Yoga offers many benefits that can help heal acne. Dermatologist Nicholas Perricone refers to acne as a "systemic inflammatory disease" and recommends yoga as a way to help reduce the stress that can cause inflammation. A recent study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine also concludes that regular yoga practice helps reduce stress and offers substantial health benefits.
Find Your Focus
The best poses for reducing the stress and inflammation that can cause acne include forward bends, inversions and restorative poses. To prepare for your practice, wear comfortable clothes and remove shoes and socks. Roll out a yoga mat and sit comfortably in meditation by focusing on your breath. Meditation activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate and lowers your blood pressure.
Standing Forward Bend
Some benefits of the Standing Forward Bend include soothing the nervous system, regulating your hormones and relaxing tense facial muscles, all of which have positive effects on acne-prone skin. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, inhale and raise your arms overhead. As you exhale, bend forward and reach your hands to the floor.
Seated Forward Bend
Another stress-reducing pose is a Seated Forward Bend. Sit on your mat and place your legs straight out in front of you. Bend at your waist and reach toward your feet. If you can't reach your feet, use a belt, long sash or yoga strap. This pose also helps reduce stress in your facial muscles.
Regular Headstand practice brings fresh blood through the brain cells and nourishes your skin, according to B.K.S. Iyengar, master yoga teacher and author of "Light on Yoga." If you're new to Headstands, you can practice against the wall. Kneel on the floor facing the wall and place your forearms on the floor. Cup your hands together and widen your elbows. Place the crown of your head on the floor so your cupped palms touch the back of your head. Hold this position for a few breaths, then lift your knees off the floor and slowly walk your feet toward your head so your entire torso is perpendicular to the floor. Bring your bent knees toward your chest and slowly straighten your legs up the wall. Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure, a heart condition or a migraine headache.
Yoga class ends with the Corpse pose. This relaxation pose enhances breathing and soothes the body and mind. Lie on your back with your legs and arms slightly out to the side and your palms facing upward. Close your eyes and relax for about five minutes.
Check with your health care provider before you begin this practice.
- Psychosomatic Medicine: Stress, Inflammation and Yoga Practice
- Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health; B.K.S. Iyengar
- The Acne Prescription; Nicholas Perricone