We’ve learned so much from Ayurvedic beauty pro Shrankhla Holecek of Uma Oils. With wedding season in full swing, we hit up Shrankhla for tips that will help frantic brides, bridesmaids and vain wedding guests get prepped for the ultimate summer glow. From breathing exercises that really work to Shrankhla’s aloe vera tonic, we’re taking these Ayurvedic beauty secrets to heart year round!
The invite list. The centerpieces. The cake. Your dress. Your wedding party. Your family and the seating arrangements. There are so many details to consider before a wedding day that it’s no wonder so many of us turn into walking balls of worry and stress (with a serving of a migraine or two). When you’re caught up in the constant worry of getting everything just so, it can be hard to get excited for your walk down the aisle.
In India, women have learned that taking time for themselves, especially during the controlled chaos of wedding planning, is absolutely crucial. Today we wanted to share time-tested traditions that can help you stay in a balanced mental, physical and emotional state so you make it -well-being intact – to your wedding day.
The following rituals are inspired by the tried-and-true ayurvedic solutions that Indian brides have been using for centuries.
1. Nostrils are your (unlikely!) gateway to peace and calm
No one likes a bridezilla (or a crabby groom!). Stress negatively affects your relationships and your appearance, so get ahead of these problems early with this meditation trick: Cover one nostril with your thumb, and breathe from the other. Then alternate back and forth, covering one and leaving the other open, for a few breaths. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, try adding essential oils to your routine – these can be applied topically or inhaled. Several highly recommended oils for stress management include lavender, roman chamomile, jasmine and vetiver. Have a frustrating case of the stress munchies? Try drinking a cup of milk blended with almonds, saffron and honey; or orange juice with honey and a pinch of nutmeg powder. These powerful, and delicious, remedies can instantly soothe tense nerves.
2. Diet according to your dosha
Endless dress fittings coupled with an exhausting list of pre-wedding tasks, not to mention rushed or poorly planned meals, can have many brides naturally stressed about how their body will look on their big day. If this sounds all too familiar, we have to stress that fad diets or crazy exercise regimens won’t be the best solutions. Ayurveda recommends treating your body differently depending on your dosha type. Kapha constitutions generally have a tendency towards weight gain, so it’s best to avoid kapha-genic foods, which range from common culprits like wheat, rice, sugar and dates to some lesser known ones like licorice root, peppermint and most meats (except for chicken). Sunflower, safflower and white mustard oils all work to reduce Kapha. For all types, integrating foods like millet, tapioca or rye will help manage your appetite. Bonus tip: Water boiled with barley (and then strained), as well as coriander tea, are extremely helpful in relieving water weight and bloating.
3. Kickstart your day (and body!) with some sun salutations
The struggle to make that dress fit perfectly often drives brides into an exercise frenzy. While cardio workouts are excellent, especially for managing weight, running on the treadmill or killing it at SoulCycle tends to tighten up muscles. This tightening can sometimes increase your chances of injury. Yoga helps to stretch out taught muscles, improves flexibility and muscle tone, and can help prevent injury from cardio workouts that require more explosive movements. And, yoga’s stress-reducing properties are an added bonus! Don’t have a studio membership or time to run to a class? Try incorporating a few simple poses into your routine. To get your heart rate up and muscles moving, try beginning your workout with a series of sun salutations. Do about 15 at your own pace.
4. Take time for a massage
Yes, I really mean it! Massages should start making their way into your routine because they keep your skin in excellent shape, on top of being deeply relaxing. Massages – especially those that incorporate the right oil for your dosha type – are hugely beneficial. Vata types gain from sesame oil, while pitta types would do well with sandalwood or sunflower oil. Calamus root oil or corn oil is recommended for Kapha constitutions. Massaging towards the heart will help boost circulation for glowing skin!
5. Draw up an herbal bath just for you
Herbal baths are another indulgent treatment with a multitude of benefits for your skin. A great addition to your soak would be 10 to 12 drops of your favorite essential oil. You can also drop in fresh herbs wrapped in muslin bag. Almond oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, walnut oil and grapeseed oil can also be added to your bath on account of their deeply moisturizing properties.
6. Clear your finicky, blemished skin – naturally
Pre-wedding day jitters can unfortunately lead to that dreaded problem: acne. Before turning to damaging chemical peels or exfoliants, try a natural alternative: clay masks. Search for masks with turmeric (a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient) and honey (a soothing remedy for acne scars). Another method to try is using essential oils to treat acne. While it sounds counterintuitive, oils like clove and tea tree actually help regulate your skin’s oil production, as long as they are applied in small doses. Also consider drinking a half glass of aloe vera juice twice a day, as it’s known in ayurveda to soothe inflammation. Sticking to these practices will ensure your skin is clear, but still baby soft for your wedding day!
The Aloe Vera Beauty Tonic