“Beauty is not in the face; Beauty is a light in the heart.”
There are beauty secrets that come in a bottle. And then, there are beauty secrets that work inside out. Secrets that have come down to us through the centuries, through ancient Indian scriptures and that have been proven by science and are no longer secrets, really. These are a way of life, to help us overcome the challenges of modern life: Yoga, meditation and the power of proper nutrition that work from the inside, in a holistic manner, to help give us a healthy, wholesome life that then reflects in the way we look.
When you feel calm, you radiate a calm glow; when you are rejuvenated, you look vibrant; when your body’s nourished, you look healthy. At amaiaa, we believe wholesome wellness is a cornerstone of beauty. For what is beauty, if not a healthy, vibrant, glow!
The Beauty Workout
According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, when something’s not right with your body, it will reflect in the skin on your face. So if you have acne along your chin and jawline, it’s more than likely your hormones are out of sync. If you have pimples on your cheeks, your digestion could be sluggish. If you have dull skin or hairfall, you may need to give your circulation a boost.
Through a combination of asana (posture) and pranayama (breathing technique), yoga brings down your stress levels, boosts circulation, improves your digestion and balances out your hormones, giving you glowing, healthy skin in turn. Basically, when you practise yoga, you’re getting to the root of the problem—beauty, inside out.
A 2003 study found just one session of yoga could help bring down your cortisol levels significantly. Corstisol, the stress hormone, slows down your body’s ability to fight off the free radicals that cause skin damage and a host of beauty woes, from fine lines to dark circles to premature greying. Here are five yoga poses, called asanas (and pranayamas) you can include in your daily workout, to get that glow going.
Beauty Workout #1: Sarvangasana or Shoulder Stand.
This classic inversion pose is a veritable superhero. It activates your pituitary gland and moderates the production of your hormones, especially the thyroid. It also regulates your digestion and improves your circulation, giving you clearer, brighter skin. An added bonus: this gravity-defying pose helps your skin and hair defy gravity, too! So your skin stays supple and your hair, lush.
Beauty Workout #2: Halasana or Plough Pose.
As you bring your toes down to touch the floor behind your head, you’re massaging your internal organs, which helps with lymphatic drainage. It also helps rid your body (and skin) of toxins, making it healthier, cleaner and clearer.
Beauty Workout #3: Utthanasana or The Forward Bend.
Bending forward to wrap your arms around your legs or to touch your fingers to the floor gives a gentle squeeze and nudge to your digestion and to move your blood from the lower body to your head, giving your cheeks a lovely pink flush and your hair all the nutrients they need to stay soft and voluminous.
Beauty Workout #4: Simhasana or Lion Pose.
This pose requires you to look up and open your mouth as wide as you can, thrusting your tongue out with a roaring exhalation, all which gives your facial muscles an intense workout. It strengthens those muscles, tones your facial skin and gives a boost to collagen production, helping your skin stay supple, elastic and firm, delaying the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the mouth.
Beauty Workout #5: Nadi Shodhan Pranayama.
In January, Scientific American wrote about the power of ‘Cardiac Coherence Breathing’ and its efficacy in keeping your circadian rhythm in sync, promoting overall wellbeing. In India, the ancients called it Anulom Vilom, meaning breathing through alternate nostrils, or Nadi Shodhan, which refers to its intense healing and cleansing powers. This breathing technique brings your body into balance, stimulating your circulation, digestion, hormonal glands and parasympathetic nervous system. It also helps you sleep better and we all know how important that is, to keep you glowing!
The amaiaa touch
As you wrap up your yoga session, while giving yourself a facial massage, take a little bit of our atma facial oil on your fingertips. This combination of apricot, jojoba, sweet almond, avocado, safflower, grapeseed, olive, cottonseed, grapefruit, jasmine, frankincense, rose and sandalwood oils is packed with B vitamins and vitamins A and E, which nourish, protect and hydrate your skin, preparing it for what the day will bring ahead.
The Beauty Thought
Energy follows thought, it is said. It is also said that when you think positive thoughts and are free of anxiety, stress and negativity, it shows on your face, making you more attractive. It is why those who meditate regularly and are calm exude a quiet, radiant glow. In Buddhist scriptures, this is called your energy body, also known as your aura. It is the energy you radiate to those around you, influenced by your thoughts. According to the yogic philosophy of Samadhi, the ultimate goal of a yogi is to achieve oneness with the universe.
