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THIS GIRL IS CRAZY AMAZING! Look into the X ray of an emptath’s mind, body and soul!

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I feel your pain: an empath’s guide to staying balanced

Do you often wonder which emotions are yours, and which belong to someone else? When people you care about are hurting, do you feel their pain so deeply that it’s hard to separate—even after they’re out of crisis mode? In relationships, do you donate so much of your own natural resources that you suffer from a chronic energy shortage? And with those you’re close to, is it hard to figure out what your own needs are—or even what you want for dinner? If the answer is yes, it’s highly likely that you’re an empath.

What does it mean to be an empath, and why is it fraught with these basic life challenges? Derived from the Greek “em” (in) and “pathos” (feeling), the term empathic means you’re able to “feel into” others’ feelings. But for empaths, this sensitivity is magnified to the nth degree. An empath is more tuned in, more empathic, and more sensitive to others than the average empathic person.

Being this tuned in, empathic, and sensitive is an asset, but it comes at great cost. Empaths are unusually vulnerable to emotional contagion, to “catching” others’ emotions in much the same way that you’d catch a cold or flu. But it doesn’t stop there: empaths get physically ill and suffer from anxiety, depression, chronic stress, professional burnout, and pain syndromes more often than their less empathic counterparts. And empaths often need lots of down time after social engagements, “recovery periods” at the end of a workday, or extended intervals of being alone. They can feel fundamentally different from others: As a conference-goer recently put it, “It’s like I’m an alien from another planet—no one understands me, and sometimes I don’t even get myself.” The empaths I work with often confess a deep-seated fear that this “alien thing” means something is wrong with them, that they’re somehow damaged.

As a clinical psychologist and yoga therapist, I’ve supervised psychotherapists, yoga teachers, and yoga practitioners for more than two decades—and a great many of them are empaths. I’ve helped them identify who they are and develop the skills to lead more balanced and healthy lives. And as a “recovering empath” myself, I’ve had to walk a parallel path. From this personal and professional immersion, I’ve found that it helps just to name the issue, to hammer a framework of understanding around it. And then, armed with tools from yoga, mindfulness, and psychology, we can work on balance. We can create a blueprint for physical well-being, emotional health, and more rewarding relationships.

Are you an empath? Here are five signs that you might be—and that your wonderful qualities, when left unchecked, can compromise your health.

THE EMPATH CHECKLIST:

1. You struggle with boundaries. It’s tough to know where you leave off and others begin, which experiences are yours and which come from others, when to open your channels for connection or to close them.

2. You’re often not in your body. For empaths, all that “feeling into” the experiences of others means that you dissociate: you leave your body or “shuttle” out of direct experience as a matter of course.

3. You’re vulnerable to emotional contagion. You absorb the emotions of others, from your boss and colleagues at work to your family and friends, and even the check-out guy at Whole Foods.

4. You’re prone to nervous system overdrive. It doesn’t take much—sometimes just a draining conversation or a party that’s loud and over-populated—to propel your nervous system into alarm mode.

5. You have trouble with intimacy. Your relationships are filled with intense bonding and equally intense separations. You can merge with others at the drop of a hat, but get so entangled that an “emotional exorcism” of someone you care about is often the only way to get your space.

Even when we’re aware of them, these patterns are hard to change. They’re wired into us deeply, at levels the conscious mind can’t reach. For that reason, to be a healthy empath requires daily practice. Here are the key issues and therapeutic practices that form the heart of the journey. The challenge is that much of the healing needs to happenthrough the body. And for empaths, the body can be a wasteland of sorts, a long-abandoned battleground.

Lest you think this is a “chick thing,” there are male empaths, too. It’s just that the process of natural selection draws empathic males underground more quickly than it does their female counterparts because sensitivity, empathy, and attunement to others are considered “feminine” traits. Male empaths can be ostracized for these qualities, and learn to bury them from sight. As a male empath in one of our therapeutics clinics recently said, “I take on other people’s experiences all the time. I have a huge amount of anxiety and depression, and it’s hard to know what’s mine and what’s someone else’s. But when I talk about it to my friends, they tell me to quit being ‘such a girl.’” Male empaths need the same kind of body-based support that female ones require.

RX FOR EMPATHS:

Empaths have an extraordinary capacity for union. They’re great in a crisis; people in need call forth their deepest abilities. They make gifted, intuitive healers. They see others deeply, well beyond the surface. And they have a magnetic quality that draws people to them. Yet flanking these positive aspects are several shadow sides. Here’s what you’ll want to focus on to help you live in a state of physical and emotional equilibrium.

1. Develop Boundaries. As an empath, you give too much space to others’ emotional lives. You solve their problems with ease and help them restore equilibrium, often at the expense of your own energy stores. But even when no one needs you, the habit of “trolling for crisis” means you’re always on alert, and makes it tough to return to the shores of your own awareness.

Empath Rx: Creating boundaries isn’t a matter of mental discipline, of “just say no.” When you’re an empath, limits need to be integrated into your physicality. The core body is your seat of power: What helps is a yoga practice that brings your focus into your deep, intrinsic core where you can develop “prana in the belly.” This four-pronged core body program includes awareness, strength, flexibility, and the capacity to release. Working with the core in this holistic way helps you ground back into your body and replenish your energy stores. Mindfulness tools can also help you monitor where—or on whom—you’re focused and notice when you’ve migrated into someone else’s direct experience.

2. Bring Awareness into Your Body. Imagine that you’ve left to visit a friend in another city and forgotten to lock your house. And that’s not all: You’ve left all the doors and windows wide open, so anyone can get in. This is what it’s like to be an empath. You can abandon your own home, your direct experience, in favor of someone else’s. The more you do this, the more difficult it is to return. What makes matters worse is that not inhabiting your body (and the moment) keeps the benefits of yoga and other mindfulness-based practices just beyond your reach.

