Make like an A-lister and take up face yoga to help banish wrinkles and fine lines
Now, I’m all for trying new forms of yoga, whether that’s anti-gravity yoga in a suspended hammock, Bikram, tantrum, hell, even laughter yoga. But face yoga? Isn’t that taking things a step too far?
Yet Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham are said to be fans. And if it keeps them looking fresh-faced and peachy, then I’m willing to try it.
After all, it makes sense. Both classical and contemporary forms of yoga stretch and relax the limbs, torso and back, while the face tends to get forgotten about. There are 43 muscles in the face, only some of which are used on a daily basis. But just as under-used triceps leave us with bingo wings, weak facial muscles can cause frown lines and store built-up tension.
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So that’s why British yoga expert Danielle Collins created the skin firming technique in 2005, by devising 18 facial moves designed to strengthen the facial muscles and smooth fine lines.
Think of it as a form of natural Botox. But instead of having toxins injected into your face, you’re giving yourself an anti-aging facelift through self-massage and manipulation.
One of Danielle’s protégés, Julia Anastasiou, a holistic therapist and consultant facialist who specialises in yoga and meditation, teaches me the moves.
‘The owl exercises the forehead and smoothes horizontal lines by challenging the muscles above your brows,’ explains Julia.
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Copying Julia, I curl my forefingers and thumbs in to two C shapes, resting my forefingers above my eyebrows and thumbs on my cheekbone, as if adjusting a snorkelling mask. Then I press gently and raise my eyebrows while smoothing my fingers down over my forehead for two seconds, which I repeat three times.
Next we try ‘smoothing the brow’ to even frown lines. I rest my fingertips vertically in the middle of my brow, then drag them horizontally towards my hairline. I hold for five seconds and repeat three times.
To ‘kiss the sky,’ I tilt my head back and blow 10 kisses to strengthen my lip muscles and tighten my jowls.
To complete the puffer fish move, I fill my cheeks with air as if I’m blowing up a balloon then use the flat part of my fingertips to tap my taut cheeks.
‘This directs blood to the muscle underneath, boosting circulation,’ Julia explains.
Hamster cheeks is a similar move – I just take turns to fill each cheek with air to iron out laughter lines.
‘I try it while driving,’ giggles Julia.
My favourite? It’s got to be hamster cheeks, although the smile smoother – head tilted back, mouth open and top lip covering my teeth while I open and close my jaw – could probably qualify me for a gurning competition.
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I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much and the class puts me on a high. But do the techniques really work?
A month on, after trying the routine daily, the barely-there lines between my brows are still there, and I haven’t been asked for ID. But the moves have definitely helped release the tension I store in my face, making me relaxed and less likely to frown.
If you’re keen to try kissing the sky yourself, my tip is to try a class with a friend – it’s impossible to keep a straight face while practising the moves and you’re guaranteed to come away feeling invigorated, with aching sides and flushed cheeks. Another tip? Make sure your partner doesn’t walk in on you mid puffer fish…
Visit www.onestopholistichealing.co.uk or call Julia on 07919 143194 to find out about one to one sessions (£65 including a treatment) and group classes (£12.50). The Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method CD costs £14.95 from www.faceyogaexpert.com.
Try simple yoga moves for wellness
Posted: 20/01/2013 at 13:50
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