It doesn’t take much to upset our skin. Internal inflammation can prompt rosacea and flushed skin. Dehydration can translate to flakiness and premature ageing. And emotional duress can trigger acne or eczema. But what if we told you that simply breathing right could help alleviate all the above?
Our bodies are made up of complex and inextricably linked pathways. Just as the mind and gut are connected, the mind and skin also share a deep link. So it makes sense to step back and take a holistic approach when it comes to our skin’s health.
Our breath is a powerful (and underrated) tool when it comes to changing your physical, emotional and mental state. It’s basically like yoga for your brain. The benefits of breathing right can help promote calmness, detoxify the body, stimulate the lymphatic system, foster happiness and more.
It should come as no surprise, then, that good breathing habits will also nurture beautiful skin.
Read on to discover the power of breath, and why good breathing habits are essential for real, long-term beauty care.
What is breathwork and how does it translate to better skin?
“Just breathe.” We often hear (and spout) this phrase during times of stress, but have you ever stopped to think why? Our lives are ruled by busy schedules and overflowing to-do lists, and this fast-paced lifestyle affects how we breathe.
By breathing with intention, we invite amazing inner and outer transformation. Deep breathing flushes the excess carbon dioxide from our body and replaces it with a rich supply of cell-energising oxygen. This inner pick-me-up improves circulation, invigorates the cells and minimises the impact of stress on the skin.
In comparison, taking short and shallow breaths (a tell-tale symptom of stress) will only starve your body of this vital nutrient. This sudden halt of oxygen sets our body’s alarm bells ringing, unleashing a flood of unwanted cortisol (the primary stress hormone) throughout our body.
Breathing is often overlooked as a pathway to looking and feeling better. Even small doses of intentional breathing can brighten our whole being, complexion included. By practising good breathing regularly, we can manage stress better and reap the beauty benefits as a result.
Whether you’re studying for an exam or just driving to work, here are some breathing exercises to help unite your mind and body. Healthy, radiant skin here we come!
How can I practice good breathing?
In Ayurveda, pranayama breathwork is central to cultivating holistic wellness. Ayurveda is an Indian healing practice, born from the experience that our body and mind are inextricably connected. To help soothe your mind and re-energise your body, we’re sharing our three go-to pranayamas you can try anywhere.
1. Stress-reducing pranayama
When you feel stress settling in, try out the Anuloma Viloma exercise. It’s said to be one of the best pranayamas for soothing the mind, and it’s one of our favourites.
Start by placing your right thumb over the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril. Holding this breath, block your left nostril with your fourth finger. Then, release the thumb and exhale through your right nostril.
Repeat on the other side; Inhale through the right nostril with the ring finger plugging the left nostril and switch closing the right with the thumb and exhale out of your left nostril.
By creating a wave of breath through your nose, you help ward off stress and focus your thoughts.
2. Anti-inflammatory pranayama
Sheetali pranayama, also known as the Cooling Breath, is a breathing practice that cools your body and emotions. It helps calm the mind-body organism by triggering a powerful evaporative cooling effect as you inhale.
This cooling touch helps extinguish inflamed, agitated emotions and treat over-acidity in the digestive system. In a sitting position, roll your tongue and make a tube out of it (yep, just like school days). Inhale through your mouth and exhale out of your nose. You can feel the cold breath entering your body as the excess heat is flushed out.
3. Oxygenating pranayama
This pranayama gently cleanses the body and blood systems, while re-oxygenating soft tissue.
It’s simple: Find somewhere you can sit comfortably with a straight spine. Empty your lungs and take a big, steady breath in. Keep inhaling until you reach your limit and keep your spine straight.
Hold your breath for a second, then hold some of the breath at the back of your throat, and slowly exhale through both nostrils. Do this 10 or 20 times, until you feel more relaxed and re-energized.
Have you tried mindful breathing? And did it work for you? We would love to hear your experiences and your personal favourite exercises. Share them with us in the comments below!