Beauty Tips for Face Skin. Regain Your Youth with Facial Fitness
The face of a yogic sage is marvelous to behold: beaming, joyful, bright eyed, full of love and compassion and noticeably unlined. If you were to ask such a sage how old he is, you might well be shocked: even a ninety year-old yogi can have a remarkably smooth skin and wrinkle-free face. What is the key to his ageless condition? Is it the result of performing complicated, pretzel-like twists and arm balances? In actuality, many yogic sages don’t do much of the physical practice of yoga at all. They spend a great deal more time in meditation, service, and study than in the yoga postures. Perhaps there is another yogic secret about youthfulness that the sages possess.
Meditation can change your life
MeditationNow let’s examine a thirty-or forty something American woman who is in great shape. This woman has a toned, muscular body: slim and glowing, she walks down the street confidently. She faithfully works out or takes yoga classes during the week, and the exercise makes her body lean, strong, and flexible. But check out her face and you may be surprised: she has bags under her eyes, her skin is dull, and her brow is puckered into an unattractive scowl. Isn’t fitness supposed to make you look young? These two examples reflect two very different lifestyles. The yogic sage reflects the traditional Indian spiritual approach. The woman has a more Western, modern lifestyle.
Neither approach is better than the other, for they are each products of their particular culture and environment. The Eastern traditions of contemplation, introspection, and acceptance help create serenity. The Western approach is more active, emphasizing fitness over contemplation. The Western approach is often act first, reflect later—if at all. Life in our modern Western society seems to focus on incessant activity, consumption, and rushing from point A to point B to accomplish these aims. We are constantly trying to find the time to slow down and see friends or family, or just get our basic needs and day-to-day tasks met. This produces a lot of stress, and is manifested by myriad stress-related diseases, such as high cholesterol, heart disease, addictive behaviors (smoking and excessive eating and drinking), and related illnesses (cancer, obesity, hypertension).
Enjoy your life with yoga
In addition to showing up in the body, stress manifests almost instantly on the sensitive emotional mirror of the face. Here in the West, even our approach to health has become an obsession. We seem to apply our manic work ethic to fitness. Many people now feel that if they don’t work out daily, or at least three or four times a week, they are doomed to decay or atrophy. In some ways, the frenetic and incessant movement we all seem to engage in is just that: a denial of stillness, and its most final manifestation, death. At the very least, people fear that if they don’t strenuously exercise their bodies in a punishing way, they will be too fat, or simply unattractive. I certainly have been one of those people. I have exhausted myself with intense exercise out of fear of gaining weight or being unattractive.
Strangely, as I have relaxed and slowed down, I have gotten slimmer, less compulsive about eating and working out, and, yes, my face has relaxed and de-aged amazingly. In fact, since I started applying the Yoga Face principles to my life, my face seems to look younger, better rested, and more vibrant with each day. Even the yoga currently popular in gyms and studios these days reflects our preoccupation with fitness: classes oftentimes are grueling and highly athletic. I often have students ask me if yoga is a good “workout.”
Yoga and fitness
I am shocked when I discover that many people have been instructed in yoga without any mention of the breath at all. Deep breathing practice, after all, is a key to receiving the most nourishing and transformative aspect of energy (what yogis call prana) that life has to offer, and provides a panacea to facial aging. When I teach in gyms, I feel the need to explain the origins of yoga and its purpose to my students. Yoga was originally developed by monastics who spent hours at a time in meditation. They found that they needed to counter the cramps, gas, and stiffness caused by long periods of sitting. And so they began to develop the asanas, or poses.