Empath Rx: Offset this tendency toward dissociation with slow, mindful vinyasa yoga sequences that link movement with breath. Empaths can spend a whole yoga class or practice on auto-pilot: adding anchors for awareness will help bring you back to your body and to the present. Contemplative practices such as meditation and restorative yoga give you the time, space, and silence you need to get re-embodied again.

3. Balance Your Nervous System.

An empath’s environment is like “emotional satellite radio” with surround sound and hundreds of channels. Your nervous system surfs the dial constantly, flipping from station to station to listen to others’ emotional broadcasts: your boss’s complaints about work, your partner’s anxiety over a potential job loss, your best friend’s sadness about a breakup. These information-processing demands can catapult your nervous system into overdrive, which reinforces anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. On top of that, the incessant electronic requests of e-mail and social media can overload and exhaust you.

Empath RX:

Learn to notice the signs of nervous system overdrive, such as that inner sense of something always “humming” beneath the surface, an elevated heart rate, and increased emotional reactivity. Practice simple breathwork techniques like nasal breath (and if accessible, nasal breath with a longer exhale) to slow your heart and bring your nervous system back to baseline. Regular breaks from social media also help, as do practices that balance your nervous system and quiet your mind, like Restorative Yoga.

4. Learn to Regulate Intimacy.

For empaths, intimacy comes down to matters of space and reciprocity. You can feel like Dr. Doolittle’s Push-Me-Pull-You: Sometimes you crave intense emotional, physical, and spiritual bonding. At other times, you need so much space that having your own personal galaxy might feel too crowded. When you want to merge, you can threaten people who have a higher need for breathing room; when you need wide-open space, you can appear remote and withholding. And when it comes to reciprocity, you’re rarely comfortable on the receiving end. Your giving nature attracts narcissistic people who crave the mirroring and validation you offer. In the meantime, you’re able to create a fantasy in which the relationship lives up to its potential—and you inhabit that fantasy as though it were real. You learn to subsist on a diet of mere “emotional breadcrumbs,” and can suffer from malnourishment.

Empath Rx:

To build your ability to receive care from others, try bodywork or yoga therapy with someone you trust. You can also balance a personal yoga practice with group classes to strengthen your sense of community. If your job requires any degree of public exposure, or you work as a healer, you may need stretches of alone time to reestablish your equilibrium. Here again, mindfulness-based practices can help you notice feelings of being devoured and interrupt the cycle of merger and isolation before you reach the breaking point.

5. Develop emotional immunity.

Empaths pick up on other’s emotions and even their direct inner experience so rapidly that it’s hard to indentify what’s happened. As a result, a large part of your anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and immune issues can belong not to you, but to someone else. And just like your nervous system and physical body, your emotional body and immune system struggle with boundaries. They have difficulty discerning what’s you and what’s not. This leaves you vulnerable to emotional issues like anxiety, depression, and chronic stress, as well as auto-immune illnesses such as allergies, lupus, or fibromyalgia.

Empath Rx:

Practice interpersonal hygiene: using mindfulness, notice how you feel after spending time with others. You’ll soon learn which people are hazardous to your health, and you can limit your interactions with them. Also try lymph-stimulating asana sequences and Restorative Yoga to stimulate your capacity for constructive internal reflection.

THE EMPATH’S FILTER:

One of the more insidious consequences of Empath Syndrome is having a very thin, membranous emotional skin which reacts intensely to real or perceived invasion. This skin is allergic to a variety of foods, social settings, and other people—and on the inside, it mimics the auto-immune pattern of self-hatred. This exposes our nerve endings to all the shame, rage, and deep, existential grief inside us and in everyone around us. An offhand comment from a loved one, a request for help from someone when our resources are at a low ebb, or a harmless comment from that “weird guy” at the gym can get under our skin in microseconds. This sets off an alarm, and we immediately filter that person as either “dangerous” or “safe.” Long ago, that type of filtering was necessary for our survival but as we mature, it becomes less adaptive, even destructive. Because we doubt the strength of this filter (after all, it’s tough for us to set boundaries), we construct a narrative around the experience. Once we’ve developed a juicy story about the person who got under our skin, we repeat it. We pull for confirmation from others, as though having an army behind this filter will help it feel more like a fortress.

Having the armed forces behind us can feel comforting initially, but our actions only strengthen the sensitivity of the danger/safe filter. And since our narrative is rarely limited to one encounter, we practice it over time. Soon, it gains a brittle hardness. This outer shell protects us from injury (good), but also from intimacy with others and our deepest selves (not so good).

Often, the deepest (and hardest!) work happens long after the interaction is over, when our nervous system is back to balance and the temporary comfort our narrative gave us has dissipated. Our task is to go back to the filter, to our initial decision in the moment, and reevaluate. We can (this is so hard!) reconsider and re-examine the encounter from all angles, balancing the harsh light of hindsight with a healthy dose of self-compassion. We can even ask others for input—preferably those who don’t indulge our stories, and who want to see us grow.

Over time, we can acknowledge where our filters make errors or blind us. We can change their sensitivity settings to be more open. We can acknowledge where they make errors or may blind us. Then we’ve got something to grown on. The challenging part: Empaths have a really tough time changing this filter because it feels so necessary for safety. What’s more, adjusting the settings actually stretches our “emotional skin.” This expansion is uncomfortable: It can feel in some ways like a “little death” and it can jolt the nervous system into caffeinated overdrive. This is when the quieter aspects of yoga and mindfulness like Restorative Yoga can help promote constructive internal reflection, and help us assimilate the changes we’ve made to our filter. I’ve been in this place many times and experienced the struggle myself. And while our asana practice helps us be more embodied, this epic battle with our filter is carried out on the very plains of engagement where mindfulness and yoga try so hard to lead us.

