Verushka by Richard Avedon, Vogue 1972.
I love this image of Verushka. The kinetic charge of her spinal inflexion, the softness arms skimming the floor, her purposeful stare. Heart opening poses like "camel" are incredibly stimulating and in the moment, can bring on feelings of anxiety, fear and anger. But over time, inverted poses like this tone your nervous system and release tension and negativity harboured in the chest, neck and shoulders. All the while, you are flooding energy to your heart saying open, open, open.
The benefits of yoga on your skin are innumerable. But, let's start with taking note of the following:
- Yoga engages our parasympathetic nervous system through chanting and rhythmic breathing. This drains the stress hormone - cortisol - from your body, reducing free radical damage on your skin and organs.
- Through the interplay of movement, stillness and regulated breath, different asanas (like camel, above) flood your skin with nutrient-dense, oxygenated blood. This nourishment gives you a healthy radiance and boosts the immunity of your skin.
- By heating your core temperature and sweating, moving through a moderate flow, you are encouraging your body's own natural detoxification processes like sweating and lymphatic drainage by the gentle massaging of your internal organs. This means a more clarified, vibrant complexion.
- Yoga relieves muscle tension, reducing stress and anxiety and encouraging you to have a more restful, sound sleep. This is when your body switches into healing mode and repairs and restores your internal ecosystem and your skin.
I have recently been going to One Hot Yoga which has been transformative for me. Dim lighting and a muted colour palette paired with the 37 Degree heated room and the invigorating scent of cinnamon essential oil encourages you to feel completely cocooned, warm and safe during your practice. Though, all you really need is a quiet place, a mat and a moment of solitude.