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Let it Shine, stoke that little light of yours with strategies for creating glow from within, following the lead of super-serene yogi Seane Corn.

Magazine: WHOLE LIVING BODY+SOUL IN BALANCE May 2011

 

LET IT SHINE

 

Letit Shine
by OLESSA PINDAK, SARA REISTAD-LONG, AND KATE HANLEY photography by CHRISTOPHER BAKER

beauty
A little word association: We say "glow" and you say ... "Skin;' right? "Radiant skin is a sign to yourself and to the world that you are healthy, blood is flowing, and joy is in your life," says Yael Alkalay, founder of the natural skin care line Red Flower. A glowing complexion needn't be flawless: "It should just look well cared for," says Francesca Fusco, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. "You want it to appear lit from within."

face
Simple as this: Moisturized skin reflects light. Nourish it and the glow will come.

EXFOLIATE A luxurious cream can't do a thing slathered onto flaky skin. "Dead cells have an uneven surface that dulls the complexion," says NYC dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D. Bid adieu to a lifeless top layer with a lactic-, salicylic-, or glycolicacid scrub or "a paste of banana and milk," says ~awn Holder, spa manager at Willow Stream Spa 1n Bermuda. Massage it in using small circles, applying more pressure in the oi ly T-zone.

NOURISH Spread a dime-size dollop of cream over your face and the same amount to your neck and decollete. "Skin has five layers, so rub the product in for two minutes to help it penetrate," Holder says. "It also improves circulation."

ENHANCE Sometimes you need a booster shot of bronzing powder. Wait at least five minutes after applying moisturizer, then brush a loose bronzer where the sun would hit naturally: the cheekbones, forehead, bridge of the nose, and chin ; finish with a dusting on the clavicle. body Spread the love-glow from tip to toe.

Body
Spread the love-glow from tip to toe.

SCRUB The matrix of dead skin cells is thicker on the body than it is on the face. "The most effective way to remove those cells is to scrub your skin while it's dry," Holder says. A dry brush is ideal, but you could use any scrub or exfoliator before stepping into a bath or shower. Using small, firm, circular motions, start at the feet and work your way up to increase circulation and spark an instant glow.

SOAK A warm bath is one of the most effective ways to get water to your cells, leaving them plump and radiant. Adding mineral salts and citrus revs your skin and body, opening congested skin to the healing minerals. Sprinkle a cup of bath salts and six drops of citrus essential oils into the water.

HYDRATE For dewy skin, reach for creams and oils right after a shower or bath, while the skin is still damp, to lock in moisture. "Really work in your cream or oil," Holder says. "Th is massages the muscles, which gets blood flowing and helps brighten dull skin." For all the products you'll need to complete these routines, 


Beauty EmbodiedBEAUTY EMBODIED "I'm very mindful of using gentle products on my skin," says Seane Corn, cofounder of Off the Mat Into the World, a nonprofit dedicated to social change through yoga, who (believe it or not) is 44. "With a good diet, exercise, and a positive attitude, I really believe you can look fabulous as you age."




health
 Sloughing will get you only so far. True radiance-the kind that settles in for the long run-comes from within. We're not talking about endless hours of meditation or crazy dietary restrictions. Quite the contrary. Many of the most effective glow-getters are surprisingly easy. Allow us to illuminate.

take baby steps
"When infants are first introduced to solid foods, they often develop a golden skin tone because of all the pureed carrots and squash· they're getting," says Noelle Sherber, M.D., <l Baltimore-based dermatologist. "Later in life, the variety in your diet dilutes that effect." A recent study from the United Kingdom found that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables each day imbues skin with a glow that's more attractive to others than a tan. That's thanks to carotenoids, a class of antioxidants that gives foods such as sweet potatoes and tomatoes their colorful hue.

supplement your cells
Unless you regularly eat omega-3-rich foods such as salmon or walnuts, fish oil supplements may be your best bet for decreasing inflammation in the body and reviving dry skin. Also consider taking glucosamine, a natural compound found in cartilage. It's most commonly used for osteoarthritis, but dermatologists are reporting benefits such as fewer wrinkles and improved hydration. And get your vitamin levels checked at your annual physical: Dietary deficiencies can show up as skin problems. A multi can fill any gaps.

