As a wellness practitioner, my approach has always been both holistic and wide-ranging. I love to learn about ancient and traditional healing systems, such as yoga, Ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine. I then blend this knowledge with the scientific approach of modern Western medicine to inspire the teachings and Face Yoga routines I share with all of you.
Someone who shares this belief in combining traditional Eastern wisdom with modern Western science is Jasmine Hemsley, the well-known author, chef, and founder of Hemsley + Hemsley and East by West.
Jasmine has been immersed in Ayurveda for many years and loves to inspire others to integrate this holistic approach to wellness into their daily routines. I was thrilled to welcome her as a guest on my podcast recently.
As well as sharing her journey into wellness and her top tip for inner peace, Jasmine talked about the five Ayurvedic practices that can help to give us healthy, glowing skin. You can catch up with the full episode here.
Inspired by our chat, this blog post looks at the principle of interconnectedness, which is at the heart of Ayurveda, and how we can use that understanding to benefit our skin, as well as our overall health. I’ll also run through Jasmine’s five top Ayurvedic tips for glowing skin.
Ayurveda: A Holistic Healing System
Unlike Western medicine, which typically concentrates on curing illness once it is already occurring, Eastern healing systems like Ayurveda are preventative, meaning they promote daily actions to protect our health and wellbeing.
Underlying the Ayurvedic system is an understanding that everything is interconnected. We can’t break our bodies down into separate parts and focus only on one area because each part is connected to everything else.
At the same time, Ayurveda and its sister science, Yoga, also acknowledge the connection between our minds, bodies, and spirits. We must consider everything as a whole. There is no separation between our physical, mental, and spiritual health – they all affect one another.
As a result, when we look to Ayurveda for inspiration on how to look after our skin, we find ourselves adopting practices that might not immediately seem related. Seasonal eating, going to bed early, and good hydration are all vital to healthy skin, even though they aren’t things we do directly to our faces.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know I talk about a lot more than just Face Yoga. It is because of this principle of interconnectedness. When we are tired, or stressed, or poorly nourished, it shows up in our faces and on our skin.
Taking care of our whole selves is vital if we want to look and feel our best. Simple, daily habits create change. It isn’t usually instantaneous (although it can be) but a continuous process of self-care that benefits so many areas of our lives. This is what Ayurveda teaches us.
With this principle in mind, the five Ayurvedic tips that Jasmine shared to boost our skin’s health are:
1. Kansa Wand
A Kansa wand is a facial massage tool that has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years. It has a wooden handle and a metal tip, usually made from bronze. Jasmine kindly sent me one of the Kansa wands she has just added to her product line.
Facial massage increases the circulation to our skin, eases tension, and helps to boost lymphatic drainage. In addition, the metal tip of the Kansa wand contains copper, which has antibacterial properties.
In Ayurveda, there are three doshas – biological energies – which control our physical and mental processes. If you’d like to learn more about them, listen to this podcast episode with Anita Kaushal from Mauli Rituals, which explains in more detail.
The metal tip of the Kansa wand helps to draw out the pitta from our skin. Pitta is hot, oily, and sharp. Reducing the pitta in our skin removes heat, inflammation, toxins, and impurities.
Kansa wands are also specifically shaped to stimulate the marma points. These are places on our faces and bodies where energy concentrates. Massaging those points with a Kansa wand gently releases stagnant energy and gets everything flowing properly again.
Using a Kansa wand takes just three minutes a day and is a beautifully grounding and therapeutic practice. You can be very intuitive with it, responding to what your skin needs that day.
Over time, you’ll also begin to notice daily differences in how the massage feels, which helps you know where to spend a little more time releasing tension and stimulating the marma points.
There are so many benefits to a daily meditation practice. It helps us to feel calmer, lowers blood pressure, and gives us better sleep – all things that will also improve the health of our skin.
Jasmine prefers to take time to meditate immediately after her morning shower. She says it gives her a glow that lasts throughout the day. It also cultivates the life force, prana, which is so vital to our wellbeing.
One of the best things about meditation is that it is a very portable practice. As long as you can find a quiet space to sit down for a little while and close your eyes, you can do it pretty much anywhere. There are guided meditations and online sound baths to help you get started.
3. Tongue Scraping
Tongue scraping is an Ayurvedic practice that uses a metal scraper to remove build-up from our tongues. This build-up is the toxins that our bodies have worked hard to remove overnight. By scraping it away, instead of swallowing it back down, we remove the toxicity from our bodies.
Scraping the gunk off our tongues also improves our tastebuds. Once they are no longer blocked, we can taste our food better, which encourages us to eat more intuitively. We’re more likely to relish and reach for healthy, fresh food if we can taste it properly.
Tongue scraping is a quick and easy practice that takes only a matter of seconds and can easily be added to our existing toothbrushing regime.
4. Asana Practice
In yoga, asanas are the physical poses – often the aspect of yoga people are most familiar with. Getting our bodies moving every day helps us to reconnect with our bodies, get the energy flowing, and mobilise our joints and muscles.
Jasmine especially recommends inversions for boosting the health of our skin. When we are upside down, plenty of fresh blood flows to our heads and faces, bringing the oxygen and nutrients that our skin needs.
Yoga also encourages us to connect with our breath and activates the vagus nerve, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Don’t worry though, you don’t need to master advanced poses like handstands to get the advantages of a daily yoga routine. Sometimes our bodies respond best to moving in gentler, softer ways.
Poses like child’s pose are wonderfully restorative, allowing us to surrender the weight of our bodies and find a sense of peace and relaxation.
5. Facial Oil
I love using facial serums as part of my Face Yoga practice. And oils play an essential role in Ayurveda too.
Facial serums and oils deeply moisturise our skin, bringing us a real glow and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Jasmine explains that the Sanskrit word for oil, sneha, also means love. When we apply oil to our faces and bodies, it isn’t just the oil itself that nourishes our skin. That loving touch is also a powerful affirmation that we are worthy of kindness, care, and attention. It is a signal to ourselves that we matter.
Holistic healing systems like Ayurveda invite us to look at our whole selves. As we understand and acknowledge that everything is interconnected, we realise we can’t focus on just one area of our wellness. We need to take a rounded approach and adopt daily habits to improve our health and wellbeing.
If you are ready to dive deeper into your wellness journey and want to inspire others to do the same, I offer two courses to support you in this work. You can study either Face Yoga Teacher Training, or Facial Gua Sha Teacher Training, or combine the two.