Five easy yoga poses that actually improve your skin
Yoga is great for fitness, flexibility and relaxation, but did you know it can also help you achieve beautiful, glowing skin? The experts at London skin and wellness clinic Nuriss list the top five yoga poses that will help give you that yogi glow…
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Standing is easy, right? That’s basically all this pose is, but it involves slow, rhythmic breathing, good posture, a strong grounding through the feet and a feeling of body length and power. To achieve a good, powerful mountain pose, stand with your big toes touching and your heels an inch or two apart. Lift and spread your toes and move your feet around until you have a strong, solid connection to the ground, then firm your thigh muscles and lift your knees. Straighten your body, relax your shoulders and imagine a pole going from your thighs all the way up your middle and out the top of your head, lengthening your body. Then take long, slow breaths in through your nose, right down to your belly and out through your nose. You can close your eyes and imagine yourself becoming taller with every breath.
Uttanasana (Forward fold)
This pose is more effective once you have warmed up because it is quite tough on the hamstrings. Don’t worry if you can’t completely fold over or touch the ground with your hands – the pose will still work to change the direction of your blood flow and clear your body and mind. Take your time moving into this pose, starting in mountain pose. Slowly fold forward with a flat back until you feel a good sensation in your hamstrings, then release slightly by lifting your chest up before trying to fold a little deeper. After a couple of releases and folds, you should be deeper into uttanasana. Just let your head hang down here and relax for a few minutes.
Bharadvaja’s Twist (Seated twist)
This pose is fantastic for digestion as well as for releasing tension and stress, which both have a positive effect on the skin. The strong twist in your mid-section with long, cleansing breaths, works to move toxic properties out of your major organs, while the deep stretch in your thighs and buttocks helps relieve stress and tension. Everybody carries stress and tension in their thighs, especially women, so if you’ve been under pressure all day, this stretch will make you feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders!
Sit down with a straight back and bend one leg underneath your other leg. Then place the other leg over the top, foot flat on the ground next to the bent knee. Resist the legs against each other and you should feel a powerful, deep stretch in that big thigh muscle. Next, take the opposite elbow across and rest it on the elevated knee, gently twisting from your mid-section to face backwards. Make sure the head and neck are the last parts of your body to twist backwards so that you know the twist is coming from your core. If you can’t sit completely on the ground in this pose, stretch the bottom leg out straight instead of bending it. Again, take long, slow belly breaths in through the nose and out through the nose in this pose. Repeat in the opposite direction.
Matsyasana (Fish pose)
This is a great pose for releasing tension in the upper back and shoulders, especially for people who work in front of a computer all day. The arch in your spine encourages your blood to flow through the neck and into the face, which is fantastic for your complexion.
Lie on your back and place your forearms on the ground, palms facing down and gently raise your back, neck and head off the ground. Push your chest upwards, encouraging your shoulder blades towards each other and allow your head to hang down facing backwards. Relax and breathe deeply through your nose.
Viparita Karani (L-shape)
This incredibly energising pose is a basic inversion that is the starting point to some more advanced inversions like shoulder stands and headstands. All of these drastically improve circulation, oxygen and blood flow, which are ingredients that help achieve healthy, glowing skin. The most effective way to achieve the L-shape if you’re starting out is by lying on your back with your legs resting straight up against a wall. Not only is this inversion great for glowing skin, it can also relieve menstrual cramps and give you a fresh burst of energy if you’ve reached a sluggish point in your day.
Start by sitting next to a wall and turning over onto your back, making sure your buttocks is touching the bottom of the wall so that you get a proper 90-degree angle. Rest your legs up against the wall with straight knees and curl your toes slightly back down towards your face to get an extra stretch in the hamstrings. Close your eyes, relax and take some deep yogic breaths in and out through your nose.
Savasana (corpse pose) is a fantastic way to finish any yoga practice and will leave you feeling and looking relaxed and refreshed, which in turn, has a positive, healthy effect on the natural glow of your skin! Simply lie on your back, let your feet flop to either side, arms by your sides with your palms facing up, close your eyes and relax, breathing deeply.
Nuriss is a skincare and wellness centre with two clinics in the heart of London. Our doctors and experts offer an extensive range of treatments and services from aesthetic skincare to nutritional support and fitness.