Yoga expert Lydia Sasse shares on how facial yoga benefits the complexion.
What exactly is facial yoga? How long has it been around?
Facial yoga is part of the Sukshma vyayama yoga tradition which is also know as the yoga of micro-movements. It is part of a lineage of yoga that focuses on bringing heightened awareness to where we hold our stress in our body and face, so that we can learn to release that tension and gain greater control over our muscles. Face yoga is one element of this and it involves simple repetitive physical movements of the facial muscles.
What are some of the known benefits to our faces if we practise facial yoga?
Unlike the rest of our body; the skin on our face is attached directly to the muscles below without a padding of fat in-between. This means that when the muscles of our face atrophy from lack of use and age they begin to sag and then drag the skin of our face down with them: resulting in some of the “typical” signs of aging such as sagging eye lids, pouches under the eyes, hollowed cheeks and jowls around the neck.
With regular practice facial yoga teaches us to tone and plump those muscles which in turn leaves the skin covering them; smoother, pumper and with less obvious wrinkles.
You will also learn the places that you typically hold tension in your face for example, furrowed Brow, clenched jaw or tight neck and learn how to undo those patterns: which can result in less tension headaches, better posture and less teeth grinding. A lot of the facial yoga poses also involve benefits to the skin quality itself such as increased lymphatic drainage, circulation and collagen production resulting in more youthful looking, glowing skin.
Here’s some facial yoga you can try at home!
The Cheek Pat
Benefits: Boosts circulation and tones the cheeks
Directions: Take a large inhale and puff up both cheeks until they are full of air. Holding the cheeks to full capacity rapidly pat each cheek with the palms of your hands for 30 seconds.
The X and O
Benefits: Tones the muscles of the cheeks
Directions: Repeat the letters X and O out loud for thirty seconds. This will force the muscles of your cheeks to contract and relax repeatedly.
Benefits: Plumps and defines the lips and tones the cheeks
Directions: Pucker your lips into an exaggerated kiss. Place your index finger on the centre of your lips and then simultaneously push your lips into your finger and your finger into your lips, providing resistance. Hold for 30 seconds.
The Puppet Face
Benefits: To minimize the lines from nose to mouth
Directions: Smile and press your fingers into the lines between the mouth and nose. Lift the muscles up and press into the area for resistance. Repeat 20-30 times
Benefits: Firms up the forehead, helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and release forehead tension.
Directions: Make large ‘C’ shapes with your thumbs and index fingers and place them on your face around your eyes, with the index fingers curling over the eyebrows and the thumbs resting on the cheek bones. Open your eyes wide and look up. Start to pull down with the index fingers whilst simultaneously trying to raise your eyebrows. Maintain this resistance for 2 seconds then repeat 3 times. Finally hold and resist for 10 seconds then rest.
The Eyelid Flutter
Benefits: Tones the skin around eyelids and eyebrows and helps to improve lubrication of the eyes.
Directions: Place your fingers gently, pointing inwards towards your nose, on your cheekbones. Look upwards and begin to flutter your upper eyelids rapidly for 30 seconds. Close your eyes and rest them for 3 breaths then repeat.
ABOUT LYDIA SASSE
Lydia did her first yoga class in the Himalayas when she was a little girl and loved it.
Yoga has been a life long pursuit, but to give her a greater understanding of how the body works, and why it sometimes doesn’t, Lydia has also trained as a Bowen therapist and completed a diploma in physiology and anatomy.
Having spent the last decade working with children and pregnant mums,she decided that working as a pre and post natal yoga teacher was the next step.
Lydia passionately believes that practicing yoga throughout your pregnancy and beyond, strengthens both the mind and body in preparation for labour, and paves the way for a more balanced and healthy life for you and your child.
More recently lydia has started sharing her love of health and wellness with people in the workplace, she gives wellness coaching workshops and classes within corporate settings. She has developed a yoga for your classroom series that she teaches in schools around the country to train primary school teachers how to deal with emotional and self regulatory issues in the classroom to make it a more friendly place for everyone.
Lydia has specialized in a lot of the more unique areas of yoga and has a love of yoga for the face and eyes. She wants to move away from the idea that the body and head are seperate entities and just as we exercise our body, so too, we should exercise our faces. She teaches yoga for your face and skin workshops and talks, which look at the health of your skin from without and within. In her regular yoga classes and workshops she like to focus on yoga for the organ body.
Lydia has recently launched a health and wellness podcast with her friend and health-food store owner Finn Murray that is set outside in areas of natural beauty around ireland. You can find it on youtube or podcast app @Wanderingintowellness