Photo Credit: “Textbook of Ayurveda: VOL 2” written & illustrated by Dr. Lad
This summer I took a course with Dr Vasant Lad in New York, and one of the areas of teaching was facial assessment and diagnosis. Dr Lad taught that every line on our faces means something. Lines are not all attributed to age and the sun, as we in the West tend to believe. As Danielle's article from earlier this year is very aligned with what I learned, I hope you will find it as interesting as I do. I am grateful that Danielle has written an easy to follow article and hope you will enjoy learning more about Ayurveda facial diagnosis.
BY DANIELLE | PUBLISHED JAN 23 2017
As you can see in this lovely illustration above, nearly every line on the face has a meaning to it. The deeper the groove, the more severe and chronic the issue may be. If the line is very slight but detectable, it is most likely pointing to an issue that is a bit more recent and mild. However, these issues should still be addressed since, without proper treatment, a mild disorder may eventually become more severe.
COMMON LINES ON THE FACE AND THEIR MEANING
1. Horizontal lines on the forehead:
If you are experiencing lines that run horizontally across your forehead, it is most likely due to a history of chronic worry and anxiety. These lines are telltale signs of this issue and in today’s society are all too common. Excessive anxiety and worry is considered a Vata disorder and can be pacified through Vata-reducing diet, lifestyle, and herbal treatments.
2. Nasolabial lines:
Often called “laugh lines,” prominent nasolabial lines are actually a clear indication of malabsorption (nothing to laugh about). Malabsorption occurs when our bodies are not absorbing nutrients properly due to weak digestion, improper diet, toxins, inflammation of the GI tract, and other issues. The more prominent the lines, the more serious the issue, and the longer the treatment process. Other physical signs of malabsorption include teeth marks on the perimeter of the tongue and vertical lines going down the nails. Treatment for this issue will vary according to the specific cause of the malabsorption.
3. Downward lines on the outer edges of the lips (often called marionette lines):
If you are noticing downward lines coming from the outer side of the lips (where the upper and lower lip meets), this is an indication of chronic, unresolved sadness and grief. Often called “marionette lines,” these lines can be caused by past trauma, unresolved childhood experiences, unresolved issues with loved ones, or a history of depression, among other causes. Dealing with unresolved grief is not easy, as it can bring up suppressed emotions that have been hidden away for quite some time. Everyone will have their own way to heal from grief, but the first step will be to examine where it is coming from and allow it the freedom to emerge. Some powerful tools for this are meditation, yoga, pranayama, journaling, therapy, and internal reflection.
4. Vertical line between the center of the eyebrows:
A vertical line between the eyebrows that lies fairly center is often an indication of chronic skepticism. It often indicates a long-term Pitta imbalance and can also be related to an individual who is overly headstrong, judgmental, or critical (all Pitta issues). If this is the case, Pitta-pacifying measures should be practiced, especially ones that deal with the mind and emotions.
5. Vertical line on the inner eyebrows (right, left, or both):
A vertical line that forms on the right inner eyebrow (between the brows, but more to the right), is revealing low liver energy, a current liver disorder, or potential future liver issues. Alternately, if the line is forming more towards the inner left eyebrow, this is a sign of low spleen energy and the possibility of a past, future, or current spleen disorder. These organ lines may be separate on some individuals, although commonly they are seen together. As with the skepticism line mentioned above, these lines are often caused by a Pitta imbalance and may stem from deep-seated, unresolved anger (a Pitta emotion).
6. Horizontal line between the eyebrows:
If the line between the eyebrows runs horizontally, this is indicating future prostate, cervix, or reproductive issues due to low energy in each respective area. This line is a bit less common, but may be seen along with a few of the other facial lines indicating weak energy in these areas (read below). Since this line is said to be a future sign of these issues, one can use this knowledge as a guide to prevention, strengthening these organs before potential disease arises.
