Women, in particular, worry about their aging faces. Well, here’s some Good news: facial yoga exercises can tone face and neck muscles. Time has a way of doing a number on skin texture and muscle tone. The loss of the female hormone estrogen during menopause ups the ante. This leads to wrinkling and crepe-like, sagging skin. Skin gets drier and more fragile because we produce less oil as we get older. The contours of our face change. We lose the fullness in our faces that made us look youthful. So off to the cosmetics counter we run and lay down a fortune in greenbacks, trying to turn back time or, at a minimum, discourage further disintegration of the skin. There is another way to protect and enhance your face. It’s called facial yoga. Most people know what yoga is, but they may not realize you can apply the same techniques to the face that Yogis use on their bodies. Yoga not only staves off the ravages of aging but it helps one relax and release tension and stress, which does wonders for the face. When a person makes a concerted effort to regularly relax his face, this offsets the frown-induced wrinkles many of us have. Yoga exercises can help you do just that. The Complicated Face Are you aware there are 57 muscles in the face and neck? These muscles benefit from daily work outs because, just like the muscles in the rest of the body, they lose mass over time. Because facial muscles are small, so you do not have to devote as much time to exercising them as you do when focusing on body muscles. When you work out facial muscles, this makes them contract and then relax, which enhances muscle and tissue fibers needed to amplify volume while also improving blood circulation. When circulation is optimal, cells are supplied with much-needed oxygen and skin looks better. Doing facial exercises tightens and lifts the face and neck because muscles are bolstered and toned. You may not see a radical alteration but you will see a difference because yoga exercises for the face counteract the downward fall and drooping of the mug just as yoga postures strengthen and tone the body. Try some of these exercises.
- Start with the “lion pose.” Inhale, open your mouth widely, stick your tongue out as far as you can and now stretch it even further, trying to touch your chin with the tip of your tongue. This helps prevent wrinkly skin on the throat and exercises the corners of the mouth.
- The Giraffe: Look upward, tilt your head back. This stretches your neck. Press down gently on the bottom of your neck with the fingertips, stroking downward. Jut out your lower lip, hold, release and, repeat.
- Those damned jowls: Rest your chin on the back of your hand. Place the elbow of that arm in the palm of your other hand. Push the chin into the top of the hand that your chin is resting on as you push upward with the other hand your elbow is resting on. Hold, release and repeat.
- Pufferfish: Inhale deeply and puff out your cheeks. Gently tap your cheeks with your hand, tap on one cheek and then the other.
- Frown lines: put your fingers on your forehead and open your eyes wide but do not raise your eyebrows. Now slowly pull your hands (positioned on the forehead) away from each other. Hold and then repeat.
- Sit down. Your back is straight but your body is relaxed. Clench your teeth, opening lips as widely as you can. Using your fingers, gently pull on your bottom lip and then your top lip, pulling them as far away as you can from your face. Stretching the lips reportedly helps tighten skin.
- Are your cheeks sagging? Use the three center fingers on each hand and press down on your cheeks as you smile as big and hard as possible.
- Move your lower jaw forward and then back. Repeat 20 times.
- Chewing exercise: Look up, smile and pretend you are chewing.
- Press the palms of your hands against the sides of your face. Now smile, stop, smile, and stop.
- Pucker your lips. Stick out your tongue as far as you can. Look up at the ceiling. This works out the neck muscles.
- To improve the appearance of the nasal labial fold, do this exercise demonstrated by Yogi Annelise Hagen.
Do you have favorite yoga face exercises? Please let the Thriving Cougar community know about them.
By Cindi Pearce