Yoga for the Skin

How does yoga benefit our skin?

Yoga helps you relax, which reduces inflammation. Yoga reduces stress, and which can also benefit your skin.

Lots of studies support the idea that yoga helps you relax. In 2012, for example, researchers at UCLA found that chanting a yogic meditation for just 12 minutes daily for eight weeks helped participants reduce the body’s inflammation response. Inflammation is a normal response to stress and besides the sun, is one of the worst things that can happen to skin. It’s linked to acne, redness, rashes, fine lines and wrinkles, allergic reactions, sensitivity, and more. Yoga also improves circular boosting the nutrients to the skin

Yoga poses and deep breathing helps get your blood moving and that’s good for your skin. Why?

When you don’t get enough blood to the skin your face may look pale, pasty, or dull. A lack of nutrients can slow healing, making blemishes last longer. It can also slow down collagen production which is key for firm, taut skin and rob the skin of the nutrients it needs to hold onto moisture resulting in dryness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Good circulation brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells and also helps to flush cellular debris away so it can’t sit around and cause problems. Poor circulation can lead to puffiness around the eyes, caused by fluid retention. Getting that circulation moving on a regular basis can help prevent that.

Yoga has shown in a number of studies to help stimulate healthy circulation. Research has found that it increases blood flow and levels of haemoglobin and red blood cells which result in more oxygen to reach body cells, enhancing their function. Want to get a little flush to your face? Try an inverted pose!!

Yoga helps improve digestion which keeps skin clear

Do you suffer from acne? you may want to check into a yoga class. Improved digestion can help keep skin clear and healthy. Several studies have shown that yoga can help alleviate minor digestive problems and encourage normal, healthy digestion. For one thing, it reduces stress, which can ease digestive woes. Excess stress has been linked to constipation and diarrhoea. But certain poses are also known to help stimulate digestion.

  • Left side-lying savasana, for instance (also called corpse pose), opens up the right side after a meal, which is your digestive side. (Simply lie on your left side after a big meal.)
  • Apanasana (knees to chest pose) also helps massage the abdominals and lower back, which can ease digestion. (Like on your back and draw your knees into your chest, you can circle them side to side to add the massage effect.
  • The common cat/cow pose (in which you get on your hands and knees and alternately arch your back, then round your back) is also good for stimulating the digestive system.

A 2013 study found that yoga showed promise in helping to ease the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and some people have found it effective in easing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Keeping your digestive tract healthy through yoga may give you the added benefit of clear, calm skin.

Facial yoga naturally massages skin improving circulation

Though studies are still inconclusive about facial yoga, a lot of people who have tried it swear by the results. A series of exercises designed specifically for the face, it helps strengthen and tone the muscles in the face which is a powerful benefit on its own. Facial yoga can help you look younger, relaxing tension-filled expressions, smoothing the appearance of skin, and even creating the effect of a natural facelift.

Yoga Improves circulation which helps with anti-ageing of the skin. Yoga poses and deep breathing helps get your blood moving and that’s good for your skin. When you don’t get enough blood to the skin your face may look pale, pasty, or dull. A lack of nutrients can slow healing, making blemishes last longer.

A study in 2008 found that yoga practitioners were better able to regulate their bodies stress responses, which could translate into reduced heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and easier respiration, all signs of greater relaxation. And in a 2005 study, women who took two 90-minute yoga classes a week for three months significantly improved their feeling of well-being, reduced stress, depression, anxiety, and fatigue and felt younger and more vibrant.

Reducing inflammation and stress allows the skin to perform its regular functions without interruption. That means faster skin healing, a more intact outer barrier, and healthy moisture levels, which all translate to younger looking skin.

In short, Yoga is the fountain of youth, why not give it a try!

Some postures to try.

Half Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana) in Sanskrit

Technique:

  • Begin in a supported by lying flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides, palms down. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet flat on the floor.
  • On an inhalation, use your abdominal muscles to lift your legs and hips off the floor. Curl your torso and bring your knees in toward your face. Then lift your hips and bring your torso perpendicular to the floor.
  • Bend your elbows and place your hands on your lower back with your fingertips pointing up toward the ceiling. Keep your elbows on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Do not let your elbows splay out to the sides.
  • When you are comfortable lift your thighs so they are vertical to the floor, keeping your knees bent. Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone. Then straighten your legs fully and reach your feet up to the ceiling. Lift through the heels of your feet.
  • Try to bring your shoulders, hips, and feet into one line.
  • Keep your head and neck in line with your spine and do not turn your head. Draw your shoulders away from your ears.. Keep a space between your chin and chest, and soften your throat. Gaze toward your chest.
  • Hold the pose for 10-25 breaths. More advanced practitioners can hold the pose for five minutes or longer.
  • To release the pose, slowly lower your back onto the floor with your palms on the floors using your hands like bracks so you come down slowly releasing one vertebra at a time, bending your knees if you need to and especially if you have a problematic back.

 

Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) in Sanskrit

Technique:

  • In Downward Dog place your feet hip distance apart with your toes pointing to the front edge of your mat.
  • Ease your heels towards the floor, don’t worry if they’re not near or on the floor, this takes time and is not the end goal…you will be benefiting regardless of where your heels are.
  • Bend your knees: Let go of the intensity and relax. If you are looking to find a bit more comfort and relaxation in your Down Dog, take a slight bend in your knees and lift your heels an inch or two off of the ground. This will protect your back if there’s an issue already and will give your back a stretch without hurting. You can even roll up a mat or blanket and place it beneath your heels for more support.
  • Trust me, this tip is a game changer!!
  • Support your hands and wrists:
  • I often hear people complain that their hands or wrists feel discomfort or pain in Downward Dog. To remedy this, first, make sure that your hands are placed shoulder distance apart.
  • Next, check your fingers. Ideally, you want your middle finger pointing straight ahead with your fingers spread wide. Take a slight bend in your elbows, as this will ensure that the weight of your body is being supported properly by the muscles in your arms, rather than the bones. If you’ve made all of these adjustments and find that you need more support, try placing a rolled towel or blanket under the base of your palms to create a cushion for your wrist.

 

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