YOGA FOR GLOWING SKIN
Do you ever see seasoned yoga practitioners and wonder where they get that extra little sparkle? Just how do they achieve the inner glow that seems to radiate out of every pore- regardless of age? Is there some miraculous patchouli infused cream being secretly peddled in the back rooms of yoga studios?
Well, I’m here to spill the tea. There is no secret cream that the yoga community is hiding from you. It’s just a natural by-product of the yogic lifestyle. One thing that binds all practitioners of Yoga is the quest for union. Along the way in this journey, there are various practices that provide the yogi with improved mental, emotional, energetic, and physical health. Glowing skin is just one of the many benefits that yogis can gain from their practice. I like to call these extra benefits the “happy by- products”.
So, how can you achieve the yogi glow? It’s easy! Just apply some basic yogic principals to your routine and see the transformation for yourself.
- Practice Facial Friendly Postures (Asanas)
Inversions are especially great for getting healthy glowing skin. When we shift our heart higher than our head and get upside down, the blood flow stimulates facial capillaries and gives us a rosy glow while flushing fresh oxygen and nutrients into the area. Postures to try include Downward Facing Dog, Standing Forward Fold, Fish, Headstand, Shoulder stand, and Plow. Hold your chosen posture for 10 rounds of breath then rest in Childs’ pose for 10 rounds of breath. Repeat 3 times. You will literally turn a frown upside down!
- Use Breath Control Techniques (Pranayama)
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali pranayama is recommended as a purification technique used in conjunction with Asana and other yogic systems. There are many different methods for this practice described throughout various traditions and they are best taught by an experienced teacher. The Hatha Yoga Pradapika indicates that pranayama assists in clearing the energetic channels that we call nadis. With free flowing energy we appear more vibrant from the inside out. Additionally, deep breathing that utilizes the diaphragm aids in activating the lymphatic system which helps us to fight off infections. Deep, smooth breathing has also been shown to correlate with increased parasympathetic nervous system activation, a more balanced hormonal system, and reduced stress levels. These benefits are all good news for our skin as they reduce inflammation and promote a balanced complexion. So, how can you receive these benefits for yourself even if you haven’t been formally introduced to more advanced techniques? Taking long, deep, smooth, and even breaths is your express ticket. To start, sit down with your spine tall and close your eyes. Begin slowly counting to 8 as you inhale and then slowly count to 8 as you exhale. Your focus should be on eliminating any shakiness or choppiness from your breathing. Be mindful and if you feel dizziness simply return to your natural breath rhythm. Begin with 3 minutes and work your way up to 24 minutes.
- Eat Real Food That’s Good For You (Sattvik Diet)
As you’ve probably noticed by now, yogis take the phrase “keep it pure” (AKA- Sattvik) pretty seriously. This includes not only what we put on our skin, but also what we put into our bodies as fuel. Embrace plant based meals and nutrient rich fruits and veggies. Steer clear of processed food and anything that makes you feel sluggish. Remember that everyone is different and has different nutritional needs. What works for your best friend may not be what is optimal for you. Pay close attention and know your own constitution so that you can eat for vitality. Gut health is imperative to achieving healthy glow; so load up your plate with all the colors of the rainbow!
- Practice Meditation (Dhyana)
Meditation in a Yoga practice refers to a complete absorption with the universal divine. In order to achieve this state, yogis first practice preparatory techniques that help to focus the mind. As a result, mental and physical relaxation occurs. It has been shown that practicing meditation techniques causes cortisol levels to lower and melatonin levels to increase. This means experiencing fewer “stress breakouts” and getting a more restful night of sleep. Even just a few minutes of meditation per day can have you easily snuggling up for some beauty sleep.
How can you attain these benefits? I like to teach the “Palms Up, Palms Down” method. Begin by sitting comfortably on the ground with your spine long and tall. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and turn your palms gently upwards while imagining being showered with all that you need. Then breath out and gently turn your palms downwards while imagining emptying your hands of anything that holds you back or you need to let go of. Breathe deeply and slowly. If you become distracted, simply come back to the practice and begin again. Repeat as many times as you would like and relax your way to a fresh face!
So, there you have it! No special creams or potions. Just adopting a yogic lifestyle can help you look and most importantly FEEL better. Health and happiness affords us the ability to put our energy and time towards creating a more unified, peaceful, and flourishing environment. (And glow from within while we’re at it!) How will you practice today?