IT’S LIKE A TATTOO:

Empaths often ask me, with great sincerity, “How do I get rid of this?” Their poignant request reflects the cost they pay, in time and effort, to achieve a measure of balance. But being an empath is like having a tattoo: the imprint is there for life, no matter what you may do to change it. These practices aren’t a time-limited, do-it-for-three-months-and-all-will-be-well kind of program. Rather, they’re a lifelong journey of self-discovery. But it needn’t be a life sentence. Having a daily empath-balancing practice improves our relationship with ourselves. It juices our creative process. It improves emotional regulation. It deepens our work life, and enhances our physical health.

Empaths need community, a tribe of our own to belong to, and a shared language through which we can first unload the burden of being built as we are. Yet once we’ve ingested this sense of belonging, our task is to resist the temptation to rest there forever, and cultivate instead both personal and shared practices that bolster our body, calm our mind, and help us ground into and explore ourselves. We do this first in shallow waters and then in time, the deep.

It may seem that transformation is about transcendence: that we somehow leave behind our flaws to achieve a measure of spiritual perfection. Yet true spiritual evolution and emotional health entail a reckoning with and even valuing of the unique set of challenges we’ve been given. Sometimes the holes in our evolution—the very things that we lack—plait a deep thread of awareness into the fabric of our self-study. We’ll spend the rest of our lives unraveling that thread, and weaving and reweaving it. And there’s a measure of honor that comes from having to work so hard at the skills that others seem to master so naturally.

And the reward for all this hard work of integration? There will come an extended moment in time when something or someone will activate your nervous system, stimulate your filter and the narrative that comes with it, and tie you in emotional knots. But this time, you’ll recognize it as it happens. You’ll be able to enter a dialogue. You’ll say to yourself something like, “Oh- here it is again—it’s happening! This person has bumped right up against my need to feel special,” or whatever it is they’ve activated. You’ll notice the signs of activation: elevated heart rate, difficulty breathing, intense emotional reactivity, and an immediate gravitational pull toward a difficult story. “They must not care about me at all,” you’ll start to think. Then suddenly, you’ll remember to feel where that activation is concentrated in your body: often, for empaths, it’s the upper core or solar plexus area. You’ll bring your hands to that area and breathe deeply into it for several minutes. And if it’s still highly engaged, you’ll opt to practice a little longer until you hit your “reset button.”

And all at once, you’ll feel the deep worth of daily empath practices. You’ll find a simultaneous sense of yielding and resilience. You’ll feel a beautiful solidity, as though you’ve colored in your outlines. You’ll discover a newfound sense of your own intrinsic value in the world. And this will be matched by the joy that comes bubbling up from the wellspring of your body.

Being an empath asks us to become fluent in the field of paradox, to metabolize opposing concepts and challenges. How can we engage in rich relationship with others and the world around us, for instance, while finding the silence and space to discover the self and world inside us? How do we find balance between matter and spirit, inner awareness and outer focus, or self and other? And how might we engage in the dynamic interchange between the concept of evolution—which hints at a future self—and the self we are right here, right now?

It may be later in life by the time we truly blossom, but the time, patience, and inner work are well worth the effort. When we learn to regulate our nervous system, create healthy boundaries in our body, and adjust the filter through which we evaluate direct experience, we become truly resilient. And instead of making ourselves small to fit the world around us, to find a tribe where we belong, we learn to blossom on our own. This blossoming draws others to us. And an empath in full flower is an extraordinary thing to witness: vulnerable yet resilient, intuitive yet grounded, and deeply creative, expressive, and magnetic—but with a fully functioning sense of where and how these qualities balance.

Dear Empaths, thank you for your deeply impassioned response to this article! Out of respect for the porousness of your fellow empaths, please balance your sharing of your story with discernment about how the quantity and nature of what you’re sharing. We reserve the right to edit posts, or to not post responses that might cause others to be overwhelmed when reading. However, we do read each and every post. We thank you for taking the time to comment. Please know that you have a Tribe of people to whom you belong. Not only that, there are ways (and this article mentions several) to balance your empath qualities and live a life of balance, boundaries, and meaning.

For specific tools, please reread the “Rx” sections above for ideas. You can also explore our book Yoga for Emotional Balance. And please stay tuned to the Online Courses link on this site; we’ll have a “Yoga for Empaths” course coming out later this year that’s a labor of love to all of you, our Empath Tribe. Peace and blessings,

http://boforbes.com/yoga-practice-lab/blog/feel-pain-empaths-guide-staying-balanced/

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KATI VASTI ‘You are as young as your spine is healthy’- Ayurveda

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The term kati refers to low back region. It is procedure where by medicated oil is retained for a certain period of time in the low back area. A completely sealed walled boundary is made with the paste of black gram powder or wheat powder in the kati (low back) region. The medicated oil is heated till it becomes lukewarm. This lukewarm medicated oil is then poured in to the space inside the walled boundary in a constant and continuous stream. It is retained there for a particular period of time. The medicated oil is soaked up, heated to becomes lukewarm and poured back again by adding fresh oil in it. This repeated during the whole procedure. It helps in strengthening the muscles especially those in the low back region. It helps in alleviating neuronal complaints, lumbago and sciatica. The treatment is also effective in muscular spasm and inflammations in the low back region. Dhaanwantaram tailam, Sahacharady thailam, kottomchukkadi thailam, murivenna, karpoora thailam etc. are some of the medicated oils used for the treatment. The ayurvedic oils for the treatment are selecting depending up on the conditions of the patient or direction of the physician. The duration of the treatment varies from 30 to 40 minutes depending up on the condition of the individual. The course of treatment depending up on the directions of the physician or the conditions of the individuals.

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Benefits of kati vasti are relieves occupational tension build-ups, stiffness, spasms, pains and aches, and is very effective for sciatic pains and scolyosis.

http://www.ayurvedasopanam.com/kati-vasti.html

10 Effective Hair Masks To Treat Hair Loss

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Preventing hair loss is a major concern for most women across the world. There are so many natural treatments that you can follow to bid farewell to this issue. The only problem is that not all of us have enough time to visit the parlour and use one of these treatments. We understand you have a busy schedule, but ignoring the hair is certainly not going to solve the problem. An effective and smart way to prevent and stop hair loss permanently is by trying homemade hair masks. The best part is that you don’t have to travel far away to find the ingredients. They are all available in your kitchen. Trust me!

