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. As a yoga teacher and someone who practices daily, I often get complimented on my bright, youthful skin. The four poses below can help you get a gorgeous yoga glow too!
Forward Fold With Hands Clasped
This is a fantastic pose for not only your face but also your posture. Standing forward folds help bring blood to the face, increasing nutrient and oxygen delivery as well as the removal of toxins. Plus, a little relief from the downward pull of gravity never hurt in the facial department. Lengthening the spine and opening the chest and shoulders help to achieve better posture. And standing or sitting up tall always looks attractive and alert.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and fold forward, clasping your hands behind your back. Gently pull your hands away from your sacrum and try to get your palms to touch, which opens the chest and shoulders. If you want to get more into your lower back you can bend your knees and bring your torso closer to your thighs. Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
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, then bend your knees and grab the outsides of your feet or ankles. Slightly tuck your tailbone, and then on an inhale press your legs into your hands, lifting your chest up and bending your back. Try to keep your shoulders away from your ears and concentrate on lengthening your spine. You can gently rock back and forth to help stimulate the digestive organs, which also helps to achieve clearer and brighter skin. Hold for 5 deep breaths, release down to the mat, and turn your head to one side, gently shifting your hips from side to side. After a few breaths, repeat and then come into child’s pose for a couple of breaths to reset your spine.
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
Any version of pigeon will release the hips, the main place in the body where stress and emotion are stored, thus helping to keep frown wrinkles and stress-related acne at bay. I chose this version as it also opens the chest and increases the front hip opening, too.
From downward-facing dog, bring your right shin forward, aligning your knee by your right wrist and your right heel close to your pelvis. Make sure that your hips are square to 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. If you want to increase the chest opening, bring your left shoulder forward. Make sure to slightly tuck your tailbone to protect your lower spine. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, release the back leg, and fold forward, moving your shin slightly forward depending on your own flexibility to increase the hip opening. Hold for 30 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Headstand is my favorite pose for beauty! This pose packs a full punch by increasing blood flow to your face, giving your facial skin and spine a boost by inverting gravity’s pull and helping with concentration and relaxation. Not only that, but holding headstand for 2 minutes can give you a major immune boost by supercharging lymph movement throughout your body. I have even been known to break into a headstand before dates to give my face some extra glow!
Bring your forearms onto the mat, clasping your hands and keeping your elbows under your shoulders. Place your head on the mat, keeping your eyeline flush with the mat and making sure that your chin isn’t tucked or pulled down. The weight should primarily be on your forearms, NOT your head. Walk your feet, and when you feel your hips aligned with your head, pull one leg into your chest. Pulling your shoulders away from your ears and pressing firmly into your elbows, bring your other leg into your chest. If you are stable here, slowly lift your legs up, together, until you are balancing in a straight line. Hold anywhere from 5 breaths to 2 minutes depending on your level of comfort. If full headstand is not in your practice, walk your legs in and then hold one up for 5 to 10 breaths and then switch. Holding your legs up will still give you the amazing benefits and help strengthen your core for the full pose.