Practicing Yoga for Beautiful Skin
Yoga, a milleniary practice that dates back over 5000 years, is booming in America, with the number of practitioners having grown to over 36 million. Many are attracted to yoga’s well known ability to improve cardiovascular activity, fitness, balance, and overall strength, but yoga also has powerful benefits for our mental health and even our appearance. In this post, we hone in on yoga’s ability to improve the appearance of skin. Yoga is, indeed, the perfect example of the unity between physical, mental, and emotional/spiritual health and well-being.
The Effect of Stress on Skin
The intricate relationship between stress and skin conditions has been established in various studies. Recent research also links psychological stress to the onset or worsening of many skin diseases, including psoriasis, acne, atopic dermatitis, and more. One study published in the journal Inflammation & Allergy-Drug Targets found that stress can negatively affect the skin’s permeability barrier, causing greater sensitivity to allergens and microbial organisms, as well as increase moisture loss. We know that one of the worse things we can do to the skin is to forget to moisturize, yet in order for our body to retain any moisture we apply, it is important to keep stress at bay.
Yoga a Powerful Stress Buster
Yoga has been found in numerous studies to significantly lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol. In a fascinating study published by Coventry University, it was found that yoga not only relaxes us; like meditation and Tai Chi, it ‘reverses’ the molecular reactions in our DNA which influence the brain and immune system negatively. As noted in the study, stress causes the activation of genes and the production of cytokines: proteins that cause inflammation at a cellular level. The inflammation cascade involves harmful activity by free radicals, which cause collagen fibers to clump up, and degrade collagen and elastin (the building blocks of skin), causing skin to become thinner and creating wrinkles and sagging. Studies such as these indicate that stress busting activities are key not only to our emotional well-being, but also to our appearance. Stress and inflammation cause redness, cracks in skin, dry patches, flaking, and many more conditions that extend beyond lines and typical signs of aging.
The Physiological Effects of Yoga
Yoga benefits the skin in additional ways. By promoting circulation, it aids in the process of skin cell renewal. Energetic yoga forms can also raise the body’s temperature, enabling you to get rid of harmful toxins. Moreover, specific asanas (for instance, the camel pose) and pranayamas can increase the amount of oxygen that flows through cells, thus aiding in the repair and renewal of collagen and elastin.
Yoga boosts our strength, flexibility, and sense of calm, but it also helps us sport beautiful skin in many ways. In addition to helping skin cells perform optimally, it helps battle stress, thus keeping inflammation (a major cause of premature aging) at bay. Support your yoga practice with a sound diet comprising plenty of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein and healthy Omega-3 fats, which also prevent inflammation and boost the immunity.