to your olive oil.

The Proper Color of Ghee

Your ghee should be a bright golden color. If it is black, you have cooked it too long. This burnt ghee should be discarded. If your ghee has more of a toasted brown color it is fine to use, it will have a caramelized flavor that many enjoy. Do not get discouraged if your ghee gets burnt the first few times you make it. You live and you learn, right?

The Gift of Ghee

The gift of ghee this holiday season is an excellent way to treat your loved ones and perhaps introduce them to ghee.

You can even infuse your ghee with some delicious herbs like cardamom, cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. To make this herbal infused ghee, simply follow the directions above to make the ghee. Once finished, add it to your crock pot.  Add ½-1 tsp of cardamom, ½-1 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook the ghee on low for 4-6 hours. The low setting of your crock pot should not boil the ghee; instead, it should warm and infuse the ghee and herbs together.

Happy cooking, baking, and oiling thyself with the pure love of ghee!

Written by PAAVANI co-founder Trudy Collings.

Edited by PAAVANI co-founder Leah Klatt.

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The Fall is swiftly approaching and with this new season comes some common seasonal ailments, including dry skin. According to Ayurveda, India’s 5,000-year-old medical system, dry skin is the result of increased air and ether in our natural environment. An increase of these two elements equals an increase in what Ayurveda calls, vata dosha. To understand what this means, let us begin with Ayurvedic philosophy. From there, we can learn simple Ayurvedic tips and remedies that will help keep your skin moisturized and supple throughout the fall and winter months.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicine. It literally translates to the knowledge (ayu) of life (veda). Ayurveda is where Chinese Medicine has its roots. The Buddha had an Ayurvedic Doctor. Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga but is lesser known in the United States because it did not come over to the states as early as yoga.

Essentially, Ayurveda gives us the daily tools we need to stay healthy as we pursue our spiritual journey or dharma. Ayurveda is, at its center, a beautifully simple science that believes that what is harmonious for some may imbalance others. In other words, we all have different needs that will maintain both physical and emotional balance within us. These different needs are dependent on the unique blend of doshas that make us who we are.  

The Doshas

There are 3 constitutions or doshas in Ayurveda: vata, pitta & kapha. These three doshas are comprised of the natural elements: ether, air, fire, water & earth. Everything that is alive has the 5 elements within it and all 3 doshas. Yet, every living being has a unique blend of the elements and thus the doshas. For example, a person may have more fire within them if they are a natural born leader compared to another person that has more of the water element and prefers to act as a loving support for those around them.

The term Ayurvedic constitution refers to the unique blend of doshas that comprise your body, mind and emotions. The beauty about Ayurveda is that it does not believe in a “one size fits all” prescription for health and wellness. Instead, it looks at each person as an individual. It looks at each symptom or dis-ease as an indicator of the person moving away from their natural balance.

The Doshas & the Seasons

       The elements and the doshas are always moving with the natural world. In the spring season, water and earth are the predominant elements and kapha dosha is prevalent. In the summer, fire becomes the strongest, bringing pitta dosha into the forefront. During the fall and winter, air and ether become the main elements present and it is considered to be vata season.

To understand vata season, begin to picture the leaves falling in the wind, autumnal yellows, oranges and reds momentarily painting the crisp blue sky then settling into the earth below. Imagine the wind in your hair, blowing across your face and brushing up against your skin. Now, fast forward a month or so to winter. Imagine that same wind, but now instead of leaves falling gracefully from the trees, the trees are left stripped down to a skeleton. Likewise, that soft wind in your hair, that brushed up gently against your cheeks, has become harsh, cold and severe.

I paint this picture in order to recognize that the elements of air and ether have the ability to create incredible beauty, but when in excess (as they accumulate to in the winter months) can create depletion and severe conditions. Our bodies, if out of balance in vata, will mimic the qualities of the natural world. Excessive dryness in the skin and digestive tract (think constipation, gas & bloating), anxiety and/or difficulty falling asleep may occur.

Ayurveda believes we must counterbalance what is being agitated in nature. Thus, in the fall and winter, cold, dry, mobile, light qualities are the strongest; hence, we must work to warm, moisturize, ground and stabilize our bodies daily. Thankfully, Ayurveda has equipped us with simple tips and daily practices, or what I like to call, rituals, to keep us healthy and balanced. One of the most beneficial Ayurvedic daily practices one can incorporate this fall and winter is the practice of self-abhyanga or self-massage.

