The Ayurvedic definition of beauty is “subhanga karanam”-transforming all aspects of body and mind to the most auspicious level. Beauty, in the Ayurvedic sense, is more than just skin-deep; it is much more than cosmetic surgery, liposuction, face-lifts, and working out.
It is meaningless to seek beauty in health clubs and hair salons-instead, turn inwards and confront the endless beauty within you. Ayurveda believes that the secret to true beauty lies in blending your inner self with your outer self, for that perfect and timeless glow of balanced health-body, mind, and soul.
On a physical level, Ayurveda has always described beauty to be the product of general good health and a daily regimen of Ayurvedic care, appropriate to one’s constitution. More than a mere mechanical cosmetic task, this involves self-knowledge and the incorporation of the right eating and lifestyle habits. Good health, when maintained, will go on to reap rich dividends for you-helping you to stay strong and healthy even in your senior years and guiding you to age gracefully.
Your inner beauty, in its turn, draws its sustenance from the spiritual wealth within your self: your spiritual qualities, inner reserves of strength, emotional states and mental abilities. True beauty emanates from a relaxed, peaceful and calm interior. Embracing all that is positive in life; loving and accepting one’s self, while loving and accepting others; immersing one’s self in the knowledge and realization of one’s true self-that is what is truly beautiful.
This Ayurvedic body-mind balance is achieved by balancing the three subtle energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha; the seven dhatus or body tissues, which form the nutrient plasma, blood, muscles, fat, bones, bone marrow and reproductive fluid; agni or our body-fire, which helps to digest food; and the body’s waste products, such as perspiration, urine and excreta. The perfect balance of all these body systems, together with the maintenance of peace and happiness, leads to good health and vitality.
What causes imbalance?
The above mentioned body systems remain in balance when you follow a regulated lifestyle. This includes eating the right foods at the right time, adapting to daily lifestyle habits suitable for one’s constitution, making space for seasonal changes in diet and living habits, regularizing certain bedtime regimens, practicing daily meditation, exercise, and maintaining purity of mind and soul. Whenever we violate these daily practices, imbalances are caused resulting in accumulation of harmful body toxins, diseases and illness. The hectic pace of modern life has thrown us off balance, forcing us to lose touch with nature and our natural states of being.
Many of us work late into the night, getting up early again for work, losing on essential sleep and rest. We seldom have time to cook ourselves fresh and warm, nourishing meals, making do with food that is cold, microwaved, preserved, stale, or left over. Sitting down to three square meals a day with our family seems like an impossibility.
We travel in cars and buses, inhaling polluted air all day, enduring sound decibels well beyond permissible levels; we work in artificially lighted and air-conditioned spaces. We practically live off fast foods, carbonated and caffeinated drinks, sleeping pills and blurry television images. No wonder our body systems are imbalanced and our lives are increasingly going off gear-dangerously veering towards unbearable limits of stress and strain, heart problems, manic depression, all-consuming loneliness, failed relationships and broken homes.
It is essential to regulate your lifestyle before you can begin to seek beauty in your self or your life. Ayurveda recommends a daily regimen of health and beauty care appropriate for your Ayurvedic constitution type including a proper diet, lifestyle habits, meditation, exercise regimen, basic herbology, simple home remedies, massages and rejuvenation therapies.
Ayurveda has intimately related inner and outer beauty, the balance of which makes a person genuinely beautiful. It has always expressed beauty to be the product of general physical health and appropriate daily care rather than just a cosmetic facade. An understanding of how to care for oneself, along with the development of good eating and living habits, will bring out the real beauty in us.