How do you love the skin you’re in? Do you feel like your relationship with yourself could do with a boost? How do you uncover self-love, self-trust and more compassion? Yoga offers a way to help you to love yourself from the inside out. As well as help you develop a kinder relationship with yourself, yoga helps you find a wide open and balanced heart. Caring for ourselves doesn’t leave us unable to care for others, but rather helps us to do so more deeply and authentically. Showing ourselves more love results in a deeper understanding of what it means to be human, and can open our hearts more to others: flaws and all.
We are now so used to seeing the images of bendy figures doing yoga on social media, that it can be easy to forget that yoga is an internal practice. By this we mean that it works your mind and your emotional wellbeing as well as your body. We break down the ways in which yoga can help you love the skin you’re in body, mind and soul.
The physical practice of yoga – whether it is in a dynamic, fast paced flow class or a more gentle class meets the needs of your body. We’re so trained to believe that movement is related to punishment, that we don’t always stop to ask ourselves what sort of movement would help us most? We might need the heart-racing, blood-pumping thrill of a run or other aerobic exercise to keep our hearts healthy and to release feel-good endorphins, or we might need to soothe ourselves by allowing for a more somatic flow. Are we able to slow down enough and listen to what our bodies are telling us? We might have bought the line ‘no pain, no gain’ but in reality, our bodies need to move in different ways. So pause today, before you move in a habitual way and show yourself love by moving in the ways you need. Whatever you choose: moving in an intentional and mindful way helps you to literally develop glowing skin.
Yoga has been shown to reduce stress hormones in your body and these can prevent stress-related breakouts of spots. In addition to this, yoga’s focus on breathing helps to oxygenate the blood and delivers more oxygen and nutrients to your skins. Some yoga poses are particularly helpful for bringing a glow to your skin. Inversions which bring your heart above your head bring blood circulation to your face. So even the simple act of folding forwards to touch your toes can help you to achieve more glowing skin and increase elasticity.
Yoga is ultimately about self-transformation and quite often comes with the instruction to focus on what is happening on your own mat rather than worry about what someone else is doing. Practicing yoga makes you realise two things quickly: firstly that your body and life experience are unique. Some people have longer leg bones which means it’s easier for them to wrap themselves in complicated shapes. Yet, in yoga, there is a greater focus on the journey rather than the destination. So, as you try a complicated shape, are you able to be kind to yourself? And if in the end, you find it isn’t possible, you might ask yourself what you have learnt in the process rather than beating yourself up. So, certainly yoga can help us develop a more glowing complexion.
More importantly, though, yoga teaches us how to accept ourselves and be less critical. When we pay our attention to how we talk to ourselves, we come to realise that we often give ourselves a really hard time and talk to ourselves in ways that we would never talk to our loved ones. Notice what you say to yourself when something doesn’t quite go the way you think it should and try to re-frame it. Instead of saying,”oh you’re stupid to have let that happen…” try, “oh dear, that’s a shame, but that could happen to anyone”. Not convinced? Ask yourself if it’s true. For any given mistake or unsatisfactory outcome, is it something that could have happened to anyone? And if so, would you have given a friend such a hard time?
Yoga is often referred to as a spiritual practice. This is because as well as focussing on the body and how we feel, yoga invites us to turn inwards, connect with our breath and with our ‘best’ self. One way in which to get in touch with what is good in our lives is to practice gratitude, even if you start out by noticing the smallest things that you are grateful for. This could be as simple as having clean water to wash your face with.
Practicing gratitude has been proven to have both physical and psychological benefits. People who practice gratitude sleep better, report fewer aches and pains, exercise more and are able to face challenges more mindfully. In addition to this, though, practicing gratitude helps us to develop more compassionate relationships with others, to open our hearts to others and to accept ourselves for how we are.
Movement for Modern Life
Movement for Modern Life is the UK’s number one online yoga platform. Their team of world class teachers bring yoga, meditation, pilates, mindfulness, qigong and inspired movement classes into your home. With over 1,400 on demand classes suitable for all levels, it’s no surprise Vogue magazine has dubbed them the ‘Netflix of Yoga.’
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