Here’s some great news for all you yoga lovers out there – not only is yoga amazing for our mind and bodies for myriad reasons, but it seems that there’s another, less obvious way that it benefits our bodies: it contributes to healthy, glowing, amazing skin. How? Once you start to think about it, it makes perfect sense:
Practicing yoga helps our skin in 2 main ways. The first is by reducing the taxing effects of stress on the body and skin, with its focus on deep breathing, calming the mind and slipping into a state of relaxed meditation. Stress, as we know, is detrimental to our skin in just about every way and causes the skin to age much faster than it should, by causing fine lines and wrinkles and breaking down the healthy structure of the dermis – and contributes to breakouts and inflammation. By focusing on your breath and consciously relaxing during your yoga practice, your are helping your skin battle the aging effects of stress and are restoring its health with each deep breath.
It’s well known that yoga reduces toxins in the body, but it’s not obvious that this process would benefit the skin as well. In fact it does – yoga increases circulation and blood flow in the body, which increases the natural detoxification rate of our skin and organs like liver and kidneys. It helps our bodies to purge its poisons faster and more efficiently. Our skin is one of our body’s main routes of eliminating toxins, both through sweating and, of course, breakouts and inflammation. Yoga helps speed up this naturally healthy cleansing process.
Below are a few pose suggestions that help stimulate the body in a way that especially benefits the skin. Remember, don’t start to practice yoga intensely without warming up first, with some gentle stretches. It’s easy to pull a muscle if your body isn’t ready!
1: Standing Forward Bend. This might be one of the simplest yoga poses of all -simply bend at the waist and hang forward. You can let your arms dangle or cross them over your head and hold your elbows. It’s incredibly beneficial though as it reverses the direction of blood flow in the body and sends fresh blood to the face – which means increased oxygen to the skin’s cells, increased cell renewal, and fresh nutrients and antioxidants to fight free radicals. Start doing this pose daily for a minute or two at first, and then work up to five or six minutes. After the flush is gone, you’ll experience a healthy glow.
2: Chair Pose. Stand straight with the arms high above the head, and bend your knees to make your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible. Your chest will lean slightly forward; try to keep about a 90 degree angle between your torso and thighs. Keep the thighs parallel to each other and hold for as long as you can – at least two minutes. This is a challenging pose that, as you hold it for longer, causes your heart to beat faster, which increases blood flow through the skin and causes it to sweat out impurities faster. Remember to breathe deep throughout the pose!
3: Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose. For this pose, use a pillow or blanket to support the small of your back as your legs are pressed up against a wall – if you are stiff, you should be a little farther from the wall, while if you’re flexible, be as close is as comfortable while leaving a bit of space between your sitting bones and the wall. Lie back and release your arms so that your palms face the ceiling, relax the neck and let your chest come up to your chin – don’t tip your chin down to your chest.
Inversion poses, in which some of your body is upside-down, are incredible for skin health as they really stimulate blood flow and circulate the blood through the body in a different way, which helps to spread nutrients and oxygen more evenly. (However, they’re challenging poses that shouldn’t be practiced by anyone who isn’t warmed up, or by women when they’re menstruating.)
4: Bharadvaja’s Twist. Start out sitting on the floor with your legs extended. Shift your weight to the right and swing your legs to the left so both lets are on the floor next to your left hip. On an exhale, twist your torso gently to the right- tuck your left hand under your right knee, and your right hand should be on the floor behind you. Turn your head and look over your right shoulder – breathe deep, and with each exhale, deepen the twist. Release on an exhale! (Twists are especially great for increasing circulation to the face and brain, great for improving the health of the face’s skin).
After yoga, always drink plenty of water and rest your muscles. Continue to breathe deep throughout the day to keep fresh oxygen in your bloodstream and you’ll reap the benefits. Of course, regular yoga will only benefit your skin and body if a healthy diet, exercise and plenty of water is part of your lifestyle as well, all of which help your body’s natural detox processes which will keep your skin glowing, clear and youthful!
Author: Tata Harper Team
The team at Tata Harper Skincare is passionate about promoting a modern, health-conscious natural beauty lifestyle that’s committed to safety, honesty and sustainability.