This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by Yogi Cameron
It can often feel complicated and expensive to remain vibrant and healthy, but achieving this for yourself doesn’t have to be either of these things. Not only that, but finding true everlasting beauty may even make your life simpler and less costly than it already is.
The ancient system of Ayurveda provides us with all sorts of tools for staying youthful, but below are three of this tradition’s best-kept secrets that will get you started.
1. Salads are adding to the problem.
Many of us equate eating healthy to eating a lot of salads. And why shouldn’t we? Salads are made of raw vegetables that haven’t been processed. But while salads are natural, the fact that they’re raw, leafy, and contain a lot of water makes them more difficult to digest than their cooked counterparts.
Ayurveda teaches us that the ease with which we can digest cooked food means that the body doesn’t have to work overtime to process it through the GI tract. This is even truer for leafy greens like salads, because the amount of water content makes the rest of the foods we eat during the same meal damp in our digestive system.
If you’re going to eat a salad, consume it last in a meal, don’t eat it in the same meal as a soup, and eat it only after some time has passed since the last thing you ate.
2. Not all nostrils are created equal.
Do you ever wake up with one nostril completely blocked up? Your ability to breath through the other nostril may be fine, but the other one … isn’t. You probably think both nostrils are the same, right? But guess what — they aren’t.
According to Ayurveda, each of the nostrils relates to certain aspects of our body and mind. The left nostril relates to cooler, more reflective energy, but the right nostril relates to masculine, solar energy — which includes digestion. If the right nostril is blocked when we wake up in the morning, it means our digestion isn’t working properly — probably as a result of eating heavy foods late in the day or simply too soon before bed. If we eat with faulty digestion, the poorly digested food becomes toxic and can lead to weight gain and low energy. Continually eating with poor digestion then causes us to age prematurely.
On the mornings that you can’t breathe through your right nostril, refrain from eating solid foods in favor of simply consuming liquids like warm water and herbal tea. Then, resume eating when it becomes unblocked. As you gradually regulate your digestion, you will increase your energy and become far more vibrant every day.
3. Neem is magic.
Can Ayurveda’s extensive tradition can help us defy the aging process? Absolutely. One remedy that’s particularly beneficial is the essential oil of neem. Neem is a tree that originated in the Indian subcontinent and has a large list of health benefits. But one way it’s particularly useful is in how it enhances the skin.
Along with helping to overcome acne, eczema, and other irritations of the skin, neem’s nourishing qualities make it a favorite for a wide variety of cosmetics, including soaps and facial creams. Incorporating neem into one’s skin care regimen can help to lighten scars and moisturize cracked skin.
However, as an essential oil, neem is particularly potent. This is why it’s ideal to incorporate its medicinal properties into a mild base oil. To make your own neem-based skin care product, mix about 12 drops of neem oil with about 1 fluid ounce of coconut oil. Rub a thin layer of this mixture into the skin as you would a cream. This will provide you with a mild, safe way to enjoy the anti-aging benefits of neem.
Remaining young and vibrant doesn’t require expensive products, complicated programs, or even surgery. When you come back to the basics of Ayurveda, you’ll not only slow down the aging process — you’ll discover an even greater beauty that’s been inside of you since the beginning.
Yogi Cameron left the world of high fashion to pursue the Yogic path in India, and has studied Ayurveda and Yoga since 2003.