A Beautiful Face and Skin with Yoga
Continuation of the article
The muscles of the face, like the rest of the body, are subdivided into two categories: voluntary and involuntary. Larger muscles tend to be voluntary, and we tell them to help us do everything, from sitting to standing to running. But since the facial muscles are smaller and are not used to propel us forward or grasp anything, much of their movement is involuntary and uniquely expressive of emotion. But we can train our muscles through mental command and practice so that involuntary muscles can act voluntarily. We are all aware of the positive benefits of exercise. But exercise should not stop at the neckline.
The facial muscles deserve to be toned and firm as the crowning glory to a well-developed below-the-neck anatomy. Why on earth ignore your face? I believe that we haven’t truly meant to neglect our facial muscles; we just don’t know how to exercise them to obtain the results we’d like to see. That’s why I created this book. In my research, I have come across many different facial exercises from many corners of the globe. People in countries from Hungary to Mongolia to India all practice some form of facial exercise.
Harmony of your soul
Whatever your background, I suspect you have an aunt or grandmother who can show you her favorite chin-firming technique. Facial muscles can benefit from exercise as much as any other muscles. But in order to tone them, we must learn to train them, and then we must practice. You don’t go for a run once. You start with a mile, then a mile and a half, and so on, until perhaps one day you can run a brisk 5K race. It is a continuous process of building muscle memory through repetition and discipline.
With the facial training of the Yoga Face program, the exercise pays off quickly: the facial muscles are trained to help lift the skin, and drooping and sagging areas are lifted and firmed, minimizing and softening lines and wrinkles. In turn, the full-body yoga poses draw more freshly oxygenated blood to the face, giving your skin a rosiness and luminescence, and eliminating bloat, toxins, and dullness. The poses also stimulate and regulate hormonal function, which helps to prolong youth and counter aging.
Best exercises for your face
Yogic twists wring out toxins from the internal organs, and help the brain to receive signals more efficiently from the spinal cord, the information superhighway of the body and mind. Detoxification and improved nerve communication both contribute to de-aging the body, mind, and face. You can counter the visible effects of aging through facial exercise, diet, and yogic techniques, the main components of the Yoga Face program. What’s more, you can do it naturally, creatively, and with almost no expense. It’s time to claim your glowing, ageless beauty. Let your radiant inner light shine through a toned and lustrous face.
The Yoga Face has had remarkable rejuvenative effects on the faces of my students. Here are some amazing examples: Jack, an investment banker, came to me hobbled and stiff from a punishing regimen with his trainer. His work demanded that he travel and eat out in restaurants a lot, and as a result he battled extra weight around the waistline and incredible stiffness. His attitude seemed to be the classic type-A “No pain, no gain”—if it didn’t hurt, it didn’t count. Then he’d “reward” himself at the end of a twelve-hour day with excessive wine-drinking with clients, still on the clock, after all. Early the next morning, he’d “sweat it out” with his trainer, lifting and running. Through diligence and remarkable will, he had already lost forty pounds when I started working with him. But he could barely walk, much less bend easily. He suffered from back pain and carrying those “last twenty” extra pounds. His face was puffy and bloated, from sleep deprivation and poor diet. I had an inkling Jack was more than a little stressed out. In the beginning, I sometimes had Jack stand in Tadasana (the basic standing pose) for five minutes at a time, while focusing on his alignment and breath. At first, this standing practice was a challenge, but it was all he could really manage. Sitting in a cross-legged position was impossible—his hips were too tight. Over time, standing became easier. Eventually he could sit cross-legged, and finally he could touch his toes as well. But when he simply practiced the standing pose, he began to breathe more easily. And with the breathing, his face transformed.
Yoga with fun
The color returned, and eventually he lost that bloated quality. His skin got smoother. I turned him on to easy inversions, and his face dropped ten years in appearance. He began modifying his diet and exercise regimen, incorporating a less-is-more approach, and today he is transformed. I noticed that as we began to do more restorative poses, Jack’s face got lighter and smoother. I began applying some acupressure techniques to his face in the resting poses, and I marveled as his face lost some of the flabbiness and excess weight. The contours of his face—particularly in the jaw and cheek area—reemerged with more definition, and his face gave a more youthful appearance.
Marcia is a fit and fabulous surgical nurse. She has taken care of herself, and it shows. Though in her early fifties, she could easily pass for a vibrant forty-something. She started attending my classes about a year ago, and she has gotten more radiant, dewy, and supple than ever. Because of her medical background, Marcia knew that the Yoga Face program was scientifically grounded and made good sense. She tells me she’s been sharing the Yoga Face exercises with some of her patients. Recently she’s been working as an on-set nurse in the movie industry, and she has been giving the Yoga Face tips to the actresses and makeup crew. She especially likes the Marilyn exercise, and swears it has plumped her lips noticeably.
