Tag Archives: stress

Breathe. Creative Commons License Image.

Breathing. And Why I Encourage Yoga For Beauty.

April 23, 2013

“Breathing Is Essential!” I hear Jane Fonda say in a singsong voice from the TV screen.

I raise my eyebrow and snort out of my nose. I’m in the middle of doing a side leg lift, hands on my hip and I’m feeling extra ridiculous. “Oh really, Jane?”

That was years ago.

Please don’t ask me why I used to do Jane Fonda workout videos. It was just something my friend and I did for giggles, ok?

But to this day, I’ve never forgotten about that Jane Fonda workout. OR that ridiculous quote ringing in my head…

“Breathing is essential!”

Of course it is.

It’s a fact so OBVIOUSLY true, that oh my god, do you really need to say it?

But yes, actually you do. You do need to say it. And then repeat it. Again and again. Because most people don’t think about the importance of their breath.

Or how the quality of your breath can affect the state of your mind. 

Breathe. Creative Commons License Image.

Many of our important emotions (ie. joy, fear, anger, sadness) are associated with a signature breathing pattern. A recent article from Acne Einstein‘s blog breaks down four different signature breathing patterns.

Basically, when you’re relaxed, you tend to breathe slowly and deeply through your nose. Your breathing pattern is regular.

But when you’re stressed or angry or anxious about something, your breathing pattern changes. It becomes shallow, irregular and your ribcage becomes tense.

Even without thinking about it, your body’s breathing patterns change with your emotions. But this connection between our minds and our breaths isn’t a one-way street.

Things can also go the other way.

If you can control your breath, you can also begin to control your emotions.

Yoga as a Stress-Buster

When we let stress run amok in our lives, it can wreak damage to our physical health. And the health of our skin.

Stress and acne are strongly linked together (in my case, I would even say that it CAUSED my acne). It can flare up eczema and rosacea. And it can keep us from getting the most out of our much needed beauty sleep.

But in the face of a stressful situation, if we consciously relax our muscles and control our breaths to become deep, slow and regular breaths, we can reduce and disperse the feeling of stress.

Control over your breathing patterns means the ability to keep stress at bay. 

And this is why I constantly encourage people to practice Yoga.

Yoga is amazing at keeping your body physically fit and keeping flexibility in your spine! What’s more, the breathing exercises and lessons that you learn from yoga are incredibly valuable.

Before you can control your breathing patterns, you must first become familiar with the way you breathe while being completely relaxed.

And the best yoga pose for this is one that’s so simple you wouldn’t even think that you’re doing yoga…

SAVASANA: Complete Relaxation

Savasana (also known as Corpse Pose) is usually the pose that you take on at the end of your yoga practice.

To take on the Savasana pose, you basically lie on your back, with the weight of your body evenly distributed throughout and your spine properly aligned. Then you allow yourself to completely melt into relaxation.

The best place to practice Savasana is on the floor because it provides a firm and even surface. You can place a blanket under the length of your body. Also, to keep your body from getting cold, be sure to cover up with socks and a long sleeved shirt.

This is the best time to become familiar with your relaxed breathing pattern.

Image by Yana Stowe. Used with permission.

During Savasana, you can actively practice diaphragmatic breathing. 

This is a deep, calm type of breathing that allows the maximum amount of oxygen to enter the bloodstream:

  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Breathe in slowly and evenly through your nose.
  • When you breathe in, the hand on the abdomen should rise slightly higher than the one on the chest.
  • Exhale slowly and evenly through your mouth.
  • Find a regular rhythm between your inhalations, holding the breath in and exhalations.
  • You can deepen the breathing by exhaling more air, so try gently contracting the abdominal muscles to evacuate any remaining air from the lungs.
  • During exhalations, release any contraction of your muscles.
  • Close your eyes and relax your eye muscles.
  • Soften your tongue, your jaw and the skin on your forehead.

Even though this is a relaxation exercise, Savasana does require some effort to keep your mind focused. Your mind may tend to wander over to your worries or start going over your day’s To-Do list. But if this happens, just gently bring your mind back to the present moment.

Ideally, you would do Savasana right after a yoga session.

But even if you don’t practice yoga, you can and you should practice this simple pose!

Try doing this relaxing exercise at least once every day, right before getting out of bed or right before falling asleep.

I promise it will change your life!

Image Sources:
Breathe – by Shawn Rossi. Creative Commons License. Used with attribution.
Corpse Pose – by Yana Stowe of givemeballroom.com. Used with permission.

Ziba and the Girl

July 11, 2012

I want to switch things up a bit.

