I have always believed in organic growth in my personal development, as well as in my career. I teach what I believe in and explore various movements and exercise forms to enrich my knowledge. My research is based on exercise and movement science, which enable our bodies to maintain strength and vitality.
Throughout life, we experience stress and problems that could leave us feeling tired and weak. The body needs conditioning and a healthy diet on a regular basis in order to stay vibrant. If these needs are not met, one could face serious problems and health issues.
I've spent the last 15 years of my life studying different methods of training and strengthening the body. Each and every method looks at the body from a different angle - from basic rehabilitation work to advanced movement patterns and exercise. In order to strengthen the body, we must be able to read the body well. Posture and alignment are affected by our emotions and lifestyle, and so is our face.
Our face reveals a great deal about our overall health, from toxin build up, which causes sagging skin, to puffy eyes and dark circles. For example, bags under the eyes indicate a person is suffering from lack of sleep; they might also be a sign of kidney-waste overload. Our diet, hydration (or the lack of it), pollution, stress levels, and emotions are all factors that could be harmful to our skin. With that in mind, just like we train our body and brain with exercise, we can also train our facial muscles in order to keep them firm and lifted.
Facial rejuvenation is not a modern day approach. Ayurveda, an ancient healing system, treats the body and not the illness, while aiming to prevent disease and promote good health. Facelift exercises and massage date back to Ayurveda; they unblock and release energy pathways, naturally boosting better health, radiance, and a great sense of well-being.
We can also boost our energy levels and ooze with confidence and positivity. Yoga, like Ayurveda, has its origins in the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures. It is a system of life that uses postures, special breathing methods, meditation, and other techniques to release and channel energy through the body.
The face yoga method, created by Danielle Collins, is a combination of face exercises, face massage, face acupressure, and face relaxation. It also focuses on wellbeing techniques for the mind, body, and soul. We communicate our feelings and attitudes far more through body language than through verbal language. If we can go through life looking radiant and healthy, why not give it a try?
But first, let’s discover what aging is. Is it possible to slow it down or halt it altogether? Are we able to banish wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin without chemical treatments or surgery?
Age, as most of us believe, is not just a matter of the number of birthdays celebrated. According to science, there’s a difference between chronological age and biological age, which means you can be 60 years old and have the body of a 45 year old. Joseph Pilates once said, “You are as young as your spinal column!” Does that give you a hint?
We have all met someone who looks ten years younger and has boundless energy, stamina, glowing skin, and great posture; we have all observed the exact opposite too. So to what extent do genetics influence the aging process and how much does lifestyle impact the way we age and look?
Various tests conducted by scientists have proven that a healthy body with a balanced diet and the right amount of exercise can slow down the aging process, if not reverse it. Bodily aging, according to research, is caused by molecular attacks from free radicals. Our metabolism slows down and our youth–promoting hormones diminish rapidly. Over time, the cells that produce collagen and elastin start to decline, which causes a reduction in the number of fibers present.
Aging makes our bones weaker and more brittle by robbing the body of vital minerals that are essential for strong bones and the production of collagen. Collagen is what keeps our skin elastic and firm. If we lead an inactive life, we lose our muscle tone, waistline, height, skin tone, energy, and much more. When we understand how our body functions and what shapes us to be the way we are, we realize that it is in our hands to do something about it and try to change for the better.
Exercising our face and body can dramatically decelerate our body’s aging process. So, our biological age will age slower than our chronological age—making us look and feel younger.
There are 57 muscles in the face and neck, and just as our body needs regular exercise to stay toned and firm, the muscles in the neck and face need to be exercised. As they become stronger through exercise, they are lifted and firmed and the skin attached to the muscles is also lifted and tightened, essentially reducing lines and wrinkles. And since facial muscles are much smaller than those in the body, it takes a lot less time for them to increase in strength and tone.
I believe that taking twenty minutes a day for oneself is a form of self-love that we all need. Breath work and acupressure help me to become free of tension, centered, and grounded after a long day at work. Nurturing oneself requires courage, commitment, and kindness; face yoga is an expression of the kindness everyone can give to themselves. I highly recommend it as a new daily “healthy-habit” which will boost the complexion with radiance, confidence, and positivity.
One of my favorite exercises in face yoga is called flirty eyes. It helps to reduce tiredness around the eyes and forehead, and gives a fresh look, especially after a long day of work or staring at the computer screen. You can follow it with acupressure to help increase blood flow and oxygen, and to help clean the facial lymph system which removes toxins and gives you a younger and more relaxed appearance.
Facial Muscle Training: Flirty Eyes
Cover your teeth with your lips and make an ‘O’ shape with your mouth, pulling your top and bottom lip as far away from each other as possible. Next, place your index fingers under your eyes horizontally with the fingertips pointing towards your nose. Then look upwards and flutter your upper eyelids for a total of thirty seconds. This will reduce the hollows under the eyes, lift the upper eyelids, and also lift the lower part of the face. Major muscles worked: orbicularis oculi and corrugator.
Use your index finger(s) to hold each point for 20-50 seconds. Start with gentle pressure and then gradually build up. Practice on your own face to learn what feels right. If possible, aim to feel for a pulse. This is an indication that the energy is flowing freely. Lightly massage this point in a clockwise direction for 20 seconds and then in an anti-clockwise direction for 20 seconds. The cycle can be repeated two more times if needed.
- Midway between the eyebrows: Calms the mind, reduces headaches, and helps with insomnia and anxiety. Hold and massage this point as detailed above.
- In the middle of the eyebrows directly above the pupils: Helps eye problems, frontal headaches, and migraines. Hold and massage this point as detailed above.