Yoga Glow

I could write a book about skincare. My personal experience has made me an unofficial expert, if only of my own complexion. Having suffered from outspoken skin for most of my life, I’ve become sensitive to which factors and practices help it look its best.

I’ve tried every product on the market: high-priced luxury brands, drugstore staples, organic and chemical-free products, face oils, oil-free regimens, prescriptions . . . you name it, I’ve tried it. A clean diet has no more significant effect on my skin than a happy feast of chocolate, cappuccinos, and potato chips.  Facialists, doctors, friends, and my mother have all chimed in on what I should be doing/not doing, using/not using, eating/not eating in order to create that healthy glow, and despite my earnest, well-educated efforts, I’ve never been able to pinpoint a definitive strategy with lasting results.

Here’s what I’ve learned: healthy skin is a reflection of inner balance. A healthy glow is the sparkle on the surface of the water that fills your well. When my well is full, it casts a glow that shines through my skin. When my well is empty—when my reserves are depleted—my skin loses its luster. And while I believe that healthy skin comes from the delicate balance of my body’s physiology (hormones, organ and nervous systems, etc), I can’t help but notice that self-love and self-nurturing go a long, long way towards facilitating this process. Stress, negativity, inner bullying, doubt, and fear are often written all over my face. I can’t really speak to the benefits of my physical yoga practice on my skin, except that I’ve noticed my breakouts are now more symmetrical, so at least my acne feels purposeful. My “yoga glow” seems to come more from my willingness to abide in the kind of relaxation that depends on deep inner support. Perhaps this seems obvious, but it’s a truth I continue to learn, especially in a culture that’s trained to fixate on hard and fast truths about what works and what doesn’t.

In the adventure that is my skin, I’d like to share a few of the practices that have helped me find (or fake) a healthy glow.

 

Get Quiet
Everyone’s an expert, and yet, no one knows what the hell they’re talking about. When it comes to your unique skin, the only true teacher is the one inside of you. You can heed advice from every blog or specialist in existence, and still it all boils down to knowing and trusting what’s best for you. Mindful breathing and meditation have always been there for me, even if they must wait patiently while I’m off chasing after answers outside of myself. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or traditional practice; what matters is that you’re prioritizing your own sanity above the noise of life.

Getting quiet can also have profound effects on our body’s physiology, helping us to regulate our internal systems and promoting our body’s natural ability to heal itself. This is all old news, but something we often overlook in favor of the familiar, even if the familiar is seeped in stress.

Drink Water
I stink at drinking water. I would drink coffee all day long and then switch to wine if that could be justified as a legitimate wellness routine. My best friend and hydration coach, Anna Gilbert Zupon, has really helped me take my water drinking to the next level. Some of my favorite Anna-isms include: “My mother always told me, never turn down a glass of water if it’s offered to you,” and “Create a routine where you drink a glass of water whenever you arrive at wherever it is you’re going,” and my personal favorite, “Why don’t you buy a water bottle!” I’ve implemented all of her strategies and she recently congratulated me by saying, “While there’s still room for improvement, I think my work here is done.” I even bought a water bottle! This BKR glass bottle is small enough to fit in my bag and pretty enough to inspire me to stay hydrated.

Rest and Restore
I’m all for a good sweat, but the only true game changer has been restorative yoga and a good nap. I now believe that there really isn’t much that sleep can’t cure. So when I strong-arm myself into a workout that will “solve all my problems” I try to give myself permission to lie in Supta Baddha Konasana instead. I think, more than anything, it’s the acknowledgement and acceptance of how I’m really feeling and the willingness to love myself enough to simply respect what I need that has the biggest effect on my wellbeing. Instead of the tension I feel from constantly pushing through my current circumstance, my whole body softens as I lay my head down on the pillow and say, “OK. You’re right.”