7. Bags and puffiness under the eyes:
Bags and general puffiness under the eyes seems to be a common issue and annoyance for countless individuals. Many people relate it to being overly tired; however, there is actually a deeper root to this undesirable symptom. Bags under the eyes are a clear indication of low kidney and/or adrenal energy. This can be caused by many things including chronic stress, burnt out adrenals, long-term sleep disorder, excessive caffeine intake, genetics, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Treatment will vary due to the specific cause for that individual. There are several herbs that focus on the health of the kidneys including punarnava and gokshura, and the adrenals such as tulsi, licorice, ashwagandha, and bala. These can be taken while also focusing on a proper diet and lifestyle regimen and, of course, removing the cause.
8. Puffiness on the top eyelid:
If there is puffiness over the top eyelid, this is an indication of low liver energy. This can indicate a current liver issue, but also may be a pre-symptom of a future liver disorder. Therefore, if an individual is experiencing this puffiness, appropriate treatment to heal and strengthen the liver should be administered as soon as possible.
9. Prominent blood vessels on the temples:
When you see an individual with blood vessels popping out over the temporal region of the forehead, this is showing a tendency of high blood pressure or hypertension. This is often a Pitta issue that is caused by excessive stress and anger (which leads to high blood pressure). Therefore, healing these emotions and treating the overall Pitta in the body and mind will help to reduce high blood pressure and reduce the bulging of the blood vessels.
10. Missing outer eyebrow:
If you have begun to notice thinning of the outer eyebrows, this can be an indication of a few different issues. This hair loss may occur in diabetes, hypothyroidism, low blood sugar issues, or even chronic anxiety. If you are experiencing this issue, look for other indications of these multiple causes to reveal the most likely issue at play. For instance, if you are experiencing sudden, unexplained weight gain, fatigue, depression, and constipation along with the eyebrow hair loss, you are most likely looking at a thyroid issue and, therefore, should have your TSH levels tested. As always, the treatment will vary depending on the specific causes.
11. Deep groove on the side of the outer eye:
If you notice a single, deep groove stemming from the outer eye and coming outward (we’re not talking about crow’s feet), it may indicate low reproductive energy. This can cause issues such as menstrual disorders, infertility, low libido, menopausal issues, impotence, and other related disorders. Often, treatment of these issues involves proper diet, lifestyle, and herbal treatment that will remove the cause and nourish these organs.
12. Deep nasal groove:
If you notice deep grooves on the outside of the nostrils, this is showing low lung energy, chronic allergies, or a history of respiratory illness. This could be a general weakness in the area, although it most likely stems from a history of asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, or something similar. When this deep groove is seen, one should work to strengthen the lungs with the appropriate herbs, while avoiding potential allergies and other triggers such as overexertion, etc. If there is congestion and mucus in the lungs, there is most likely a Kapha disorder; dryness and tightness will reveal a Vata condition; inflammation and infection presume a Pitta imbalance.
13. Earlobe crease:
Amazingly enough, even the lines on your earlobe can indicate your current health condition and future risks. If you see a line that runs downward or sideways on the earlobes, you are most likely seeing a sign of high cholesterol and potential risk for future heart disease. These are both considered a Kapha disorder and, therefore, you will likely benefit from a Kapha-pacifying diet and lifestyle regimen while taking an herbal formula that works to reduce cholesterol levels and strengthen the heart.
14. Prominent philtrum:
Although a prominent philtrum is often interpreted as an attractive feature, it is actually an indication of a low libido and potentially weak reproductive organs. Therefore, if you are seeing a prominent philtrum above your lip, you may benefit from a rejuvenating regimen that works to strengthen the reproductive organs and increase overall sexual potency.
15. Dimples on cheeks:
Although there is no denying how cute a nice set of dimples can be, according to Ayurveda they are actually a sign of low reproductive energy. This may be seen as an obvious dimple in the cheek area (pictured here), or can also show up as a vertical line or crease where the dimple typically lies. Either way, this may be an indication of a current low libido, menstrual disorders, hormonal issues, impotence, infertility, or a future indication of issues to come and should be addressed accordingly.
16. Horizontal groove below the lower lip:
If your chin is sporting a horizontal groove (often curved slightly downwards), this is most likely an indication of deep-seated, unresolved grief held in the body. Alternatively, this may also be a sign of a low libido (or both). If you suspect unresolved grief, this can be remedied by using some subtle tools to release stored emotions, allowing them to be safely processed. This may include yoga, meditation, pranayama, self-care techniques, journaling, therapy, or talking with loved ones. Whatever method resonates with you, make it a part of your routine, moving slowly to avoid releasing too much emotion all at once!
