When you have a huge zit on your face, you'll do anything to make it go away, right? Yoga may be the answer you're looking for and Well + Good's Rachel Lapidos has the answer!
When a yoga instructor asks you to set an intention for your practice, do you ever think: “To get rid of this huge pimple on my face”?
I’m not going to lie—I’ve jokingly wished for that (along with more serious things, of course). But little did I realize that it’s not such a crazy idea. According to the ancient Indian healing tradition of Ayurveda, certain yoga poses actually are believed to fight acne.
There are several reasons why yoga is so closely linked with the skin in Ayurvedic custom, says Shrankhla Holecek, founder of Ayurvedic beauty brand Uma. For one thing, breathing techniques, like the ones you do in yoga class, are major stress busters—and we all know how stress impacts the complexion.
“Pranayama—a breathing meditation within yoga—can be deeply balancing to the mind and body, alleviating the stressors that cause acne,” says Holecek. (In fact, she adds, breath work is often the first thing an Ayurvedic doctor will recommend if you’re struggling with acne.)
The movement side of yoga also affects skin. Take sun salutations, for example: Though we often think of them as energy-boosters, in Ayurveda they’re so much more than that. “Sun and moon salutations can expedite the body’s detox processes, helping rid you of acne-causing toxins,” says Holecek.
It stands to reason, then, that other poses could also play a role in fighting pimples. After all, Holecek says, “Acne is considered to be an imbalance, and generally, yoga practices are all about bringing you back to balance.”
As is always the case within Ayurveda, the right yoga prescription for you varies depending on your predominant dosha, or mind-body constitution. (If you don’t already know yours, take this quiz.) I know it sounds a little out-there, but even if you’re skeptical, know this: Getting more yoga in your life is never a bad thing.
For a routine to cure red, angry pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and deep-rooted acne, continue reading the story on Well + Good.