How Yoga Can Improve Your Skin
Yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years.
For a number of reasons! Not only can yoga be done just about everywhere, with no specialist equipment needed, but it also calms the mind, boosts the body and significantly improves the skin.
Yoga Boosts Circulation
Your blood circulation has a huge impact on the health and appearance of your skin. Those with a good circulation will likely have healthy, clear and fresh-looking skin, while those with poor circulation will experience the opposite.
How is circulation linked to skin health?
Well, your blood is what carries oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells. Good circulation means that your skin cells are receiving everything they need in order to thrive. On the other hand, poor circulation means that your skin cells are being deprived of vital nutrients and oxygen, causing them to suffer in various ways.
Yoga can help with this in a big way. In fact, even deep breathing exercises can have a positive impact on your circulation.
Wondering which yoga poses you should be doing to improve your circulation?
The inverted postures tend to be best. These place your heart below the other parts of your body, meaning that gravity pulls a larger amount of blood towards the heart, where it can then pump this evenly around the body. However, due to the fact that the heart has to work quite hard in order to pump against gravity, those with high blood pressure may be best avoiding inverted poses.
Standing yoga poses can be helpful too…
These strengthen the leg muscles, making them better at pumping blood back up to the heart. It also prevents the blood vessels from thickening, allowing your blood to freely flow through your body.
Here are a few circulation-enhancing yoga poses to try:
- The Downward Facing Dog – due to the way in which this pose places your hips above your heart, with your heart held above your head, this enables gravity to encourage a greater blood flow to your head. This pose also strengthens and improves circulation in the legs
- The Warrior II – this pose targets the muscles in the legs, causing them to compress and release. This helps to increase circulation in your legs, which improves circulation in the rest of your body too
- The Triangle – not only does this help with leg circulation, but it also improves circulation in the torso too, due to the way in which this pose opens up the lungs and chest
- Legs Up the Wall – this inversion pose enables the blood to flow more smoothly, reducing the amount of blood that pools up in any parts of the body, which can often occur due to age
Yoga Decreases Stress Levels
One of the reasons why yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years is because it is now being used as a stress management tool.
Research has found that 85% of people who do yoga have found it to be an effective way to relieve their stress.
Of course, any type of exercise can help with this, but yoga combines the physical with the mental, making it extremely powerful.
How exactly does yoga help with stress?
In a number of ways, including:
- Relaxes the body – the body will usually tense up during times of stress, but yoga helps to calm and relax it. Reducing physical tension helps to alleviate some of the symptoms of stress
- Relaxes the mind – yoga offers up similar mental benefits to meditation. It brings you awareness, clarity and focus, all of which help to relax the mind
- Promotes deep breathing – when you are stressed, your breathing will speed up and become quite shallow. This only causes your brain to believe that it is under even more stress, exacerbating your symptoms. Yoga requires you to breathe deeply and effectively, using your lungs and diaphragm to their full capacity. This immediately helps to reduce stress levels
- An energy release – stress is often caused by a build-up of negative emotions, especially if you are someone who doesn’t usually express these. Yoga enables you to release all of this negative energy, especially when it comes to poses that relax the shoulders and the hips
- A deeper understanding – yoga will help you to better understand the inner workings of your mind. This new awareness will help you to deal with stressful situations so much more effectively
Just a few yoga sessions have been shown to make a significant difference when it comes to keeping a person’s stress levels down.
Yoga Balances Hormone Levels
Your hormones have a huge influence over your emotions and your mood, as well as your skin. They are controlled by the endocrine system, and, when each hormone is released, this triggers a chain reaction in the body.
Hormone levels tend to fluctuate quite a bit through a person’s life. Whether this may be monthly, due to the menstrual cycle, or because of pregnancy, hormones are constantly on the move. Sometimes, the body can also end up naturally producing either too many or too few hormones, and this impacts the body in several ways.
When it comes to the skin, there are four hormones in particular that have the biggest impact:
- Estrogen – this declines in women with age, leading to dry and sagging skin, along with fine lines and wrinkles
- Testosterone – this hormone triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to oily skin and acne
- Thyroid Hormones – if your thyroid is over-active, this can result in redness and a flushed complexion. On the other hand, if your thyroid is under-active, this can lead to dryness and roughness
- Cortisol – otherwise known as the stress hormone, cortisol increases inflammation in the body, exacerbating inflammatory skin conditions. It can also trigger acne, rosacea and eczema
In order to keep your skin looking and feeling its very best, you ideally want to stabilize and regulate your hormone levels as much as possible.