Skin care and yoga
Rianna is a beautiful, creative woman who took to my class right away. A forty-something writer and designer, she has been concerned about her biological clock, and the physiological changes she’s been experiencing as she gets to the latter end of her child-bearing years. Like many women today, Rianna focused on her career and personal growth, only to discover she forgot to have a baby! Now she wants to have a child, but is without a significant other. Being extremely sensitive, I think that sometimes she is prone to depression. So the emotional release of the Yoga Face has been a boon for her. She loves the expressive portion of the class. The emotive aspect of releasing breath and the sound work really tickle her—in class she’s prone to break out in spontaneous peals of laughter. Rianna has clearly benefited from the emotional release that the Yoga Face provides. Her energy is infectious, and her demeanor has shifted from sullen to glowing. In addition, the worry and frown lines that used to give the appearance of a permanent scowl have eased, and she looks noticeably more youthful as a result.
Then there’s Roberta, a beauty industry professional who’s always looked great. I have seen major transformation in the year she’s been my student. Roberta is fit and attractive, but the droopy bags around her eyes were getting her down. I gave her a few simple inversions such as to practice Legs-Upthe-Wall and Downward-Facing Dog, and the results have been fantastic: she has lost the bagginess around her eyes. And with a few of the eye-lift exercises, she has countered the downward creases around her eyes and reduced her crow’s-feet.
Yoga and health tips
She looks great, and it shows—she’s gotten engaged since she started my program! Jan and Doug came to me three years ago. When I first met them, I was struck by their physical fitness: they both worked out with a personal trainer, and although they were in their early fifties, they had the physiques of people twenty years younger. But they both were concerned with maintaining their attractive youthfulness, and they were getting Restylane and botox injections. One day, Jan could barely move her mouth as a result of collagen injections. She had bruises on her face, and consequently had to cancel a social engagement for later that evening. When I saw her a day or two later, the swelling had gone down and the bruises had diminished, but her range of facial expression was still restricted.
My hunch was that Jan could find alternatives to distressing and lifting her face. Through developing a consistent yoga practice with me and adjusting her diet, Jan’s facial appearance began to change. I am happy to report that it’s been two years since Jan has felt the need to have any facial procedures, and she looks more unlined now than she did then. Her skin is more firm and less hollowed-outlooking, and it totally glows. Doug has also greatly benefited from this system. After practicing the relaxation and breathing techniques, he has dropped a perpetual involuntary scowl along with the lines around his mouth, eyes, and forehead that used to accompany it. In addition, a steady inversion practice of Headstand and Shoulderstand have stimulated his hormonal production, and given him increased virility and a thicker head of hair. Maude, in her early fifties, is an athletic and attractive woman. But her face was beginning to show some signs of aging: her lips were thinning, and the lines around them were deepening.
Beauty with yoga for your face
Additionally, she had a pucker line between her brows that made her look older than she felt. I selected two target-area facial exercises and recommended that she practice cooling inversions such as Shoulderstand or Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose. She has lost the lines around her mouth and between her eyes, and the inversions have helped her to stay more rosy and relaxed looking. Dr. Bainbridge, a seventy-something public official, came to me because of lower back pain. His constant overbooking and “bending over backward” to help others left him chronically stiff and hunched over—the physical manifestations of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. His long and successful career had been built on helping everyone else and neglecting himself, and he had a lot of back pain to show for it. This stress also manifested itself as a cramped neck and an involuntary facial grimace of tension. This was his physical response to a busy life in public service.
Once we started working together, I saw that he needed to slow down and receive energy rather than only give it away as he so generously does in his daily life. I gave him restorative poses that would lightly stimulate hormonal function, and taught him some meditation and breathing techniques to help regulate his heart rate and receive more oxygen, and was pleased to see that his face really relaxed, got smoother, and became more radiant after each session. All of these clients, though quite different in age and profession, shared a common underlying problem: they all wanted to feel better and look younger, but didn’t realize that they could actually accomplish this by slowing down, and intelligently going to the source of their stress and facial aging. The facial exercises, calming techniques, and emotional release that I shared with them helped them de-age visibly, quickly, and easily. And they got the added benefit of relaxation.
Love yourself and enjoy your life with yoga
My hope is that through The Yoga Face you will find a fun and creative way to counter the effects of aging in your facial appearance, and, even more, that you may find a truly rejuvenating way of life that is more than just skin deep. In this book, I will give you some wonderful techniques for facial rejuvenation. I encourage you to play with these methods and gauge the results not only on your face but also in your life. You may just find both your skin and your outlook transformed.
Annelise Hagen «The Yoga Face»