Our skin faces numerous challenges from environmental pollutants, stress, or constant cellular free radicals. Therefore, to maintain its natural radiance we have curated a list of yoga asanas for glowing skin. While the relationship between yoga and skin health might not be immediately evident, the combination of physical postures, controlled breathing, and mindfulness in yoga has the power to rejuvenate the skin along with the body and mind. This is because yoga asanas enhance blood circulation, oxygenate cells, and alleviate stress which are all essential components in nurturing healthy skin.
Yoga is an ancient practice that was founded in the Indian subcontinent. It involves various types of movement, meditation, and breathing techniques that help in promoting endurance, strength, calmness, flexibility, and overall mental and physical well-being. Due to its innumerable benefits, yoga has been an extensively popularised form of exercise throughout the world. In this article, we will understand the benefits yoga offer to our skin and discover the transformative potential these carefully selected asanas possess.
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Yoga Asanas for Glowing Skin
Yoga can help in providing radiant-looking skin in many ways. Yoga promotes restful sleep and mental relaxation, thus reducing stress. Stress may not just impact your skin making it dull and dehydrated, it also affects other metabolic functions like hormonal imbalance, digestive issues, higher cellular damage, etc (1). Therefore, regular practice of yoga may help healthy regulation of the digestive and excretory system which in turn is essential to achieve blemish-free and glowing skin (2), (3).
Yoga also maintains proper blood circulation which helps the skin to stay hydrated, fight acne-causing bacteria, heal faster, and produce enough collagen. Collagen is one of the most important skin elements that keeps its elasticity intact to make it tight, firm, and without wrinkles (4).
Here are some yoga asanas for glowing skin practicing which regularly can contribute to healthier, more radiant skin. You must take precautions and only practice within your comfort zone. You may also consult a yoga instructor or healthcare professional if you have any existing medical conditions or concerns to avoid any complications.
1. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand):
Sarvangasana improves blood circulation to the face, promoting a healthy glow and reducing the appearance of dark circles.
- To perform Sarvangasana, start by lying on your back with your arms alongside your body, palms facing down.
- Bend your knees and bring your feet close to your buttocks.
- Inhale deeply, press your palms into the floor, and use your core strength to lift your legs off the ground.
- Support your lower back with your hands, keeping your elbows on the ground.
- Slowly extend your legs upward, keeping them straight. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your feet.
- Engage your core muscles to maintain balance. Your weight should be on your shoulders and upper arms, not your neck.
- Breathe deeply and hold the pose for several breaths.
- To come out of the pose, slowly bend your knees and lower your legs over your head, then gently roll down through your spine.
Precautions: You should avoid practicing this if you have neck or back issues. If you have high blood pressure, practice Sarvangasana with caution or you can use a folded blanket under your shoulders for support.
2. Halasana (Plow Pose):
Halasana stimulates the thyroid gland and helps improve digestion, contributing to clearer skin.
- Lie down on your back in a supine position with your arms alongside your body and palms facing down.
- Inhale deeply and use your core strength to lift your legs off the floor, bringing them overhead and towards the floor behind you. Keep your legs straight and together.
- Place your hands on your lower back for support, keeping your elbows shoulder-width apart.
- Continue to lift your legs over your head until your toes touch the floor behind you. Your back should be perpendicular to the ground.
- Maintain the pose and hold it for several breaths. Keep your neck and head relaxed, and breathe deeply and evenly.
- To exit the pose, slowly roll your spine down, one vertebra at a time, until your legs are back on the ground. Release your hands from your lower back and relax in a supine position.
Precautions: Strictly avoid it if you have neck or back injuries and maintain a comfortable angle without forcing the stretch. You should also avoid it during menstruation or pregnancy.
3. Matsyasana (Fish Pose):
Matsyasana stretches the neck and stimulates the thyroid gland, enhancing skin health and reducing stress.
- Begin by lying on your back on a yoga mat or a comfortable surface.
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground, heels close to your hips.
- Slide your hands, palms facing down, under your hips with your forearms resting on the ground. Elbows should be tucked close to your body.
- Press your forearms and elbows into the ground, and lift your chest off the mat. Arch your upper back while keeping your head down.
- Slowly lower the crown of your head back onto the mat, creating a gentle arch in your neck. Your weight should be supported by your forearms and elbows, not your head.
- Straighten your legs and point your toes. Keep your thighs engaged and press through your heels.
- Take deep and slow breaths, allowing your chest to expand. Feel a stretch in your throat, chest, and abdomen.
- Hold the pose for several breaths, gradually relaxing into the stretch.
- To come out of the pose, press your forearms into the mat, gently lift your head, and slowly release your chest and head back down to the mat.
Precautions: Be gentle with your neck, avoid excessive pressure, and keep your weight on your elbows and not your head. Avoid it during pregnancies, injuries, or when the stomach is full.
4. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose):
Trikonasana enhances blood circulation and oxygen supply to the skin, promoting a healthy complexion.
- Stand at the top of your mat, feet comfortably apart. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot slightly inward.
- Extend your arms to the sides at shoulder level, palms facing down.
- Inhale, and as you exhale, bend at the waist to the right, sliding your right hand down your right leg. Keep your torso open and facing forward.
- Reach your left arm up towards the ceiling, aligning it with your right arm. Your gaze can be directed upward, or you can look straight ahead.
