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ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HEALTHY HAIR PART 2

In continuation with our previous blog, here is part 2 of the ultimate guide to healthy hair.

Question. Is applying ghee on the scalp beneficial?

Answer. Applying ghee on the scalp may be beneficial but when compared to Ayurvedic medicated oils, ghee is not preferred as the condensing property of ghee makes it difficult to penetrate very deep to the roots. Additionally, if you are a Pitta type you can use Yashtimadhu Nasya oil. Avoid Coconut oil in winters.

Question. How to cool down your hair and scalp after coloring?

Answer.

  • 1) By applying cool oils to your scalp and/or using putting aloe vera packs on your head.
  • 2) Cover and protect your hair from sun when outdoors.
  • 3) Adequate and restful sleep. Make sure that you are sleeping between 10 pm and 2 am as these hours are crucial for your body to repair and cool down.
  • 4) Avoid foods that are inherently bad for your hair such as – egg plants, tomatoes, urad dal, excessive spices.
  • 5) Do inversions to improve blood supply to the head. (supervision advised)

Question. Can I use a combination of Henna and Indigo powder to color the hair?

Answer. These are very drying, it will give the required color but it’s important to make sure you oil you hair regularly.

Question. Can we practice Pranayama in the evening after dinner?

Answer. It is not advised to practice Pranayama on a full stomach. You can do Anulom Vilom and Brahmri in the evening only if you haven’t eaten in the last one hour.

Question. Can I take Neem tablets for hair fall?

Answer. Neem is very drying for the hair and hence it is not advised.

Question. The presence of COVID has dried up our system and watching too much news causes anxiousness, causing a lot of hair fall. Can you advise what can we do?

Answer. The present times can be very challenging and watching the news can have adverse effects on our health. Take this time to go within – use the present time as an opportunity. Do your breath work. 

“Sneha” means love and it also means oil. Oil and massage your body and give yourself time for self-care activities.

Question. Any suggestions for people who have night jobs?

Answer. You can do Shiro Pichu. Before sleeping, drink a glass of milk with nutmeg before and avoid eating a heavy meal.

Practice Pranayama (Anulom Vilom) and avoid using the phone before sleeping.

Question. Can we put oil in the ears?

Answer. Karana Purana (the Ayurvedic practice of putting warm oil in the ears) is a Dincharya (daily) practice.

It’s good to oil the ears as it feeds the nervous system and tissues in a similar manner the food we ingest feeds the body. In fact, the upper part of the body can be nourished through administering oils through nose, head and ears.

It is advised to use oils based on your dosha type.

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ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HEALTHY HAIR – PART 1

In conversation with Dr. Nidhi Pandya – third generation Ayurvedic practitioner. Speaking from pure experience and from her immense love for Ayurveda, Dr. Nidhi shares some wonderful tips and answers questions related to every day hair care through the perspective of Ayurveda.

She strongly believes that it is important to understand the principles before following any Ayurvedic practice, so that one is more likely to sustain it and understand the effects it has on one’s own body.

She can be found at: Instagram: @my_ayurvedic_life

Question. Can we reverse greying of hair?

Answer. Greying of hair results due to the burning of melanin cells that give color to the hair. This happens when there is excess heat that is formed in the body ie. excessive Pitta accumulation. Long periods of stress lead to building heat and drying up of the nervous system and fluids associated with it, the collagen and the oil glands leading to greying of hair.

So, it’s not possible to reverse the greying of hair but it’s definitely possible to make sure that the new hair that grows is darker and healthier. So, in order to slow down greying, its important to work towards lessening the excess heat in the system.

One way to get the heat out of the system is through a Kansa Bowl Foot Massage. 

Question. “I am experiencing a lot of hair fall in spite of oiling my hair, using organic, paraben and sulphate free shampoo and trimming regularly. What should I do?”

Answer. There are two ways to look at hair fall. One is the external reality and the other is what is happening internally within the body.
Tying your hair too tight and not brushing it can lead to hair fall which is the external reality. The tissues in the body get fed in a certain order, the essential tissues are nourished first and the last among these tissues are the bone tissues. A part of the bone and fat tissue constitutes your hair on the scalp.

