Share on Pinterest
Ohlamour Studio/Stocksy United

If you’ve ever groaned at your reflection in the mirror because of dull, dry skin, you’re not alone. Here’s something you can try: Get out your yoga mat.

A yoga mat? Practicing yoga poses, which are also known as asanas, can have numerous health benefits, from building strength and flexibility to calming your mind and reducing your stress levels.

Yoga can also make your skin appear healthier and more vibrant. Some positions can provide temporary benefits, and over time, a regular yoga practice may address some of the factors that are contributing to dull-looking skin.

Keep reading to learn how yoga may benefit your skin and which poses are best to do.

Yoga can’t magically transform your skin. It won’t make that pimple or those dark undereye circles instantly vanish. And yoga can’t actually reverse the signs of aging. But practicing yoga can make you feel better, and it could help improve your appearance, too.

Decreases stress levels and improves your sleep

Research has shown that practicing yoga can decrease your stress levels, reduce anxiety and even help you sleep better. What’s more, when you’re better rested, your skin can appear more vibrant. While you’re getting your Zzz’s, your body’s skin cells are repairing and recovering from stressors.

May also decrease inflammation

Some other research also suggests that practicing yoga may also decrease inflammation, notably stress-induced inflammation. Inflammation can lead to fatigue and depression, among other symptoms, which may show up on your skin.

So, practicing yoga may have positive effects on your skin because it decreases your stress levels and helps you sleep better, with all the benefits that entails.

Increases circulation to your head and face

Some poses can spark a quicker, short-term glow by increasing circulation to your head and face. Other poses may not necessarily promote the same specific effect, but they may help you slow your breathing, calm down, and feel your stress levels ebb away, which can still have a positive effect on your appearance.

Let’s look at a few yoga poses that you can try to help get that glow:

Forward Fold

Also known by its Sanskrit name of Uttanasana, Forward Fold will promote circulation of blood to your face and head for a very simple reason: because you’ll be leaning over.

This is a good pose to start with, since it’s an easy pose to do, even for beginners.

How to do a Forward Fold

  1. Start by standing up, with your feet about hip-width apart and parallel.
  2. Slowly bend forward from your hips, exhaling as you bend and bring your face toward your knees.
  3. You may feel a tightening in the back of your legs. Soften your knees if this feels supportive.
  4. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.

Pro tips: You can let your arms dangle or hold your elbows. Don’t lock your knees — keep them soft and relaxed.

Downward-Facing Dog

Whether you call it Downward-Facing Dog, Downward Dog, or Adho Mukha Svanasana, this inverted pose is another one that will get the blood flowing toward your head and face.

How to do a Downward-Facing Dog

  1. Get down on your hands and knees, as if you’re about to crawl.
  2. Next, slowly lift your knees and gently straighten them while lifting your bottom to the sky. Keep your hands and feet on the floor (note that you may not be able to keep your feet completely flat on the floor). Your body will be in an inverted V shape.
  3. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.

Pro tips: Don’t lock your knees, and be sure to breathe.

Dolphin Pose

Dolphin Pose, or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, is similar to Downward-Facing Dog. Your legs and the lower part of your body are in the same position, but rather than having straight arms with your palms on the floor, your arms are bent.

Essentially you’re leaning forward and balancing on your forearms, with your head or forehead resting on the floor. Once again, this pose encourages circulation that can make your face look pink and, yes, perhaps a little glowy.

How to do the Dolphin Pose

  1. Begin this pose by getting into the forearm plank position. Press your forearms and palms down onto the mat, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slowly straighten out both legs so that your body is horizontal. Relax your neck and gaze downward toward the mat
  3. To get into the Dolphin Pose, walk your feet toward your hands while lifting your hips high. As your hips rise, let your head and gaze move naturally toward your feet.
  4. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.

Pro tips: You can keep your legs straight or bent depending on your flexibility. Again, be sure to breathe and keep your neck relaxed throughout this position.

Also known by the Sanskrit name Bhujangasana, Cobra Pose may also help boost your skin’s appearance. The idea is that the pose may encourage you to open your chest, breathe more deeply, and take more oxygen into your body.

How to do a Cobra Pose

  1. Start in the plank position.
  2. On an exhalation, slowly lower down to the floor, your hands remaining on either side of your chest.
  3. Roll your shoulders back, and gently press your elbows in against your torso.
  4. Reach back through your legs, press down with your hands, and slowly send your chest forward and out.
  5. Keep the back of your neck long and your legs active as you roll your shoulders back and lift your chest off your mat, straightening your arms.
  6. On an exhalation, release your torso down.

Pro tips: Keep your elbows slightly bent — don’t lock them. You can also start out by doing a Half Cobra, and only come part way up.

You may also see this pose referred to as Supported Shoulderstand, Sarvangasana, or Salamba Sarvangasana. Since it’s an inverted pose, it’ll send more blood flow to your head.

Note: If you’re a beginner, this pose may be more challenging for you. It may also put some strain on your neck, so if you have neck or back issues, you may want to skip this pose.

How to do a Shoulder Stand

  1. Lie down flat on your back with your arms to your sides.
  2. Slowly bend your knees and bring them in toward the middle of your body, lifting your feet off the floor.
  3. Next, lift your hips off the floor so your knees are pointing toward your forehead. Take both hands and support your hips, keeping your arms bent and your upper arms and elbows on the floor.
  4. Next, lift your hips while moving your hands farther up your back. Then, gradually straighten your legs upward. After you hold the pose for a few seconds, gently lower your legs and return to your original position.

Pro tips: Use a flat cushion or folded blanket under your shoulders for cushioning. Place your shoulders on the edge of the padding, and allow your head to rest on the floor. Keep your chin tucked into your chest, and don’t move your neck. Beginners should consult with an instructor before trying this pose.

Of course, there are other ways to boost the quality of your skin and help you look your best:

  • Wear sunscreen. You still need to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on a daily basis to reduce your skin’s exposure to the aging effects of the sun.
  • Embrace moisturizer. Moisturizer acts as a protective barrier for your skin and can help keep it feeling (and looking) soft and supple. You’ll want to pick a moisturizer designed to meet your skin’s specific needs, of course. Choose a heavier, oil-based moisturizer for dry skin, but go with a lighter, water-based formulation for oily or combination skin.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water each day to help your skin stay hydrated. It’s good for the rest of your body, too.
  • Rest. Are you getting quality sleep on a regular basis? A lack of sleep can emphasize fine lines, cause eyelids to look swollen, and make dark circles look more pronounced. In fact, one 2015 study found that poor sleep was associated with increased signs of aging, and a 2017 study found that people viewed others who weren’t getting enough sleep as less attractive.
  • Change your sleeping position. Elevate the head of your bed, or put a couple of pillows under your head at night. This can help decrease the likelihood that you’ll wake up with circles and bags under your eyes.

If you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up for your skin, you might try a few yoga poses.

In the long term, think of yoga as just one of several tools at your disposal to help you maintain the health of your skin, body, and mind.