Eggs could always be used to prevent hair loss.

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1. You will require one hard egg, a cup of milk, two tablespoons of lemon juice and olive oil.

2. Mix them together and massage well all over the scalp region.
3. Cover your head with a shower cap and let it stay for the next 20 minutes.
4. Wash it off with cold water.Love eating bananas? Now you can use it for your hair!

1. All you require for the banana mask for hair loss is two ripe bananas, a tablespoon of olive oil, coconut oil and honey.
2. Add them together in a bowl and blend with the help of a spoon.
3. Now, apply this over your hair as well as the scalp region.
4. Let it settle down for about five minutes.
5. Wash off with lukewarm water.

3. Yogurt Mask:

Yogurt offers an inexpensive and effective deep conditioning for your hair.

1. To prepare the yogurt mask, you will need a cup of yogurt, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of honey.
2. Mix these ingredients well and apply the mask from the roots to the tips.
3. Let it stay for 15 minutes, after which you can wash it with cold water.

4. Avocado Mask:

Apply Avocado mask once or twice a week to improve texture and sheen of your hair.

1. Get hold of a small avocado that is green and ripe, half a cup of milk and a tablespoon of olive and almond oil.
2. Blend them together until you find any lumps.
3. Apply from the roots to the tips of the hair.
4. Let it stay for 15 minutes and wash with cold water.

5. Strawberry Mask:

Stop hair fall within two washes with the help of a strawberry mask.

1. A couple of fresh strawberries, some amount of coconut oil and honey should be mixed together in a bowl.
2. Now, apply this prepared mask from the scalp to the ends of your hair.
3. Use cold water to rinse it off after 20 minutes.

6. Curry Leaves And Coconut Mask:

This hair mask for hair loss can do wonders on your hair.

1. Grab some fresh curry leaves and a few tablespoons of coconut oil from your kitchen.
2. Boil them for a couple of minutes and use the residue to massage all over your hair.
3. Rinse well after 20 minutes.
4. Use this mask twice a week.

7. Castor Oil And Brandy:

Who knows castor oil and brandy could do wonders for your hair? Yes, they do.

1. You require two tablespoons of castor oil with another two tablespoons of brandy and an egg.
2. Prepare a mixture of the above ingredients.
3. Massage the scalp with the mixture and apply all over the hair too.
4. Let it stay for a while and then you may rinse with cold water.

8. Rosemary Mask:

Do you know rosemary strengthens hair follicles and helps to combat hair loss?

1. Take a few tablespoons of well-chopped rosemary.
2. Boil them in water for a couple of minutes.
3. When the mixture gets cool, massage it all over the scalp.
4. Let it stay for 15 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water.

9. Green Tea Mask:

Green tea stimulates hair growth. It is one of the perfect remedy for those suffering from thinning hair.

1. Take one egg yolk and take two tablespoons of green tea that has recently been prepared.
2. Mix them till you see a creamy texture.
3. Apply with the help of a brush all over the scalp and hair.
4. Let it stay for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Wash if off with cold water before you shampoo your hair.

10. Vitamin E Capsule Mask:

Protect hair with this strengthening and repairing hair damage remedy.

1. A combination of almond oil, castor oil, coconut oil, lavender oil and crushed Vitamin E capsules can be stored in a bottle.
2. Apply this mixture all over the hair and scalp thrice a week.
3. Let it stay overnight and wash off the next morning with cold water.

These are some of the effective and natural hair masks for hair loss that you can use to make your hair beautiful and healthy. Have you tried preparing any hair masks at home other than these? Do not forget to share them with us.

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/effective-hair-masks-to-treat-hair-loss/

7 Simple Ayurvedic Beauty Tips for Your Face

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Mother Nature has in its store some of the best solutions for all kinds of beauty-related issues. All we need to do is tap into nature’s immense potential to keep our skin beautiful all round the year as well as prevent premature ageing. Ayurveda, our very own science of medicine, hailing from ancient times, is a storehouse of a number of herbal remedies which can naturally enhance the beauty of our skin, preventing and doing away with several common skin concerns such as pimples, acne, spots, dark circles, scars, wrinkles etc. Although inexpensive, the effectiveness of Ayurvedic remedies is immense.

Let us look at some simple Ayurvedic beauty tips for face which can help you acquire naturally glowing, problem-free skin:

Ayurvedic Beauty Tips for Face:

To cleanse the skin and pores: Raw Milk

One of the known basic ayurvedic tips for face glow is using raw milk. Raw milk helps remove unseen dirt and impurities from the face as well as the pores of the skin. It also adds a subtle glow and acts as a natural moisturizer. Use raw milk with a cotton ball to gently cleanse your skin. You may even mix a little lemon juice with raw milk for this purpose.

To acquire a smooth complexion: Orange

Applying fresh orange juice to your face on a daily basis will help bring about an improvement in the texture of your skin as well as the skin tone. This fruit is rich in Vitamin C which enables our body to fight ageing and it also acts as a good skin toner, especially for oily skin.

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To control acne:

Pack 1: Sandalwood and turmeric

Make a paste using 1tsp each of sandalwood powder and turmeric with water. Apply on your face and leave it on for 15-20 minutes, followed by rinsing off with lukewarm water. Do this daily.

Pack 2: Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is one of the wonders of Nature that has a number of skin and health benefits. Break open a leaf, take out the fresh gel, apply on your face and massage in. Once dry, wash off with lukewarm water. Aloe Vera cannot exactly cure acne but it has amazing anti-inflammatory properties, thus helping to reduce the swelling and redness of pimples and acne. Noticeable results can be seen in a week’s time. Moreover, drinking Aloe Vera juice can enhance the vitality of the skin and also be useful in case of stomach ailments.

