The face is our expression and communication to the outside world. It is also a map of the internal body as well as the mind. More specifically, the skin on the face is highly sensitive and requires intentional daily care, nourishment and attention.
In Ayurveda, we say that the skin is an aspect of Pitta (The Fire and Water elements). The Pitta humor or Dosha is responsible for all metabolic and digestive functions of the body as well as the mind. The skin has its own category of Pitta called “Bhrajaka Pitta”, which specifically controls the metabolic process of the skin. How the skin is digesting and assimilating nutrients, bacteria and all outside elements is determined upon the balance of Bhrajaka Pitta. To maintain a radiant glow, clarity and color, there must be a healthy functioning digestive fire (Pitta) not only in the skin but throughout the whole body.
Furthermore, the skin represents the internal functioning of the body. When there are breakouts on specific parts of the face such as the chin, cheeks and forehead we can look to the corresponding organs to which these features are connected and heal the imbalance by using internal medicine.
For example, if you tend towards breakouts on the chin and lower jaw area there may be an association with the reproductive system. Many women experience breakouts in this area prior to their menstrual cycle. Breakouts on the cheeks can indicate digestive issues such as gas, bloating, poor assimilation of foods, and a general sense of un-ease. The stomach can also carry emotional tension like anger, anxiety and fear. If you experience frequent stomach aches, you may ask yourself: “how am I processing emotions on a day to day basis?”
Keep in mind that this blog is not meant for you to self diagnose. The intention is to give you a guideline to help you become more aware and active in your day to day healing practices which will lead to more stability and balance. A seasoned practitioner will support you on a deeper level to help reduce and remove symptoms using proper assessment, therapy and care. Every person needs his or her team of supporters.
Most skin issues come down to your ability to digest all things coming into the body. How you are assimilating and eliminating is key to maintaining longevity, vitality and more specifically heathy skin. No matter where you tend to experience breakouts, remember to look at the whole picture and ask yourself “Am I aware of how I am feeling, eating, thinking on a daily basis?” “What kind of language do I use when I talk to myself”? “Am I processing my feelings, food and emotions in a healthy and productive way?”
Below are some tips and remedies that you can try at home to address the above symptoms:
1. Topically: use only the best products for your face. Organic + clean. Avoid any products that have alcohol, chemicals or that have been tested on animals.
2. Cleanse and moisturize your face at least 2 x a day in the following way: – In the morning use cool-cold water that will allow the blood to totally recirculate in the face and wake you up. – In the evening, use lukewarm water (never hot) to cleanse the face allowing a relaxing feeling to set in.
3. Rose is your new best friend! Carry around with you a bottle of rose mist or spray to use on your face 2-3 times throughout the day. This will cool the heat that has accumulated and reduce the tendency towards breakouts. I love the Balancing Rose Mist from KORA Organics! It is pure and so heavenly.
4. Take a note of where you tend to breakout and when it occurs. If it is around the menstrual cycle, wherever the breakout may be happening, it is most likely associated with an increase of heat in the body. In this case take time to “cool down” by relaxing and taking in foods that are totally organic, seasonal and un-processed.
5. PMS cravings can be strong. Before you reach for that bar of chocolate or bag of chips ask yourself “have I had a wholesome meal today?” Most likely the cravings are coming because you are hungry and need to balance your blood sugar, especially in the week or so prior to menstruation when hunger increases. Once you have a good meal you may notice that the cravings for junk food have significantly reduced.
6. Increase your water intake and drink it at room temperature avoiding all iced drinks.
7. Avoid coffee in all forms.
8. Develop a meditation practice that will help you create a more peaceful mind. This may be the most important practice to clearing up the skin.
9. Talk to someone you feel comfortable with – a good friend, a therapist or a family member or all of the above! Bottled up emotions are not kind to the skin and will often result in a breakout.
In yogic tradition it is taught that we are much more than the physical body. We have a number of other “bodies” or “energies” that are part of what makes us unique and whole. Our facial features represent the expression of our personalities as well as our state of mind in any given moment. Our mouth, nose, ears and eyes allow us to experience life to its fullest. To be aware of how the body works is a special gift and we can choose to enhance and elevate ourselves simply by tuning into our own subtly.
The secret to beauty lies within your own being. Everyone has a unique face, personality and life and no two people are exactly the same. Much of what makes us beautiful is not the color of our skin or how “perfect” our features look. True beauty lies within our ability to feel and express joy. There is no beauty like the natural glow of a joyful person. That glow comes from within and we can use organic/natural products to enhance our true essence rather than “cover up” or create an image of a person who does not reflect our pure and true nature.
Be good to yourself. Be patient with yourself. Love yourself inside and out.
Breathe deep and know that You are a natural beauty.
Practice the following breath meditation anytime you feel stressed about your body. Allow this practice to release any fear or judgement and bring yourself into a space of unconditional self love.
Left Nostril Breathing Meditation:
Sit comfortably on the floor with a straight spine. Close your eyes. Take your thumb to the right nostril and block it off gently allowing the other fingers of the right hand to point straight up. The left hand is in Gyan Mudra (pointer finger and thumb touching) back of the hand rests on the left knee and elbow straight. Take long slow deep breaths in and out of the left nostril. On the inhale fill the belly from the root of the abdomen. On the exhale draw the belly towards the spine allowing all the breath to release before taking the next inhale.
To end, remove the right hand from the nostril and place it on your knee. Take a deep inhale through both nostrils, hold for just a few moments and then exhale. Relax and sit for just a few more moments before moving from the position.
Practice for 3-5 minutes 1-2 times daily.
Blessings and Light,
Hari Simran Khalsa was born into a family of Kundalini Yogis and has been a student of Yogi Bhajan’s since her early childhood. She has been teaching and practicing Kundalini Yoga and Ayurvedic medicine for over 10 years.
Hari’s work incorporates the principles of these powerful, ancient sciences to heal modern health and life issues. Using Ayurvedic medicine and Kundalini Yoga as tools to support self-healing and happiness, Hari believes all people no matter what stage of life they are in can feel their very best both inside and out.
She is currently an Ayurvedic health practitioner, healer and Kundalini yoga teacher living and practicing in Los Angeles, CA. You can contact her at www.harisimranayurveda.com and @hari_simran_ayurveda.