Let’s be honest, getting older physically sucks. From things moving south (literally), to overall deterioration of your organism, this inevitability is as much a part of life as birth and death, and one that is far less celebrated than the blossoming wisdom we all hope will become a part of our later years.
However, there are some people who seem to do it better than others, serving as beacons of inspiration and hope that you can still “have it” well past the doomsday of 30 that our youth obsessed culture is so focused on. If I had to pick only ONE THING to stay youthful that is far effective than any anti-aging cream or superfood on the market, this is it, and I’m going to share this secret with you. There is a reason everyone thinks those who practice Āyurvedic lifestyle and diet look ten years younger- because we do, and so can you J How, you ask?
STAY. GET. BE. JUICY!!!! Aka, nourish your rasa
Let me get a little more technical. In Ayurveda, there is a thing called “rasa dhātu”.
This thing called rasa dhātu represents the juice of life, and the juice of your body!
Rasa includes the entirety of the fluids of your organism including plasma, interstitial fluid, and lymph. It’s health is noted by markers the top layer of skin, emotional stability, and sexual secretions, in particular breast milk and menses in women. This is the irrigation system of your entire body, and is the vehicle for nutrients, RBC’s, and the like to nourish your entire organism.
In other words, it is massively critical for the health of your tissues.
So how does this relate to youthfulness and anti-aging?
Think for a moment of a baby vs a grandmother. What’s different? The most marked difference is in the reduced pliability and juiciness of our tissues. As we age, our bodies become depleted of rasa, leading to the drier state related with older age, and replenishing this juice is a critical component of staying youthful! Ever seen a dried up river bed? Notice how the foliage around it is also dried up? It’s that same principle that governs the health of the tissues in our body, and can be used to our advantage when properly understood
There is a tremendous depletion of rasa within the body as we age, and nourishing rasa is of utmost importance to staying youthful.
Markers of healthy vs imbalanced rasa
Healthy rasa gives “faith”, and many people with anxiety disorders are really suffering from serious depletion of rasa. Some other signs that is rasa is out of balance include a very dry top layer of skin, a scanty or absent menses, and constant doubt and insecurity.
How is rasa dhatu formed?
Rasa is the first tissue formed from food and is the support for development of subsequent tissues. Thus it’s importance cannot be understated, nor can the importance of healthy digestion so critical to converting sustenance into this fluid of life. It is the river that courses through your body to bring life to the various cells of your organism, and without it, we turn to ash and dust. The quality of food you eat plays a critical role in determining the quality of rasa-there is a reason we recommend cooked, unctuous foods in Ayurveda, especially to those already prone to dryness!
As with most imbalances, disorders of rasa start with diet and lifestyle. Eating lots of dry foods, frequent dehydration, eating raw or cooked food, excessive caffeine intake, and exercising beyond our capacity are all common causes of depletion of rasa, and are best avoided. In Ayurveda we appreciate healthy fat and consuming enough of it is another way to help give the lubricated qualities so coveted from our younger days. Gone are the days of living on brown rice, quinoa, and kale in order to stay healthy.
What are the best ways to nourish rasa?
Through our diet, lifestyle, and the climates we live in.
Diet is first and foremost, but lifestyle and climate are also important! If you live in the desert, you are going to have work extra hard to keep your rasa nourished and will likely need herbal support.
Foods that nourish rasa
Milk! Milk is truly nature’s number one super food, given of the love of a mother for her babe. I’m not talking about the hormone laden, torture water seen in most grocery stores, I’m talking about small scale, locally farmed raw milk that has been boiled then cooled. If you are vegan, coconut milk is a great alternative. Other great foods for nourishing rasa include
If your food is juicy and fresh, this will take you a long way towards nourishing rasa properly.
Please note, the foods that nourish rasa tend to be heavier, so if you have trouble digesting them, you can take a slice of fresh ginger with to support your digestion.
Rasa is nourished by exercise that is appropriate for your constitution, as well as by having a higher purpose! It is also incredibly helpful to apply oil to the skin every day, and this simple step alone can even help those suffering from vaginal dryness. Visiting hydrated, juicy climates like Costa Rica or Hawaii is also excellent for keeping you youthful and plumped up, as is spending time by bodies of water.
If you are still finding yourself challenged by dryness of the skin or other signs that rasa is depleted, these herbs can help you.
Relish in your new found juiciness and the benefits of looking and feeling ten years younger! Thank heavens for the wisdom of Āyurveda 🙂