By Claire Diab and Dennis Boyle
As winter fast approaches, bringing cold winds and dry air, your skin may be bearing the consequences. Also, as firefighters, your skin is exposed to more toxins than the average worker. Because the skin is important not only for appearance but for protecting and ridding the body of toxins, we should take time to nourish this large organ, especially during the harsh months of winter.
There are many ways to nourish this organ–for example, applying lotions to prevent cracking or eating foods that promote healthy skin. However, you can also nourish the skin through various yoga techniques, including Breathing and Poses.
Breathing deeply and practicing yoga will increase the health of your skin, reverse the signs of aging, and revitalize every cell! Breathing techniques rid the body of toxins and revitalize and rejuvenate your skin, keeping it looking healthy and vibrant. By taking in full, deep breaths through the nostrils, a technique called Belly Breathing, you can increase the amount of oxygen to the bloodstream, essential for proper and efficient functioning of the brain, nerves, glands, and organs. One yoga flow especially important for the skin is Child’s Pose to Cobra. Follow these easy steps for younger looking, healthier skin!
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 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.