By Kristen Ma
Our skin is a dynamic reflection of our overall health. Internal inflammation can translate into rosacea and rashes, dehydration can lead to topical dryness and premature signs of aging, and emotional distress can prompt anything from acne to eczema. The line between the internal and external is thin, which is why whole bodily balance is so important for real, long-term beauty care.
Breathing is one of our most powerful methods of cleansing. In Ayurveda, pranayama breath work is central to maintaining holistic wellness. Doing regular breathing exercises can invite amazing inner and outer transformation pranayama can oxygenate and detoxify your tissues, manage stress, and alleviate excess heat and irritability. Breathing is often overlooked as an avenue of regeneration, but even small daily doses of focused breathing can shift and brighten your whole being—not to mention your complexion. Whether you’re waiting for the subway or washing the dishes, here are a few pranayam techniques that can help harmonize your mind and keep your body healthy, clear, and beautiful.
This breathing exercise works to cleanse the body and blood system as well as re-oxygenate soft tissue. You can do it sitting up or laying down. Its very simple: inhale for a count of ten, hold this breath in for a count of ten, then exhale for a count of ten. Do this a total of ten times. Afterwards, you’ll feel infinitely more relaxed and re-energized.
The Anuloma Viloma is said to be one of the best pranayama for calming the mind. Placing the right thumb over the right nostril, inhale through the left nostril. Holding this, plug your left nostril with your fourth finger. Then release the thumb and exhale through the right nostril. Repeat this on the other side: inhale again through the right nostril with the ring finger plugging up the left nostril and switch closing the right with the thumb and breathe out of the left nostril. This creates a wave of breathe through the nose and helps to decrease stress and centre your thoughts.
Sheetali is a cooling pranayama that helps treat over-acidity and heat in the digestive system. Its also excellent for assuaging inflamed, aggravated emotions and irritability. In a sitting position, roll your tongue making a tube out of it (yes, like we used to do in school). This tube acts like a straw for your breath. Inhale through the mouth and exhale through the nose. You can actually feel the cold breath entering your body as excess heat is gratefully purged.