Sunbath or sun worship is an essential ritual in Hindu tradition. However, Ayurveda establishes the seasonal balance in the practice of sunbath to ensure all benefit and no harm!
Sharad(Early Winter) Sunbath
According to Ayurveda, one must avoid exposure to direct sun rays during the early winter (Sharad: Sep-Nov). This season is the time for cyclic pitta vitiation in the body.
Pitta dosha has a fiery nature and exposure to sunrays during the time of pitta vitiation can cause or aggravate pitta related disorders like inflammation, fever, psoriasis, hemorrhagic disorders, and many more.
Sharad Ritu is the time when sunrays can cause severe damage to the skin as the body is on the heat mode of aggravated Pitta dosha. You might find it extremely difficult to remove the tanning formed during this season.
Sun rays that can cause cancer might be present during this season. Therefore, Charak Samhita recommends complete avoidance of sunrays during Sharad Ritu.
Grishma (Summer) Sunbath
Sunbath during especially during the summer season is highly detrimental to skin health. Tanning in this season can leave a permanent effect on the skin.
Only early morning sunbath, from 6:00 a.m. to 8 a.m. is recommended in summer season (May-June).
Sunbath in the time-range, 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. , is entirely applicable for kapha and vata prakriti people as their body is naturally coldish in nature.
Pitta prakriti people or people with hot body type must avoid sunbath after 9 am. They should make a conscious decision and go according to the comfort of their body. Pitta prakriti people should refrain entirely from the late morning sunbath during this season. Unless required, all individuals should stay indoors during this time.
It is imperative to stay hydrated during a sunbath. This recommendation is especially applicable for Pitta Prakriti people as they are prone to excessive sweating.
Varsha (Rainy season) Sunbath
Sunbath is completely prohibited during the rainy season. The sunrays passing through the water-filled dark clouds are said to be very harmful and can denature the skin cells.
In fact, according to Ayurveda, one should never sleep outdoor under the cloudy sky as it can cause paralysis. Any rays passing through the rain-filled clouds are not great!
There is no scientific evidence for the above information. However, I am in the process of studying the effects of such sunlight on the human body and hope to discover the truth behind this directive.
Hemant-Shishir (Winter) Sunbath
Best season for sunbath is Hemant Ritu or winter (November -December). At this time, all the dosha in the body are balanced; digestion body strength and stamina is at its best.
Hemant is also the best time for cosmetic tanning.
Shishir Ritu or late winter (January-February) is also a good season for sunbath.
People suffering from winter depression(Seasonal affective disorder) can immensely benefit from regular sunbath during these two seasons.
Vasant (Spring) Sunbath
Vasant Ritu or spring season (March-April) is the time of cyclic kapha vitiation in the body. Charak Samhita does not explicitly mention the need for sunbath for this season. However, It is good to have a sunbath in this season as well.
The heat from the sun rays helps to soothe the excess kapha Dosha and decongest the channels in the body. Spring is the time for seasonal cough, cold and kapha related disorders.
Severe kapha diseases like sinusitis, migraine, diabetes, etc. might flare up during this season. Sunbath might help to balance the kapha dosha and prevent disease aggravation.
However, if you have Suryavarta type of migraine, please avoid excessive sunlight exposure as it might aggravate the migraine pain.
Ritucharya for Your Region
These directives should apply to all parts of the world as ritucharya works on the basis of solar movement. However, Hindu tradition works on the lunar calendar as the situation on earth might be different from one region to the other.
In some seasons like vasant (spring), summer, do not have a clear recommendation regarding the use of sunbath. In these seasons, you must use your discretion regarding the use of sunbath in your region.
For example, summer is a pleasant season in cold regions of many western countries; therefore, summer sunbath can be very refreshing practiced there. However, you cannot practice sunbath in the summer of the Sahara desert! Here you need to use your discretion and decide when and how to have a sunbath.
However, in some seasons like hemant (winter), varsha (rainy season) and sharad (late winter), Ayurveda has clear directives about sunbath. These ritucharya directives apply to all the parts of the world.
