Tag Archive for: acne

Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga, is a powerful system of personal health. Many Yogis follow its “common sense” principles. As this Axis Teacher Training student puts it “The principles of Ayurveda were easy to remember because they made sense to me in a practical way”. The following account describes this student’s thorough application of Ayurveda for improved skin.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, acne is caused by an imbalance of Pitta. My hypothesis states that if I reduce my Pitta, my skin eruptions will cease. The design of my experiment consists of herbs, dietary changes, skin treatments, an Ayurvedic oil treatment and yoga poses. I took suggestions for the design of my experiment from the Book Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad.

I ingested three different herbs for cleansing the liver twice daily. These herbs are called Shatavari, Guduchi and Kutki. I mixed and ingested a quarter teaspoon of each and followed them with water. These herbs taste very unpleasant.

My dietary changes involved eating less spicy foods, using little to no ice in my drinks, eliminating salads and raw vegetables, eliminating ice cream,  reducing my coffee intake, reducing my seafood intake, and eating warm, cooked foods.  I added turmeric to my foods and occasionally drank tea made from cumin, fennel and coriander. I drank green tea in place of coffee for a few days of the week and I added more sweet-tasting fruit to my diet. I attempted coconut oil swishing three times, but I didn’t enjoy the consistency.

I hypothesized that if I used a mask to clear away dead skin cells, my skin would clear up faster. I alternated a glycolic mask with an activated charcoal mask and applied it once a day for the majority of the experiment. I believe this helped to speed up the process of skin cell renewal and reduce pore blockages. I already removed my makeup and cleaned my face with almond oil and I was very interested in the oil treatment called Shirodhara so, I called and made an appointment with an ayurveda practitioner for the treatment along with a massage. I went to Jante Beauty Salon for the treatment. It was very relaxing and the treatment consisted of a mini-facial followed by the Shirodhara oil drip over my forehead and through my hair. I had the treatment performed in the evening which contributed to the relaxation it produced before bedtime.  The treatment lasted two hours but she called it the mini treatment which may be added alongside a massage. I enjoyed it immensely and had no trouble removing the oil the next day by adding shampoo before water while washing my hair. The practitioner was able to guess that my dosha was Pitta and some Vata which impressed me.

I focused my yoga practice on reducing Pitta by adding twisting poses and changing my Pranayama to include cooling exercises. I held postures longer than in my normal practice and I avoided overheating. This Pitta reducing practice led me to fall asleep during Shivasana which has not been the case with previous yoga routines.

           The principles of Ayurveda were easy to remember because they made sense to me in a practical way. I intuitively understood that coffee, acidic foods, spicy foods, and fermented foods increased inflammation which is another term used to describe the fiery aspects of Pitta. Years ago, I learned I couldn’t drink liquor without getting angry. I didn’t realize however, that ice cream and iced beverages could inflame Pitta.

The experiment was difficult for me because I love spicy food and coffee. I understood that these things lead to skin eruptions by causing an increase and imbalance in my Pitta dosha. I noticed improvements in my skin after only a week of the experiment which was motivation for continuing. Other people commented on the improvement of my appearance as well. I’m grateful for my new knowledge and I have shared it with friends.