By Claire Diab and Dennis Boyle
By Claire Diab
As the seasons change and we enter into winter, with cold, dry air on top of a change of diet and holiday parties, this is a very important time to take care of your skin. It is important to hydrate and drink plenty of water. Also, eat nourishing foods such as squashes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, etc. And remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away and nourishes your skin.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It reflects your age and how you are feeling. Your skin is the organ that protects your muscles and bones and releases toxins from your body through the pores. As firefighters, you are around smoke and other air pollutants. It is important for you to take care of this amazing organ. Yoga offers many techniques to improve and strengthen your skin.
We are happy to share some tips on how to stay younger and add life to your years. Here’s a tip for healthy skin: Your skin will have a healthy glow; you will look younger, and so will your skin!
The quickest and most effective way to rejuvenate your skin is to purify the blood stream by taking in extra supplies of oxygen from the air you breathe. Most of our energy comes from the air we breathe. Through deep belly breathing and movement, rejuvenation of the skin will occur. By breathing full, deep breaths in and out through the nose, you can increase the amount of oxygen to the bloodstream, essential for proper and efficient functioning of the brain, nerves, glands, and organs.
Belly Breathing combined with Child’s Pose and Cobra Pose is a wonderful way to keep your skin radiant this winter. Always remember to breathe deeply through your nostrils while performing these techniques.
Child’s Pose and Cobra Pose
Child’s pose Cobra Pose Child’s Pose
3-5 Breaths 3-5 Breaths Rest
- Come into Child’s Pose. Sit back on your heels and rest your forehead on your towel or mat. Breathe in and out 3-5 times.
- Come onto your belly. Rest your forehead on the towel or mat, and have your fingertips in line with the tops of your shoulders.
- Breathe deep, full breaths. Keep your elbows in toward your body. Gently press your shoulders back and down.
- Inhale and slowly lift your face up toward the sky, and allow the rest of your upper body to follow. Keep your hips on the ground. Breathe in and out 3-5 breaths.
- Exhale and lower down and then press back into Child’s Pose. Relax all the muscles in your face, rest, and enjoy.
- Repeat Cobra/Child’s Pose 3-5 times. Then rest in Child’s Pose for 5 minutes.
- Increases blood flow to your skin.
- Lengthens the muscles around the spine.
- Lengthens the abdominal muscles and front of the neck.
- Strengthens and tones the liver and kidneys.
- Strengthens the shoulders and chest.
- Strengthens the central nervous system.
- If you have back pain, only perform Child’s Pose.
- If your shoulders are uncomfortable, raise up where it is comfortable or just perform Child’s Pose.
- Move easily from Child’s Pose to Cobra Pose. Notice how your body feels and chooses the most nourishing choice.
- If you have knee problems, omit Child’s Pose and rest on your belly
Claire Diab is an internationally recognized yoga therapist. She is the director of the Yoga Program for the Chopra Center founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon. She is an adjunct professor of Asian Studies at Seton Hall University. She is the author of several books and DVDs on yoga including “Yoga for Firefighters.”
Dennis Boyle is a retired fire director and acting chief with the West Orange (NJ) Fire Department. He was the recipient of the 1999 New Jersey Deputy Fire Chiefs “Fire Officer of the Year” award.