Skin is a living tissue that we can keep healthy and younger looking by looking after it – by eating well, avoiding smoke and too much alcohol, drinking enough water, moisturising regularly, avoiding too much sun and finally by exercising.
The face is no difference to the rest of the body: it needs exercise to maintain healthy looking skin and functioning muscles. There are about 50 muscles in our face and neck, 20 of which are involved in our day-to-day facial expressions. We often have a habitual facial expression which can lead to permanent wrinkles in a particular area, be it the forehead, eyes or mouth. Exercising our face daily can help to release those tense muscles and mobilise others. Face exercise also will improve circulation and lymphatic flow, bringing nutrients to the face and removing toxins. Exercise and gentle self massage also encourages the formation of collagen and elastin both of which keeps our skin plump and youthful.
But there is more to exercising our face than a healthy glowing skin: Our face doesn’t just reflect our life and our emotions, it also affects how we feel. A frown apparently sends signals to the brain that says that we should feel sad or upset. So releasing the muscles of the face may just change our attitude to life and might even make us happier.
Face exercise might help to reduce those headaches caused by tension, help us speak more clearly, help relax the jaw and TMJ and may thus improve tooth grinding (bruxism) and lift our mood. It might even make us more intelligent. I can’t promise any of that but I can promise a relaxing, fun class starting with a Tripudio-based warm up to release tension and improve lymphatic flow followed by facial movements and massage. Online classes on Saturday and Tuesday mornings, 9-9.25 from October.
Face Fitness is also a lovely way to release some stress and tension: The muscles of the face are strongly involved in the stress response: For example, our eyes widen when we are scared or surprised, we grit our teeth or grimace when we are stressed…. So, relaxing the muscles of the face are just as important as relaxing the muscles of the body when we want to let go of stress.
Furthermore, most of our sensory organs are located in our face, that is, our eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Our senses take in information from our environment to signal whether it is safe or unsafe for us. Thus, muscles of the face and neck are constantly active to help us to pick up this information. Yoga understood this thousands of years ago and the ancient Yoga philosophy goes so far to suggest that we might occasionally want to switch off our senses. Whilst we don’t switch off our senses in face yoga, we release and gently work the muscles of the face and neck which can have a wonderfully relaxing and at the same time invigorating effect on us.
Online classes on Saturday and Tuesday mornings from 9-9.25 from October.
Kat holds a diploma in Face Yoga