17. Dimple on chin (cleft chin):
The classic dimpled chin has more meaning than just a unique facial feature. It may be a sign that there is a weak prostate (or cervix in females), and can be a prodromal sign of issues to come in these vital organs. Therefore, an individual with a dimpled chin should take precautions and strengthen the prostate (or cervix) before any obvious disorder occurs.
17. Double chin:
Not surprisingly, a double chin is considered a sign of a Kapha imbalance and can indicate current or future hypothyroidism. If this is the case, the Kapha should be pacified through diet, lifestyle, and herbal treatments while working to increase the metabolism to prevent or treat low thyroid energy.
Now that you have a better idea of what the lines on your face are revealing, the question is: What can you do with your findings? Of course, this will look different for each individual since the causes of these issues may come from genetics, improper diet, improper lifestyle, or general misuse (or all of the above). Once you realize the potential health issues that are prevalent, you can examine further to find out the causes. While you work to remove the causes (this is not always easy), you can simultaneously take herbs, and follow the appropriate diet and lifestyle plan that will help strengthen the affected organs or systems.
For example, if you have several lines pointing to low liver energy, you can examine possible causes. Perhaps you find there are liver issues prevalent in your family and you also have a mild history of consistent alcohol intake and deep-rooted anger (the liver is the organ of anger). You would then work to reduce the alcohol consumption while also taking some liver strengthening herbs such as Guduchi, Kutki and Neem. You can also perform a mild detox to flush out toxins and then go on a Pitta-reducing diet. You will also need to address any anger issues and work to create emotional balance while processing through volatile emotions that have been stored in your body. This can be done through meditation, yoga, pranayama, and other methods of healing the body and mind.
Before trying out any magical wrinkle treatment, first examine a bit deeper and discover what your face is trying to tell you. Although some facial lines are easier to reduce than others, treating the root causes will not only give you a more youthful appearance but will also increase your inner health and wellness.
Loving Life and Living Love,
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Thanks to friend and yogi, Rukmini Ali Shevlin, BestYOULife followers will be treated to a series of Guest Blogs. I hope you will enjoy reading the series on balance that will come out once a month. Ali also offers special services in Ayurveda and crystal healing.
For more from Ali Shevlin, check out her website http://purepranaayurveda.com.
What does “balance” mean to you?
I should probably admit from the start that I still don’t definitively know the answer to that question myself. Neither am I entirely sure what being “in balance” really means, beyond standing on one leg on my yoga mat. It’s a term that gets tossed around a lot, with encouragement from all sides to find the right work-life balance, to eat a perfectly balanced diet, to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, to be emotionally and mentally balanced. You’d think everyone was doing it….and yet, from my experience and the experience of those I’ve talked to about it, somehow it’s elusive. It’s like the Holy Grail. Everyone idolizes “balance”, and yet no one tells you how to achieve it, where to find it, what it really means, or even whether it truly exists.
My journey and my exploration of the idea of balance started with the realization that, whatever the ideal of “balance” was, I wasn’t it. The work-life scales were firmly weighted towards work, and I don’t think I’d eaten anything remotely resembling a decent diet for years. As a consequence, and despite all appearances to the contrary, I had a lifestyle that was not truly healthy physically, mentally, or emotionally. I looked fine but I didn’t feel good. Yet I didn’t know what good felt like, and finding the way is hard when you don’t know your destination.
I had vague ideas of what I was doing wrong. I kept telling myself that “more balance” was needed, but I had no idea of what that truly meant. Every so often I would try to eat a few more substantial meals to counter the days I sometimes went without, and I would do some work-related reading or planning in an essential oil bath instead of at my desk. And after a few weeks, I would wonder why I still wasn’t feeling that zen-like sweet spot where the scales of illness, anxiety, and depression weren’t tipping one way or the other.
It took a long time for me to realize that being “in balance” meant something far deeper than what the books and articles I read hinted at, and even longer to realize what being “in balance” might mean for me. And through months of journaling, reading, reflecting, being sick, being well, crying, laughing, and standing on one leg, these ideas of what balance is - and what it is not - represent my own journey so far, from where I started to where I am now.