The name for yoga itself (from the Sanskrit word yuj, meaning to yoke or join together) really describes the yogic state of wholeness and integration. Today many of us modern Westerners sit for long periods, too, if not in contemplation, then at least in protracted periods of concentration in front of a computer screen. This is why we have taken to asana and its benefits. But we are still obsessed with moving and busyness, and our faces reflect this stress. We want so much to be good, to be loved, to be approved of, that we are willing to get on a treadmill of frantic pace and effort and stay on it until we drop. It’s as though we have come to believe that life itself is a competitive sport. Quite simply, we are exhausted! It’s no wonder we struggle with the same ten pounds, medicating with alcohol and food, distracting with consumption and entertainment, and then wonder why, after working so hard to attain the perfect bodies, our faces start to look like pinched prunes. Somehow we forgot our faces! And by the time we notice, the damage seems to be irrevocable.
Love yourself and take care of your health
The Anatomy of the Face
When I was trained in drama school, on the first day of class my theatrical makeup professor told us to go home and “get to know” our faces. We were encouraged to liberally touch our faces until we knew them intimately: each plane, contour, pocket, and fleshy fold. Being in our twenties, most of us didn’t find too many sags or wrinkles. The most mesmerizing and illuminating exercise came toward the end of the class: the old-age makeup. We were told to pucker up and scrunch our features, and wherever lines emerged, we were to paint on those lines directly with our dark tint- dipped makeup brushes. It was fascinating to map out the future ravages of time.
Different faces – different personalities, moods and destinies
I can remember being genuinely humbled at the sight of what I would look like as a senior citizen. I looked angrier and more worried with my age lines. Actually, I looked like a person I might want to avoid in the street! I learned from my makeup professor that as people age, their character becomes more defined. This is expressed through how we dress, walk, eat, and so on, but nowhere is character more clearly expressed as we age than on the face.
People who have been happy and peaceful tend to have lines that go up rather than down because they have smiled more than they have frowned. People who worry will unconsciously play this emotion out on their faces over and over through repetitive puckering of the brow or clamping of the jaw and lips until the telltale line between the eyebrows turns into a furrowed and irrevocable crease and the line between the lips and nose (the nasal labial fold) deepens into a permanent frown. I have been a worrier, so my default expression is often a furrowed brow. This line was already showing up on my face through unconscious muscular repetition that day in class, but I had to scrunch and exaggerate it to see it in its early stages.
Face is a mirror of your soul and thoughts
We also learned in makeup class that aging was primarily a process of dragging down: the laws of gravity would go into effect, and everything would start falling and drooping. Unfortunately, the hubris of youth told me it wasn’t something I really needed to worry about it. I could wash the old-age makeup off, after all. I caught a glimpse of the future and pretty much ignored it. If only I had heeded the signs earlier. But then I might have not written this book. Facial aging is a process of the facial features dragging down and sagging. But it is not just gravity that creates this syndrome.
The skin contains a protein fiber called collagen, which in conjunction with another protein called elastin, is responsible for keeping the skin plump and firm. As we age, our skin slows down the production of collagen, and the firmness of the skin begins to go. When elastin stops being produced, we lose springiness and resilience, and that’s when visible facial aging really begins. Test this out for yourself: lightly grip some facial skin between your thumb and index finger and give a little tug, then let go. Watch your skin resume its shape, and observe its resilience. This is your collagen and elastin working.
Skin is a highly sophisticated organ, covering our bodies in a protective sheath, sensing stimuli from the outside world, and informing us of vital information such as temperature. Skin serves as a temperature regulator, or thermostat, keeping our internal bodies at a functional level of warmth. Skin is also the body’s detoxifier—through the sweat glands, it sloughs off the body’s waste and external debris. Skin is composed of a few different layers, and contains sebaceous glands that produce sebum (a lubricant that coats and protects the skin), fatty cells, muscles, nerves, hair follicles, and hair. The structure of the face is like the rest of the body. Skin covers layers of fat, muscle, connective tissue, and bone. Skin acts as a protective layer, and holds in its contents. The bone is the structural foundation, and the muscles are responsible for movement and protection of bone. When muscles are sedentary or largely inactive, fat develops to fill in a protective layer between the bone and skin, so that is why we must develop and train our facial muscles…
To be continued…