Poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” Beauty is not created; it is uncovered — beauty is discovered upon the recognition that there’s a perfect dance between the inseparable inner and outer being.
Hindu saint Anandamayi-ma, whose given name was Nirmala Sundari Devi, came to be recognized as an awakened being and powerful expression of the divine. Her name means “immaculate beauty,” and she grew to exhibit this beauty both inside and out, regenerating it through the joy and love that she exuded. Anandamayi-ma said, “I find one vast garden spread out all over the universe. All plants, all human beings, all higher mind bodies are about in this garden in various ways, each has his own uniqueness and beauty. Their presence and variety give me great delight. Every one of you adds with his special feature to the glory of the garden.”
Because true beauty is a thread that runs through all beings, nature, and all things, we find it as much in a peaceful sky as in a human face or act of kindness. It is known by its feeling and not by sight alone. Beauty is noticed as well as cultivated. George Driver, a woman known as much for her unusual name as for her digital beauty-editor role at ELLE magazine, wrote that companies are now developing products connecting cosmetics and spirituality. “Consumers,” she wrote, “are looking for products that nourish their body and their mind with historical roots and time-honoured rituals.” Viewing your health through an Ayurvedic lens makes it obvious that skincare is enhanced by the products that you use, but it is mostly about diet, sleep, exercise, and lifestyle.
Beautifying Ayurvedic Herbs
Among the Ayurvedic plants that support beautiful skin are Amla, Tulsi, Ashwagandha, and Turmeric. These ancient herbs address premature aging, emotional and physical stress, inflammation, and oxidation — all of which tend to degrade and dull one’s outer appearance, often by lowering energy levels and vitality.
Researcher Sreejan Guha Niyogi notes that whether you eat, drink, or apply Indian gooseberry (Amla), the plant can be immensely beneficial for your skin, hair, and overall health. Amla combats the effects of aging like no other natural product, and it’s paste can work wonders for your hair. The plant boasts eight times more vitamin C than an orange, twice the antioxidant power of an equal measurement of acai berry, and around 17 times that of a pomegranate. And, because Amla is so high in vitamin C, it supports the adrenal glands that replenish the body’s energy and hormonal systems.
Tulsi (Holy Basil) is a plant known as a gift from the gods, and it nourishes not only the body, but also the spirit. Tulsi is found in most Hindu homes and is commonly believed to be the embodiment of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, and prosperity. In Ayurvedic healthcare, Tulsi is classified as a rasayana— a stress-relieving “adaptogenic” herb that’s prized for restoring balance and harmony to the mind, body, and spirit.
Ashwagandha is also an adaptogen and is considered a cornerstone of Ayurvedic herbalism. Stress is worn on the body in the form of wrinkles, tired eyes, sunken expressions, and chronic exhaustion. There is also a connection between stress and the shortening of telomeres, the endings of DNA strands that determine longevity. Adaptogenic herbs such as Ashwagandha both uplift the body and dispel stress by working from the inside-out.
Turmeric is yet another mainstay of Ayurveda and Indian households, in which this orange-yellow root finds its way into a great many dishes. Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory plant. Naturopath Jillian Cole wrote that inflammation is associated with age-related changes in body tissues. “When it comes to skin aging,” she said, there are two types of aging — intrinsic and extrinsic skin changes. Inflammation can lead to the thinning of the outer layer of skin that leads to fine lines and wrinkles. Extrinsic aging is caused by external factors, such as the UV radiation from sun exposure that causes inflammatory reactions in the skin.
When we think about beauty, it only makes sense to think holistically — not only superficially, or skin-deep — but also mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. The unification of these factors reveals the kind of beauty that transcends time, aging, and the day-to-day changes that so often wear us down. So when you think of beauty, think of working from the inside-out. Think not only about your outward appearance, but also practicing what makes you whole — a nutrient-rich diet, exercise, lovingkindness meditation, and finding the little things in life that make you smile.
Donna Goddard, author of The Love of Devotion, wrote, “A balanced inner calmness radiates from a peaceful centre. It neither craves others’ approval nor rejects others’ presence. It neither pulls towards nor pushes away. It has a reverent attitude towards life and all its inhabitants.”