Sonja Shah-Williams, Ayurvedic Therapist
No amount of external applications will give us a healthy glow if we are not looking after our internal health
Taking into account the numerous lifestyle and biological factors that cause imbalance within the body, Ayurveda is an ancient Indian practice described by practitioner Sonja Shah-Williams as a “holistic and completely person-centred” approach to healing. As a private consultant and throughout her involvement with the Grace Belgravia Medical and Wellness Clinic, Sonja has treated many patients with skin that looks unloved but, she explains, are “often not actually aware of imbalances that may be leading to this state.” In these cases, Sonja reveals that the condition of these patients’ skin is almost always a sign of digestive overload and stress. Spotty faces, sallow and unevenly coloured skin are clear signs that there are toxins in the blood, digestive issues, irregular lifestyle patterns, lack of sound sleep and stress. To achieve clearer, healthier looking skin, the therapist insists that we find a way to eliminate these stressors and improve the way that we feed and treat our bodies. Drawing from the Ayurvedic approach to wellness, here Sonja shares practical insight into how this 5,000-year-old tradition can give your skin the resurrection that it needs.
SONJA SHAH-WILLIAMS, AYURVEDIC THERAPIST
“We cannot see the health of our skin as being separate from the rest of our body and mind.”
A MODERN STATE OF AFFAIRS
“In the 21st century, we have become so busy and target-led, both professionally and personally, which has caused a lack of regular lifestyle routines,” says Sonja, “we skip breakfast or other meals, eat on the go, gulp down food, we drink too much alcohol and fizzy drinks, too little water, and rarely cook at home.” Eating without considering the impact that our choices have on our health can lead to a build of toxins in the blood, which then create skin complaints. Following these simple principles can help can help to improve our digestive process and, consequently, the appearance of our skin:
- Eat wholesome, home-cooked meals
- Sip warm, not cold, water throughout the day
- Don’t eat when we aren’t hungry
- Allow enough time for digestion before going to sleep
WHAT SKIN TYPE AM I?
So, what do we need to do to ensure we will have clear, smooth and radiant skin? The first thing to do is identify our ‘Dosha’, or our natural constitution type. We each have our unique Dosha, which is a subtle combination of the three functional principles of the body and mind, ‘Vata’, ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’. Each has its own inherent qualities, for example, Vata is cold and dry. As with our personal constitution type, each kind of food is made up of certain qualities too; oatcakes are dry, rough and light, whereas cheese is heavy and oily. So each person’s Dosha, when combined with the qualities of the foods they eat, will determine their quality of digestion as well as their skin health.
While our Doshas exist in a fluid state, changing throughout the year and converging with each other, this chart provides a rough guide to identifying our natural constitution type and eating with it in mind.
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Sonja Shah-Williams BSc(Hons) is qualified Ayurvedic Therapist, consulting privately at Anala Ayurvedic Health in North London and as part of the Grace Belgravia Medical and Wellness Clinic. She is passionately committed to helping clients alleviate modern-day stress, prevent and manage chronic diseases and understand the cause and effect mechanism involved in all health issues. After conducting a detailed consultation to establish her clients’ constitution type and decide where any imbalance lies, she creates individually tailored programmes of nutrition and lifestyle adjustments.