Since 2002 the anti-ageing skincare market in the USA has consistently generated over two billion U.S. dollars in retail sales annually. The complete year-wise pattern can be seen on the website vadamalli.com, which also predicts a similar trend for 2015. In India too, it's an ever burgeoning market with an endless variety of make-up, creams and cosmetic treatments being introduced to fight those natural but less than flattering changes that accompany the process of growing older: primarily fine lines and wrinkles.
In a world that is perhaps increasingly obsessed with outer appearances - what with the constant exposure to unrealistic images of flawless beauty and unfading youthfulness – it can be overwhelming and frustrating to pick the right anti-ageing products, even more so when the chemicals and artificial components of such products can sometimes end up doing more harm than good to the delicate tissues of the skin.
So what is the way out? How can you keep yourself looking healthy and young without having to choose from an endless variety of products offering magical results? Well, why not go the natural way and introduce face yoga to your daily beauty regime?
Face yoga or face pilates are a set of facial exercises that work the muscles and the skin of the face, using facial expressions and massaging with the fingers. Routines are designed to increase blood circulation, lift the muscles, and relive stress in order to help your skin look firmer and healthier.
Historical figures such as the famed Egyptian queen Cleopatra, French courtesans, and the empresses of the ancient Chinese Imperial Court were known to use facial exercises to maintain their youthful appearances. Since then, traditional Chinese facial exercises have been used to this day.
As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. If you're starting to notice the fine lines and wrinkles that can begin showing up on your face as early as your twenties, try the following simple exercises and watch them gradually disappear rather than turn into full-fledged wrinkles:
Stand in front of a mirror and imagine your forehead to be a smooth piece of glass or any other smooth surface you can visualise. Visualisation is the key to achieving the best results from yoga. Place the fingertips of both hands vertically on the centre of your forehead and gently push them outward toward your hairline, applying a slight pressure. Repeat twice to make a set. Do a total of three such sets, making sure to use a firm yet gentle smoothing motion each time.
Place the tip of each index finger on the outer corner of each eyebrow. Gently pull your eyebrows outward toward the hairline and close your eyes. This relaxes the muscles around the eyes and improves blood circulation. Repeat only twice.
Again, looking at the mirror imagine your forehead to be a smooth piece of glass. Now, open your eyes as wide as you can without any wrinkle appearing on your forehead. Then focus your gaze on a point just below your nose for five10 seconds and release. Repeat this four times and each time become aware that you need not wrinkle your forehead every time you widen or narrow your eyes. Make a conscious effort from day to day to not wrinkle your forehead when talking, frowning, or experiencing stress.
Looking at the mirror, raise your eyebrows as high as you can. Then, using the fingertips of both hands,smooth out the wrinkles that have appeared on your forehead, moving with a brushing motion from the outer tips of the eyebrows towards the hairline. Repeat twice.
Full face stretch
Finally, it's time to exercise all the muscles on your face at once. First, take a deep breath in and clench your hands into tight fists. Scrunch up your eyes and nose and all the other muscles on your face. Hold for a second or two, then exhale and stick your tongue out, at the same time stretching your palms wide and opening your eyes as big as you can and rolling them. Repeat this twice to wind up your face yoga routine designed to counter the early signs of wrinkles on your face.
For maximum results, allot a specific time daily to devote to this routine. A little while before bed is a good time, and to further enhance the results, you can follow it up by rubbing an ice cube wrapped in a cotton cloth all over your face. This works wonders in firming up the skin and lending a beautiful glow to your face. Be sure to wrap the ice in a cotton cloth as direct contact of ice with the skin can damage the delicate capillary network below the surface of the skin.
Apart from the exercises explained above, there is a plethora of other face yoga routines to address specific concerns like faceslimming, wrinkles around the eyes, a double chin, etc. However, be sure to consult a specialist before attempting anything too intense and remember never to overdo any exercise in an attempt to speed up results. You may end up doing a lot more harm than good and often such damage is irreversible. So, take it easy and remember that the best way to combat age is to keep the mind young – stress less, take the time to do the things you enjoy, spend time with people who make you happy and get rid of unnecessary burdens.