I’ve been talking so much about skin care, body health, chemicals in products and other technically loaded subjects.

Yet I’ve barely given my readers an idea as to who I am, and what I’m doing talking about all this stuff.

The last thing I’d want to sound like is a boring old professor lecturing in the middle of an empty auditorium.

This time, I’d like to give my readers a feel for who I am and what it was that got me so interested in beauty and skin care in the first place.

Because to be honest, it wasn’t until quite recently that I became interested in the subject of beauty and the quest for having great skin, let alone make up and glamour. In fact, my friends will tell you that this new interest of mine has been quite a surprising one. To them AND to me!

It’s not that I’ve been entirely ignorant of skin care. Ever since I was twelve, I’ve had a skin care routine. It wasn’t something I gave much thought to. I just did it because I was copying what my own mother was doing. She used Pond’s cold cream and moisturizer. So I started doing that too. I had dry skin, so I didn’t suffer too much from acne during my teenage years.

Actually, I remember how some girls used to compliment me on my flawless complexion. But again, I didn’t give it too much thought back then. I just kept using my Pond’s. Over the years, I switched to other products. Namely Aveeno. And I had great results from that too. More years passed. And my skin became a combination type, with dry and oily spots. I would get the occasional pimple. But they were easily manageable and barely merited my attention.

It wasn’t until the fall of 2011 that my skin changed dramatically. It became very oily and broke out badly. I had just turned 26 and was developing acne on my forehead, my cheeks, and the side of my face. I was perplexed. I wondered as to the stimuli that could have triggered the change. So that was when I really began looking into how the skin works. It was also the first time when I came across the idea that a link exists between diet and the skin.

But there is definitely more behind acne than just diet. There is a lot of hormones involved. There’s also environment. And then there’s stress. Sometimes, all of these things are found to be causing havoc together.

Let me just back up a bit and talk about where I was at that point in my life. I had just gotten back from a two year service in Central Africa with the Peace Corps. I was living at home with my parents. I was burying the remnants of an old relationship I’d been desperately holding onto. I was also spending a month in the hot tropical climate of my birth land, the Philippines. And I was getting ready to move to Paris.

To summarize, it was a HIGHLY transitional period in my life.

There was the stress of hopping around on planes from one continent to the next. There was also the stress of being around my family and being around the problems of poverty. There was the tropical humidity to boot. And the fact that I kept slathering on more moisturizer certainly didn’t help. All these things together were factors that contributed to aggravating my problems with acne.

But if I had to point out the actual root cause of my skin problems, then it would have to be the one factor that had been continuously looming over my life. A broken heart.

Before I left for the Peace Corps, I had been madly in love. And when I came back, I was still so madly in love. I was beset by a wild spectrum of emotions, from misplaced hope, to pride to anger. Oh, there was so much anger in my heart. I spent my days ruminating and allowing this anger to fester inside me. I didn’t know how to let it go. And it was this inability to let go that disturbed my mind and all my insides. My mental state became imbalanced, which was then reflected upon my physical state. All this ugliness that had been brewing inside me eventually erupted on my face, for the entire world to see.

There is certainly a more complex dimension to this story, complete with exemplary instances of foolish human behavior. But I will spare you the details. This is not the “Kareen, the Human Girl Who Makes Lots of Human Mistakes Blog.” This is a Blog on Beauty and Skin Care. And helping others to find the best ways for caring for their skin is my aim.

My point in writing and sharing this very personal story with you is to shed light on a very important aspect of the skin.

Bitterness, anger, and all your little secret ugliness. Sooner or later, these things have a way of being externally manifested either through your skin, the light in your eyes and even through the aura that you project.

Beauty and ugliness are not just things seen by the human eyes, they are also things that can be sensed and felt.

These days, I am in a much clearer and happier state of mind. Through meditation and yoga, I’ve learned better methods of coping with my emotions. I have a much easier time nipping anger in the bud. I’m content. Life has been good to me. I’m in a healthy, happy relationship with my very supportive and loving boyfriend. And we are living together in Paris, the most romantic city in the world!!! And if we’re going to be perfectly honest, THE most beautiful city in the world.

Seriously, Paris takes my breath away every day.

My skin has been clear of acne for months, and has taken on a noticeably healthier glow. And why not? I’ve learned to let go of the past. And now I am throwing my arms wide open to the future and to all the possibilities!

So here’s to love and letting go. And true deep breaths. And peace and happiness.

Yours Naturally,
Kareen

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What about you? Have you had problems with acne? Did you find a way to clear it? Share your story! Or leave me a simple thought, comment or a hug.