We're told not to touch it. To cover it up. To forget about it. It's probably the most forgotten, ignored and underestimated feature we have . But our face is our first impression. It's the lasting impression in a photograph. It's the way we communicate, how we meet others and introduce ourselves .
With the current addition of mask wearing, we're being taught to not use our face, lips, smile or frown. Yet we fret when we begin showing signs of ageing, sickness or fatigue. However women want to look beautiful and will do practically anything to get results.
Some cover up with make-up, use surgery to lift, or spend countless dollars buying serums, creams and anti-aging concoctions that may or may not work.
There are many facets of life that lead to accelerated ageing that we cannot control, but there are just as many simple things we can add to our daily routines to balance this out.
15 minute Sun Exposure
Reduce Exposure To Toxins: radiation, chemicals, in food, on skin, in the house and at work
A newer trend that many women (and men) are adding to the list is Face Yoga.
Face Yoga? (video below) When I first heard of it, it was from random ads on the internet. Beautiful women talking about this weird hack that they are using to look younger. I figured it's another fad going around and I didn't pay too much attention to it.
But I began talking about it to a friend of mine , Yardena Slater, who is a certified face yoga instructor. She did a session with me inside the A Return To... Festival and my face started tingling! I got a workout on my face, arms, shoulders, back and tongue. What an amazing and unexpected workout.
Face yoga is, quite literally, yoga for the face. A series of poses, resistance, stretches and light pressure. These gentle manipulations bring blood flow and stimulate the lymph to bring in oxygen and carry out toxins. Face yoga can also include acupressure in certain areas to help clear sinuses etc.
Face yoga has a few components:
Provides stretches and resistance using your fingers and palms
A specific face Shiatsu massage
An optional addition, is a specially shaped jade stone to run along cheek and jaw bones to smooth.
We spend so much of our time unconsciously looking down which accelerates ageing. We hold our phones and look down at them, when we walk, we slouch and look down , we hunch over our laptop. .... But face yoga is creating the opposite effect. We look up, we lift our skin and muscles , and we reactivate our posture, our upper body and our face.
Our face is made up of many tiny muscles. These muscles are easy to miss. They aren't biceps or quads that require bulk to see them. Mostly they get pinched and kinked from stress, poor care, traumas, and they will droop from lack of use. We don't work on these muscles to bulk, only to firm them and smooth them out.
When we apply light pressure using our own fingers in many different poses, we smooth them out and lift them up. We remind our muscles of their former glory, taking off years along the way. As an added bonus, all of this causes us to use our upper body. We work on our posture by using our arms, back , stomach and shoulders to apply pressure to our face.
These poses, stretches and exercises require a lot of tongue use. If you've ever seen a pictures of the muscles in our face, cheeks, lips, mouth, throats and tongue, you can see how they are all connected. Each one holds up the others. So as we are working on lifting our cheeks, for instance, we smile while touching our upper lip with our tongue.
Another example of this stretch resistance is to make a fish face and smile. Sound impossible? With practice it actually becomes easier.
There are still other exercises when you place your tongue in different positions inside your mouth while tilting your neck upwards. There are so many poses that it's hard to remember them all. But each of them works on a different specific part of the face. So each is important.
Instructors, like Yardena, can even work with someone to lift a specific trouble spot, such as droopy eyelids, jowls or a double chin. She also offers a wall chart so we don't have to forget important poses.
These exercises are simple enough to make into a morning or evening routine. Once you get the hang of it, you can even practice some of them while sitting at a stop light or listening to podcasts. (They require very funny faces , so you might not want to practice while waiting in line at a grocery store.. On the other hand, you can get those around you to join in! )
Just like other kinds of yoga, face yoga brings alignment, flexibility , youth, and confidence to those who practice this art consistently.
For more information on face yoga or Yardena's teachings come visit the A Return To... Hanukkah Festival December 10-18 , or my engaging interview with Yardena Slater on my podcast page.
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