Admiring those glowing faces in beauty cream advertisements, we often wonder if we too could have a skin so young and beautiful. Well, it’s not a far-fetched dream anymore! Now you too can flaunt healthy, radiant skin that draws attention. And the good news is: no chemicals and no pricey beauty packages. Just a simple four-letter word – yoga – and a glow on the face that lasts for long is yours to keep.
But before we talk about the solution, let’s first understand where skin problems such as wrinkles and dark spots stem from.
Common causes of skin problems
• Some women start wrinkling premature, primarily due to stress or unhealthy lifestyle practices such as smoking, alcohol, drug addiction, and wrong food habits.
• Acne is another common skin problem among women of all age groups. Sometimes, it could occur due to hormonal changes in the body. There’s nothing to worry about because it heals itself as time passes.
• Improper digestion also shows up in the form of pimples.
5 yoga tips for healthy skin
1. Practice asanas (yoga postures) which help increase blood circulation to the head and face area. Some examples are Cobra Pose, Fish Pose, Plow Pose, Shoulder Stand, Triangle Pose, and Child Pose. These postures also increase oxygenation to the system; as such are called chest openers. All inverted postures and forward bends, which increase blood supply to the head, can help achieve clean, glowing skin.
2. For some women, acne usually gets more problematic in summer, especially with women who have an oily skin. Cooling pranayamas (breathing exercises), such as Sheetali and Sheetkari, can help provide a cooling effect to the skin and retain its glow. Also, learn the Jalneti technique at Art of Living Yoga and practice it everyday.
It facilitates physical and emotional cleansing. The ShankhPrakshalan process taught at the program is also very effective in this regard. Make sure to do it once every six months.
3. To improve the digestive process, try doing Wind-Relieving Posture (Pavanamuktasana), Kneeling Pose (Vajrasana), Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), NadiShodhan pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing), and KapalBhati pranayama (Skull-Shining Breathing Technique), on empty stomach. KapalBhati, an effective detoxifying technique, is aptly named so as Kapal means forehead and Bhati means glowing. Through forceful exhalation in this process, detoxification happens, the first effect of which shows in the form of naturally glowing skin.
4. Meditate twice a day, every day. The more you do, the more you will radiate from within and without. Who needs makeup then? Meditation will be your natural make-up that lasts long and makes you look beautiful!
5. Practice at least 20 minutes of facial yoga exercises everyday at home. These will help tighten the face muscles. Massage your jaws to reduce stress, massage your eyebrows for a dose of instant relaxation, try the ‘kiss and smile technique’ (push out your lips as though to kiss a baby and then smile as broadly as you can) to exercise your face muscles.
To naturally remove toxins from the system, doing some fast-paced yoga exercises such as quick rounds of Surya Namaskar which make you perspire is also a good idea.
Other tips to keep your skin glowing
• Drink lots of water: Lukewarm water with lemon and honey helps detoxify your system while keeping your skin clean and healthy. Also, the Patanjali Yoga Sutras mention Shaucha, or cleanliness of the body, mind, and speech, as the first of the five rules of yoga.
• Eat fresh: Make sure you include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C in your diet. Papaya can work wonders for your skin. You can either eat it or apply it on your face for a massage. Potato is also effective in reducing dark spots and scars, tan and sunburn.
Also, try and avoid too much of fried or junk food and excessive spice or sweets. Substitute chips or fried rolls with dry fruits or some other healthy snacks. It’s also a good idea to check your body type – Vata, Pitta, or Kapha (a Sri Sri Ayurveda doctor can help you find this) – and know the kind of diet that is suitable to your unique body constitution.
• Rest well: When your body is deeply rested, it automatically shows on the face. A minimum of eight hours of good sleep is ideal.
• Apply natural stuff on your skin: Go for Ayurveda facial packages. Sri SriPanchakarma has some on offer for you. These treatments are chemical-free, made from natural herbs and leave your skin fresh, rejuvenated and glowing. Use Ayurvedic face scrubs once a week and massage your face with an oil that is particularly suitable for your skin type.
Vitamin E oil is recommended. Moisturize your face twice a day and make sure you wash your face after returning home from a long day. Also, splash water on your eyes at least 2-3 times a day. Give yourself a weekly body massage with an oil suitable to your body type. It cleanses the toxins away.
• Smile: This is the best and the easiest make-up you can apply on your face. The more you smile, the more your face would naturally glow! Also, keep a positive attitude. How you look at yourself reflects on your face. Yoga practice can help you become positive about yourself and others around, and this positivity will make you glow!
Note: Take the tips mentioned above as preventive more than curative. Regular yoga practice will keep acne worries at bay and keep you glowing longer. Gift your skin a Part-I or Art of Living Yoga Program today!
(Written by Pritika Nair based on inputs by Dr. Sejal Shah, Art of Living Yoga teacher.)