How do you do this?
This is where yoga comes in…
Yoga has the effect of pressurizing and depressurizing different glands in the body. Although this may be in quite a subtle way, it is still enough to regulate the amount of hormones each gland secretes.
Yoga also stimulates the thyroid gland and the function of the endocrine system, balancing these all out and allowing them to function optimally. This means that hormones are produced and distributed in a more even and consistent way, saving you from the fluctuations you would have otherwise experienced.
Want to know which yoga poses are best for regulating hormone levels in the body?
Here are a few to try:
- The Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana) – this is a pose that stimulates the thyroid gland, with this gland being located in the neck. Repeat this pose three times for maximum benefits
- The Camel Pose (Ustrasana) – this is a great pose for stimulating all of the internal organs, especially those in the neck, which then has an effect on the parathyroid and thyroid glands
- The Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) – this pose stimulates the adrenal glands, helping to release tension and reduce cortisol levels
Yoga Improves Digestion
One of the health benefits of yoga is that it can greatly improve the health of your gut.
Wondering how this relates to your skin?
Your gut affects just about everything when it comes to your health, including the health of your skin. Several studies have proven that improving the health of the digestive system leads to better skin.
What happens to your skin when your digestive system isn’t functioning as it should?
One of the most common issues is acne. This is due to the way in which poor gut health leads to a decrease in the number of antimicrobial peptides in your skin, which is something that your skin produces. This leaves your skin much more susceptible to inflammation, along with infection. Quite a few studies have found that there is a strong link between acne and poor gut health.
Other inflammatory skin conditions, from psoriasis to rosacea, will also be exacerbated by poor gut health.
So, how does yoga help with this?
Well, to begin with, research has shown that a moderate amount of exercise can boost the variety of good bacteria in the gut, improving its health. These effects are noticed even more when you increase the amount of protein in your diet.
The way in which yoga helps with stress also then affects the gut too…
One of the hormones that the body produces when it is under stress alters the good bacteria in your gut. Stress can also lead to:
- Reduced nutrient absorption
- A damaged nervous system
- A slow metabolism
You probably now want to know which yoga poses you should be doing to improve your digestion…
Here are some to try:
- The Half Lord of the Fishes – this twisting pose reduces the amount of blood flowing to the digestive system, meaning that, once you are done, you send fresh blood in
- The Seated Forward Fold – this pose improves blood flow around your gut
- The Corpse Pose – also known as the Rest and Digest Pose, this one slows your heart rate and deepens your breathing, all of which sends more oxygen into the digestive system
- The Half Lord of the Fishes – this is another twist pose that releases toxins from the digestive system and brings new blood in
- The Wind Relieving Posture – as you can tell from its name, this is a pose that targets trapped wind. It also helps to speed up a sluggish and slow digestive system
- The Camel Pose – this is a great one for soothing any discomfort that you may be experiencing in your digestive system, as this stretch pose really opens up the torso and abdominal area. It is very effective in helping with the release of toxins from the body
Facial Yoga Has Been Shown to Tone the Face
Have you heard of facial yoga?
It’s a trend that has become quite popular. However, unlike many of the other anti-aging fads out there, facial yoga seems to really work!
What exactly is facial yoga?
It is extremely similar to standard yoga, except that the poses make use of the facial muscles, rather than the body.
Wondering what it does?
Facial yoga has been proven to tackle many of the aspects of skin aging. From a loss of volume to fine lines and wrinkles, facial yoga can help with all of this, with many asserting that facial yoga can have as much of an impact as Botox or other types of cosmetic surgery.
How does it actually do this?
It all comes down to the way in which facial yoga helps to build up the facial muscles. This then means that the skin has to stretch over a wider surface area, which gives it a tighter and smoother appearance. It takes about 20 weeks of regular facial yoga to notice an improvement, and these are exercises that can easily be done at home whenever you have time.
How do you do facial yoga?
It basically involves contorting the face into different positions. The easiest way to get started is to follow a few video tutorials, as this will help you to learn the various poses. Once you have them mastered, you can then practice facial yoga just about anywhere!
There are so many ways in which yoga can improve your skin, and this is an activity that just about everybody can do, no matter their age. The benefits that come from doing yoga, not only for your skin but for the rest of your body too, have been proven countless times, so take some time out from your busy schedule and give yoga a try today!