Every single human being wants to be beautiful. It really doesn’t matter if we are male, female, young or old. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor or even where we were born. The desire for human beauty is deeply ingrained in the human psyche and transcends race, gender, and culture.
But what is beauty? And how do we achieve it?
“Beauty is not a veneer upon things; it is not skin deep; it is not something added to make an ugly thing acceptable. It belongs to the nature of the thing made.” – unknown
According to anthropologist Ashley Montagu, we want to be beautiful because beauty “confers basic survival benefits on the individual who has it.” Even tiny babies are able to distinguish a happy face from a scowl. We begin to distinguish between loving and fearsome, good and bad, beautiful and ugly in our early weeks of life.
It is very natural to desire beauty – and according to Ayurveda it is actually natural and normal to be vibrant and beautiful! The problem is when we think of beauty as something dependent upon the features of our anatomy. Like you’ve got it or you don’t. This is simply wrong and detrimental to our wellbeing and self-esteem.
In Ayurveda, physical charm is only the first layer of beauty. In Sanskrit this outer beauty is called roopam. This is what society usually over values and strives for when talking about beauty.
Ayurveda teaches that there is a deeper, inner beauty called gunam that refers to the goodness of your heart, your honesty, and the purity of your intentions. This is the layer my grandpa was talking about when he used to tell me,
“Pretty is as pretty does.”
There is yet another layer of beauty called vayastyag which translates as “moving beyond the limits of” and refers to the capacity to age gracefully. It also means looking vibrant and glowing well into your sunset years. My grandma had a lot of vayastyag. She had a twinkle in her eyes, bright smile, and an inner glow well into her mid-90’s when she passed away.
When you think of someone you consider really beautiful, a few phrases often come to mind.
“Oh, she glows!”
“He has a dazzling smile.”
“She lights up a room.”
“His eyes shine.”
“She has golden skin.”
Do you see what all these observations of beauty have in common? They all refer to some quality of light. In one myth, Aphrodite disguises herself as an old woman but her “eyes that were full of shining” give her away. Her light and radiance is the beauty for which she is known!
This light, brightness, radiance, is true beauty. This is a quality that we cannot buy in a bottle or fake with even the best plastic surgeon. This beauty must be cultivated from within.
“There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.” – Lady Blessington
Besides cultivating a happy inner attitude; according to Ayurveda, this luster becomes physically present as a refined result of good digestion and healthy body tissue. When digestion is optimized and we are living a balanced lifestyle, we produce what is called ojas. Ojas literally means “vigor” and is considered the unifying power of consciousness. I like to think about ojas like honey or sap – the sweet substance that (quite literally) holds us together and creates deep immunity and strength. The outer evidence of ojas is radiance and the inner evidence is a deep sensation of bliss or true joy.
Beauty begins with self-care. Honoring yourself through positive thoughts, fresh and wholesome foods, syncing up with the cycles of nature, meditation, and daily rituals like oil massage, breathing exercises and proper sleep all build ojas and lead to glowing inner and outer beauty and vibrant health.
Things that deplete our ojas and result in feeling (and looking) worn out, fatigued, and depleted include:
~Poor diet high in toxic foods like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, soda and processed or packaged foods
~Too much screen time – this includes computers, cell phones and television
~ Lack of sleep or not honoring the proper sleep cycles (Ideally we should get 7-8 hours of sleep between 10pm-6am. Early to bed, early to rise).
~Excessive physical or mental stress
If you feel depleted you can further assist your body in cultivating more of this precious inner essence with this ojas beauty building tonic. It is simple to make and tastes delicious! Drink this each morning or night for 30 days to rebuild ojas, improve sleep, immunity, and overall health.
Ojas Beauty Building Tonic:
1. Add very small amounts of each to 1 cup of almond or coconut milk as you slowly bring it to a boil:
- Chopped dates
- Chopped almonds
- Coconut meat or flakes
- Add ¼ tsp each of Ojas building herbs such as Shatavari or Ashwaganda (optional – only if you have some from an Ayurvedic practitioner who knows your constitution)
2. Once the milk, herbs and ojas-building spices are cooked and off the flame, add 1/2 tsp of ojas-building raw honey.
*recipe from Dr. John Douillard
Do you want to know more and take these practices deeper? I am now opening registration for my online course The Radiant Lady: 10 Weeks to Inner and Outer Body Beauty. In this online, 10 week program, we demystify Ayurveda and healthy living so that you can lose weight, reduce anxiety, sleep better, feel beautiful and experience the deep bliss and joy that is your true nature. This program gives you the healthy habits you need to have the energy, vitality, and enthusiasm to do all you were born to do in this life! I limit the group to only 15 dedicated women to ensure everyone receives a lot of individualized attention and support. If you want to know more, then sign up here to schedule a strategy session with me. We will talk about what you can do now to reclaim your radiance and decide if my program is a good fit for you and your life and wellness goals. Apply here to learn more. We begin in September and space is very limited. Anyone who registers before August 15th will receive $100 off the price of the course. I am offering this in both English and Portuguese – please let me know your preferred language on your sign-up form to make sure you get into the right group!
to your radiant health!