Balance is not “one size fits all”.
Despite endless studies and health organizations and “experts” claiming that everyone should be eating certain foods in a certain way, living certain lifestyles and doing certain things in order to be healthy and balanced, my own experience has shown the opposite - that in fact we are all completely, wonderfully unique. What feels good to one person is guaranteed to not suit someone else, and that goes for diet, exercise, lifestyle, work-style, sleep patterns….and so on. There is no one prescription for balanced wholeness.
Balance is not a “quick fix”.
Given that nothing works completely for everyone all of the time, finding what does work for you at any given moment is a game of trial and error. It takes time, patience, curiosity, and a hefty dose of self-love and compassion. You will get it wrong. There will be times when you curse yourself for taking on that extra project at work, and there will be times when you really wish you hadn’t taken a day off. You’ll end up eating foods that your body didn’t really want right then. Sometimes you’ll sleep more than you feel is good, and sometimes you’ll have nights when you stay up late watching TV and then barely get to sleep at all. Learning to accept all of that as new knowledge and awareness, rather than mistakes to beat yourself up over, is all part of the fun.
Balance means getting to know yourself.
All that new knowledge and awareness over what works for you and what doesn’t means that, even if you don’t feel even remotely balanced yet as a result of your experiments, you are getting to know yourself. You are discovering who you are, beyond what your friends and family and society and culture say you should be. It’s powerful and scary at the same time, especially if you discover that you don’t “fit in” after all. And yet achieving our own unique balance requires that we are true to our own unique selves - our inner Truth, our Self. Not following our own path, however hard it may feel, is actually the quickest way to imbalance.
Balance does not mean being happy all the time.
People often assume that being “in balance” means that everything is going to be perfect. If you’re in balance, you never get sick or tired or depressed or angry, right?
Nothing in nature is perfect all of the time, including you. Everything has its time to flourish, and everything then has its time to rest. Those feelings of exhaustion, or wanting to cry for no apparent reason, or wanting to scream into a pillow, actually need to be safely honored, not pushed away. They are just as much a part of you as the happy smiles and laughter, and they need to be loved and nourished just as much. I discovered that balance, to me, is at least partly about accepting that no part of me is “bad”.
Balance is natural - balance is nature.
Nothing in nature is perfect all of the time…..and yet nature is the most perfect example of balance we have. It’s a delicate balance that is often thrown by human activity and ignorance but, left to her own devices, Mother Earth has the most amazing way of maintaining harmony. If we want a beautiful, living example of what balance can be, we only have to look outside.
Balance is harmony with nature and natural rhythms / cycles.
We are part of Mother Earth. We do not live in an environment - we are the environment. Fundamentally, we are made up of the same elements as everything else on this planet - we are not a species apart. The Earth is naturally balanced, and it follows that, if we listen and attune ourselves and begin to follow the natural rhythms and cycles that are laid out for us, we could be more balanced too.
Balance is a state where everything has its place.
In nature, everything has a place and a role to play. Even mosquitoes. Learning and accepting that every single part of you, and every single part of the world around you, has a part and a role to play too is one of the massive challenges of any journey towards health and wholeness - and yet the key is in the word. Wholeness. We cannot be whole if we reject certain things that we don’t like, and if we aren’t whole we cannot be balanced.
So, as a kind of conclusion and summing up of these ideas, I came up with this:
Balance is a state where every part of you - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual - is loved, accepted, nourished and honored.
Balance is true alignment with inner Self and Mother Earth (and God, if you’re so inclined) - which are really one and the same thing.
So easy to say, and yet so hard to do!
This series of articles will be exploring the elements of balance that I’ve discovered on my own journey. I’m still on that path and probably always will be, so I’m definitely no expert! But I’m excited about sharing that journey with you. Next month I’ll be exploring more the idea of balance as harmony with nature, since that has really impacted me in my own lifestyle and ways of thinking. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your own stories and thoughts!
You can find me through my website http://purepranaayurveda.com, or get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank You to my dear friend, Ali!
Loving Life and Living Love,
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I welcome you to leave a comment below or post one on my BestYOU Facebook page.
Sharing your thoughts is a gift to all of us!