Garden of Flowers
Do not go into the garden of flowers
O friend, go not there.
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of lotus
and there gaze upon the infinite beauty.
A few years ago, I came across an article where Denise Leicester, the founder of ila spa, mentioned a book called “Almond Eyes, Lotus Feet”. The book describes the most beautiful ancient health and beauty rituals of Indian princesses.
These rituals bonded and beautified the women of the Indian court, yes, but the deeper message of the book is how important these rituals are for “boosting the essence within and igniting our vitality and vibrancy through the ties of friendship and faith, ritual and reconnection”, as Denise described it. She explained that in Yogic scriptures, the chakra where beauty resides is the Manipura (‘shining jewel’) – the solar plexus chakra- and it is the body’s centre of radiant health and metabolism, boundaries and confidence, strength and beauty. “Manipura relates to the element of fire. It is also connected to the function of the feet (as in movement, and the desire to assume responsibility for one’s life and drive transformation) and the eyes (through the ability to see the truth of our own purpose as well as the sparkle evident in our eyes when our true beauty shines from within).”
Her description of the book made me buy it right away, and it is now a book I highly recommend to all my friends. It is wonderful! It describes, in beautiful details, these amazing rituals, from covering the hair in fresh jasmine flowers, to beautiful baths, and face masks, and body treatments and many other remedies. These rituals make you shift your awareness from the outer appearance to the inner beauty that is within each one of us. To me, these rituals are about reconnecting with your true self. They are opportunities to be still, notice, love and appreciate yourself for who you truly are.
So next time you are tempted to mindlessly slather on that blob of face cream and be done with it, followed by analyzing and criticizing every wrinkle on your face, just pause for a moment. Look beyond the wrinkles and stop the self-criticism. Be kind to yourself, and indulge. Close your eyes. Inhale the aromatic oils, feel the different textures of oils, creams, powders, whatever you may be using, and just appreciate yourself for who you are in this exact moment, with love, with kindness. Just feel how this approach can be so healing.
Here is how you can create your own beauty ritual at home. You will need:
For the bath:
1 cup Himalayan pink salt
1 cup Epsom salt
2 cups rose water (I get it in the ethnic food isle at the grocery store)
For the face:
Cotton pads to cover the eyes (soak them in rose water first)
your favorite face mask, or you can make your own by using this recipe from “Almond Eyes, Lotus Feet” for smooth skin :Mix about a tablespoon of Fuller’s Earth (clay-you can buy it at health-food stores) with a bit of rose water until it turns into a smooth paste. Apply all over the face and neck, avoiding the eye area. Leave it on and let it dry. Wash off gently with water.
Your favorite body cream or oil and your favorite face oil or moisturizer.
Your favorite herbal tea. A personal favorite of mine is the Aveda tea, but there are many others I also love. I also make my own. Here is a recipe for a relaxing tea I learned from Vitruvi and I absolutely love it. You will need:
4 tbsp dried lemon balm
4 tbsp dried hops
2 tbsp dried peppermint
2 tbsp dried chamomile
2 tbsp licorice root
In an 8 oz airtight glass jar or metal tin add all the herbs and store in a cool place outside of direct sunlight.
How to steep: Fill a tea bag or small teapot with 1 tbsp of tea, and steep for 5-10 minutes. The licorice will provide a sweet taste while the peppermint is refreshing. Add 1-2 tsp. of honey to adjust sweetness as necessary.
Now that you have everything, boil some water and steep some tea, draw a hot bath, add the Epsom salt, Himalayan salt, 2 cups of rose water and a few drops of lavender oil in the tub, put on your face mask, dim the lights, put on some relaxing music, cover your eyes with the cotton pads soaked in rose water and relax in the tub for 15-20 minutes. Feel the coolness of the rose water on your eyes easing off any tension, the warmth of the water as your muscles relax, inhale the calming aroma of the lavender, and just be aware of how wonderful this feels, taking time to appreciate and nurture yourself. When you are done, rinse off your mask, massage a few drops of face oil or your favorite moisturizer, apply a few drops of body oil or cream, sit quietly and relax, sipping on your tea. Notice how you feel after spending these moments taking care of yourself.
Repeat at least once a week:)
I hope you all have a beautiful week!