Many of us practice yoga to cleanse and create purity within our bodies as well as our minds. Finding the time to nurture and visualize our entire system is important in keeping our bodies healthy both inside and out. If we take care of our organs, tissue, and muscles our skin will begin to reap the benefits.
Sweat it out.
Sweating is how our skin prevents and protects itself from overheating. It can also help keep our pores from becoming clogged and our skin from becoming dry.
Another benefit of sweating is the impact it has on our body’s circulation. By keeping our blood circulating, we can easily have youthful looking skin at any age. It’s a great way to detoxify the body of extra sodium, cholesterol, and substances that can otherwise clog and create stagnation in our pores.
Include more twists in your practice.
Aside from sweating, make sure you include plenty of twists in your practice in order to maintain healthy insides. Twisting to the right pushes into the ascending colon, and twisting to the left pushes on the descending colon.
Backbends and heart openers can help with digestion, especially Bow pose, because pressure is placed on the stomach. These asanas can increase your heart rate, which helps with circulation. Inversions, such as Shoulderstand and Downward-Facing Dog, can also be effective in the body’s lymphatic system.
Lymph is a clear liquid that circulates through our body’s tissue to cleanse and keep it firm. Circulating the lymph is important for healthy skin as it helps to filter out bacteria and viruses. When you come out of these poses and turn upright, the lymphs are drained through the help of gravity.
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
Step by step:
- 1. Begin by getting on all fours. Spread your fingers and bring your wrist crease parallel to the front of your mat. Press downward into your hands.
- 2. Curl your toes under and lift your hips up and back, creating an inverted “V” shape with your body. Place your feet hip distance apart and your hands shoulder distance apart.
- 3. Press down and forward through the knuckles and rotate your biceps forward. Squeeze your elbows toward each other and lift the inner armpit.
- 4. Root your shoulder blades against your back ribs and draw your belly button toward your spine.
- 5. Firm your quadriceps and slightly rotate the inner thighs back. Press your heels toward the floor.
Step by step:
- 1. Begin by lying on your stomach. Slowly settle your chin on the mat to create length in the back of your neck. Allow your hands to settle along the side of your body with your palms facing the mat.
- 2. Root down into your pelvic triangle and inhale, lifting the upper torso and lower legs.
- 3. Exhale and begin to bend your knees. Draw your arms out to your sides and reach back to clasp the fronts of the feet.
- 4. Inhale and press your feet into your hands. Draw the shoulder blades together to open the chest.
- 5. Exhale and allow yourself to settle into this shape. Hold this pose for a few slow breaths.
Step by step:
- 1. Begin by lying on your back with your arms alongside your body, palms facing down.
- 2. Inhale and lift your feet toward the sky, aligning your legs, pelvis, and torso over your shoulders.
- 3. Support your lower back by placing the palms on the back of your torso, fingers pointing up. Press your hands into your back and your upper arms into the ground to straighten the legs.
- 4. Draw your elbows close to each other. Walk your hands down your back to straighten the spine.
- 5. Tuck your chin into your sternum and lift through your toes. Bring your awareness to the neck; keep your weight on the shoulders and upper arms. Stay in the pose for several breaths.
Give your digestive system attention.
In Kundalini yoga we follow kriyas or yogic cleansing, this includes a sequence of physical and mental changes that help to stimulate the digestive system. Kriya in conjunction with certain asanas can be a great way to keep the insides of your body healthy.
Expert tip: Try having a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning and then following it up with Nauli kriya.
Step by step:
- 1. Start in a tall squat with your hands placed on your knees and inhale. Exhale fully as the arms bend and your body folds forward.
- 2. On the exhale retention, draw your stomach and diaphragm up (remember you have exhaled all your breath out) and extend your arms so that you have a vacuum sensation and hollowed midsection.
- 3. Hold this for a few minutes and inhale slowly. Make sure you do this without strain or force so you don’t create tension or unwanted tightness in your diaphragm.
Follow an alkaline diet.
A yogic diet low in sugars and processed foods will work hand-in-hand with the asana and cleansing techniques that you practice.
Try following an alkaline diet by decreasing consumption of foods high in acid such as meat, fish, sugar, alcohol, rice, pasta, and bread.
In order to give your skin radiance try increasing your intake of alkaline building foods such as lemons, mineral water, nectarines, onions, pineapple, and watermelon.
Between your yoga mat and your diet, you can easily keep your skin looking youthful, radiant, and healthy.