Ayurvastra, a 5,000 year old intuitive Indian practice

The clothes that are covering your body right now (unless you have found the magical path of medicinal dyes)–the ones that are likely unethically made, toxically processed, and chemically dyed–are soaking into your system through your skin, your largest organ. Our bodies are also constantly exposed to toxins in our food, the drugs we ingest, and simply the air we breathe. This unfortunate truth is our reality because of the fast paced, dollar oriented, and corporate world we currently live in. Fashion, food, and pharmaceutical industries are all top pollution contributors, as well as some of the top illness generators through their methods of exposing consumers, and the earth, to toxic chemicals.

I recently got back from a trip to India, and it was.. magical. The spiritual healing energy of the land, the detail oriented designs, and the colors everywhere were magnetic and inspiring. One of my main goals for the trip was to learn more about ayurvastra and ayurveda. Ayurvastra is a branch of ayurvedic medicine where cloth is dyed with plants and herbs to heal the body. It’s a 5,000 year old practice that originated in India and is still practiced today.

All the naturally dyed fabric!

All the naturally dyed fabric!

Although my trip wasn’t focused on ayurvastra, I did get to go to an 8th generation natural dye and block print house in Jaipur, make connections, and get my bearings for the land so I can return to learn even more.

India is actually one of the countries with the worst work place ethics and fairness. If you are interested in more information on that, I would recommend watching the documentary “The True Cost.” (it’s on netlfix)

Pulling the dyed fabric out a 12 foot indigo vat to lay it out to dry in the sun and dirt.

Pulling the dyed fabric out a 12 foot indigo vat to lay it out to dry in the sun and dirt.

I was happy to find a lot of shops that were advertising fair trade and support of women.

SO it felt really good to be able to support a family owned business where I met their workers and saw the facilities they spent their days in. A lot of the workers had been there for 40 years and were masters it was an absolute treat to get to watch.

This is something that is very important to me and they make beautiful fabrics I’m excited to use and source from again. A big plus is that since these beautiful fabrics were made in the magical land of India, you can feel the energy that lives in them. It is a soft, healing energy coming from the plants they’re dyed with and the attention and history that goes into each pattern.

Dyeing is one of my favorite parts of my process but to be able to cut patterns from a piece of fabric that has the same love put into it feels really really important and special.

Historical, spiritual, and medicinal qualities of plant dyes, such as madder root and indigo, are the qualities that I look for when selecting the color for the garments I create. A magical part about plants is that up until modern pharmaceuticals, herbal remedies were the main way to treat ailments. The same plants that were used to heal issues like inflammation, depression, and fevers can also turn a white fabric into a yellow, blue, red, orange, purple, or green fabric!

So much magic I still feel like a little kid whenever I think about the ethereal qualities of this pairing and deep connection!

Next week I'll do a bit more on plants, colors, and healing. But I’m looking forward to this fun new adventure I’m going on with my blessed Indian fabric~ I’m thinking big, new, majestic, intimate, beautiful, and of course, healing.

So much love and healing energy to you all~

love, Allysun

Allysun West