The sweet-smelling hair oils of which my mother soaked my sister and I's hair from scalp to tip, were like fragrant gardens in oil, anointing my very being.
She would make the oils at home, using jasmine, henna, coconut, mustard, hibiscus and marigold infused with brahmi or methi.
Today, when friends appreciate my hair, thick and lustrous even in my fifties, a part of me goes floating back in my memories of my mother’s determined eyes and plying hands as she kneaded our hair into oily plaits dripping with Ayurvedic hair oils. She hand-made our shampoos, and if split ends were found on her daughter's hair, she took it personally!
I desired to do this myself as I started growing older. So one day, when I was seven years old, I unscrewed a heavy glass bottle filled with homemade hair oil and, inadvertently, poured the entire bottle of oil on my head. The oil quickly flowed down my shoulders and dripped to the floor below.
Mortified, I stood there dripping in sticky, thick oil.
When my mother and father walked into the room, they burst out laughing, shaking their heads with pleasure and my mother even kissed my sticky forehead saying, "good try."
I relaxed with relief and felt I had accomplished something really important and right. I am grateful today that my accident was not criticized, but my efforts were praised. Ayurveda calls oils sneha which means love. As this sneha permeated every cell and pore of my body, my mothers rhythmic hand strokes repeated the message of love, love, and love, to my deepest being. Ayurveda filled my childhood.
Today, in my Ayurveda classes, I teach my students Ayurvedic hair care in great detail, including which oils to use for which doshas, and which seasons to use them in. I also teach the best foods to eat to prevent premature hair loss. There are certain superfoods and recipes that, once digested, immediately become hair on your scalp. Yes, I know, a magic trick or two! All thanks to my family and my teacher, Baba, who lived and followed the Ayurvedic path and taught so many.
My teachings are not highbrow. They are direct from my heart. The way I love, cherish and teach Ayurveda feels magical to me - thanks to the little girl inside me who is still standing with oil dripping down her head, feeling mighty proud of herself!
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Acharya Shunya is a globally-recognized spiritual teacher and Vedic lineage-holder who awakens health and consciousness through the Vedic sciences of Ayurveda, Vedanta and Yoga. She is the driving force behind an online wisdom school and worldwide spiritual community, and the author of best-selling book on the Vedic art of mind + body + soul well-being and health, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom (Sounds True, 2017) and forthcoming second book with Sounds True to be released in 2020, Sovereign Self. Acharya Shunya is a keynote speaker at national and international conferences, and serves as an advisor to the Indian Government in matters pertaining to global integration and cultivation of Ayurveda and Yoga. Receive her free online teachings and browse her current eCourse offerings here or see more about her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Subscribe to her YouTube Channel where she holds live Global Satsangs once per month. Study Ayurveda with Acharya Shunya in her online course, Alchemy through Ayurveda.