This recommendation implies that whether you are in Siberia or Saudi Arabia, you must never have sunbath during a cloudy sky.
In the case of sunbath, Ritucharya is the preceding sutra over dinacharya. Therefore, if you want to decide regarding your sunbath regimen, you must first consider what season it is.
After the sunbath ritucharya, we can discuss the sunbath dinacharya or how sunbath should be practiced daily.
It is essential to note that Ayurveda highly recommends early morning sunbath. Also, exposure to sunrays during sunrise is considered extremely good for the skin and the eyes.
The best time for sunbath is during the early hours of the morning. 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
The sunlight during this transition period(sunrise) is meager in intensity and typically results in almost nil tanning. Also, the two daily light transition periods – sunrise and sunset were considered to be the ideal time of sun worship (sunbath) for the ancient sages.
Daily water offering to the sun
Surya Argha or water offering to the sun is another type of sun exposure. It is believed that the sun rays refracted through the water have a very beneficial effect on the mind, skin, and eyes. However, this fact is not yet scientifically proven.
Do’s and Don’ts for Sunbath
- It is crucial to stay hydrated during a sunbath. You must drink some normal temperature water before going for a sunbath. However, you must never drink cold or even normal water immediately after a sunbath.
- Therefore it is recommended that you do not leave an air-conditioned room and suddenly go out in afternoon summer Sun because the inevitable temperature fluctuation is very hard for the body to manage.
- After coming indoors from sunbath, wait for a minimum of 10 minutes before drinking water. Drink normal water and not chilled water.
- If you drink chilled water while sitting in the sun, the drastic temperature difference between the water and the body might jeopardize and Confused the temperature management system of the body.
- For example, if you are trying to cool a room during the summer you have kept all your doors and windows open for better air circulation, and suddenly there is a snowstorm which fills the entire room with snow, you will be caught off guard, and the damage will be much more.
- However, if you have prior information and you have time to close all your goods and Windows before the snowstorm, then there might be no damage. It is crucial that we allow the body to prepare for the external changes to which it is going to be exposed.
- While having a sunbath, it is essential to be attentive to the signals of your body. Your body knows best.
- If you are going to drink water during the Sun path, please ensure that you consume normal temperature water.
- If you start to feel and easy within 5 minutes of sunbath, you must leave and come indoors.
- There is no standardized recommendation for the duration of the daily sunbath. It completely different depends on personal comfort.
Ayurvedic Remedies for Tan Removal
This Article was first posted on Quora as an answer to the utility of some high-end Ayurveda products for De-tanning. However, it was collapsed because I mentioned that expensive products are not required for tan removal. They are against the underlying philosophy of simplicity in Ayurveda.
Before we talk about tanning removal methods in Ayurveda, let’s us always remember one thing – overly expensive products can never match the true spirit of Ayurveda. I hope that Ayurveda doesn’t become the new market fad for money-minded business people.
Holistic Anti-tanning Approach
If you want to remove tanning through Ayurveda, follow a holistic method. If you rely just on some medicine or topical ointment without any change in diet and lifestyle, the result will be zero.
Diet can increase or decrease the skin receptivity of sunrays. For example, an Ayurvedic herb called Bakuchi (Psoralea corylifolia) can accelerate melanin formation in the skin cells to the extent of causing burns and boils! This herb is an incredible remedy for vitiligo.
The bottom line is that – diet can affect skin complexion. However, most of the traditional cuisines help to keep skin healthy and bright.
Physiology of Tanning According to Ayurveda
Aggravated Ranjaka Pitta (responsible for all kinds of pigmentation in the body) is the basis for excess tanning. Therefore, if you want to prevent tanning with the help of diet, avoid all hot, spicy, and oily food. Avoid excess consumption of hot herbs like ginger, garlic, red chili, mustard, etc.
For pitta balance, you must consume more of cooling foods like coconut water/milk, sandalwood tea, green cardamom, fennel, cumin, mint, lemon, awla (emblica), etc.
However, lifestyle is the most critical factor in the case of tanning prevention and treatment.
