Yoga and pranayama for dark circles

Skin discolouration under the eyes, popularly known as dark circles, affects just about everybody at some point in time. For some of us, however, dark circles are a near-constant bother. While these conditions are occasionally symptomatic of other illnesses, the usual cause is allergies, tiredness, sleep deprivation, stress. Believe it or not, in some cases, dark circles can also be hereditary.

No matter what the cause is, you can still reduce the appearance of puffiness around the eyes and dark circles, and in some cases, may even get rid of them altogether with the help of yoga and pranayama.

Here are some yoga asanas that will help you reduce puffiness around the eyes and dark circles. However, always remember, keeping your body hydrated, well-nourished and getting optimum sleep is important without which skin discolouration and eye puffiness can not be tackled effectively.

Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)

This posture channels the flow of the blood towards the upper part of the body which has great benefits for the skin.

Begin by lying flat on the back. Inhale and exhale deeply and slowly and relax the whole body. Now, fold your legs at your knees and with the support of your hands raise the lower part of the body. Raise your legs, then the hips and the back until your entire body points to the ceiling and rests on your shoulders supported by your hands. Keep your spine and legs in a straight line and maintain normal breathing.

To come out of this posture, bend your knees, curve your back and slowly return to lying on the floor while exhaling. First, bend your knees, put your palms on the floor, then curving the spine, gradually unfold the way one unrolls a carpet. When your entire back touches the floor, straighten the knees, take a deep breath and slowly lower your legs to the ground while breathing out. The posture can be retained for fifteen seconds to five minutes depending on the level of fitness and practice.

The shoulder stand is extremely beneficial for the thyroid gland and gets it working at its peak efficiency. The thyroid gland is primarily responsible for regulating weight and maintaining a youthful appearance. The shoulder stand also regulates the sex glands, vitalizes the nerves, purifies the blood and promotes good circulation. It strengthens the lower organs of the body and helps them stay in good health. It also gives a nice stretch to the neck muscles and is beneficial for people suffering from poor circulation, constipation, indigestion, asthma and reduced virility.

This pose is especially recommended to women after childbirth and to those suffering from painful menstruation, among other disorders and seminal weakness.

Ujjayi pranayam

Ujjayi pranayama is a great stress buster and promotes good sleep. Begin by sitting in a comfortable, meditative pose with your spine erect. Close your eyes and start with deep breathing. After a while, start focussing on your throat. Roll your tongue back so that the tip touches the palate. Now, start breathing from the throat. You can take a breath from the mouth and if possible, breathe from the nose. Be sure to breathe from the throat.

While practising this pranayama, you will hear a sound similar to snoring. The sound of the breath should not be very loud. In the beginning, inhale with effort and exhale effortlessly. After considerable practice, say after a month, both inhalation and exhalation can be done with some effort. We suggest you practise this breathing technique for at least 20 minutes.

Ujjayi breathing can be followed by Anulom-Vilom or alternate nostril breathing for 10 minutes. Those who can't get sleep without popping a pill should perform this pranayam in the night before sleeping and on an empty stomach in the morning.


Avoid performing this exercise if you have a severe cold or are Kapha dominated. Such people should perform right nostril breathing with chest expansion. You may learn more about these breathing techniques from Yogi Anoop.

Right nostril breathing is excellent for taming an emotional mind and alleviating stress. Perform it for 20 minutes followed by left nostril breathing for 10 minutes before going to sleep at night.

Those suffering from high blood pressure should not perform these techniques without consultation and guidance from a guru or a certified teacher.

Things To Do

Get plenty of sleep every night and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Keep your body hydrated and load up on Vitamin K cream that will help in diminishing dark circles and under-eye puffiness.

Using the tea-bag method under your eyes also helps in some cases. Another trick is to put two tablespoons in the freezer and apply them on the eyes for a few seconds until they turn warm. Re-apply if necessary. Wear sunscreen under your eyes.

Things To Avoid

Avoid rubbing your eyes and reduce your salt intake. Excess salt causes the body to retain water in unusual places, this may contribute to puffiness around the eyes. Too much salt can also impair your blood circulation and cause the blood vessels under the skin to appear bluer. Quit smoking as it causes vascular (blood vessel) problems that can not only threaten your life but also make your blood vessels appear more prominent and bluer beneath the skin.

Never apply ice or extremely cold water directly to the skin around the eyes for more than a couple of seconds. Remember, the skin around our eyes is extremely sensitive, taking good care of it, therefore, becomes important.

Copyright - by Yogi Anoop