>Here is our yoga expert Juhi Garg, who will address all your queries about yoga and also write on yogic exercises.
Your face and skin is the barometer of the health status of your body. In a very India context, it’s not necessary that your skin needs to be so-called-fair to show good health. A good texture, vibrancy and clear and glowing skin are the real results of a fit body and a mind at peace. A healthy body not only speaks about good physical health but also mental. Yoga does a harmonious development of both, the body and the mind. It is no use having muscular strength without proper mental development. Most physical exercises cause what is known as phased contraction of the muscles, while Yogic postures cause a static contraction, which maintains a muscle under tension without causing repeated motion.
Yogis have devised several different branches to suit people of various temperaments, attitudes and inclinations so that one could choose according to one’s needs and temperaments. What I suggest below is of course generalized but definitely, it’s only benefiting. However it must be in sync with one’s own body needs and profile.
1. More oxygen + 2. More blood circulation + 3. Stress-at-bay = yogic formula to a healthy and glowing skin.
To compliment, there are few cleansing techniques also suggested in this science, but that would graduate to the next level. So to keep it simple and something that we all can easily adapt in our regular routine, just practice this guide religiously daily for a month, and trust me, the difference would be visible. This one month, however does not mean discontinuation at its end. Make this a part of your life, and you wouldn’t even remember how dull your face used to look earlier. This is because Yoga balances your hormones and boosts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your skin. This keeps your skin supple, healthy and prevents it from drying and sagging.
Explaining the formula above in language of Yoga, Pranayam is what we practice for getting more oxygen. Living in urban cities, and leading a metropolitan life, can distance us beyond imagination from the very basis of nature: oxygen. Denying nature’s own bounty is only affecting one’s own well being and no one else’s. Pranayam is the regulation of breath, the most important step in yoga which fills us with oxygen to counter numerous ailments and deficiencies. Try and practice Pranayam for at least 20 minutes in an open area with lot of greenery and oxygen around. Best time would be definitely early morning when the air is fresh and free from pollution.
Asanas and different kriyas help in stimulating more blood circulation in the body, and many of them are specifically designed to reduce tension and keep the stress away. A combination of pranayam and asanas gives amazing results like fitness, strength, glowing skin and no stress, amongst others. No one asana or pranayam has just one benefit. Apart from overall health, they are separately, specifically curing different problems. As sun is the only visible form of power and strength, doing asanas facing the sun( the soft rays though), would prove to be more beneficial, as it is believed to provide energy and cosmic power. You must therefore, try and derive as much of this free flowing energy from the atmosphere and the universe around you.
Stress is brutal for the skin. With more awareness, we all have understood the damaging effects of the emotional factors in life. The worst part is that stress clearly reflects on the skin. Dull, lifeless skin is most common with those having a very hectic physical and mental life. Different asanas in yoga help in a great way to relax and cut the mental chords from tension-causing elements in life. It makes us more calm and composed to be able to easily face difficulties laid out for us. Together with concentration, deep breathing effectively calms the mind which is a boon in today’s world of tension, pollution, speed and anxiety.
To get the best results, it is also important to include certain foods and drinks in our regular diet. Fruits, green vegetables taken in raw form or as juices, lots of water, lime juice or lemon water, curd, green tea, aloe Vera, beetroot etc, all have proved to be highly advantageous for a good complexion. What you eat today reflects on your skin the very next day, so the importance of a good diet cannot be challenged.
Here are few yogic exercises:
1. Aalom Vilom – Sit in a comfortable position, legs crossed, keeping your spine straight and eyes closed. Place the right thumb on the right nostril and the third finger on the left nostril. Close the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Now close the left nostril with the third finger and exhale through the right nostril. Now do the reverse, inhale through the right nostril keeping the left one closed and then close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Do for atleast 5-7 minutes.
2. Kapalbhati – Sit comfortably with your legs crossed, back and neck straight with eyes closed. Exhale forcefully through both the nostrils and pull the stomach in. Inhale normally without much concentration on your inhalation. Start with 30-40 counts and then go up to 100. Relax once done. Feel the sensation flowing all over your body.
3. Bhramari Pranayam – Sit comfortably with eyes closed and the whole body relaxed. Now close each ear with each of your thumbs. Place the index fingers on top of your eyebrows, close your eyes with the second fingers, place the ring fingers on the sides of your nose and the small fingers on the corners of your lips. Inhale deeply. Keeping the mouth closed begin to breathe out slowly producing a long continuous humming sound. Hum loud enough like a bee so you can feel the vibration on your face. Exhalation should be slow. Relax and repeat a couple of times.
4. Kapolvardhak Shakti vikasak -Stand straight. Open your fingers wide and now touch the tips of each of your fingers of the left hand with the tips of each of your fingers of your right hand. Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground. Now keeping the same hand and finger position, close your nostrils with your thumbs. Now inhale deeply, like sucking air, from your mouth and close your mouth. While retaining this breath, make your chin touch your chest and cheeks blown. The finger position has to be maintained still with your thumbs keeping the nostrils closed. Get your neck back to its normal position and exhale through your nose. Repeat 3 times.
5. Trikonasana – Stand straight with your legs spread apart to the maximum comfortable position. Raise the arms sideways to the shoulder level with the palms facing down. Now bend the trunk to the left and try and bring the left palm on the left ankle. Bring the right arm over the ear parallel to the ground. Hold the position and then repeat the same way from the right side. Beginners must not over stretch. Do each side 2-3 times.
6. Supta vajrasana – Kneel on the floor keeping the knees together. Rest the thighs on the respective legs and the buttocks on the soles of the feet. Keep the toes pointing towards each other. Place the palms on the ground behind the toes. Arch the spine backwards by expanding the chest and raising the shoulders. Then slowly drop the head back. Stay in this position for 15-20 counts. Now come back to normal by first straightening your back and then the neck. Repeat once or twice.
7. Grivasana – Sit straight and place your hands in a comfortable position with arms straight. Do not move the shoulders. Now slowly drop the neck to the front. Then roll the head to the right very slowly. The right ear has to come above the right shoulder. The face is front. Now roll the neck back. Let the head drop back. Then roll the neck to the left bringing the left ear over the left shoulder. Finally roll the neck to the front. Continue then, to move in the reverse direction. Repeat rolling in both directions two more times.
8. Shavasana – Lie flat on your back with the arms at the sides in line with the body. The palms face upwards and eyes closed. Keep the legs slightly apart. Now try and relax each part of your body by first concentrating on each body part starting from your toes, slowly going up to your head in their right sequence. While concentrating, try and feel and imagine that body part getting totally relaxed, loosed up and feeling very light. Once you’re done, rub your palms against each other, and place them on your face and eyes. Get up to feel stress-free and rejuvenated.
About the author: Juhi Garg is a yoga and naturopath buff since the age of eight. She believes that yoga is the best way of life and wishes to promote it thus, especially amongst the younger generation. Mail your queries to her at… ASK your Queries