What Is Rejuvenation, According to Ayurveda?
Rejuvenation is a term we see all the time in the wellness world. Often touted as a central benefit of self-care practices, the term seems to connote anything from clear skin to an energized mind. But what does rejuvenation actually mean in an Ayurvedic context?
In Ayurveda, the therapeutic tradition of rejuvenation goes by the name of rasayana. In Sanskrit, āyana means path while rasa means essence. In short, rasayana helps our internal fluids and energies flow in a balanced, nourishing manner, thus promoting health and vitality. During rasayana, we ignite our agni, or digestive fire, and ojas, or inner vitality, which boosts our overall immunity, strength and harmony—both emotional and physical.
While things like clear skin, well-restedness and mental sharpness are all end results of rejuvenation, at heart, rasayana is a process centered on achieving balance within the mind, body and spirit. According to Ayurveda, imbalances between these factors, or between ourselves and our external environments, are the root of all disease.
When we promote inner vitality and harmony, the benefits are immense. They include longevity, a youthful appearance, natural energy, strong muscles and organs, strong digestion, enhanced brain function and overall contentment. When we prioritize rejuvenation in our lives, we can work through ailments, stress and aging in a transformative, holistic manner.
Typically, the refreshing, regenerating process of rasayana—which encourages our systems to rebuild and strengthen themselves—occurs after a cleanse such as a panchakarma. However, there are also a number of daily practices we can undertake, regardless of whether or not we have cleansed, that empower us to reap the benefits of rasayana. Here are a few Ayurvedic tips for centering rejuvenation in our lives.
Ayurvedic Tips for Rejuvenation
Boost Energy & Tranquility with Yoga
Yoga is an excellent and accessible practice for boosting rejuvenation by stimulating agni, promoting healthy circulation and instilling deep tranquility. As research has demonstrated, yoga can lower heart rates, decrease blood pressure, increase blood flow to the intestines and vital organs and more.
What’s more, yoga is a deeply personal practice that you can tailor to your own individual needs. As yoga and Ayurveda specialist Ali Cramer told us in an interview, “Take all the rules with a grain of salt, and do your best to listen to how your body and mind respond to things—food, exercise, climate, et cetera.”
For example, you can focus on yoga poses and flows that are beneficial for your dosha. You can also tailor your practice to promote healthy, glowing skin, tone the face muscles, boost lung health and more.
Eat a Rasayanic Diet
According to Ayurveda, what we eat greatly influences our body’s health and internal balance. Poor diet has been linked to conditions ranging from acne to indigestion to disease. Eating foods that strengthen agni and promote sattva, or harmony, is a key step in providing our bodies with the nutrients they need to keep our internal systems healthy.
Sattvic foods are foods that are comprised of fresh ingredients and prepared with care and intentionality. They include foods like ghee, legumes, green vegetables, fruits, honey, nuts and cheese. Foods that strengthen agni include spices like turmeric, black pepper, ginger, fennel and cardamom. It’s also important to consider your own constitution by eating foods that are suitable for your dosha, and also to eat fresh, seasonal foods.
Regenerate Skin & Spirit with Essential Oils
In Ayurveda, essential oils are a vital wellness-promoting tool, for it is believed that warm oil massaged into the skin nourishes tissues, enhances circulation, expels toxins and builds immunity. Each essential oil carries with it its own unique benefits, and you can tailor your self-care routine by choosing oils that help remedy your specific imbalances.
For example, if you struggle with mental sluggishness during the summer, you can try out cooling oils like coconut and sesame. If you struggle with joint pain and stiffness, mustard oil is a revered ingredient for pain relief and arthritis. If you want to promote hair growth and radiance, Indian gooseberry is a trusted go-to. If you want to alleviate stress and anxiety, jasmine and lavender induce effortless relaxation. And for wrinkles and aging skin, there exists a whole plethora of anti-aging essential oils that promote taut, even, youthful skin.
We also have a number of our own products that incorporate a potent, targeted combination of oils, each suited for different purposes. Our Anti Aging Essentials line treats wrinkles, dryness and hyperpigmentation, while our Deeply Clarifying products combat acne and dullness. Our Wellness Oils are formulated to target conditions like stress, fatigue and insomnia.
Incorporate Rasayanic Herbs
In addition to essential oils, there are a number of herbs that Ayurveda considers rasayanic—meaning they are especially effective in promoting rejuvenation and vitality. Each of these herbs carries its own particular benefits, and they can be incorporated in a variety of ways, whether as a supplement or in one’s cooking. Here are a few of these rasayanic herbs. Read up on each (and consult with your medical provider) to figure out which ones might be most useful for your specific needs.
Triphala: An ancient polyherbal blend of three fruits native to India—bibhitaki, amalaki, and haritaki—triphala is revered as a nourishing, balancing remedy that detoxifies, strengthens digestion, eases inflammation and promotes overall longevity and vitality. We especially admire it for its capacity to boost agni and strengthen digestion, which is why we have our own triphala-based UMA Digestive Detox Herbal Supplement.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that is lauded in the wellness world for its multitude of benefits: it alleviates stress and anxiety, boosts immunity, combats inflammation and boosts mental function.
Brahmi: Brahmi, or gotu kola, is an Ayurvedic herb that is known as a powerhouse for the brain. It improves concentration and memory, enhances cognitive function and alleviates stress. Beyond these mental benefits, it can also ease joint pain, promote radiant skin and hair, reduce stretch marks and more.
Shatavari: Shatavari is an especially admired herb for its particular benefits for women’s health. A member of the asparagus family, it has been traditionally used to relieve PMS and menopause symptoms, regulate periods, promote breast milk production and improve mood.
Aloe Vera: While most commonly known as a wound healer, aloe vera boasts a number of other health benefits. Rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it reduces signs of aging, combats acne, detoxifies the blood, boosts metabolism and promotes a healthy menstrual cycle.
These are just a few recommendations for promoting overall health and vitality. Each person is different, so it’s important to stay attuned to your own needs and imbalances when cultivating a wellness routine with intentionality and commitment. When we work hard to integrate detoxifying, nourishing practices into our routines—not only for a week or two, but for the long term—we can make real, impactful changes that we feel in our bodies, hearts and spirits.
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