Women are always on the prowl for ways to reverse the effects of aging. Unfortunately, until researchers discover the fountain of youth, there’s not much you can do to subtract years from your appearance. Yoga helps to stimulate the lymphatic system, ward off the effects of gravity, reduce stress and enhance strength and flexibility. While it won’t actually make you look younger, yoga -- like all forms of exercise -- can help you maintain your appearance.
One of the most common and well-known yoga poses, the Downward-Facing Dog belongs to a group of poses known as inversions, which involve placing your head below your waist. According to yoga instructor Kimberly Fowler, inversion poses may have antiaging properties because they stimulate blood flow to the face, help ward off gravity’s effects and enhance immunity. To perform the Downward-Facing Dog, position yourself on your hands and knees and straighten your legs until your body is in an upside-down V shape. Hold the pose for at least five breaths, but do not exceed one minute. The Downward-Facing Dog also aids digestion and helps you strengthen your upper body.
Twist positions are beneficial for the skin because they optimize circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system, which can help remove toxins and provide your skin with greater access to nutrients and oxygen-rich blood. Start the Fierce Twist pose by standing straight with your feet and knees pressing together. At the same time, bend your knees and raise your arms towards the ceiling. Bring your palms down, press them together and twist your upper body so that your right elbow touches your left knee. Hold the pose for five to 10 breaths before repeating the exercise on your left side. For an added challenge, plant your hands on the mat after completing the position and walk your feet back until you reach Downward-Facing Dog.
Legs Up the Wall
After a long workday, the Legs Up the Wall pose can help you combat stress, which causes you to age faster. It is also beneficial for strengthening muscles of the neck, chest and legs. To begin, position yourself comfortably on the floor next to a wall with your legs straight in front of you and your right hip and shoulder touching the wall. Bend your knees, lie on your left side and roll onto your back. Stretch your legs upward so that your heels are resting against the wall. Hold the pose for five minutes.
Managing stress is key to longevity, as women who experience chronic stress may age faster. Heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer have also been linked to high levels of stress. A mind-body exercise, yoga combines stretching and breathing to ward off stress and achieve relaxation while improving strength and flexibility. For optimal benefits, incorporate three days of yoga into a fitness schedule that also includes three or four days of aerobic exercise.
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