The ancient tradition of yoga is considered to be a gift to the world from the Indian subcontinent. Developed around two and a half millennia ago, this tradition finds its roots in the practices of the rishis and ascetics who traversed these lands at that time. The style of yoga that is practiced today, however, is only a small (and yet incredibly efficient) part of an entire school of Indian philosophy that existed in ancient times.
Apart from its health benefits, you'll be surprised to know that regularly practicing yoga for acne and pimples can help improve the condition of your skin ten folds.
What exactly is the idea of yoga then and what makes it so effective in treating so many health issues and ailments? Well, the philosophy behind yoga is pretty simple, and yet extremely potent at the same time. Now, you must be wondering what treating pimples and acne has to do with such a tradition that speaks of spirituality and oneness with the universe. To put it simply, understanding the body and its operation is one of the key methods of achieving mastery over it and yoga helps you do just that. So before we move on to how practicing yoga for pimples and acne can benefit your skin, it is imperative that we also understand what causes acne in the first place.
Stress and unhealthy internal systems
Apart from all the dirt and pollution that affects your skin and face every time you step outside of the house, a number of other factors are responsible for the occurrence of acne and pimples on your skin. The clogging of pores of your skin with dead skin cells, or with the oils from your skin, apart from dust particles and pollutants, leads to blackheads, whiteheads or pimples popping up on your skin. And while certain factors such as genetics and your hormones can’t really be altered, others such as stress and unhealthy digestive or circulatory systems can be countered through changes in your lifestyle.
The ancient tradition of yoga provides for different asanas or postures that can help you address these issues by reducing stress and improving your internal bodily systems by detoxifying them. So we decided to make a list of all the asanas and breathing techniques that can help you get rid of your pimple problem.
Practicing yoga for pimples is the healthiest way of dealing with this most common skin condition.
Asanas and techniques for battling stress
While the ancient texts including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Bhagavad Gita described ‘Pranayama’ as cessation of breathing (‘prana’ means your breath and ‘ayama’ means cessation in Sanskrit), it is today practiced as an exercise to control your breathing, either on its own or in synchronization with other asanas. Medical research has reported that pranayama exercises can help you relieve your stress, and thereby can be an effective way of controlling and treating your acne issues.
If stress acne is your biggest worry, then Pranayama is the answer. Practicing yoga for acne can help you treat this condition.
Here's another yoga pose for acne that is sure to be of great help if practiced regularly.
Matsyasana or the fish pose is basically a backbend, where you lie on your back and lift the region of the heart by propping yourself on your elbows and by drawing back your shoulders. Stretch your neck and point the crown of your head towards the floor to complete the asana. This asana relaxes your mind and your body, calming it deeply and helping you deal better with acne that is caused by stress or other emotional imbalances.
Sarvangasana, also known as the shoulder stand, is an asana that affects all of the limbs in your body. This is also where it gets its name from since sarvanga means ‘all limbs or rather your entire body’ in Sanskrit. It is another helpful yoga pose for acne and pimples. To do the asana, lie down comfortably on your back and bring both your legs up together, pointing them towards the sky. Push your hips all the way forward until your chest is closer to your chin. Hold the posture for about 10-15 seconds before bending your knees slowly and bringing your body back to its initial position. Not only does this asana completely relax your mind and body, it also improves your blood circulation.
Asanas for detoxification and improving blood circulation
The Bhujangasana or the Cobra pose is a relatively easier posture to do and it helps in the detoxification of your body and in improving the cellular turnover in your body. You can start by lying flat on your belly, before placing your palms under the shoulders and pushing till your hips are slightly off the ground. Keeping your feet on the ground and your legs outstretched, the back is arched and the gaze is directed upwards or slightly towards the back. This pose is part of the Surya Namaskar or Sun salutation and can be done as a part of it or even on its own.
Chakrasana (or Urdhva Dhanurasana as it is also known) is a backbend posture that provides excellent flexibility to your spine and also improves the blood circulation in your body, and especially in your face and head region. The complete arching your back in this pose gives the asana its name since ‘Chakra’ basically means the wheel in Sanskrit. To do the asana, stand straight and push your hips and abdomen forward and drop your neck back. Keep arching back slowly, with your hands raised towards the sky. Once you’ve arched back enough and can see the floor again, bend your knees slowly till your palms are touching the floor. This asana can also help improve your digestive system and provide relief from constipation.
Asanas for improving digestion
This is perhaps the most widely known of all the asanas in Hatha Yoga tradition. Padmasana or Lotus position involves sitting cross-legged in meditation and controlling your breathing using the pranayama techniques. Starting off sitting in the cross-legged position (known as ‘Sukhasana’), one foot is placed on top of the thigh of the other leg, with the heel close to the abdomen and the soles facing upwards. The other foot is then placed on the opposing thigh in a similar manner. Padmasana is known to aid digestion by eliminating toxins from the body and by improving the absorption of nutrients. Thus, it helps you fight your acne problems better as well.
Halasana or the plough pose (‘Hala’ in Sanskrit means the ‘plough’) is an inverted pose or exercise which can be entered from the Sarvangasana mentioned above. The back is slightly lowered so as to improve the balance and bring your legs all the way over your head slowly, till the toes are touching the floor. Then, interlock your fingers and stretch your arms down onto the floor. The Halasana can help provide relief from constipation and it also improves the blood circulation towards the head region, thus treating your acne problem doubly.
Note: It is important that you stretch yourself well before trying out any of the above mentioned asanas and if you’re a beginner, ensure that you practice them under the supervision of someone trained in the yoga traditions.