Self-Abhyanga

Abhyanga is the Ayurvedic term for lovingly oiling the body. The Sanskrit word “sneha” translates to “oil” or “love”. So, “snehana” to oil oneself, is to love oneself. Practicing abhyanga regularly provides a profound feeling of stability, strength, hydration and well-being,

A daily practice of self-abhyanga restores balance to the three doshas, moves the lymphatic system, increases circulation, improves skin tone, increases stamina, calms the nerves, moisturizes the skin and counteracts the effects of aging.

The Charaka Samhita, one of Ayurveda’s most ancient and revered texts, has this to say about abhyanga:

“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age”

Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

Oils for Each Dosha

     Ayurveda is a firm believer in using herbal, organic oils instead of body lotion for the abhyanga practice, and there are particular oils that work best based on each doshic skin type.

     Vata type skin has the tendency to experience premature wrinkles and is considered the driest skin of all 3 doshas. Due to this, Ayurveda recommends using warm, heavy, highly moisturizing oils for abhyanga. The best oils for vata are sesame and almond oil.

     When pitta type skin is imbalanced, it experiences sensitivity, inflammation and oiliness. The excessive heat associated with pitta, in the long run, can create a combination of oily & dry skin. The ideal oils to balance pitta are cooling in nature and include sunflower and olive oil.

     Kapha type skin when out of balance manifests as oily, clammy and congested. The congestion can make the skin feel cold to the touch. To counterbalance these symptoms, use oils that are lighter, warmer and that promote circulation. Recommended oils are safflower and grapeseed oil.

At PAAVANI Ayurveda, we make medicated or herbally infused abhyanga oils that are specific for each dosha’s needs. Learn more about their amazing benefits and ingredients by clicking here.

How to Perform a Self-Abhyanga

Now that you know which oil is best for your skin type, let us look into how exactly to perform a self-abhyanga.

  1. Begin by placing your oil in hot water until it becomes a pleasant temperature. It could be nice to invest in a small crockpot that you can leave in your bathroom and heat the oil in each morning. If you do not have a small crock pot, you can run hot water over your oil bottle until it heats to the desired temperature.
  2. Lovingly massage oil into the body for 10-15 minutes, beginning at extremities and working towards the center of the body.
  3. Vigorously massage feet and hands using back-and-forth motions with the open part of your hand.
  4. Massage arms and legs with circular strokes on joints, and long, back-and-forth strokes on limbs.
  5. Massage abdomen using clockwise motion, following the direction of the large intestine.
  6. Massage chest with small, upward, circular motions, starting on the bottom of the breastbone and making way up to collarbone and also around outside of breasts.
  7. Massage back as well as you can. You can use a downward stroke on the lower back to help increase the downward flow of energy.
  8. Once you have massaged your entire body, let oil penetrate into the skin for as long as you can, preferably 20 minutes. Ayurvedic Practitioner and Naturopath, Dr. Meghana Thanki of Second Nature Clinic suggests doing your yoga asana practice at this time. She recommends doing 5-10 sun salutations in order to increase the heat in your body. This will help the oil penetrate even more deeply into the skin. After your 20 minutes is up, enjoy a warm shower allowing your pores to open and receive the benefits of the oil even deeper into the skin’s layers.
  9. After your shower, there is no need to apply any other moisturizer. The oil will have absorbed into the skin and the body, providing you with grounded energy and moisturization.
  10. If you find you do not have 20-30 minutes prior to bathing in the morning to perform your self-abhyanga, an alternative would be to bathe and then apply the oil to the body. It is best to apply the oil when the body is still moist or damp from the shower. With this method of application, you may notice that you use less oil, as your moist skin requires a smaller amount. Proceed with the same steps 1-8. Again, allow the oil to replace any body lotion.

        Ayurveda provides us with countless seasonal tips and remedies to help keep us in balance all year long. The art of self-abhyanga is one of the most treasured practices in Ayurveda. It restores the connection to our bodies and we cultivate self-love into our day. If you experience dry skin in the fall and winter months or feel anxious or overwhelmed, self-abhyanga can be a wonderful daily practice to keep vata dosha in balance and restore the health of your skin. Here’s to the healing effects of oil- let it be your ally as you step into this new and fresh season.

Written by Trudy C. Collings / Edited by Leah D. Klatt

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