To reduce pigmentation, blemishes and dark spots: Potato

Potato is a very good natural skin lightener and one of the best ayurvedic remedies for glowing face. Rub a slice of raw potato daily on your skin to lighten pigmentation, blemishes and dark spots. Alternatively, onion, lime or cucumber juice may be used for the same purpose.

To naturally moisturize skin to avoid wrinkles and fine lines:

Pack 1: Olive Oil

Olive oil is a wonderful natural moisturizer loaded with antioxidants and fatty acids. Smooth on a thin layer of it onto your skin before bed every night to rejuvenate your skin and prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

Pack 2: Honey

Honey, an excellent natural humectant (a substance that promotes retention of moisture), can help you get soft and supple skin. It is extremely useful for avoiding wrinkles, flakiness and dryness.

Ayurvedic beauty tips for face have been used since many centuries to get naturally beautiful skin. Therefore, you too can start today!

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/5simple-ayurvedic-beauty-tips-for-your-face/

POWER PLANTS

HOLY BASIL

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Holy basil is a sacred herb within Ayurveda—the centuries-old medicinal practice from India—and has been called upon for thousands of years to help combat stress. Nowadays, we understand that it works by lowering cortisol levels in the body, says acupuncturist Jill Blakeway, director of the YinOva Center in New York City.

“Holy basil is often used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen—a class of herbs that help your body deal with stressors,” she continues. Which is what helps make “tulsi”—the Hindu name for holy basil—Ayurveda’s perfect antidote to the hectic pace of the modern world.

But holy basil’s benefits don’t stop at stress-busting. “I’ve also seen it pretty widely used to treat common ailments like an upset stomach or even a seasonal cold,” says celeb nutritionist and beauty-foods evangelist Kim Snyder. “It’s thought to work because the chemical compounds it’s comprised of can help decrease inflammation and pain.”

Holy basil has a more peppery, clove-like taste than its familiar Western counterpart, sweet basil, though the two are closely related. And like sweet basil, it can be used to flavor all types of savory dishes—just think more along the lines of spicy stir-frys and soups than Italian pasta sauces.

But the herb may be at the height of its stress-squashing abilities when it is enjoyed slowly, as part of a relaxing daily tea ritual. There are plenty of ready-made blends available online or in health food stores, or you can brew your own by steeping fresh or dried leaves. Then simply sip. Breathe. Repeat.

COCONUT

coconut2Coconut oil, often cold-pressed from the fruit, has been the indisputable breakout ingredient in the nutrition and beauty worlds for the last few years, winning fans who adore it for being a total wellness multi-tasker.

“People used to think coconut oil was unhealthy, because it contains saturated fats, but now we know that these saturated fats are different to those found in fatty meat,” saysacupuncturist Jill Blakeway, director of the YinOva Center in New York City. “Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are metabolized differently in the body and are a great source of energy.”

MCTs have even been shown to increase energy expenditure in the body, she says, which means coconut oil can aid in weight loss. Plus, the oil contains something called auric acid, which gives it antimicrobial properties, Blakeway says “making it a good plant to ward off infections”

From a culinary perspective, coconut oil makes an awesome alternative to olive oil because it can handle up to 450 degrees of heat, giving it a high smoke point (i.e., the point at which the good compounds in an oil begin to break down and potentially problematic ones can begin to form). Try it in stir-frys, or to pan sear lean proteins. It also comes in handy in everything from baked goods to bulletproof-style coffee.

And beauty aficionados are enamored with it. “Coconut oil is by far my favorite beauty product, and I use it wherever I can,” says celeb nutritionist and beauty-foods evangelist, Kim Snyder. “It’s super hydrating, so it’s great for use on dry, irritated skin.”

Who should use it? “Everyone, everywhere,” she raves. It’s also a hair conditioner, star makeup remover, lip balm, and body scrub (when mixed with sugar or salt). No wonder so many wellness gurus love to use and recommend coconut oil.

ROSE HIP

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Rose hip—the fruit of the wild rose bush—just sounds so much more romantic than your everyday produce, evoking images of lush, overgrown gardens at a Downton Abbey-esque estate. But it’s also a straight-up superfood, packed with more vitamin C than oranges.

“In the UK, during the Second World War [when citrus was scarce], people made rose hip syrup from the fresh hips to supplement their vitamin C levels and help keep them healthy,” says Tipper Lewis, lead herbalist at the famed British natural health emporium, Neal’s Yards Remedies.

Rose hips are also a known inflammation-buster, so much so that they’ve been used to help treat rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic inflammatory disorder), explains acupuncturist Jill Blakeway, director of the YinOva Center in New York. “Research has shown [rose hip] to be helpful at reducing the pain, inflammation, and swelling associated with the joints,” echoes Lewis.

“It’s thought to be a substance called ‘GOPO’—a galactolipid—that has the main effect, so if you’re buying rose hips [for inflammation], make sure they contain this substance.” Meaning buy it in whole or pure dried forms.

The fruit itself can taste a bit sour, so Lewis recommends trying it in tea, which is “tart and sweet at the same time.” Infuse fresh or dried hips in hot water, just like you would any tea, Lewis recommends. Or for a refreshing summertime tonic, soak rose hips in cold water overnight, then sip, letting the anti-inflammatory benefits (and yes, the Downton romance) wash right through you.

Ayurvedic beauty tips for great skin

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Ayurveda was a very early adopter of the mantra that “beauty comes from within.” The 5,000 year-old-science is known for extolling the benefits of balancing the whole body, supporting digestive health, optimizing energy, and treating each individual according to her specific dosha (constitution)—and not just finding the right facial cleanser or aesthetician.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore skin and hair. In fact, Ayurveda’s got more beauty practices than Estee Lauder—and they all do double duty, boosting your overall wellness while they give you a glow.

