The word “beauty” has come to represent a billion-dollar industry that promises women ways to look younger by having them spend their money on everything from creams and cosmetics to Botox and butt lifts. We seek outer transformation in vials and containers, slathering our hair and faces with the latest touted ingredients. Sometimes they work, for a night, maybe a few months even. But when these magical potions cease to continue giving us the outcomes we desire, we move on to the next “great” bottled balm.
But real beauty is so much more complicated—yet simple—than that. Real beauty starts from within, from how we feel about ourselves when our lives are balanced and healthy, which ultimately translates to the outside. It’s a combination of good eating, exercise, rest and play, of surrounding ourselves with positivity as much as possible, of choosing to be the arbiter of our own lives. Sure, a supermodel is “beautiful,” but think about someone in your life—it can be a close friend or a casual acquaintance—who may not fit all the traditional boxes of what “beautiful” means according to our unrealistic societal criteria, but who for some reason gives off a vibe that draws you to them, makes you unable to resist looking at them.
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I know a fellow mother, for example, who’s 45, has three kids, and barely spends a dime on new clothes or makeup. This woman doesn’t go to an expensive gym, but she does take lots of hikes with her family and practices yoga, often at home in her backyard. She’s a vegetarian and cooks most meals that she and her family eat. She volunteers for organizations that she’s passionate about, yet has a great sense of humor and never takes herself too seriously. When I’m around her, I feel her energy emanating, and even if she’s wearing a dress she bought at Goodwill five years ago with just a quick swipe of red lipstick, she looks terrific. It’s her attitude—and her commitment to certain healthy practices—that I believe give her that glow that so many of us desire.
So how do you become that person that you admire, whose beauty is an integral part of them, and not just the way they “clean up” for a special night out? After all, we can all usually manage to look pretty darn good for, say, a wedding or party—when we have our hair done by a stylist, our makeup applied perfectly, and adorn ourselves in quality clothes. But that’s not the kind of beauty I’m talking about. I’m talking about Radical Beauty, a new book from New York Times bestselling authors Deepak Chopra, MD, and Kimberly Snyder, CN, which aims to transform you “from the inside out” and seeks to banish the idealized expression of beauty that the mainstream media sells us. In it, the authors identify six pillars of “Radical Beauty,” including:
1. Internal Nourishment: Eating to bolster nutritional balance and nutrient absorption.
2. External Nourishment: The most effective natural ingredients that we apply to our outer bodies, and which promote detoxification.
3. Peak Beauty Sleep: Optimal sleep methods to enhance your body’s creation of growth hormone.
4. Primal Beauty: Aligning your daily patterns in accordance with the natural rhythms of nature.
5. Beautiful Movement: From breathing techniques to yoga poses, physical exertion that promotes revitalizing oxygenation.
6. Spiritual Beauty: Practicing self-love and a peaceful state of mind.
Those probably don’t sound like the typical things you think of when it comes to beauty, but they are more crucial to it than any procedure a plastic surgeon can perform. They are lasting, and they promote an authentic internal health that translates as a vibrant, beautiful exterior. The practices in this book are simple, and they don’t break the bank. All they require is a commitment to loving yourself and caring for your heart and body every day in little ways that add up to big changes!
Balancing our bodies to the changing seasons is one of the many important aspects of radical beauty. Our bodies require different regimens: from what we eat and put on our skin to the kinds of activities and hobbies we cultivate. As we move into fall, from an energetic standpoint, it’s important to “take measures to feel grounded as Vata, the air-based element, dominates the fall season.” Here are a few autumn-based lifestyle radical beauty practices, adapted from the book, that you can start incorporating in your life right now.
• Eat more grounded, warm cooked meals again.
• Keep vegetables in your diet by seeking out fortifying things such as Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, and mushrooms. Add healthy, gluten-free grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and amaranth to them.
• With the air element so prevalent in the fall, constipation can occur. Be sure to eat lots of fibrous foods and take some magnesium-oxygen supplements to keep things moving.
• Avoid using stripping soaps on your skin in the shower. Choose all-natural, mild, and simple cleansers with essential oils instead of potentially irritating artificial fragrances.
• Switch back to thicker, oil-based moisturizers.
• Protect your delicate lips with lip balms that contain natural ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil, and vitamin E. Avoid those that are petroleum-based with synthetic ingredients.
• After the leisure of summer, you may feel an increased swirl of activities in the fall. Be sure to balance the stress. Make it a priority to create downtime for yourself as the holidays gear up. Take time to cultivate nurturing, grounding activities such as meditation, massages, spending time at home reading, or whatever makes you feel soothed.
• Sip on lemon balm, chamomile, valerian root or holy basil/tulsi teas, to help you de-stress and unwind.
Photo Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock