We are all on the pursuit of glowing skin. The flawless, lit-from-within look does sound amazing but between all the dirt and pollution our skin is exposed to, the sleepless nights, the harsh rays of the sun, the most unhealthy diet and a social life that requires alcohol intake and smoking to be validated, the natural glow of our skin goes for a toss. Getting the real glow and not one faked by amazing make-up skills is an inside-out job. And yoga, especially Pranayama has been proven to have great effects on the skin. Along with all the asanas, the breathing exercise, Pranayama is vital to get glowing skin.
What Is Pranayama?
Pranayama is an aspect of Yoga that focuses on the breathing and the respiratory system. Since ages, Yogis have used the practice of Pranayama to attain good health and calm their minds. But, it also helps greatly to improve the appearance of your skin as well.
Pranayama is the yogic practice of synchronising your breath with your asanas. It entails breath control to manage the free flow of life energy or prana through your body. It targets your respiratory system, improves blood flow and purifies the blood to improve skin health and give you glowing skin.
Pranayama For Glowing Skin
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Kapalabhati is a shat kriya that removes the toxins from your body. The word Kapalabhati is made up of two words- 'Kapala' means forehead and 'Bhati' means to shine. It entails the breathing technique of passive inhaling and active exhalation. This yogic practice strengthens your lungs, remove blockages, improves blood circulation and removes toxins from your body. Regular practice of Kapalabhati helps clear your skin and add a natural glow to it.
How to do Kapalabhati
- Sit upright with your legs crossed and your hands resting on your knees.
- To begin with, take a deep breath by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This helps to cleanse and kick-start your system.
- Inhale and feel your stomach filling up. Fill almost ¾th of your belly with air.
- Exhale sharply all the air through your nose, drawing your navel upwards.
- Again take a deep breath and allow your belly to fill up.
- Repeat this process 10 times and breathe normally.
- Repeat this cycle 10 times.
Who should refrain from doing Kapalabhati
If you have the following conditions, you have to refrain from doing Kapalabhati.
- Heart diseases
- Gastric issues
- Acid reflux
- Abdominal diseases
- High blood pressure
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Bhastrika Pranayama is also known as the yogic breath of fire. It presses on your sides and helps to push out the air trapped in your lungs. Bhastrika helps to energise your body and calm your mind. It is a forceful breathing technique that is said to boost life force. It also increases the oxygen level in your blood and thus adds glow to your skin. Unlike Kapalabhati, Bhastrika involves forceful inhalation and exhalation.
It is also important to note that you should always begin your Pranayama session with Bhastrika and follow it with Kapalabhati.
How to do Bhastrika Pranayama
- Sit upright with your legs crossed.
- Take a breath deep breath, hold in for 5 seconds and release.
- Now inhale forcefully and exhale forcefully through the nose.
- Make sure to breathe in from your diaphragm.
- Keep your shoulders straight and your chest, neck and head still while practising Bhastrika.
- Repeat the forceful breathing for 30-45 seconds.
- Take a break of a few seconds and repeat the cycle two more times.
Who should refrain from doing Bhastrika
If you have the following conditions, you should refrain from doing Bhastrika.
- Panic disorder
- Heart Issue
Pro tip: As Bhastrika energises your system, it should not be done at night or on a stomach. Also, refrain from doing Bhastrika while you are having a migraine attack.
Anulom Vilom is a yogic breathing technique to control the Pranic energy or vital force flowing through our body. Also known as alternate nostril breathing, Anulom Vilom helps to stimulate your inner channel, remove the blockages in your respiratory system and improves blood circulation through your body. All this helps to remove the toxins and free radicals in your body, bring mental peace and calm, and leave you with flawless glowing skin.
How to do Anulom Vilom
- Sit upright with your legs crossed.
- Make sure that your back is straight and your shoulders relaxed.
- Take a deep breath, hold in for a few seconds and release.
- Now, close your right nostril with your right thumb.
- Inhale sharply from your left nostril a long and deep breath.
- Close your left nostril using the ring finger and exhale sharply from your right nostril.
- Now, inhale sharply from the right nostril, close the right nostril and exhale sharply through your left nostril.
- Focus on your breathing and to try to match the inhale and exhale time.
- Repeat this process for 5 minutes.
Pro tip: With regular practice of Anulom Vilom, try to increase the inhale and exhale time of your breathing. And keep your breath consistent.
Nadi Shodan Pranayama
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Nadi Shodan consists of two words- 'Nadi' meaning subtle energy channel and 'Shodan' meaning cleansing. It is a breathing technique that helps to purify the blocked energy and respiratory channels in our body and ensures a healthy blood flow. It is a simple breathing technique that opens up your channels and fills your bloodstream with a fresh supply of oxygen removing all the toxins in your body collected due to blocked channels and imparts you with beautiful glowing skin.
This is also an alternate breathing technique just like Aulom Vilom. The only difference is while Aulom Vilom has sharp and forceful breathing, the Nadi Shodan Pranayam entails soft and subtle breathing.
How to do Nadi Shodan Pranayam
- Sit upright and relax.
- Take a few deep breaths and focus on your breathing.
- Lift your right hand and place the index and middle finger in between your eyebrows.
- Now, close your right nostril with the thumb of your right hand.
- Take a deep and soft breath through the left nostril.
- Close the left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand and breathe out through your right nostril.
- Take a deep breath through your right nostril, close your right nostril and exhale deeply through your left nostril
- Repeat this process 20 times.
- Repeat the cycle 3 times.
Bhramari, Udgeeth And Pranav Pranayama
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These are three Pranayama techniques that we have placed together because they are supposed to be done in sequence. The Bahrami Pranayama, also known as the Bee Breath Pranayama, has a calming effect on the mind. It helps to provide relief from stress, hypertension and depression. The following Ugeeth and Pranav Pranayam boosts its(Bhramari Pranayama) effect and trigger your nervous system to calm your mind and add glow to your face. The combination of these three Pranayamas is known to bring peace to you.
How to do Bhramari, Udgeeth And Pranav Pranayama
- Sit upright with your knees crossed and relax.
- Close your ears with your thumbs.
- Place the index fingers horizontally on your forehead and the rest of the three fingers over your eyes. Keep your mouth closed.
- Take a deep breath in and chant a long sound of 'Aum' from your nostrils while exhaling. Chanting Aum from your nostrils will create a sound like the buzz of a bee and hence the name.
- Moving to the Udgeeth Pranayama, place your hands on your knees and straighten your posture.
- Take a deep breath in and release.
- Focus your mind between your eyebrows and take a deep breath.
- Exhale with the chant of Aum.
- Repeat this process of Bhramari and Udgeeth Pranayam 5 times.
- Now we move on to the Pranav Pranayama.
- Keeping your hands on your knees, focus in the centre of your eyebrows and observe complete silence.
- Be mindful of your breathing and take deep and soft breaths for a more enriching experience.