Simple, natural beauty treatments using Ayurvedic ingredients will promote balance and serenity during your retreat. Each morning after breakfast, spend some time caring for your skin and body. You may choose to do all of these treatments, or just one or two.
Face and Body Ubtan Scrub
This invigorating "ubtan" ("cleansing paste") scrub improves circulation and help tone slack muscles. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup oat or chickpea (garbanzo) flour, 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, 2 tablespoons each ground mustard and crushed fresh coriander leaves, 3 tablespoons rose water, 1 cup orange juice, and 1/2 cup water; stir to blend. Work the scrub all over your face and body. Rinse with warm water.
This is a great treatment to eliminate toxins. Steam your face over a bowl of hot water combined with a handful each of fresh cilantro and basil leaves, steaming for about 10 minutes. Hold your face at least 12 inches above the water and tent your head and the bowl with a towel to prevent the steam from escaping. Pat your face dry and splash with tepid water to refresh the skin. Discard the herbs. To purify the rest of the body, run a hot shower to fill the room with steam, and relax in the steam for seven to 10 minutes.
"Lepa" translates as "medicinal plaster." This mask absorbs impurities. In a large bowl, combine 2 teaspoons each sandalwood powder, natural clay powder (available at natural-foods stores), a pinch of ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon neem oil, and 1/4 cup fresh orange juice. Mix thoroughly and apply all over the face and neck, avoiding the eyes. Leave the mask on for about 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Aloe is an ideal ingredient in pitta-balancing skin treatments because it provides light moisture and creates a wonderful soothing sensation. Massage your face and body with aloe vera gel to soften and refresh your skin.
Coconut and Flower Hair Oil
Oiling your hair is the most important part of Ayurvedic hair care. It conditions the hair and scalp and promotes relaxation. Prepare the oil the night before by bringing 1/2 cup coconut oil to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons rose water and 1/2 cup mixed fresh flower petals such as rose or jasmine. Return to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let the flowers steep in the oil overnight, then strain the oil through a coffee filter or double layer of cheesecloth into an airtight container. To oil your hair, gently massage four to five tablespoons of the oil onto the crown of your head and into your scalp. Wrap hair in a towel and allow the oils to penetrate for at least 20 minutes. Shampoo and rinse as usual.
Nourishing Hair Mask
A protein-rich mask helps to strengthen hair. In a medium-sized bowl, thoroughly combine 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 egg. Apply the mixture to your scalp after oiling and cleansing. Leave the mask on for about 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Hand and Foot Treatment
To soften rough hands and feet, start by gently massaging them with a loofah or rough hand towel. Next, soak them in a tub of warm water infused with a few drops of sandalwood, rose, neem, or jasmine oils. Use a pumice stone to soften rough areas on the feet. To moisturize, make a solution of 1 teaspoon neem oil and 2 tablespoons coconut oil and massage into both hands and feet, focusing on the heels, soles, ankles, between the toes and fingers, wrists, and palms. Rinse with the juice of one lemon diluted in 1 cup warm water. Dry off with a soft, fluffy towel.