The first step in Ayurvedic treatment for tanning is to remove the cause (nidan parivarjanama). It might not always be practically possible to refrain from going out in the sun, especially when you are in a profession that might require working outdoors in the sun.
But still, there are ways to prevent the harmful effect of sunlight. For example, Arabs wear clothes that fully cover their bodies. Probably this is the reason why they belong to one of the naturally fair races even when they are natives to a desert region.
Sunrays and Body Temperature
Wearing small clothes exposes body directly to the sunlight and doesn’t help in bringing down the overall body temperature. If you wear full outfits, these clothes create an air space between the sun heat and the body and prevent the excess heating effect of the direct sun exposure as well as tanning.
On the other hand, direct exposure to the warm wind might jeopardize the temperature management system of the body. Therefore it makes sense to cover the body while exposed to the sun.
Tanning is most common in swimmers. It is better for professional or frequent swimmers to use full-length swimwear. In this manner, they can effectively reduce the skin surface area exposed to sunlight.
Therefore, try to cover the body while exposed to harsh sunlight.
No chemicals on the skin
You must avoid using sunscreens or any chemical based cosmetics that claim to prevent tanning. All the sunscreens have cancer-causing chemicals present in them. It is far better to use a simple cotton cloth as a cover rather than to use any sunscreen.
Ayurvedic Anti-tanning Approach
With the prevention of wrong sunlight exposure as much as possible, the first step of tanning treatment is achieved.
The second step is to lessen the effects of the unavoidable tanning. If the first step is achieved, this second step can virtually eradicate entire tanning.
Some of the readily available Varnya Mahakasahya (Complexion enhancing herbs) are-
- Chandan (Sandalwood)
- Nagkeshar (Mesua ferrea)
- Kamal (Lotus)
- Khus (Vetiver)
- Mulethi (Liquorice)
- Manjishtha (Indian madder)
- Anantmool (Indian sarsaparilla)
- Vidarikand (Indian kudzu)
- Doorva (Bermuda Grass)
All of these Herbs have excellent complexion enhancing the effect on all types of skin, according to their sequence. Sandalwood or Chandan has the best impact for De tanning then nagkesar.
For a comprehensive anti-tanning process, consume tea made from the above herb and apply I there paste in on the tanned skin. You can make combinations according to availability of these Herbs in your area. However, it is best to take equal quantity of Herbs in any combination.
For example, if you can easily find Sandalwood powder and lotus flower, make an equal quantity of paste from both the homes and mix it to produce de-tanning Skin Pack.
You can brew this paste to make a de-tanning tea.
A combined internal and external effect of de-tanning Herbs can produce a quick result.
However, all of these verbs might not be present or available easily in your region. In that case, you can try the following simple de-tanning techniques-
These herbs can be used as a face pack in different combinations in a base of milk, coconut milk, coconut oil(for dry skin) and also water.
Milk – Raw milk is one of the best tan removal agent as well as a natural skin toner. Dip a cotton swab in raw milk and clean the tanned skin twice or thrice a day. You will see visible effects within a week.
If the skin is inflamed or sore, mix a tsp of turmeric in raw milk to make a smooth paste and apply as a face pack preferably in the daytime. This face pack helps the skin to heal and removes the tanning as well.
If you have dry skin with dark patches, massage the skin with coconut oil. After that, apply the above face pack for Tan removal.
Potato – Raw potato mash is a very readily accessible and cheap way to cure tanning. This mash can also cure skin inflammation and redness. This remedy is a very potent herbal solution that can heal even burns.
Cucumber – Wet cucumber slices when rubbed on skin produce a great anti-tanning effect.
Coconut milk – Coconut milk is also a great option to improve skin complexion.
Dab a cotton swab in coconut milk and apply it on the tanned skin. You can also mix one teaspoon of turmeric are any of the about mentioned complexion enhancing herbs in coconut milk to make a paste and apply the same on the skin surface.
Drinking coconut water also helps to maximize the effect of external de-tanning applications.
A reasonable rate of digestion and metabolism is excellent support for rapid de-tanning.
Hope this helps all in need of this information!
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti |
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