How Yoga Can Benefit Your Skin & How I Learned To Love It

Whilst I’m sure many of you are yogi veterans, I have to say I’m quite new to the world of precision bending. For a long time I didn’t consider it complementary to my goals – I wanted to burn energy like a bonfire and had no time for the contemplative, introspective practice of yoga.

More worrying still was the knowledge that I could no longer touch my toes, at the tender age of 22. I could blame overly tight pants all I wanted, but the truth was I was petrified to attend a class of communal stretching lest my pitiful flexibility was discovered, and mocked!

I also failed to consider how beneficial the practice of yoga (or other meditative/visualization techniques) could be for our skin, and overall health.

Trawling the Internet for acne solutions, I once discovered an incredibly wise analogy that has since stuck with me. To improve your skin condition there is rarely one factor you can isolate and ‘fix’, rather you have to boost all aspects of your life and ‘raise the bar’ of your well-being.

I think of it like this:

(Little white lie – I would never really conjure images of graphs, or any other maths-related data in my head. But for the purposes of explanation, I’ll let it slide!).

The theory is that each of those columns representing varying aspects of your life, should be raised above a certain baseline in order to address your acne holistically. It is only when you let go of the little things and embrace the bigger picture that true healing can begin.

I thought this was an incredibly sensible & wise approach, and began to appreciate how the practice of yoga fits so perfectly into this holistic model.

The benefits are far-reaching, and even enough to tempt me with my brittle, locked-up, crooked old limbs:

  • Increases flexibility & joint lubrication.
  • Stretches muscles you never knew you had! And literally massages your internal organs, keeping the tissues stimulated and free from disease.
  • Unites mind & body – anyone who’s thoughts flit around like a hyperactive sparrow can benefit from bringing them back to Earth via deep breathing and concentration.
  • Learning to love yourself – how often do we set aside an hour to actually spend time with ourselves? By allocating time to stretch, focus and simply be, we are affirming our own self worth, and increasing vitality.
  • Detoxification – by limbering up and prodding, poking and pinching those tissues which once lay dormant, you increase blood-flow throughout the entire body and assist in the removal of toxins.
  • Greater alkalinity – deep breathing increases alkalinity by removing excess CO2 from your system.
  • Learning to focus on and appreciate the flow of energy and bring peaceful calm to the mind.

I can happily say, this stiff and slightly senile student is sold! With so many amazing benefits it is clear that incorporating a couple of sessions of yoga a week into your routine could profoundly enhance your mental well-being and in turn, support a beautiful glowing complexion!

If you’re like me with my creaky-limb syndrome, I would suggest:

  • Attending a small beginners class with a close friend who will still love you, even after you fall out of tree pose all over her mat. Beginner groups are great because there will be a teacher there to assist you, and correct any positions that might be a little off (thus preventing injury). It’s also incredibly calming to listen to someone’s voice guide you through a sequence of movements, and you’re sure to find yourself completely blissed-out by the end.
  • Buying a beginners DVD that you can complete in 20 minutes at home. I was given a fantastic yoga DVD for Christmas, and it’s so easy to put on before breakfast while the kettle is boiling (a very, very slow kettle :)). The allure of sparing only 20 minutes is also incredibly motivating, and within a few weeks you can start to see the fruits of your (extremely enjoyable) labour!

Since I’ve been making the effort to flex my body & mind, I’ve enjoyed a deeper sense of calm and spiritual well-being that is really quite profound. And most importantly….I can now touch my toes!

What are your experiences with yoga? Do you believe it can improve skin by helping to balance the body/mind?

9 comments… add one


  • Hei Fran, greetings from Romania, you are doing a great job here.
    I’ve got something for you, maybe it will inspire you for an article.
    Check this table out:
    http://www.tcmstudent.com/study_tools/5%20Element%20Chart.html

    1. As you see, each emotion is bound with an 2 internal organs, with 1 sense organ, with 1 smell, with one tissue, with 1 sound etc. etc.

    2. There are sciences that diagnose people, studiind their:
    - eye (iridiology)
    - body shape
    - face shapes
    - tongue
    there are even even teeht diagnostics…. where each tooth represents an organ.

    And lastly, there are the spiritual causes of diseases, like Loiuse L. Hay or SN LAzarev specifey in theri books.

    All in all, our entire body is ONE.

    I am fully convinged that in one cell of our body we are eable to see everything about somone health an his emotions.

    If we can see it in eye, tongue, body shape, smell, etc… then we can sure see it all in a single cell.

    My ideea is that ALL our EMOTIONS, all the food that we eat, all habits that we have have a great impact of our ENTIRE being.
    On our physical bodym, but also on our emotional and energetc body.
    Health is ONE, we can’t devide it as the “classic medicine” does. It’s all interconnected.

    Hope this is usefull for you or for anybody here. God bless you Fran :)

  • Tamar

    Hi,

    Great article!!
    I’ve had acne for almost ten years now. It wasn’t too bad in the beginning but recently it has got a lot worse. About two weeks ago I decided to practice yoga again (I’ve been practicing it on and off for a while now) and to try visualization and just pray more and be all around positive. I tried visualization a long time ago when I played piano and it really helped during recitals and whatnot so I thought: why not with my skin? Well, my skin looks fantastic!! I practice yoga twice a day (I have a lot of time on my hands right now) and visualization and prayer as often as I can. Also, I’ve been trying to eat healthier for the past few months, I’m very gentle with my skin and I don’t pick. But yoga and just being peaceful and positive has really, really helped.

  • Hi Katey!

    I am so happy you are finding the yogini within yourself! What a wonderful thing to find. I have a very dedicated yoga practice and I find it can help and hinder the skin in some ways. Lately I have found myself very much pulled to Vinyasa with the flow it has (I used to dance for about eight years) because it is very centering for me. With Yinyasa I have found my skin stays more clear whereas when I do hot yoga a couple classes a week, I find more breakouts on my shoulders, back and cheeks, which I actually used to NEVER have.

    I have actually dealt with compulsive skin picking for over ten years, which I am just now really truly healing from (which is a completely different issue all together) but lately I have found a couple things that really help me. I always allow myself a young coconut after every practice, I use the organic Nourishing Face Oil from 100% Pure and a facial moisturizer made by Suuthe. I also do a manuka honey mask two to four times a week. And all of these things combined with yoga- oh my goodness it is almost a break through for me! Ha, I know that is a lot, but yoga seems to really tie all of this together for me, mentally, physically and spiritually.

    Sorry to write you a novel! Many Blessings in your practices to come! -Vanessa

  • Wesley

    Great article! Gosh.. now I want to go to yoga. :)

  • Maja

    I really enjoyed this article!! I have to try yoga now :)

  • Anne

    Hi Katey,

    Nice article. I will say that I battled adult acne for 4 years and was an avid yogini the entire time my skin was a mess. No improvement :(

    I also addressed diet, therapy, running, every topical in the book (just about everything) and it never got better.

    Sometimes natural stuff just doesn’t work.

    Thanks

    • Anne -

      Sorry to hear that you dealt with acne for so long, and I know how frustrating it can be. I think trying to get to the root of the problem naturally is always the best way to resolve acne for good, however it can be a long process and take a lot of trial and error. I hope you’ve now found something that works for you :)
      Katey

  • Extremely wonderful entry, definitely useful information. Never considered I’d find the tips I need right here. I have been hunting everywhere in the internet for some time now and was starting to get discouraged. Luckily, I came onto your website and acquired exactly what I was browsing for.

  • fay

    Thanks for the inspiration katey, I might just dust off my yoga dvd and give it a go tonight!

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