Approaching middle age and beyond, we complain about losing our youth, vitality, energy, and our firm and youthful-looking bodies. As we age, skin loses its elasticity and begins to wrinkle and sag. Our face starts getting wrinkled; excess skin gathers around our bellies and on the backsides of our arms. It reminds us that if we don’t do something soon, we’ll look much older than we feel. Loss of body tone is a natural phenomenon of aging and goes beyond making us look older.
It impedes circulation and contributes to ill health. There are many ways to counter the loss of body tone and improve circulation. Most involve physical activities; such as running, jogging, racquet sports, swimming, gym workouts, and so on. All are effective, yet everybody does not prefer outdoor activities. A principal impediment to maintaining a disciplined exercise program is that the older we become, the more difficult is to maintain a regular workout. The body resists and there is never enough time. It always seems like the more we need to exercise, the harder it is.
Yet in order for exercise to be effective, consistency over time is required. When time is limited, we usually focus on one or two activities and tend to just do it without an appropriate warm-up or cool-down. In a best-case scenario, just doing it leads to boredom and a worst-case scenario leads to injury. Although cross-training is essential for maximizing physical health, we don’t make time for engaging in multiple sporting activities much less take time for effective warming-up, and cooling down. This is when yoga becomes so advantageous. Not only is yoga a fabulous cross-training tool for virtually all sports, but it is also in itself, a total fitness package encompassing hundreds of different exercises, both aerobic and non-aerobic. Yet yoga goes well beyond athletics. Through its controlled and precise breathing; and through its strengthening, stretching, and endurance building exercises, your entire body is toned. Circulation is stimulated and the mind relaxes.
Yoga especially affects fascia, which is the bag that holds your body together. Fascia totally permeates your entire body. It encapsulates everything; muscles, organs, glands, nerves, and it is also the "fabric" that lies directly under your skin. When fascia loses resilience through aging, it contributes to sagging skin. An appropriate yoga practice, therefore, helps restore and maintain the elasticity of fascia and improves overall circulation. Therefore, when the fascia directly under your skin becomes more resilient, your overlying skin responds and likewise, appears more vibrant.