Try these easy facial yoga exercises by Luminous Facial Yoga to reduce stress, ease anxiety and smooth wrinkles
Our heads, necks and faces carry a huge amount of tension. Holding on to this tension is not only bad for our general wellbeing, but over time, it begins to take its toll on the face through the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
There are huge short-term and long-term benefits from taking the time to perform relaxation techniques.
Luminous Facial Yoga founders Camilla Bankes and Philippa Mitchell call this facial yoga, as opposed to ‘facial exercise or facial massage’, because they take a holistic approach to facial health.
Facial yoga comprises face exercise, face massage, acupressure, relaxation and wellbeing – the massage, acupressure and energy work techniques they practise are rooted in ancient Chinese and Indian medicine and designed to improve blood flow, release tension and release energy flow around the body to promote relaxation.
With so many elements, facial yoga might sound tricky but it’s actually really easy. Give it a try for yourself with these four easy exercises…
1. Face Meditation
Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Make a mental note of how your face is feeling. Are you holding tension in any area?
Then begin by focusing on the top of your face and slowly start to move down, physically and mentally smooth and relax each part of your face, imagining any stress melting away and softening.
Continue this face meditation for as long as you like and take a moment to note how you feel at the end. This is also a great exercise to perform at the beginning and end of a facial yoga session.
2. The Lion Face
Close your eyes and inhale deeply through the nose to constrict every muscle in your face. Ball your hands into tight fits.
As you exhale the breath, open your mouth wide and stretch your tongue out, curling its tip down toward the chin.
Open your eyes wide and exhale the breath slowly out through your mouth with a distinct ‘ha’ sound. The breath should pass over the back of the throat.
As you do this, open your hands to splay your fingers widely. Repeat this process up to five times and on the final breath try holding the exhale position for 30 to 60 seconds.
This exercise relieves tension in the chest and face while stimulating the platysma – a long flat muscle on the front of the neck, which helps keep the neck area firm as we age.
According to traditional texts, The Lion also helps fight disease by eliminating toxins from the body.
3. Ear Pull
Beginning at the bottom of each ear, pinch your ear with your index finger
and thumb, then gently pull the ears out and down four times.
Move up the ear slightly to the middle of the ear and pull out four times and then move up to the top of the ear and gently pull up four times.
This is an Indian facial yoga technique that brings blood flow to the face, which makes you feel more alert and awake.
4. Smooth the Brow
Place your fingertips in the centre of your forehead and sweep outwards in horizontal lines. Repeat three times.
Take care not to drag the skin – a light touch is all that’s needed.
This exercise is good for relaxing the forehead muscle and alleviating tension that causes deep set lines.
It’s also good for boosting circulation, which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin to firm and tone the skin and will give your skin a youthful glow.
This article first appeared in issue 12 of Planet Mindful magazine.