Some of them might not sound all that intuitive—traditionally there’s a lot more oil used than lotions or creams, and exfoliation is part of the drill for detoxing purposes—so we asked top Ayurvedic practitioners to share some of their favorite holistic beauty tips that you can do easily. Put them in your routine now for that inner-outer beauty balance. —Ann Abel

1. Know your dosha. Your Ayurvedic constitution also points to your skin type, says Lisa Amechazurra, marketing manager for skin-care line VPK at Maharishi Ayurveda. (The VPK line stands for the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, Kapha.) Vata is thin, dry, fine-pored, delicate and wrinkle-prone; Pitta is susceptible to rashes, breakouts, and rosacea if out of balance; and Kapha is thicker and oilier, prone to enlarged pores, blackheads, pimples, and eczema. Her company’s website provides great information about treating each one, as well as other Ayurvedic beauty secrets.

2. Let the seasons dictate your skin care. Siva Mohan, an Ayurvedic doctor at Svastha Health in Long Beach, California, says constitution-based skin care has it’s place, “there are seasonal approaches that are even more important. Even if someone has a Vata constitution, they will have to balance Pitta during the heat of the summer. Our climate is a significant energetic input. All approaches to summer beauty from an Ayurvedic standpoint are about balancing Pitta dosha, or bringing in the opposite qualities of Pitta.”

3. Moisturize your face with coconut oil and whip up facial masks. Dr. Mohan likes coconut oil for daily use because it’s cooling in nature, and not too heavy. Some women swear by ghee (clarified butter), which you could also try. Dr. Mohan says masks are your go-to: dry and irritated skin will bounce back with an organic castor oil mask. And if you suffer from the opposite, you absorb excess oil with chickpea flour. Use it as base for masks to absorb excess oil from the face, chest and back, she says.

4. Exfoliate with sugar instead of salt. Sugar helps boost cell turnover and retains moisture, and it’s considered cooling (not heating), which makes it good for summer. Svastha recommends mixing it with cooling, rejuvenating herbs and botanicals such as rose petals, slippery elm, and bhringraj, for a facial scrub. (She stocks them; your local drugstore probably won’t.)

5. Swab your skin with raw milk—or bathe in it. “Full-fat milk or cream-based masks are wonderful for soothing and cooling irritated or inflamed skin,” says Dr. Mohan. Once a day dip a cotton ball into a small bowl of raw milk and wipe your face thoroughly with it to remove dirt from your pores. Thanks to its fats and lactic acid, “it has tremendous moisturizing, softening properties,” says Ritu Srivastava, spa manager at the Ayurvedic spa, Ananda in the Himalayas in India. Adding milk or cream to your bath will also soothe and nourish your skin. And if you’re vegan, coconut milk has similar properties, says Dr. Mohan

6. Use rosewater as a toner. Dr. Mohan likes rosewater spray because “it smells good and feels great” and can be used several times a day. “Roses are cooling and support soft, supple skin.”

7. Spot-treat with neem oil. Use a cotton swab to apply it directly to pimples or spots of minor inflammation and “let it do its magic overnight,” says Dr. Mohan. “It’s drying and similar to tea tree oil but more cooling and better suited for the summer.”

8. Add aloe vera to your regular regimen. Srivastava says the plant isn’t just for sunburns. It makes the skin smooth, supple and younger looking. Some women apply it topically, like a toner or treatment. Others swear by a daily swig or sipping it in a juice.

9. Practice oil pulling. Swishing sesame or coconut oil instead of Listerine has become a super popular practice of late. And while you’d think its immediate benefits would be related to oral hygiene, the idea is that a healthy mouth boosts your overall wellness (healthy gums are related to healthy heart) and that it aids in all-over detoxification. Here’s how to do it.

10. Use a raw silk gharshana glove or natural bristle dry brush on your body. It’s key to toned and firm skin, great for places that retain fluid, and helps cellulite, says Dr. Pratima Raichur, author of Ayurvedic beauty bible, Absolute Beauty. For Vata and Pitta skin types (dry or sensitive skin), use a raw silk gharshana glove for an effective but less abrasive form of exfoliation. For Kapha skin type (thicker, oily skin), use a natural bristle brush. Starting with your feet, massage in upward, circular motions toward the heart. Then rinse off.

11. Make hair lustrous with coconut oil. In addition to imparting sheen, it provides strengthening nourishment to the hair, says Srivastava. Take your time massaging it in (add essential oils of geranium, lavender, and rosemary, like at the spa, if you can) to improve circulation and slough off dead skin cells, which is said to help hair growth.

12. Slather yourself in oils—and learn the art of self-massage. Jenoa Navarrete, product development manager for VPK, says massage is as important to boosting radiance as it is to helping manage stress. “For example, Abhyanga, an Ayurvedic massage done with warm massage oil, not only deeply moisturizes but afterward, you’ll look and feel more radiant. It offers many health benefits when done regularly, as well.” Can’t slip away to the spa? Use an Ayurvedic oil and work from your face down to the soles of your feet. And good news—even two minutes before bed helps.

Ayurveda Hair Treatments for gorgeous hair

These Ayurveda hair treatments nourishes and strengthens the hair

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Ayurveda treatment with herbal oil:
Use herbal oils to treat hair problem as well as promote healthy hair growth. Massaging your roots with ayurvedic hair oil like neem oil or amla oil that works not just to improve blood flow to your head but also to nourish roots.
Massage 2-3 tablespoons of oil onto your scalp for 5-10 minutes. Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it on overnight. Shampoo and condition as usual the next morning.
Try the best hair oil spa treatment at home for faster hair growth >>

Ayurveda treatment with herbal powder:
Mix amla or fenugreek powder to coconut oil or aloe vera gel for a hair mask. The hair growth herbs strengthens the shaft and helps prevent breakage. Apply this to your hair and scalp and massage gently. Leave it for 30 minutes. Massage the treatment into your scalp, let it work its magic over the next couple of hours then shampoo and style your hair as usual.

http://www.indianbeautyspot.com/2014/05/ayurveda-hair-masks.html

Abhyanga Ayurvedic Self Massage

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There is no greater expression of self-love than lovingly anointing ourselves from head to toe with warm oil—this practice is called Abyanga. The Sanskrit word Sneha can be translated as both “oil” and “love.” It is believed that the effects of Abhyanga are similar to those received when one is saturated with love. Like the experience of being loved, Abhyanga can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth.

