Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yoga for Beauty - Not Just Skin-Deep

Lululemon Yoga LotusThis is a guest post by Maria Rainier...

In the western world, yoga has become a fad diet. Many people practice it as part of a fitness routine. While it’s true that yoga can help you lose weight and define musculature, there are other beauty benefits to be gained with regular practice you probably haven’t thought of.

Unlike the temporary beauty achieved by makeup or (gulp) plastic surgery, yoga can help you achieve long-lasting inner and outer beauty. Any yogi will tell you: if you don’t feel good, you don’t look good (too true; have you tried brushing your hair angry?). People practice yoga for different reasons: health, weight loss, beauty, concentration, meditation, spiritual enlightenment, stress management, ego-shedding — and the great thing is that yoga helps them in all regards. By being less stressed physically as well as mentally healthier, you inherently look better. How, then, does yoga help you feel better?

* Like any other exercise, practicing yoga releases endorphins—happy hormones.

* The muscle definition, flexibility, and renewed vigor that come from devotion to yoga also makes a girl want to slip into a nice dress and heels.

* The breathing and movements involved in yoga aids in the removal of toxins from the body, which helps the body age slower. (Just ask this 92-year old yoga instructor: http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/04/12/n_cmr_92_year_old_yoga.cnnmoney/.)

* Yoga can buttress your immune system by managing your stress and releasing toxins from your body.

* Yoga improves blood circulation, which helps not only your heart but puts a nice glow on your skin. Your endocrine glands are also regulated for better health. If you suffer from dry skin or acne, you’ll find that regular practice of yoga will ease your symptoms.

Still, the greatest benefits you stand to gain from practicing yoga can’t be attained within a week or even a month, maybe even a year. True yoga is a lifelong journey, a gift that never stops giving. To this end, take a stab at studying the philosophy of yoga; you’ll appreciate where the method is coming from and what it’s doing for your body as well as your mind. Try renting a yoga/meditation DVD the next time you’re at the library, or if you’ve got a few dollars to spare, attend a yoga class.

If you do yoga just when you feel like it merely for the physical benefits, trust me, you’re not getting them all.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she's been researching the lowest paying college degrees versus some of the best high paid jobs on the market. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Photo Credit: By lululemon athletica (peace)
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