I bet when you read the title, mentioning ‘skincare’ you would have thought ‘another article recommending some fancy skincare product. Well, actually no! This article has nothing to do with recommending products or it’s application etc. This article illustrates the simple working of your mind, body and soul to give you that glowing skin that you always wanted. In short I am talking about YOGA. Yes, you read it right! Yoga in its righteous definition is the harmony of the mind, body and soul through the practice of different asanas and Pranayama(breathing). An important beneficiary of this practice is your skin.
The next question that comes to mind is how is yoga helping your skin? Yoga broadly helps the skin in two ways-:
1. Reduction of stress: Stress, which includes mental, physical and emotional ones is the number one enemy of your skin in every way possible. It cause premature ageing, dullness, breakouts etc. A key component of any yoga practice is breathwork. The breath is the vital connection to your mind, body and soul. Yoga breathing also called Ujjayi or deep breathing helps you bring your focus to your breath. Once you concentrate on your breathing, the mind and body slip into calmness and meditation. Focussing on your breath and consciously relaxing is reversing the ill effects of stress and tension on your skin.
2. Flushing out toxins: Ever heard that your skin needs to breathe? There are a lot of toxins in our bodies in the form of particulate matter, and even negative energy that prevents your skin to breath. Yoga helps flush them out through the asana and pranayama practice. The different poses and breathing in thoses poses challenge your body and your flexibility. But, a bigger benefit is that it stretches your muscles and thus, improving blood circulation. Better circulation, in turn, increases the rate of detoxification in our body mainly through the skin by way of sweating. Yoga helps speed up the natural cleansing process.
As a beginner, you can start with the following suggestions to incorporate Yoga into your day to day life-:
1. Gentle Stretches and pose: If you are a beginner start with some simple Yoga poses and stretches that help increases blood circulation to your face and head. Some of the easy ones are-:
Forward bend or Uttanasana: One of the simplest poses is to bend at the waist and hang forward. You can let your arms dangle or cross them over your head and hold your elbows. Don’t worry, You can bend as much as your flexibility allows.
2. Mountain Pose or Tadasana: It is a standing pose helps to concentrate on deep and rhythmic breathing that is a vital element of healthy skin. Stand straight with your feet flat and heels a little distance and base of big toes touching. Now, raise both hands and join them in a Namaste. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.
3. Cobra pose or Bhujangasana: This pose helps to supply extra oxygen to the skin cells which in turn helps the body to flush out the accumulated toxins from the system.Lie on your stomach with toes flat on the floor and hands placed on the shoulders. Take a deep breath in and gradually lift the head and torso off the floor, only keeping your navel on the floor. Support your torso up with your hands and straighten them so that your back is arched. Hold this pose for 15 seconds and gradually increase the duration.
3. Breathe, breathe and breathe: You can start with simple breathing to calm your mind and body. They supply more oxygen to your skin to bring out that natural glow. One of the most common breathing practice is Kapalbhati. In this technique, you need to sit with your legs folded in a comfortably and practice a deep inhale and multiple short forceful exhalations (you can start with 10 quick forceful exhalations). Do 3 sets of this and take 3-4 breaths in between each set.
Here is a tip: Calming your mind is not about throwing out your thoughts, it starts with simply focussing on your breath. When your mind wanders just bring it back to the breath.
After these stretches and breathing practices, rest by lying down on your back with your palms facing upwards (Also known as Savasana). This will allow your body to assimilate the benefits.
Yoga is an obvious skincare regime with permanent benefits. The results would be slowly but surely be seen over time if one is consistent with the practice. Unlike cosmetics which bring an immediate result but only last, up and until you continue to use the product. Post that your skin may even deteriorate! I believe beauty is skin deep (you may call me old fashioned!), but a natural glow on your skin is a manifestation of the harmony between your body, mind and soul. As a devoted practitioner of yoga, I know it is the only way to bring that harmony in your life.
Blog Post Contributed by Gayatri Iyer