A daily Abyanga practice restores the balance of the doshas and enhances well-being and longevity. Regular Abyanga is especially grounding and relaxing for Vata dosha imbalances, but everyone can benefit from this practice.

“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
(One of the Great ancient texts of Ayurveda)

Nourishes the entire body—decreases the effects of aging

Imparts muscle tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body

Imparts a firmness to the limbs

Lubricates the joints

Increases circulation

Stimulates the internal organs of the body

Assists in elimination of impurities from the body

Moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification

Increases stamina

Calms the nerves

Benefits sleep—better, deeper sleep

Enhances vision

Makes hair (scalp) grow luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy

Softens and smoothens skin; wrinkles are reduced and disappear

Pacifies Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha—to learn more about Doshas.

Abhyanga Routine and Oils

Massage your body with love and patience for 15-20 minutes. Here are the recommendations for frequency and oil type, based on the doshas:

Vata Dosha: 4-5 times a week using sesame, almond, or a Vata-balancing oil, such as the Relaxing Abhy Oil.
Pitta Dosha: 3-4 times a week using a coconut, sunflower, or a Pitta-balancing oil.
Kapha Dosha: 1-2 times a week using safflower or a Kapha-balancing oil.
Good for all Three Doshas: Jojoba oil
Steps to Follow for Self-Massage:

Warm the oil (pour approximately ¼ cup into a mug and warm using a coffee-cup warmer.) Test the temperature by putting a drop on your inner wrist, oil should be comfortably warm and not hot
Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room
Apply oil first to the crown of your head (adhipati marma) and work slowly out from there in circular strokes—spend a couple of minutes massaging your entire scalp (home to many other important marma points—points of concentrated vital energy)
Face: Massage in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws (always moving in a upward movement). Be sure to massage your ears, especially your ear-lobes—home to essential marma points and nerve endings
Use long strokes on the limbs (arms and legs) and circular strokes on the joints (elbows and knees). Always massage toward the direction of your heart
Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side
Finish the massage by spending at least a couple of minutes massaging your feet. Feet are a very important part of the body with the nerve endings of essential organs and vital marma points
Sit with the oil for 5-15 minutes if possible so that the oil can absorb and penetrate into the deeper layers of the body
Enjoy a warm bath or shower. You can use a mild soap on the “strategic” areas, avoid vigorously soaping and rubbing the body
When you get out of the bath, towel dry gently. Blot the towel on your body instead of rubbing vigorously
Enjoy the feeling of having nourished your body, mind, and spirit and carry that with you throughout your day.

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-benefits-of-ayurveda-self-massage-abhyanga#sthash.Mzsb9y9w.dpuf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HQLsfZh5js

11 Ways to Use Honey to Get More Gorgeous Skin, Hair, and Nails

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Honey’s often thought of as a healthier sweetener, but you might be surprised to learn that this ingredient has tons of skin and hair benefits, too. Made by the alchemy of bees collecting nectar, pollen, and resins from flowers, honey can help moisturize, fight aging, and fight bacteria. Plus, it’s loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and healing compounds. Next time you’re browsing the grocery store shelves, look for raw honey, which hasn’t been heat-treated or pasteurized; it contains more active phytonutrient antioxidants and enzymes for enhanced benefits. Here are a few ways to put the ingredient to use (sometimes with the help of some other natural ingredients).

1. Moisturizing Mask
Honey is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the air into the skin and ensures it’s retained it in the layers where it’s needed most for penetrating, long-lasting hydration.

Try it: Spread one teaspoon raw honey on clean, dry skin, and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with tepid water.

2. Pore Cleanser
The enzymes in raw honey clarify skin and keep pores clear and clean. Plus, the antibacterial properties of honey and jojoba or coconut oil also prevent bacterial buildup that can lead to skin imbalances and breakouts.

Try it: Stir one tablespoon raw honey with two tablespoons jojoba oil or coconut oil until the mixture is spreadable consistency. Apply to clean, dry skin, and massage gently in a circular motion, avoiding your eye area. Rinse with tepid water.

3. Gentle Exfoliator
Honey is loaded with antioxidants, enzymes, and other nutrients that nourish, cleanse, and hydrate skin. Baking soda, meanwhile, is a gentle natural exfoliator that removes dead skin cells, allowing new cells to emerge for a radiant complexion.

Try it: Mix two tablespoons honey with one tablespoon baking soda. Splash your skin with water, then gently rub the concoction on your face or body in a circular motion. Rinse well.

4. Scar Fader
Honey is said to lighten skin, and its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds help to decrease the appearances of scars and increase healing and tissue regeneration. The hydrating properties of honey and coconut oil or olive oil will also help revive skin cells, while regular, gentle massaging will increase circulation to aid skin recovery and cell turnover.

Try it: Mix one teaspoon raw honey with one teaspoon coconut oil or olive oil. Apply to the affected area, and massage with the tips of your fingers in a circular motion for one to two minutes. Place a hot washcloth over your skin, and let sit until cool. Repeat daily.

5. Acne Treatment
Honey contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that thwart bacteria that can lead to breakouts. Its anti-inflammatory properties will calm redness and irritation.

Try it: Apply a dab of raw honey to affected areas, and sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with tepid water.

6. Bath Soak
Honey’s not just hydrating; its antioxidants will repair skin and protect it against oxidative and environmental damage.