While this heightened sense of awareness and oneness is not only rare, but also an improbable feat, it is recommended that you take time out, every day, to build up a higher consciousness. Set aside 15 to 20 minutes, where you sit in a calm, quiet place. Dim the lights, or turn them off completely just lighting an aromatic candle or two, make yourself comfortable on a rug, floor cushion or even a chair, but keep your back erect and your feet grounded. There’s a variety of meditation techniques you could try out, such as Deep Relaxation, Visual Imagery, Loving Kindness and Mantra Meditation. You could look for guided meditations online, or simply chant the mantra Aum, which creates positive vibrations that emanate from your gut and move all the way to your crown.
Shutting yourself in a room, turning it all down, and sitting in lotus not for you? That’s OK, too. According to the yogic belief of dhyana, meditation isn’t about quiet and darkness and stillness, but about concentration. Any activity you do with full concentration is a meditative practice. The modern practice of mindfulness meditation is built on this very philosophy. The ancient yogis believed that when you practise yoga, every asana (posture) needs dhyana (concentration)—when you hold the pose, you move your focus from one body part to another, to feel the full impact of the posture on each part, and that in itself, is meditation.
Living your life with mindfulness or doing just 5 minutes of any meditative practice, in a day, is said to significantly lower your anxiety levels and bring down your cortisol levels by as much as 47 percent! It also helps your body digest and metabolise nutrients with ease and helps with better oxygenation of your skin, giving you that happy, healthy glow. And of course, those feel-good endorphins it releases. When you are calm and stress-free, your body releases a CBI receptor called anandamide, which gets its name from the Sanskrit word ananda, meaning bliss. Just as Audrey Hepburn said, the happiest girls are always the prettiest!
The amaiaa touch
Our skin and brain have the same ectodermal origin, meaning they are affected by the same hormones and neurotransmitters. Which is why a massage or even a gentle stroke gives your mood a boost. Using the correct oils can certain further enhance this joyful effect, releasing tense skin or those frowns, which can lead to wrinkles.
Our saya facial oil combines the balancing and uplifting properties of grapefruit and Indian jasmine to heal, replenish and restore your skin while calming your mind, making you look great and feel happy.
The Beauty Diet
You are what you eat. According to the ancient Indian medical treatise, Sushruta Samhita, which also laid down the foundation for Ayurveda, your body is composed of the three doshas (elements) of air, fire and water. When the three are in balance, your body is full of health and vitality, and when they’re not, it affects your metabolism, your hormones, your joints, and it shows on your skin.
So for instance, if there is an excess of air, your body will tend to be more dry. You may hear your knees creak when you sit or stand and your skin and hair will look parched. The way to fix this is through a diet rich in good fats—plenty of nuts and seeds and their oils, including monounsaturated oils like olive, canola and sesame, and polyunsaturated oils like sunflower, safflower and fish oil.
Including good fats in your diet is also a great way to moisturise your skin from within. And modern science backs this claim, too. According to a 2001 study called Skin Wrinkling: Can Food Make a Difference?, those who consumed more veggies, monounsaturated fats and legumes but less dairy and sugar had lower degrees of skin damage, especially wrinkles, on exposure to the sun. A diet packed with fruits and vegetables is rich in antioxidants, which help fight off our old enemies, free radicals. The best skin foods, they nourish from within and give you healthy, glowing skin.
Yet another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that acne-prone people who consumed lower Glycaemic Index foods had fewer acne lesions. What that means is, you replace simple carbs such as wheat flour, refined flour and white rice for more complex carbs like millets and brown rice. The traditional Indian diet uses a variety of complex carbs, from finger and pearl millets, which we call ragi and jowar, respectively, to sorghum (bajra). These foods are all high in nutrition and low in glycaemic index, making them great skin foods. Here are five superfoods you could consider including in your diet, two to three times a week.
Rich in vitamins C and E, both antioxidants, avocados prevent the oxidative damage caused by environmental factors like the sun and pollution, delaying the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
One of the few sources of all major carotenoids, which lends to their lovely red colour, tomatoes help fend off skin darkening and pigmentation, along with signs of ageing. They’re also a good source of vitamin C.
One of the few vegetarian sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, flaxseeds are great for skin and hair health. They boost collagen production, improving your skin’s elasticity, keeping it supple. It also makes your hair stronger and more voluminous.
This cruciferous green contains a compound called sulforaphane, which has been found to have cancer-fighting properties as well as properties that prevent sun damage. According to certain reports, sulforaphane can bring down the number of cells killed by UV light by as much as 29 per cent, and its effects last up to 48 hours. That’s a sunblock you can eat!
One of the few foods with an optimum ration of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids, walnuts help fight dryness and inflammation and have anti-bacterial properties, making them an excellent option for those with dry skin as well as those with acne-prone skin. Walnuts also contain a compound called selenium, which is vital for nail and hair growth.
Find that natural glamour inside out!
Inner radiance is the road to elegance!