The ancient Indian practice of yoga has been known for improving physical and mental health all over the world. It’s a well-known fact that it’s one of the best remedies for weight loss, and it improves stamina and flexibility. In addition, it also calms your mind, improves concentration and helps you deal with depression and anxiety.
However, a lot of yogis have suggested that yoga improves the health of your skin as well. Since physical and mental health are correlated, a healthy mental state can bring about positive changes in your physical well-being.
Yoga and the body
The initial phase in the process of cleansing focuses on physical purification. Yoga helps excel toxins from your body, and strengthens the internal systems. The work on your mental well-being starts after this. Pranayama as a regular practice effectively improves your mental health, in addition to meditation.
Sandeep Agarwalla, yoga head at Ananda in the Himalayas says, “There is a feeling of well-being at every dimension of the personality like physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. [It gives us] the ability to be peaceful internally even if there are changes externally. Yoga helps us deal with everything in an optimistic and joyful manner.”
Yoga and the skin
A healthy inside is reflected on the outside. It’s important to remember that the skin is a distinct organ with its own functions, like the heart pumping blood or the kidneys filtering metabolic wastes. “The skin that covers the human body is the most unique and complex living structure. Its outermost cell layers are dead and are continually flaking from the body, yet it is through them that good health is reflected to the world like a mirror,” he says.
We often look for creams and medicines that would cure our breakouts and blemishes. These are temporary measures, and might be ineffective for the longer run. Agarwalla also emphasises on the need to focus on digestion and blood circulation-“The restoration of skin health through yoga therapy is often directed primarily at influencing the digestive and circulatory functions. This is because skin eruptions so commonly reflect a more widespread eliminative, circulatory or metabolic problem, which must first be corrected if skin health is to be restored. It is not sufficient to merely suppress skin diseases with drugs and creams that give only temporary relief but no lasting cure.”
Are the effects of yoga on skin temporary?
A lot of other factors determine the effectiveness of yoga on your skin, like your diet and overall lifestyle. However, consistent yoga practices can improve skin health considerably. “A consistent yoga practice over a long period of time not only enables you to attain healthy, glowing skin, but also allows skin to remain youthful, supple and wrinkle-free,” says Agarwalla.
“When an individual is stressed and leads an unhealthy lifestyle, the body tends to age faster. This is usually seen on the skin in the form of wrinkles and other skin issues. Regular yoga practice, with a combination of asanas, pranayama, shat kriyas and meditation, delays the ageing process, and in turn curbs the formation of wrinkles. Performing various physical postures improves the elasticity of the skin and can help reduce the formation of stretch marks,” he further states.
Specific yogic practices like suryanamaskar, the corpse pose, sarvangasana etc can give you a naturally radiant skin. All it takes is a little dedication and patience, and a few changes in your lifestyle....