Excessive wind or drying in the body is caused by harsh diets or low fat diets.
Staying up a lot of night – causes the nervous system to move faster which creates excess wind leading to drying. Here are some more ways to prevent hairfall:

1. Do inversions or head stands to improve the blood supply to the head. (supervision advised)
2. Use light weight Ayurvedic medicated light hair oils. Have a look at our Brahmi & Hibiscus Hair Massage Oil
3. Use clean products and avoid coloring of hair.
4. Practise Shatavari Ghrita Nasya every morning ideally after Pranayama (advised for age group between 30-50 and if you don’t have any toxic undigested waste and heat related symptoms.)

Question. Does coloring of hair affect the new hair that is growing?

Answer. Coloring of hair is a very harsh process which affects the entire scalp and the new growing hair. It not only degenerates the cells but also affects its lifespan. Additionally, gasses like Ammonia get absorbed by the system too causing harm.

Question. How many times should you oil your hair?
Answer. Ideally, hair can be oiled everyday through the technique of Shiro Pichu but it is not advised to wash your hair every day, as shampooing daily depletes the natural sebum and oils.

Hence, it is advised to oil hair twice or thrice a week only. Use a light shampoo post oiling your hair that doesn’t strip of the natural sebum. 

Stay tuned for more in our next blog.

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FIRE UP YOUR BELLY: THE ROLE OF AGNI IN DIGESTION

In Ayurveda, there is a saying;

A man is as old as his ‘Agni’

What Is Agni In Ayurveda?

Agni is the fire element whose primary function is digestion, absorption, assimilation and transformation of food and sensations into energy. In short, if the individual’s Agni is in optimal condition, his/her immune system is healthy.

Agni Devta

Agni is also responsible for removing waste products that build up in our cells and tissues. Hence if the fire of Agni is low, we have low nutrition coming into our body and thus poor elimination of waste. This leads to feeling weak, lack of energy and low immunity. If our Agni is robust and healthy we feel energetic and rejuvenated.

Interestingly, the presiding deity of Agni – Agnidevta has two faces. One face represents the creation of new cells and that other governs the destruction of old cells. He has three tongues that represent the three doshas: Vata, Kapha and Pitta. His three legs represent the physical body, the mental body and the consciousness. Thus, Agni represents the unified functioning of these structures and energies!

पञ्चाग्नेस्तस्य चान्यौ द्वावधिकं ज्वलतः क्षुधा । जठराग्नी सभार्यस्य दरिद्रस्य प्रजाधनैः

(Jāṭharāgni (जाठराग्नि, “metabolic fire”) is of the prime importance in the maintenance of health as well as causation of diseases. Food which is consumed by the person shares the major responsibility for being healthy or manifestation of diseases. The relation between food and health is mediated by Jāṭharāgni (the metabolic agent in Ayurveda).

Jatharagni, the central fire is very important as it acts as a doorway to digestion. In other words it governs the initial digestion, all food that we intake first pass through this Agni.

How To Maintain A Strong Agni (Digestive Fire)

Having a healthy digestive fire is extremely crucial for digestion and overall well-being and immunity. There are many ways to keep our Agni healthy and here are some:

  1. Eat well but eat only when you are truly hungry. Eat till you are satisfied and not completely full. Genuine hunger is an indicator that the previous meal has been fully digested and Agni, or digestive fire, has re-awakened.
  2. Keep that water intake coming. Drink warm or room temperature water between meals.
  3. Eat foods that are rich with Prana! (life). This translates to eating food that is light and well cooked. Certain raw foods, such as lettuce, parsley and sprouts have high Prana, so we can eat them raw as the body can digest it.
  4. If you feel heavy post a delicious lunch, then try lying on your left side for 5–15 minutes after lunch.This position activates the solar energy channel, which is linked to agni, so it is not only relaxing and rejuvenating, but also very supportive of good digestion.