The Big OTHE BIG O Fish oil supplements, like this purified version from Nordic Naturals, provide essential omega- 3s, whose anti-inflammatory effect within the body leads to calmer skin and a healthy glow. NORDIC NATURALS ULTIMATE OMEGA, from $28, nordicnaturals.com

 

tune in to your stomach
"The skin-gut connection is strong," says David Colbert, a New York City-based dermatologist. "If your digestion stagnates, your complexion suffers-it's nature's warning sign." Limit simple carbs (white breads and processed foods) in favor of complex ones (whole grains and produce). Rich in fiber, they help buffer sugar absorption and fend off ruddiness. Likewise, while fats are necessary to keep your skin hydrated, avoid the saturated kinds and opt for omega-3s (salmon and fish oil), monounsaturated (olive oil), and polyunsaturated (nuts)-all of which aid digestion. While probiotics in yogurt may improve skin tone, choose dairy that's free of hormones, which are associated with acne and dull skin.

breathe ... now breathe again
"The skin-gut connection is strong," says David Colbert, a New York City-based dermatologist. "If your digestion stagnates, your complexion suffers-it's nature's warning sign." Limit simple carbs (white breads and processed foods) in favor of complex ones (whole grains and produce). Rich in fiber, they help buffer sugar absorption and fend off ruddiness. Likewise, while fats are necessary to keep your skin hydrated, avoid the saturated kinds and opt for omega-3s (salmon and fish oil), monounsaturated (olive oil), and polyunsaturated (nuts)-all of which aid digestion. While probiotics in yogurt may improve skin tone, choose dairy that's free of hormones, which are associated with acne and dull skin.



get a massage
(we'll twist your arm) Oxygen is critical for production of collagen and elastin (two key proteins in youthful complexions) and helps distribute essential nutrients to the skin. Too bad we often deprive ourselves of that natural beauty booster. "When we're under stress, we tense up and hold our breath," says Margaret Chesney, Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Less-than-optimal 02 intake means dull skin and a host of other potential health issues. But simple breathing exercises can bring oxygen levels back to their natural state. No need to pace yourself at a certain number of breaths per minute. Instead, focus on a relaxing scene during tense moments, Chesney says. This will help you tune in to your body's bio rhythm.

sleep tight
"During sleep, stress hormones go down, oxygen intake goes up, and the body heals itself," Chesney says. Under stress, your body produces cortisol, a hormone that suppresses nonessential functions in an emergency. But consistently high levels can cause cellular and tissue changes and throw your complexion out of whack. A recent study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles suggests a welcome antidote: a 45-minute Swedish massage. Researchers found that it lowers cortisol levels. There's also an immediate effect: "Any kind of facial stimulation will increase blood flow and nutrient distribution for some time after," Sherber says. "It plumps up your skin." But it's crucial that your shut-eye be uninterrupted. As you rest, your body continuously cycles through five stages. It's during phases three and four that growth hormones are released and tissue repair begins. Try to maintain a consistent bedtime, and stay away from stimulating activities (including TV and your cell phone). For optimal melatonin production, darken the room or wear an eye mask.

yoga
Glowing bodies are active bodies. "When you move more, you breathe more, which brings added oxygen and nutrients into every cell," says renowned yoga expert and activist Seane Corn. It also stimulates the body's lymphatic system (charged with the unsexy but critical task of waste removal). So you'll rid the body of all that gunk that's bogging you down and blocking your glow. While any exercise can help do this, yoga- with its deep breathing, twists, inversions, and heat-building sequences-has first dibs on imparting radiance. It boosts circulation, respiration, and detoxification, and because it emphasizes calm, yoga can soothe the nervous system and settle the mind. This flow, developed by Corn, makes all that good stuff happen.

rev your glow
To get your body, breath, blood, and immune system humming, Corn suggests the foll owing yoga flow. Start with two to three half Sun Salutations (if you need a visual, visit whole/living.com/sun-salute), and then go into these poses, holding each one for three to five breaths. Sync your movements to your breath to increase the physical benefits and reduce mental stress; repeat the sequence two to three times. Close the session with a few minutes of Savasana, or Corpse pose (lying on your back, eyes closed). "This sequence can be very stimulating, so it's important to balance exertion with relaxation ," Corn says. "That's how you create an overall glow."

The Flow


Light up your LifeLIGHT UP YOUR LIFE
"No matter how healthy your diet or how much you exercise, your beauty will be diminished if you're miserable and ungrateful," says yoga expert Seane Corn. To really glow, you have to let it all go.

Prioritize stress relief Chronic anxiety zaps vitality. "Tension comes from trying to stay in control," Corn says. "When you learn to release stress, you become more aware of your true feelings and follow what's in your heart instead of what's in your head."

Practice forgiveness "Sadness, anger, and jealousy deplete our energy and create tightness in the body, which can lead to illness," she says. A mind-body practice such as meditation or yoga can help you release negative emotions, forgive yourself and others for past hurts, and have more energy to pursue a more positive life.

Remember the big picture Serenity comes from feeling aligned with what you do and why you do it. Find a way to connect with a purpose or power that's greater than your daily todo list. Corn suggests saying at the start of every day, "Thank you for this day, this body, and this life. Help me be of service to my family, friends, and community."

~ONLINE For more on why it's never too late to get glowing, visit wholeliving.com/glow