We all wish if there was a magic bullet for Vitiligo. We wouldn’t have so many vitiligo fighters struggling with social anxiety, low self-esteem, unkind remarks and strange stares. As long as you would like vitiligo to go away, it stays on and even spreads more reeling under the pressure of stress. So, what do we do to live happier with vitiligo? You embrace it and keep all negatively at bay. Yoga can help you do that.
Research has shown that different disciplines of Yoga have helped people with vitiligo manage the physiological effect of the chronic skin disorder. After all, Mindful Yoga for vitiligo is a way of inculcating awareness. Awareness towards ourselves, our minds, our bodies and much more. These are some of the reasons why more and more people are turning to the ancient practice and celebrating International Yoga Day annually. Let’s understand how vitiligo can help you combat negativity in vitiligo and understand yourself in a better way.
1 | Yoga treats the whole person
Yoga is a combination of yoga poses, breathing, and meditation practices. Each discipline of Yoga supplements and complements each other and addresses your different needs. Some of the reported benefits of practicing Yoga are increased energy levels, better sleep, balanced hormones, better digestion, better skin and hair, mental clarity and a happier you.
2 | Yoga corrects your breathing
Many of us think that breathing is an instinctive act and that there is no right or wrong way to do it. But there is. And, most of us do it wrong, without realizing that it has potential to resolve most of our problems. Deep breathing helps us feel rejuvenated on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. And, that’s where Pranayama (breathing exercises and meditation) can help.
Pranayama or breathing exercises help you normalize metabolism to burn excess fat. At the same time, they support proper oxygen supply to our organs. Learning to breathe properly enables you to deal with stress and depression which might have vitiligo as an after effect.
3 | Yoga helps you induce calm
When we’re stressed, our body produces excess cortisol. When it’s elevated, it can create hormonal imbalances, shut down your digestion, and restrict your breathing. Yogic techniques that promote relaxation can help to keep your cortisol levels in check, so you can better regulate your response to stress. Below are a few of the best Asanas (Yoga Postures) for relaxation.
- Cow’s Face Pose (Gomukhasana)
- Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
- Corpse Pose (Savasana)
- Child Pose (Balasana)
- Intoxicating Bliss Pose (Ananda Madirasana)
- Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
- Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Cat Stretch Pose (Marjariasana)
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Badha Konasana)
When we are stressed, our breathing becomes strained, shallow and mainly thoracic. Yogic breathing with prolonged exhalation relaxes the muscle groups and instill calm. It is just impossible to remain angry when you’re breathing gently, deeply and slowly. Breathing techniques that can help you induce calm are:
- The Three Part Breath (Dirga Pranayama)
- Skull Shining Breathing (Kapalbhati)
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Anulom Vilom)
- Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari)
4 | Yoga combats pain at multiple levels
Asanas (Yoga Poses) bring strength, correct misalignment, free the joints, relieve pressure on cartilage, fix postural defects and help the tissues slide smoothly. This, in turn, enhances the vital flow of energy through the body, perceived as the positive sense of wellbeing. Asanas also make a vitiligo fighter feel more in control by increasing blood flow and decreasing cortisol and cholinesterase levels.
5 | Yoga redefines your eating habits
Emotional eating in vitiligo is quite common. Result? You overload yourself with unhealthy toxins. This is where yoga shows unprecedented promise.
Yoga helps you recognize ‘Diet-Body’ connection. Pursuing a yoga practice helps you to make dietary and lifestyle refinements organically. With practicing Yoga, you’ll be better able to distinguish hunger cues from cravings. You’ll stop eating when you feel satisfied, instead of waiting to feel full. When you become more connected to your body with yoga, you are aware of how your body feels throughout the day.
6 | Yoga keeps your weight in check
The state of being grossly fat adversely affect joyful living and positive thinking in vitiligo. You can burn calories by practicing a combination of Asanas and Pranayama. Asanas that’ll help you detox inside out and help you lose weight are:
- Swaying Palm Tree Pose (Tiryaka Tadasana)
- Waist Rotation (Kati Chakrasana)
- Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Frog Pose (Mandukasana)
- Locust Pose (Shalabhasana)
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Plough Pose (Halasana)
- Lying Spinal Twist (Vakrasana)
- Inverted Pose (Vipareeta Karni)
Dirga Pranayama (from breathing discipline of Yoga) detoxes the lungs and increases your capacity for oxygen intake. Increased oxygen intake initiates faster metabolic rate in your body.
7 | Yoga makes you explore your spiritual self
Studies have pointed to yoga as an effective tool to increase positivity, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This can improve overall mood and sense of well being in vitiligo. Yoga can free your mind from self-talk and all of the triggers that tempt you to reach for a temporary source of satisfaction. Yoga redirects or tunes out negative thoughts and heighten mindfulness. When stress hits you, you are in better position to pause, notice and self-reflect.
Please note: At times, starting with Yoga can be challenging. The negative emotions and thoughts that arise during practice can be uncomfortable. But, with the help of a thoughtful yoga teacher, you’ll learn to experience what’s going on with you.
Yoga is best practiced in a natural, open environment, early in the morning. As a general precaution, maintain a gap of about 3 hours between a meal and your yoga practice.