By Shahnaz Husain
A beautiful woman is one who values herself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Beauty is the total impact of all these aspects. Mind and body are inter-related; the state of one reflects on the other.
Yet another dimension is the soul, the inner beauty. It is more a part of us than mere body and mind; it is indestructible.
When we look around us, we find that all creation is filled with the beauty of the soul. Look at the colours of nature and see how the different greens blend together. Look at the setting sun - how the different hues of orange, yellow and red blend in harmony. So too a harmonious combination of body, mind and soul makes us more complete and at peace.
When I talk of the soul or the spiritual aspect, I refer to the inner self and its discovery. When you find it, you will also discover that inner beauty is far more impressive than external beauty. Then you will find that make-up, grooming, clothes, jewelry, and etiquette are all superficial. In fact, there is no need for these. Your inner beauty is actually the foundation of your personality and external beauty. In fact, the discovery of the inner self is in itself a kind of empowerment. Inner beauty creates harmony; it balances the inner and the outer self. Beyond the cacophony of the mind, there is a silence within which is the key to the self, harmony and peace.
Ancient Indian sages advocated yoga, pranayama and meditation to find this inner beauty, or self-
Breathing helps. You do not need to adopt a yogic posture. You may sit in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes and begin breathing, slowly and with ease. Allow your mind to follow your breathing as you inhale and exhale. You can continue breathing this way for two minutes, normally and easily, focusing your attention on your breath. If you begin to feel relaxed, continue for another few minutes. You will notice that your mind and body have relaxed - and you may even find that your mind is much quieter. Focus your attention on breathing, pushing away all other thoughts away for a few minutes.
Breathing exercises and meditation are like putting on make-up. You have to keep improving upon your skill. As you practice your conscious breathing everyday, you will get better with it, find relaxation, calm and peace. To go deeper into pranayama, it is best to learn it from a qualified teacher. Swami Vivekananda has said, "The science of breathing is the working through the body to reach the mind."
When you have practiced breathing and meditation for some time, your mind will become much more alert and clear. You will have more physical and mental energy. Your dealings with people improve. As your perspectives change, you begin to look at problems and issues differently, with more clarity and less ego. You will become more calm, regardless of circumstances. Indeed, meditation is the way to the fountain of youth and it is much more effective than all the beauty potions and cosmetic treatments to preserve youthfulness. You will not only look younger, but actually feel the vim and vigor.