Dermatologists have long reminded us of one thing: beautiful skin isn’t just a matter of slapping on an expensive cream or serum and waiting for it to weave its magic. Rather, it is the product of lifestyle choices – especially our nutritional intake and our level of physical activity. Yoga is a 5,000-year-old practice that involves the adoption of an entire lifestyle that fosters physical, mental, and spiritual health. Currently, is most often mentioned for its stress busting abilities and ability to boost our strength and flexibility, but it has many more hidden benefits, one of which is its effect on our skin.
Yoga Reverses Skin Aging at a Molecular Level
A 2016 study published in the journal Future Science OA found that specific yoga poses such as twisting, binding, and some back-bend positions can help detoxify skin and help us with insulin regulation and glucose control. As we perform the different asanas and improve muscle strength and flexibility, enhanced blood flow and increased uptake of glucose by our muscles enables us to significantly lower our blood glucose levels. This enables us to keep skin infections at bay. Yoga also brings about an overall improvement in the metabolic functioning of skin cells, enabling us to lower our triglyceride levels (high levels are associated with inflammation).
Yoga, Stress, and Skin
Excessive stress cause our skin to age for many reasons. As noted in a study published in the journal Inflammation and Allergy Drug Targets, high stress hormone levels have negative effects on everything from atopic dermatitis to wound healing, psoriasis, and even acne. Stress also provokes inflammation of the skin, which can cause skin to sag and look dull. Stress affects the skin in indirect ways as well, since it is often accompanied by an unhealthy lifestyle. Sleep deprivation, an unhealthy diet, and habits like smoking and drinking also promote inflammation and interfere with optimal skin cell functioning. Researchers recommend that those who are under stress consume a healthy diet that is rich in flavonoids (which fight the free radicals that play havoc on skin). Stress busting facials can help battle inflammation and stimulate collagen production as well. When having a facial, request that active ingredients containing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients be employed.
Ideal Yoga Poses for the Skin
To boost the benefits of yoga for the skin, make sure to include poses that increase blood flow to your face. These include the cobra, fish, and triangle pose. The cobra, for instance, opens up the chest muscle and improves oxygen delivery to the entire body. The camel pose also opens up the rib cage and improves lung capacity.
There are many asanas that improve oxygen flow and blood circulation. Concentrate on these for beautiful skin, embracing a wide variety of poses that open up the chest and increase circulation to your head. Support your daily yoga practise with a healthy diet comprising lean proteins, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Beautiful skin is the product of how you live, not just of the products you apply.
About the author:
SALLY PERKINS is a professional freelance writer with many years’ experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.