Try it: Mix two heaping tablespoons raw honey with one cup hot water until dissolved. Add to a tub of warm water, and soak.

7. Cuticle Moisturizer
Raw honey is loaded with nutrients and enzymes to nourish and heal skin, and it’s a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture into the skin. Coconut oil conditions and protects, while the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar softens hard skin and balances pH for healthy growth.

Try it: Mix one teaspoon honey with one teaspoon apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon coconut oil. Rub over each cuticle, and let sit five to 10 minutes, then rinse.

8. Hair Conditioner
The enzymes and nutrients in raw honey give dull hair shine without weighing it down. Coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft to condition and smooth the cuticle and give your strands the luster you crave.

Try it: Mix one tablespoon raw honey with two tablespoons coconut oil. Apply thoroughly to the bottom two-thirds of damp hair, starting at the ends and working up. Let sit for 20 minutes, and rinse well.

9. Shampoo Booster
The humectant properties of honey help regulate and retain moisture in hair, plus honey is said to strengthen hair follicles for healthy growth.

Try it: Mix one teaspoon honey with a dime-sized amount of your favorite shampoo. Wash and lather as normal, and rinse well.

10. Hair Highlighter
The enzyme glucose oxidase in honey slowly releases hydrogen peroxide, an ingredient known to lighten hair color.

Try it: Mix three tablespoons honey with two tablespoon water. Apply to clean, damp hair, and let sit for an hour. Rinse well. Apply weekly for best results.

11. Sunburn Treatment
Honey restores hydration to the deepest layers of sun-exposed skin—and both honey and aloe vera contain powerful anti-inflammatories to calm burned skin and aid recovery.

Try it: Mix one part raw honey with two parts pure aloe vera gel. Apply to sunburned skin.

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/beauty-uses-for-honey

Enjoy the Wonders of Neem!

For centuries the Neem tree has been known as the wonder tree of India. Traditionally used in ayurvedic remedies as an antiseptic to fight viruses and bacteria, it is also recommended for urinary disorders, diarrhea, fever, skin diseases, burns and inflammatory diseases. Because of its wide variety of applications it is commonly called the “Friend and Protector of the Indian Villager.”

Today modern research has verified the remarkable attributes of this tree. Neem is increasingly a key ingredient in modern cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Cracking the Secrets of Neem: Why is Neem such a wonder tree?

Modern research studies have discovered that it contains both alkaloids and liminoids, each with an array of medicinal properties. For instance, oneliminoid (azadirachitin) has been found to be 95% effective when used as a pesticide and insecticide.

Another liminoid found in Neem leaves (gedunin) has been used to treat malaria in tropical countries. It is administered as a tea or herbal infusion. Two other alkaloids (nimbin and nimbidin) have antiviral and antifungal properties.

While all parts of the tree are used in traditional ayurvedic formulas, there are three parts that are of particular benefit. These are the bark, the leaf and the oil.

Uses of Neem Bark

The Neem bark has cool, bitter, and astringent properties. It is traditionally used to treat tiredness, Kapha dosha imbalance, worms, fever and loss of appetite. Because of its antiseptic and astringent properties, it is especially helpful in healing wounds.

Probably the most common use of Neem bark is to clean the teeth. The traditional method is to snap off a twig of the tree and chew on it. The astringent qualities of the bark prevented bleeding gums, tooth decay and foul smell long before the advent of toothpaste.

The Magical Neem Leaf

Neem leaf is famous in ayurvedic texts for having an almost magical effect on the skin. It works as an antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory agent. It is effective in treating eczema, ringworm and acne. Traditional methods include crushing the leaves into a paste and applying directly to wounds, ulcers or skin diseases.

Neem leaf has both pungent and astringent tastes. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, the Neem leaf is especially useful in balancing Vata disorders. It removes ama and other toxins from the body, purifies the blood, and neutralizes damaging free radicals. It is nourishing to the hair (keshya).

Neem leaf is also revered for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Even today in India, people sprinkle fresh Neem leaf near the beds of patients with flu or fever, and hang a cluster of leaves on the door outside. The air that crosses the neem leaf is purified of viruses and bacteria, helping to disinfect the room and prevent the spread of disease.

Traditional Uses of Neem Oil

The oil is derived by crushing the seeds. Like the leaves, Neem oil is used to treat skin problems. It is especially effective in treating head lice and dandruff, and creates a purifying effect when used in aromatherapy.

Fortunately, you can enjoy the benefits of Neem oil, bark and leaves even if you don’t have a Neem tree growing in your front yard! Here are some simple ways to use Neem for your teeth, skin and hair.

Neem Bark Toothpaste to Prevent Tooth Decay

Brush your teeth with Ayurdent, a completely natural, flouride-free ayurvedic toothpaste that contains Neem bark. It helps heal sore gums, prevents tooth decay by strengthening gums and teeth, and creates a fresh feeling in the mouth. Ayurdent cleanses deep toxins from the teeth and oral cavity and is especially effective when used right before bed.

Neem Soap for the Skin

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Enjoy the magical effect of Neem leaves on your skin by bathing with Neem Aromatherapy Cleansing Bar. These natural soaps contain Neem leaves combined with other essential oils. Mild and healing, they smell delicious, too! Take Radiant Skin or Elim-Tox herbal supplements. Both Neem leaf and Neem bark are contained in these formulas, helping to purify the skin and flush out toxins from the sweat glands.

Neem Oil Lice Protector

Combine 10% Neem oil with 90% coconut or sesame oil. Apply to the hair and massage the oil into the scalp. Comb the oil through to make sure it is evenly distributed. Leave it on overnight. In the morning wash your hair with Herbal Flaky Scalp Shampoo. Repeat five to sixtimes, on alternate days, until the lice have disappeared. This formula also helps flaky scalp.

http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/plants-spices-and-oils/the-power-of-neem.html#gsc.tab=0