Yoga, by nature, is a beauty aid. By helping to reduce stress and increase blood flow, yoga of all genres lowers the occurrence of acne and wrinkles brought on by anxiety, helps move lymph efficiently to detox the body, and can help with digestion—another culprit of bad skin. A regular yoga practice can transform your skin in two ways. Through mindful movements, meditation, and breathing exercises, practicing yoga reduces your stress levels—which when high can wreak havoc on your skin by increasing inflammation in the body. Practicing yoga regularly also helps to eliminate toxins in your body through sweating, breath-work (pranayama), and asanas, or poses, which increase circulation and detoxify the body.
Note: Before attempting any of these poses, be sure to warm up your body with a few rounds of Surya Namaskars.
Uttanasana (Standing forward bend)
This asana increases blood circulation and fights the inflammation and free radicals that cause aging. Do not worry about reaching your toes during the asana, as you simply have to relax, let your head hang, close your eyes, and breathe to get the benefits.
Stand and place your feet a few inches apart, toes pointing forward.
Bring your hands to your hips.
Inhale and lengthen your spine.
Now exhale and gently bend down from the hips, bringing your head toward the floor.
You can hold onto the opposite elbows with your hands, grab hold of your calves or simply let your arms dangle toward the floor.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply through the nose.
Start by holding the pose for 1 minute and gradually increase it upto 5.
This is another great pose for your face, posture, and energy level. Backbends are known for releasing energy (kundalini) from the spine as well as opening the front of the hips and shoulders, which helps release stress.
Lie down on your stomach.
Exhale and bend your knees. Hold your ankles with your hands.
While inhaling raise the head, chest and thighs as high as possible.
Try to keep your shoulders away from your ears and concentrate on lengthening the spine.
You can gently rock back and forth to help stimulate the digestive organs, which also helps to achieve clearer and brighter skin.
Maintain the position for 5 deep breaths. Slowly come back to the original position.
One legged king pigeon pose
The pigeon pose provides relaxation to the hips, the main place in the body where stress and emotions are stored. This helps to keep frown wrinkles and stress-related acne at bay.
Start this asana by doing the downward-facing dog pose.
Bring your right shin forward. Align your knee in accordance with your right wrist and keep your right heel close to your pelvis.
Make sure that your hips are firmly placed on the ground. Then bend your back knee and grab hold of your foot, bringing it into the crook of your left elbow.
Bring your right arm up and reach for your left fingertips or wrist.
Make sure to slightly tuck your tailbone to protect your lower spine. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
Now release the back leg and bend forward. Move your shin slightly forward depending on your own flexibility to increase the hip opening. Hold for 30 deep breaths.
Repeat on the other side.
This pose greatly increases the blood flow to your face. It gives the facial skin and spine a boost by inverting gravity’s pull and helping with concentration and relaxation. Maintaining the headstand for 2 minutes also enhances the immune system by supercharging the lymph movement throughout the body.
Come onto your knees in the middle of your mat.
Interlace the fingers of your hands and set your forearms on the floor about two feet in front of your knees, with your elbows shoulder width apart.
Place the top of your head on the mat, so that the back of your head is pressing into your palms.
Tuck your toes, straighten your legs, and begin to step with your feet towards your elbows.
When you cannot walk any closer, inhale and lift your feet from the mat, so that you are balancing yourself with your knees tucked in close to your chest.
Begin to slowly straighten your legs over your head. Breathe deeply and stay in this position for 10 seconds. You can gradually increase the time to 5 minutes.
Note: Headstand should only be practiced by advanced and experienced practitioners. If you are not able to do the headstand; other inversions like shoulderstand, extending the feet upwards, or simply lying on the floor and resting your legs against the wall at a 90-degree angle can provide the benefits associated with the headstand. Always finish your practice by doing Savasana as it will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.