Hence we understand that the role of Agni in digestion is very important and that maintaining a balanced Agni is very crucial towards achieving great health and longevity. It not only governs our digestive process but it also plays an important role in governing our emotional well being.

Reference: Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda Vol III: General Principles of Management and Treatment. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2012. Print. 64-69, 134-135, 140.

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COVID-19: PRACTICAL TIPS ON STAYING PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY HEALTHY THROUGH AYURVEDA – PART 2

In continuation with our previous blog, here are 5 more additional tips that can help you stay healthy and fit.

4) MEDITATION AND SELF-AWARENESS

Meditation is the practice of thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time. Meditation helps you to develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self.

The brain is the part of the body where meditation really works as magic. Meditation helps to the decrease negative neurological connections to the medial prefrontal cortex or ‘me center’ of the brain dampening traits such as fear, stress, and anxiety. Alternatively, it also builds new positive neurological connections to the parts of the brain responsible for promoting traits like focus and decision-making.

According to Ayurveda, Dhyana is process in which mind and the body are inextricably connected. It helps to gain self-consciousness and keep you away from the sense of fear.

a girl holding a books page with right hands tip with a pair of glasses in the background

5) BUSY YOURSELF

Keeping yourself busy is the key to a healthy and happy mind. Involve yourself in activities you like – create art, listen to music, read books, dance, spend time with nature, get close to your family members and pets.

Busy people are likely to have more opportunities to learn as they are exposed to more information and encounter a wider range of situations in daily life. When you are busy, you don’t have time to dwell on the negativity and also your neurotransmitters are regulated in proper manner.

6) SLEEP

Sleep is as important to our health as breathing, drinking and eating. It allows our body cells to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information.

Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Lack of sleep affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones in the brain and impairs thinking and emotional regulation. So it is much necessary that you should take adequate sleep of at least 7 – 8 hr per day for mental wellbeing.

Ayurveda teaches us that sleep (Nidra) is one of the three pillars of health, along with food (Ahara) and energy management (Brahmacharaya). “Happiness and unhappiness, nourishment (good physique) and emaciation, strength and debility, knowledge and ignorance, life and death—all are dependent on sleep.”

glass bottles with dropper & lavender flowers in background.

7) AROMATHERAPY

Aromatherapy is a holistic approach that uses natural plant extracts to promote mental health and well-being. When we inhale the oils of aromatic herbs like lavender, sandal wood and basil through inhalation the specialized nerve cells in the upper part of the nose detect smells, they send an impulse to the brain along the olfactory nerve to an area called the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb processes the impulse and delivers the information about the smell to other neighboring areas of the brain. These other areas are known as the limbic system.

The limbic system is a set of brain structures that play an essential role in controlling behavior, emotions, memory, and mood and immediately helps to feel calm and stress free.

8) AYURVEDIC AND NATURAL HERBS

In addition to helpful lifestyle and diet changes, Ayurvedic and traditional herbal supplements can be used to treat various ailments including depression. There are many plants mentioned in Ayurveda that supports mental health.

Herbs like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus microphyllus), Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Jatamansi (Celastrus paniculatus) and Vacha (Acorus calamus) are clinically proven to boost overall brain function thereby enhancing its capacity to deal with stress, while allaying anxiety. These mentioned herbs are potent natural nootropic and help to regulate the secretion of neurotransmitter like serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. Also these herbs are adaptogenic and have been independently researched to show anti-stress, anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties.

To improve the brain’s cognitive function and reduce stress

Additionally, take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news and consuming viral information, which could exaggerate the anxiety levels.  Simply follow the natural ways and stay mentally strong and healthy during lock down and in the world-order, post the lockdown.

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Amla Oil

Amla Oil

Stimulate Hair Growth

Amla oil is rich in fatty acids, vitamin C, flavonoids and minerals. It strengthen hair follicles and stimulate healthy new growth.

Anti-Oxidant

Amla oil is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. It keep hair and follicles healthy by fighting off the damage-causing free radicals.

Boost Natural Hair Colour

Amla oil renew pigmentation in hair and makes it darker and thicker.

