Doesn’t yoga seem to be the cure-all for everything these days?
Arthritis, diabetes, depression, the list goes on and on. Can there be any truth in the claims made about this practice, the exercise of choice for many Hollywood A-listers. Is yoga really the fountain of eternal youth? There is a lot of hype surrounding the subject. The yoga industry is booming, but can this ancient philosophy really help us to achieve glowing, radiant, younger-looking skin?
In a word, yes. In another word, absolutely.
Yoga helps to give skin a healthy glow by stimulating certain hormones, aiding digestion and promoting restful sleep. Yoga really goes against modern thinking, which tries to heal the skin topically. It instead focuses on healing the body from the inside, out. Some poses are better for the skin than others and guess what? I am about to let you in on this best kept secret that is 3500 years young!
Fighting dullness in the skin by ensuring hormone levels are balanced
If there is too much testosterone in the body, it can lead to an acne breakout or create dullness in the skin. There is a fine balancing act carried out by the body to ensure there is enough estrogen to counter the surges in testosterone levels, but if your body is not able to get this balance correct, it is your skin that will suffer. Yoga can play a part in helping relieve this imbalance. There are many asanas (yoga postures) that can be carried out to stimulate the production of estrogen.
Cat pose or Marjariasana , stimulates and massages the ovaries while also bringing blood to the brain. It is in the brain where many trigger hormones are released. These trigger hormones send a message to the body asking it to release estrogen. Through this, a natural state of equilibrium in the body can be achieved, which helps clear up spots and acne.
Yoga helps to detoxify the body through movement
Dynamic groups of movements like the sun salutations can help raise heart rate so you can break a sweat. This natural sweating process can help rid the body of toxins thus flushing out chemicals that might be responsible for lacklustre skin. At the same time, blood circulates quicker around the body, carrying more oxygen and regenerating cells with the delivery of nutrients. You’ll be glowing in no time.
Yoga stimulates digestion
There is a wealth of work published on the ‘brain-gut axis’ and the importance of digestion across almost all of our body’s key functions. Poor digestion is a leading cause of poor skin health. For example, dry skin can be caused by an inability to digest fat properly. The best posture for digestion is the aptly names wind-relieving pose or Pawanmuktasana . It can help massage the intestines as well as cure constipation. Once things start moving and bodily waste is being flushed out efficiently, you should notice a significant improvement in your skin.
Yoga will get you a better quality of beauty sleep
We all know the importance of sleep as part of our beauty regimen. Sleep is a chance for rest and regeneration of cells. How can yoga help? Yoga asanas as well as pranayama (controlled breathing techniques) can help send you into a deeper, better quality of sleep. A Harvard study found that when the sleep patterns of individuals who did yoga every day were compared to those who did not practice, those that did, had a better quality of sleep. They slept more deeply and fell asleep more easily. So please get your head in downward dog and then down on that pillow!
Pranayama and radiant skin
Pranayama roughly translated, means the control of life force or breath. Pranayama is the umbrella term for a number of voluntary breathing techniques in yoga. These techniques are just as important as the postures, but less is known about them in the mainstream as the postures are used by many people in isolation as a form of exercise
How can pranayama help your skin achieve a state of glowing perfection?
Kapalabhati is one very active breathing technique which involves the forceful expulsion of air. This forceful exhalation is said to have strong cleansing effects. Also known as the skull shining technique, it can be practiced while visualising a pufirying white light entering the top of the head. Kapalabhati is thought to release negative emotions. Since we carry a lot of our daily stresses in our facial muscles, the immediate release of such worries will give a fresh and healthy glow.
Yoga, both asana and pranayama can help you get younger, softer, more radiant skin. Yoga works to heal your skin from the inside out, promoting rest and regeneration, removing toxins, improving circulation, balancing hormones and calming the mind.
So, what are you waiting for? Start your daily practice today!
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International.
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