Beautification is a daily ritual for me. Religiously, I set aside time every day to take care of my hair, skin, teeth, and body. It’s the way I relax, center, and practice self-care. It’s my sacred time. I try to assure that I am not interrupted or distracted during this 30-60 minutes each morning and evening.
For many years I have experimented with, studied, and taught about ancient beautification practices. The yoga, massage, and doula services I offer to clients at Mind the Mat come out of the ancient traditions of India, China, Thailand, Sweden, and South America, where beautification was an integral part of overall physical and mental health as well as spirituality.
Below are five natural beauty secrets I practice regularly. These practices come directly from my yogic studies on purification as taught in Ayurveda, an ancient medicine system developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. I call them secrets because many of them have been forgotten by modern culture, but are beginning to resurface.
This is my boyfriend Gary who loves to practice all my beautification secrets, too, like drinking water first thing in the morning. These practices are for men and women both, and as a couple you can support each other to be as healthy as possible by introducing each other to new products and practices.
Drinking a glass of water is the first thing I do every morning to open my morning beautification ritual. I use it as a 60-second meditation. I feel the cool water go down and thank it for cleansing me and giving me vital energy.
I do oil pulling every evening before bed after brushing and flossing using two tablespoons of liquid coconut oil. My teeth feel much smoother and whiter and my gums healthier than before I incorporated this practice.
I use essential oils every day for many different reasons. Oils can be used alone or blended with other oils. I have a special place in my bathroom cabinet where I store all my favorite essential oils. Here are some ways I use them on a daily basis:
Mouth Wash and Breath Freshener:
Perfume and Deodorant:
I notice that this ritual drastically reduces inflammation, puffiness, and bloating due to the detoxifying qualities of sulfate.
Me with two of my friends who also use only Henna. We are all able to cover gray with brilliant shades!
I use Henna on a monthly basis to cover gray with a light brown base and to bring shine and blonde highlights to my hair. I treat my hair myself or have a friend put the Henna on my hair for me. When I use Henna I feel that I am truly doing something healthy for my hair. To avoid an orange tint, I use black tea instead of water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in. Sometimes months I just do my roots and some months I do all my hair. For hair like mine, which is naturally dry, shampooing is altogether unnecessary. I wash my hair with water and clean my scalp by massaging conditioner onto it on a weekly basis. I have noticed over the past year since I switched to Henna that my hair is much softer, more shiny, and healthier than it was before. I mainly use Rainbow Henna Hair Color and Conditioner Light or Medium Brown.
Note: All the above products can be purchased at Whole Foods in Alexandria, with the exception of Doterra essential oils.
Sara VanderGoot, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500, is Co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga and Director of Mind the Mat Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program. Sara is an experienced Registered Yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. She studied Interdisciplinary Yoga with Don and Amba Stapleton in Nosara, Costa Rica and at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Sara is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, licensed by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Sara has been practicing massage therapy, including specialties Prenatal Massage, Postpartum Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Thai Yoga Massage, in Del Ray, Alexandria for over 15 years and a yoga instructor for 7 years. At Mind the Mat she specializes in Prenatal Yoga, Postpartum Core Yoga, Mommy and Me Core Yoga, Partners Yoga, and Hot Flow Yoga. Sara frequently acts as a birth companion for many of her clients, doing massage and yoga during labor and delivery to facilitate comfort during both medicated and unmedicated births. Before becoming a massage therapist and yoga instructor, she was a lawyer in the Washington D.C. area and found that the healing practices of massage and yoga brought a balance to her life that she had been searching for.
Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.
Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.