Look Younger, Live Longer

Ayurvedic Rejuvenation

· Discover,Glow

I hope it doesn't come as a surprise when I say that there is a complete correlation between anti-aging and longevity. It is all about keeping the body healthy - increasing and maintaining vitality. Ojas, an Ayurvedic term that represents the vital energy that rules our immunity, strength, and happiness, is considered to be the by-product of a perfectly functioning digestive system. According to Ayurveda, Ojas is the essence of vitality which governs our immune system, the aging process, glowing skin, mood, quality of sleep, spirituality, and our overall sense of strength and wellbeing. Ojas is a fascinating topic that demands its own, separate blog; but for the purposes of this write-up, let's consider ojas as our starting point. 

Over the years, I have done a lot of research on rejuvenation. In fact, over the last 8 years, I have used myself as a research subject for gaining insight into the most successful practices and self-care techniques for building ojas and achieving good health and vitality. It really paid-off, as I have cured myself from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue in the process. So, what are the secrets of youthfulness and long life?  

In my experience, developing a healthy lifestyle which incorporates practices derived from yoga and Ayurveda is vital for maintaining good health and preventing disease. I am talking about the daily routine, morning and evening rituals, meditation, breathing practices and maintaining a balanced level of physical activity. Ayurveda says that the state of our health is the direct reflection of our digestion. Therefore, paying attention to your diet, regular fasting, cleansing, and detoxification is a must for maintaining good health and youthful appearance. In fact, good diet is the first pillar to anti-ageing and healthy longevity, closely followed by correct lifestyle principles mentioned above. Actually, both are equally important and when I say 'lifestyle' I also include the everyday methods we use to deal with stress.

As we age, there is one change that we all experience equally and that is the overall dryness in the body. We develop some or all of the following - dryness in the skin, dry eyes, eroded cartilage, vertebral disks, loss of fluids from our joints or depleted bones. According to Ayurveda, this change is the result of an imbalance of Vata Dosha, an increase of the air element in the body. Within our mind, Vata imbalance creates worry and anxiety. Ayurveda treats this imbalance using anti-ageing approaches called Rasayana. These approaches and treatments include herbs and herb infused oils which improve circulation and skin health and lubrication in our joints, as well as the combination of nourishing diet, wholesome activities, and gentle herbs.  

The word Rasayana refers to clearing the channels for the natural flow of matter and energy. The aim of Rasayana treatments and herbs is to improve the body's own mechanism of repair and detoxification thereby maintaining better immunity, circulation, musculoskeletal strength and mobility along with balanced cognitive functions. 

The cause of age-related wear and tear is generally understood as a result of accumulated oxidative stress. Ayurvedic Rasayana approaches protect the body against the ravages of ageing by enhancing its ability to fight pathogens. The herbs used in Rasayana treatments contain antioxidants that prevent damage caused by free radicals. 

So what are the Rasayana approaches & treatments and can we perform them at home? A quick and simple answer is YES. Introducing adjustments to lifestyle and diet, according to individual constitution, is a good starting point. A session with an Ayurvedic Consultant and/or a coach is a must before you decide to go down this route as they will be able to devise an individualised treatment plan which will include supportive herbs, treatments and yoga practices.  

Traditional Rasayana herbs include ashwaganda, guggulu, shatavari, guduchi, brahmi, gotu kola and triphala. Most of these herbs have shown adaptogenic activity—meaning they intelligently adapt
to the individual’s needs. But even if you wanted to start taking just some of the more popular herbs like ashwaganda or gotu kola, I would advise against buying and consuming them without consulting a professional first, simply because Ayurvedic approach is completely individualised and not every herb will suit your constitution and current condition. At best it will have no effect, at worst it may cause more harm than good. 

It is also important to remember, that detoxification is the first step in the Rasayana approach. In fact, Rasayna treatments are contraindicated for those who have excess ama (toxins) in the body and/or slow metabolism (weak agni/digestive fire). The traditional and extremely effective Ayurvedic rejuvenation and detoxification process is called Panchakarma. In 2020, I have written a whole, in-depth blog about it, which you can read here.  

If all this sounds a bit complicated, I am here to tell you that you can detoxify the body without spending ££££ or travelling to India, with the guidance of a qualified Ayurevedic specialist. I run seasonal group cleanses and detoxes and one-to-one panchakarma treatments for my clients and will be happy to advise you. I am also running regular Immersive Yoga & Ayurveda Retreats that are based on Ayurvedic rejuvenation approaches and designed to treat, educate, inspire and empower you. You can check all of these offerings here.  

In summary, Rasayana treatments are believed to rebuild the body and the mind, prevent degeneration and postpone and reverse the aging process. A good starting point to initiating these improvements is to introduce lifestyle and diet changes that will increase ojas, the essence of vitality in the body. This can be achieved by consulting a qualified Ayurvedic professional who will devise a bespoke treatment plan which will include detoxification and individualised rejuvenation approaches.

The bottom line for me, based on almost 10 years of living a yogic lifestyle and following Ayurvedic principles, is to develop commitment to your health. What is important to you right now? Remember, good health is something that cannot be bought or gifted. It is a commodity that is priceless and dependent of the level of your commitment and ability to take responsibility for your health and, ultimately, your life. Remember that any dis-ease that takes place inside the body was manifested by the body - as the result of the conditions created by your lifestyle, your diet, your mindset, the choices you have made throughout your life. Contrary to what some may say about this statement, I believe that it is majorly EMPOWERING. Your body has the ability to heal itself and Ayurveda and yoga are there to help you create the right environment and provide you with the knowledge and tools for this healing to take place. Prioritise yourself and your health and you will naturally begin to look and feel younger and stay healthy and happy for years to come.