From beauty and wellness to medicine and yoga, the ancient Indian principles of Ayurveda are incredibly far-reaching. The translation of the word is “sacred knowledge of life”. At its core, Ayurveda is a holistic healing practice.
Informed by the last 3,000-5,000 years of practice in India, the philosophy outlines ways to lead a healthy and fulfilled life. At its simplest, it calls for careful attention to your eating and sleeping patterns, while encouraging a mindful perspective. For example, your diet should be varied with each meal incorporating as many of the food groups as possible.
As far as bedtime is concerned, nightcaps and sleep-inducing pharmaceuticals are a big no-no. According to Ayurvedic teachings, truly restful sleep must be between 6-8 hours of uninterrupted z’s. As for mindfulness, the focus is balance; aligning your wants with your needs is essential, and this translates across all parts of your life. For example, your body needs a balanced and nutritious diet. If you neglect that need, you fall into bad habits and the body craves what isn’t good for it. These principles aren’t anything revolutionary - they’ve been around for thousands of years, after all, but they are effective and easy steps to improve your routine.
What really stands Ayurveda apart from other teachings is the belief that there is no single method to achieve health and fulfilment. Just as each person has a totally unique fingerprint, everyone has different doshas. These doshas define the physical, mental and spiritual characteristics of a person. The Vata dosha is said to reflect the elements of Space and Air, while Pitta dosha reflects Fire and Water and Kapha reflects Water and Earth.
More and more people are coming round to the Cowshed way of thinking: that beauty and bathing routines should enrich body and mind. As wellness and self-care moves to the forefront of beauty trends, Ayurvedic teaching is more relevant than ever. For your daily dose of holistic healing, here’s a few ways to add the ancient philosophy to your routine.
Support and Supplement
Ashwagandha is a traditional Indian herb that has been used within the practice of Ayurveda for thousands of years. In recent years, the western world has belatedly recognised the transformative qualities of the root. As an adaptogenic herb, it works differently for each person, adapting to individual needs in order to reduce stress. In Ayurvedic terms, Ashwagandha is favoured for its strengthening quality: it bolsters the body’s resilience while balancing the Vata dosha.
Massage and Aromatherapy
Through the ages, Vaidyas (Ayurvedic physicians) treated Indian royalty with herbs, infused waters and aromatherapy oil massage. These practices were thought to heal and prevent illnesses. The act of inhalation and massage was key. One form of Ayurvedic medicine is called Abhyanga, which involves massaging the body with herbal oils to balance the doshas. This is not dissimilar to the modern massage. Our Bespoke Body Therapies are most alike to this, in the way that they are tailored to the needs of each individual. At a more universal level, essential oils are used across our Bath & Body range, with our body oils being a low-maintenance way to indulge every day.
A really simple way embrace the lessons of Ayurveda is to look for ingredients used commonly in these practices. As luck would have it, you may already be using them. Aloe Vera has been used for millennia; in ancient times it was used to heal cuts, and this cell-renewing capability makes it an all-natural restorative solution. It’s no surprise then, that it is an integral ingredient in our Replenishing Night Cream, Hydrating Daily Moisturiser and Clay Face Mask. The abundance of vitamins- we’re talking vitamin A, B, C, D and E - empowers the healing qualities of Aloe Vera. When it comes to Aloe Vera, you can’t go wrong.
Another one to look out for is Almond oil. Similarly saturated with vitamins, it does wonders for face and body alike. As a natural source of anti-oxidant vitamin E, the oil maintains cellular health and protects the skin from damage. This quality is why we use it within our Reviving Eye Balm: to protect and restore the thinnest membrane of skin, while brightening the under eye by prompting circulation. For that all-consuming body indulgence, look no further than our Stretch Mark Balm. Revered by our spa therapists, mothers-to-be and my mum, this balm is saturated with vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. The fatty acids of Almond oil deeply moisturise the skin, improving elasticity and tone.
Browse our natural skincare here