Strike a Pose – 4 Surprising Beauty Benefits of Yoga
Developed as a spiritual practice thousands of years ago in India, yoga is a mind and body discipline that incorporates physical postures (also called poses or asanas), breathing exercises and meditation. There are many iterations of yoga including Ashtanga (power yoga), Bikram (hot yoga) and Hatha (a general term that usually includes both breathing and postures). Yoga is generally considered safe, but don’t go it alone at first. Check out a yoga class or purchase a yoga for beginners DVD to get the ball rolling.
More than 36.7 million people practice yoga in the U.S. and another 80 million are likely to try it in 2016, according to the 2016 Yoga in America Study by the Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance. Most survey respondents believe that yoga is a healthful stress reliever that improves flexibility and strength. While this is all true, yoga also has some killer beauty benefits. From making your skin glow to making your hair grow, here are four more compelling reasons to say “om.”
1: Thicker, More Lustrous Locks
It’s well established that inflammation can drive hair loss. A study out of Ohio State University found that women who practiced yoga regularly have lower levels of the pro-inflammatory protein IL-6 compared with women who don’t.
And there’s more. Stress, too, is a common cause of hair loss, and yoga is a powerful de-stressor. Experts also say that inversion poses (think handstand and headstand) bring blood to the scalp where it can nourish hair follicles and encourage healthier, fuller locks.
[Note: Do not try advanced yoga poses on your own. Consider a DVD, class or private lesson first.]
2: Trim, Svelte Figure
Yoga is exercise, and as such can help aid any weight loss efforts — especially when paired with a healthy diet. Yoga also helps reduce stress levels which is a huge plus considering that many of us engage in unhealthy habits when under stress. We don’t exercise, we eat high-fat comfort foods and may be more likely to drink excessive amounts of alcohol and/or smoke.
3: Glowing Complexion
Inversion poses bring blood to the head and face, creating the same type of rosy glow that follows certain skin rejuvenation procedures. If stress tends to trigger breakouts and/or bad behaviors that lead to acne, it’s yoga to the rescue. Yoga is not an acne treatment but, together with your usual skin care regimen, it can help your skin remain blemish free.
Always make sure to clean your face before and after a sweaty yoga class. All that sweat (particularly if you are a Bikram fan) can clog pores and cause pimples.
4: Dark Circle Detox
Yoga can help improve the quality of your slumber — allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and free from those under-eye bags caused by lack of sleep.
Harvard Medical School researchers found that daily yoga practice might positively affect sleep time and quality for people with insomnia. Dark circles can also be caused or worsened by lack of blood flow to the face, so those same inversion poses that promote healthy hair and dewy skin can also rein in your dark and puffy under-eye bags.