Try Acupuncture
This one came as an unexpected surprise. I’ve dabbled with acupuncture for the last decade, but I’ve recently committed to regular sessions as a way to help me recharge. Teaching demands that I continuously give from my well, whether or not I have anything in it, and sometimes it feels like I’m hosting a dinner party for 250 people with only a box of Triscuits. Building up my reserves, my yin energy, has made a considerable difference in my life. As my friend and acupuncturist, Janna Seigal says, “When we can facilitate balance in the body by removing blockages or stagnation, nourishing deficiencies, and creating harmony, the whole body will begin to heal. That is why after a series of acupuncture treatments, in addition to seeing improvement in our chief complaint (i.e., headaches), we will also notice more luster in the skin, clarity in the eyes, improved sleep, better digestion, and overall enrichment of spirit and well-being.”

Experiment
As I stated earlier, I’ve tried every product known to man, and while I would describe myself as a swing voter, these are some of the products I’ve loved over the years. Please don’t look for the common thread in my list, but rather use it as a launching pad to curate a list of your own. I’ll say this – if you’re going to incorporate a new product into your routine, make one change at a time. If you change everything all at once, you won’t be able to determine which product is the culprit/miracle. I would also commit to a new product for at least two weeks before putting it in your will or swearing it off forever. The body often goes through either a honeymoon phase or an awkward “getting to know you” phase before you can really determine whether or not it’s for you.

The Goddess of Skin
The Goddess is a wonderful facialist who was introduced to me by my friend Jenny Aurthur. I swear by two of her products, which she makes by hand according to the lunar calendar while chanting mantras, proof that my regimen truly runs the gamut! Her Profound Cleanser is gentle enough for my sensitive skin and yet tough enough to wipe away the grime of a day full of schlepping and teaching yoga. I also love her Bonafide Scrub as a once-every-two-weeks deep clearing for my skin.

La Roche-Posay
Available in your neighborhood Duane Reade, La Roche-Posay is the Neutrogena of France. Developed with sensitive skin in mind, you really can’t go wrong with any of their products. I especially love their sunscreen.

Proactive Solution
I remember watching the very first infomercials for Proactive when I was a senior in high school. Tired of suffering, I persuaded my mother to buy me their products, convinced that they were exactly what my teenage, acne-prone skin needed. As is usually the case when you trust your gut, I was right. Proactive changed my skin and I used their system religiously for 10 years. Even now, when I need to call in the heavy artillery, I pull out these products to literally wipe the slate clean.

Olio Lusso
I became friends with Linda after emailing her a thank you note for her amazing skin oil. We met for a glass of wine and the rest is history. I truly admire this woman and absolutely love her products. I need to make sure my skin is well exfoliated before applying any kind of oil, but I especially love Olio Lusso in the winter when my skin craves serious moisture. Just a drop will create a “lit from within” look.

Be Flexible
When all is said and done, life asks us to be flexible. What worked last week/year/when you were twenty-five may not work for your body today. Waiving the white flag of defeat and opening up to something new can sometimes be the hardest part of the process. Learning to go with the flow is as useful to your skin as it is to your life.

Use A Washcloth
My grandmother always told me to use a washcloth to wash my face and I ignored her until last year. It’s the old fashioned version of the Clarisonic. Using a washcloth, gently and with love, has helped me to literally clean my skin.

Fake It
I have become a conaisseur of makeup as a result of spending my down-time between classes in Sephora to “freshen up”. Here are my favorite staples to create a glow.

Laura Mercier Blush in Peach Mosaic
I always receive compliments when I wear this shimmery blush, and while I’m grateful for the validation of my commitment to inner balance, it’s likely the blush they’re noticing.

Nars Blush in Orgasm
No explanation needed.

Nars ‘The Multiple’ Stick in Copacabana
Perfect for creating that dewy summer radiance. Use it on your cheek bones and blend it well into your skin. (Note: ‘The Multiple’ also comes in Orgasm, which is a great alternative to their powder blush.)

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer
Just a touch of this added to bare skin or to your foundation will give you a subtle glow.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Berry 
This is my new favorite lip color. It’s the perfect consistency—not matte, but not too shiny and gooey—and while it’s obviously not a skincare product, it literally brightens up your face. They make tons of great colors, so you’re bound to find one that looks made for you!

Chrissy
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  • Thanks for welcoming me into your h(om)e.

    May this meditation help you find the peace within. I look forward to sharing more inspiration and goodies with you in my regular newsletters.

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