To improve the health and appearance of your skin, Yoga teachers from all schools will attest to the value of breathing correctly. There is a part of the Yoga system dedicated to breathing: it is called Pranayama and is often defined as the control of breathing. Most Yoga sessions will begin and end with mindful deep breathing practices and the Yoga routines themselves are coordinated with the breath. Yoga and deep breathing can help you get rid of acne.
Pranayama is made up of two words: Prana and Ayama. Prana means vital life force or energy. Ayama means expansion or extension. When put together, Pranayama means “expansion or extension of the prana dimension”. Taken to its fullest potential, Pranayama offers the method by which the life force can be activated to go beyond normal limitations and reach a higher state.
However, when used simply, breath control improves the performance of every cell, every tissue, internal organ, and system. Breathing is the most vital process in the body. It is intimately related to the functioning of the brain, which controls all aspects of the body, including the secretion of hormones and the regulation of the immune system, both of which are very important when it comes to acne. Breathing properly can detoxify the body by increasing the efficiency of the cleansing processes. Breathing itself rids the body of toxins.
WHY DO I NEED TO LEARN TO BREATH? DIDN’T I ALREADY DO IT?
We breathe about 15 times a minute and about 21,500 times a day, and although this is mostly an unconscious process, we can consciously control it at any time. Most of us haven’t breathed properly since we were little children, when our bodies were flexible and our minds were mostly untroubled. With poor posture, such as sitting in chairs too much, not getting enough exercise, and even minor injuries, our body’s flexibility is reduced, which in turn reduces our ability to breathe fully. Our minds can also become inflexible, and we breathe quickly when frustrated and angry, or hold our breath when anxious or scared. So depending on the pattern of our thoughts, it’s easy to see how our breathing can become disrupted, which disrupts the rhythms of the brain, which can also lead to physical symptoms.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO START?
First of all, it’s good to start by looking at exactly how you’re breathing right now. Do you breathe through your nose or through your mouth? Are you breathing fast or slow? Do you think you are breathing deeply or shallowly? Notice which part of your chest is expanding: is it the bottom, or the sides of your ribs, or the top of your lungs? Notice that the air going in is cold and the air going out is warmer.
Simply noticing these things will automatically slow down your breathing and establish a more relaxed and natural rhythm. Begin to notice your breath many times throughout the day.
But to go further, the following exercise is very useful to do every day.
Abdominal or deep breathing is the most natural and efficient way to breathe. It’s the way we breathed as babies, and you can see a baby’s tummy rise and fall as they sleep. This is what you are looking for.
- Do this at a time when you won’t be disturbed for at least 10 minutes.
- Dress in comfortable, loose clothing if possible.
- Lie down on a soft but firm surface, such as a carpeted floor or yoga mat.
- Being in a comfortable temperature environment without drafts or scorching sunlight.
- Lie in a comfortable position on your back with your arms at your sides and your eyes closed.
- Become aware of the breath without trying to control it at all. Let it be natural.
- Continue observing natural breathing for a few minutes, until you feel comfortable to continue.
- Place your right hand on your belly, just above your navel (belly button), and your left hand on your heart area.
- All breathing should be through the nose, inhaling and exhaling.
- Inhale deeply downward, noticing that the diaphragm descends towards the abdomen, expanding it and pushing the navel to its highest point. Expand your abdomen as much as possible, without breathing to the sides or expanding your rib cage.
- As you exhale, contract your diaphragm back into place under your ribs and allow your navel to move down, compressing toward your spine.
- The right hand should move up each time you inhale and down each time you exhale.
- The left hand should not move at all with the breath.
- There should be no tension in the abdomen and do not try to force the movement in any way.
- The time of inhalation and exhalation should be slow and even. There should be a short pause at the end of the inhalation and again when the exhalation is complete.
- Continue for about 10 minutes.
- Come up slowly after this exercise and drink 2 glasses of water.
You will notice the benefits of this deep breathing on your mental state very quickly and an improvement in your skin within 2-6 weeks. This improvement continues as you maintain your deep breathing practices.