Martha Soffer is the founder Suriathe recognized leader of Santa Monica’s present Ayurveda. A teacher, lecturer and recognized expert in the field, Marta focuses on “Ayurveda for Modern Living” through a system of practical and simple self-service, helping each person achieve balance and wellness through healing retreats, beauty restoration, wellness and nutrition, and educational guidance and support. Martha also works with doctors who refer patients when Western medicine fails to provide a satisfactory solution. With the Surya team, Marta brings long-term vitality and health to clients ranging from housemates to top stars in the film and entertainment industries.
Even on Sundays, I wake up early—around 5:30 or 6 a.m. I like to meditate and pray for forgiveness when things are quiet. I usually wake up excited about the people I’m helping, what they’re healing, what their problems are, what I can do for them, but I don’t want to do that unless I’m meditating. i love TM (transcendental meditation), which I have been doing for 34 years. I do the extended version after the usual 20 minutes. It gives me deep rest and extra vigor, and it puts the world right. Besides, I write to the bank. It’s not because I don’t have a great toilet (unless we’re sleeping in a yurt on our hill), it’s because I have a great garden, and the first morning urine diluted to 50% water is incredible for plants (high in sulfites, potassium, phosphorus, etc.). This may sound strange, but it is traditional in many cultures, and certainly in Ayurveda. It took a while to convince my husband, Roger, but now it’s just routine (and our garden is thriving!).
After meditation, for my skin, I do little dry combing with Bass Bamboo Dry Facial Brush or a Horshana, which is a rapid rubbing of the body in raw silk gloves to stimulate circulation. Then I do a short self-massage, and Abhyanga, with one of Surya’s four vegetable oils. I choose the one I feel is right for the balance for the day. When I shower, I apply soap only to the yoni so that the body butters penetrate deeper into my tissues. For my face I start with Holy rose waterwhich helps with my freckles and general cooling, then do a facial massage with Kansa Ayurvedic Wand and Surya Face Oil, which is rich in herbs and made with various milks that help rejuvenate the skin. I am contacting Surya Balancing Collagen Cream, which is based on a recipe passed down through many generations of women in my family, combined with everything I have learned in 30 years of Ayurvedic practice. If Surya has anything magical, it’s the collagen cream. We even do it on a full moon, with all the traditional mantras. I also use Santa Maria Novella Solar screen to protect my skin from excess sun.
So, not much meditation, a bit of beauty, and then, on Sunday, it could be anything. I love going to farmer’s markets, movies, hiking, flea markets, and gardening, and at the end of every Sunday we try to have a Colombian family dinner. My kids and their partners come over, maybe a family friend or two, and I cook Ajiaco. This is a traditional soup made of corn, potatoes, and then you add whatever you like on the table – chicken, capers, avocado, cream. Or I make something else, like empanadas. But mostly it’s a family, we’re all together, talking, laughing, sharing and even dancing after dinner.
I follow the same beauty routine as on Sunday, but before work, once a week or more often if I can, I do a few Qigong with a great master named Concha. It’s right on the Bluffs in Santa Monica, about three minutes from the Surya Spa, so it’s super convenient and instantly calming and energizing. As one of the services available to guests, Koncho also does chi treatments for our clients Panchakarma in Surya. During the day, it’s clients and consultations, meetings with many people in treatment rooms and Zoom registrations with distant clients. Then in the evening, when I get home before bed, I wash my face with the Surya Collagen Cleanser, which helps tighten the skin. It’s not on the market yet, but it will be soon. I apply a little rose water in the morning, then Balancing facial oiland finally Balancing collagen creamand at night I use extra collagen cream because it acts as a mask that lasts all night and acts as a rejuvenating cream while I sleep.
It is the same beauty routine in the morning and in the evening. But the day is always different and sometimes I see many, many clients, so in the evening at home, apart from meditating, I like to walk in the garden or feed the hummingbirds (we have so many in our house! ) and I like to cook even a simple dinner for myself and Roger. If it’s not too late, Roger and I will snuggle up on the super-soft couch and watch a movie or an episode of whatever great show we’re interested in. During COVID, Roger put in a projector and pop-up screen, so our house really feels like a movie theater – but very cozy and fun.
I like to do a couple of masks a week. I switch them up according to my skin’s needs, but one of my favorites is the potato mask. I cut off the tip of the potato, then rub the open potato on my face. You let the juice dry and that’s it, it’s incredibly easy and super effective for wrinkles and skin tightening in general. It’s also very inexpensive! I leave it on for about 45 minutes (while I meditate), but even five minutes is beneficial. After that, I just rinse it off and I’m done!
Once a week I do a special cupping of the face – not from glass, but from a soft silicone cup. My favorite set is this one Gym for skin one from Citrine Natural Beauty Bar. I apply a facial oil, then use my favorite blend of essential oils: Floracopeia Helichrysum essential oil blend. I rub one or two drops on each side of my face, then on my forehead. Using one of the smaller silicone cups (so the suction wasn’t too strong), I squeeze the cup to create suction and then slide it up each side of my face to my hairline. I slide it across my forehead, then from my eyebrows to my hairline. At the end, starting at the hairline, I move the cup along both sides of the face to the left and right collarbones. Afterwards, my skin may be a little red for 10-15 minutes, but afterwards it looks – and feels (and is!) – rejuvenated.
At the end of the week, when I can de-stress a bit, I do a special mask/bath in the evening after dinner. For the mask, I make a clay mask mixed with healing botanicals (I like to use things like them, aloe vera, honey, royal jelly, cocoa and raw egg), put it on and take one of the Surya baths. I choose the type of Bath Soak based on what I feel I need at that moment – Soothing, Cooling, Muscle reliefand The hormone is calming — but really, they’re all literally spa treatments that anyone can do at home. You will immediately feel the healing effect – it is deep and lasts. And the way I do it, you get a little facial therapy at the same time!
Before meditating, if I know I have a little extra time, I mix a hair mask with eggs, avocado, vinegar, lemon, olive oil, coconut oil and a special Surya vegetable oil that we make for clients at the spa. Because of the avocado, it turns beautifully green. I massage it into my scalp and all over my hair. I put on a plastic shower cap so I don’t mess up anything I can lean on and wrap it all up in a towel to create warmth that helps absorb all the beneficial properties of the oils and plants. Ideally, I leave it on for an hour (my combined meditation and beauty moment!) and then wash it off in the shower. Hair mask helps prevent hair loss, reduces dandruff, makes hair extremely shiny and soft.
Saturday is also a great day for yoga—we have a great one Dosha yoga teachers at Surya, and from time to time I hire them myself to work on opening whatever needs to be opened in my body. Saturday is also Yoni day. We make Yoni steamers at Surya, but they are just as easy to make at home. We also do a Yoni cream, which moisturizes and soothes our most delicate skin. Saturday is also a great day to catch up on your Italian lessons. I like Duolingo and I sometimes practice my Italian while I’m doing steam. Finally, Roger and I usually make Saturday night a great date night, maybe in Santa Monica Birdie G’s, Village canyonor Tallulah, where we talk about anything and everything. We both love good food, especially when it’s organic and made with love.
And this is really my mantra – everything I do, I try to do with love, for others and for myself. This is the right energy. I think we all know that. It is a healing energy that makes us feel at home, and when we are in this energy, we there is at home, with yourself and with each other. Then we feel beautiful, look beautiful, and we are beautiful. This is my week!
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this bewildering world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you purchase something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn a commission.
Like what you see? How about another R29 of goodness, right here?