- Hold the pose for several breaths, feeling the stretch along your side.
- Inhale as you come back to the starting position, then repeat on the other side.
Precautions: Keep your hips squared and avoid excessive strain. Use a block if you can't reach the floor or if you have hip or knee issues. Do not push your body into an extreme stretch.
5. Ustrasana (Camel Pose):
Ustrasana opens the chest and improves lung capacity, enhancing oxygen flow for radiant skin.
- Begin by kneeling on the floor with your knees hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on your hips, fingers pointing downward, and gently push your hips forward as you arch your back.
- Reach your hands back, one at a time, to grasp your heels. Keep your thumbs outside and your fingers inside.
- Inhale as you lift your chest upward, expanding your ribcage.
- Gently tilt your head back and gaze at the ceiling, while keeping your neck relaxed.
- Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds, breathing deeply.
- To come out of the pose, release your hands from your heels, bring them back to your hips, and slowly sit back on your heels.
Precautions: Perform with caution if you have back or digestive issues or pregnant women. Engage your core and neck muscles to protect your spine. It's important to approach Ustrasana mindfully, focusing on proper alignment and controlled breathing.
6. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose):
Dhanurasana improves digestion and blood circulation, contributing to clearer skin.
- Lie flat on your stomach, with your arms by your sides and palms facing up.
- Bend your knees and reach back with your hands to grasp your ankles or feet.
- Inhale deeply, then lift your chest and thighs off the ground by pressing your feet into your hands.
- Keep your gaze forward, chin slightly lifted, and maintain a comfortable stretch in your abdomen.
- Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds while breathing deeply, then exhale as you gently release the pose and relax
Precautions: Avoid straining your lower back by lifting using your leg muscles and maintaining a gentle arch in your spine. Avoid this pose during pregnancy, after abdominal surgery, if you have high or low blood pressure or injuries.
7. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend):
Paschimottanasana calms the mind and reduces stress, which can positively impact skin health.
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, feet flexed and toes pointing towards the ceiling.
- Inhale and lengthen your spine, reaching your arms overhead.
- Exhale as you hinge at your hips, slowly bend forward from the hips, leading with your chest.
- Keep your spine straight as long as possible. When you can't fold any further while keeping your spine straight, round your back slightly and reach for your feet or ankles.
- Hold the pose for several breaths, relaxing into the stretch. You can use a strap around your feet if you can't reach them comfortably.
Precautions: Bend your knees if your hamstrings are tight. Focus on lengthening your spine before folding. Avoid if you have back or spinal issues, high blood pressure, or herniated disc.
8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog):
Adho Mukha Svanasana increases blood flow to the face and promotes relaxation.
- Start on your hands and knees with your wrists aligned under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Spread your fingers wide, press your palms into the mat, and tuck your toes under.
- As you exhale, lift your hips up and back, straightening your legs and forming an inverted V shape with your body.
- Press your heels toward the floor while actively engaging your quadriceps to help lengthen your hamstrings.
- Keep your head between your upper arms, relax your neck, and gaze towards your navel or thighs.
Precautions: Keep a slight bend in your knees if needed. Avoid straining your wrists or shoulders. You may modify the pose if practiced during pregnancy or if you are facing back issues.
9. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend):
Uttanasana improves circulation to the head, which can contribute to a radiant complexion.
- Start in a standing position (Tadasana), feet hip-width apart and hands resting on your hips.
- Inhale deeply, elongate your spine, and as you exhale, hinge at your hips, keeping your back straight.
- Allow your torso to fold forward from your hips, reaching your hands toward the floor or your shins. Keep your knees slightly bent if needed.
- Relax your neck, head, and shoulders, letting them hang naturally. Engage your core to support the stretch.
- Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To release, inhale and slowly rise back up, keeping your back straight.
Precautions: Bend your knees slightly if you have tight hamstrings. Focus on maintaining a straight back. Avoid if you are pregnant, have hypertension or eye issues, or have neck and spine issues.
10. Bharadvaja’s Twist:
Bharadvaja's Twist aids digestion and detoxification, which can impact skin health.
- Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
- Bend your knees and shift your weight to the right hip. Bring your feet to the left side of your hips.
- Place your left hand on the floor behind you, fingers pointing away. Inhale and lengthen your spine.
- As you exhale, gently twist your torso to the right. Bring your right hand to the outside of your left knee. Press your elbow against the knee to deepen the twist.
- Keep your spine tall and your chest open. Hold the twist for several breaths, inhaling to lengthen and exhaling to deepen the twist.
- Slowly release the twist and return to the center. Extend your legs and sit evenly on your sitting bones.
- Repeat the same steps on the opposite side, bending your knees to the left and twisting to the left.
Precautions: Twist gently and avoid over-twisting. Keep your spine long and engage your core. Consult a healthcare professional before practicing this pose during pregnancy or after facing back injury or spinal issues.
Regular practice of specific yoga asanas for glowing skin that focuses on enhancing blood circulation, reducing stress, and stimulating the lymphatic system may lead to visible improvements in the skin's health and appearance. A healthy balance of consistency in practicing these selected yoga asanas, a healthy lifestyle, proper hydration, and skincare will help you sustain this natural and vibrant glow. Moreover, practicing yoga as part of a holistic approach toward skin care will also help you nourish the mind and spirit helping you achieve both inner and outer beauty.