 

Shiny Hair

High content of iron in amla oil impart a shiny blackish tint to hair.

Promote Scalp Health

Amla oil reduces dry flakes and dissolves grease and dirt from the follicles, improving overall scalp health.

Anti-Dandruff

Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of amla oil relieve redness, irritation, itchiness and dandruff.

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COVID-19: PRACTICAL TIPS ON STAYING PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY HEALTHY THROUGH AYURVEDA – PART 1

Man is a social animal and when quarantine or isolation is imposed, apart from the existing stress due to the pandemic, there are undercurrents that could affect his mental health. It’s a sudden change of behavioral pattern that, though self-imposed, does not warrant a choice, as one could be a threat to others. Though everyone reacts differently during stressful situations, it has been observed that the common stress factors during a disease outbreak are:

  • – Fear & worry about your own health and that of your loved ones
  • – Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • – Difficulty in sleeping or concentrating
  • – Worsening of chronic health problems
  • – Worsening of mental health conditions
  • – Increased use of alcohol, tobacco and/or other drugs

Since its first outbreak in Wuhan city of China, the coronavirus has almost monopolized global consciousness. The World Health Organisation (WHO), declared it a pandemic on 11 March, 2020 and people, world over had to exercise social distancing or had to be in complete lockdown, as in certain countries. Some parts of the world were exercising, that includes China, lockdown much before, it was declared in India.

Amplify the same now with the global recession, job cuts, salary delays or salary cuts and a looming sense of uncertainty and you have much in hand to cope with. The new realities of working from home, home-schooling of children and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, take time to get used to.

Adapting to lifestyle changes and managing the fear of contracting the virus, with the various phases of relaxations and continuance of lockdown can be quite worrisome and challenging. Fear, worry and stress are normal responses when we are faced with uncertainty and the thought that we all are particularly vulnerable till the vaccine is in place. So while we all are taking steps to increase our immunity in the meanwhile, it is additionally impending on us to also take care of our mental health.

Fortunately, there are lots of things that we can do to look after our own mental health and to help others who may need some extra support and care.

A girl wearing white clothes is sitting with her legs crossed and her hands on her knees

1) EXERCISE OR PRACTICE YOGA WITH PRANAYAMA

Start your day with any kind of physical exercise or Yoga with Pranayama. Performing exercise and Yoga in early morning helps to relieve stress and boost the mood by decreasing circulating cortisol levels and increasing endorphins secretion.

  • – Exercise raises brain activity allowing you to take your mind off things and improve your overall mood.
  • – Yoga helps us develop awareness of how our own unique mind works and that awareness can help us live in a more conscious way.
  • – Pranayama helps us to balance our energy which in turn helps us stay calm and centered throughout the day.
  • According to Ayurveda, Yoga and Pranayama helps to balance the energy of Surya (Pingala) and Chandra (IdaNadi (neurons) and keep our body in a state of relaxation
  • How to do Pranayama and different forms of breathing exercises
Oil poured in a glass bowl & a girl is holding the oil jar

2) MASSAGE

The power of touch has an amazing effect on body and mind, massaging the body stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters that promotes well-being, satisfaction and feelings of happiness. Massage also decreases cortisol levels, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which is related to stress and anxiety. Serotonin consequently stimulates production of melatonin, which helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and lull people to sleep.

In AyurvedaAbhyanga (oil massage) is a daily self-care ritual that helps to heal the mind and body from the stresses of daily life.

How to do a Abhyanga, self-massage with warm oil

3) HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS DIET

Whatever you eat, it has profound effects on both the physical and mental health. A healthy and nutritious diet, in particular can help to regulate stress and anxiety. Diet that includes prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods like yogurt helps to promote a proper balance of gut bacteria. These good gut bacteria activates the neural pathways by release of 95% Serotonin neurotransmitter that travel directly between the gut and the brain, which aid in mediating moods and regulating sleep.

Walnut, Mango, basil & pistachios

Stay tuned for more tips coming soon in our next blog