You may be able to bend into exquisite, intricate poses that showcase your toned torso and limbs while doing yoga, but what are you doing for your face and neck? Taking care of your visage now while you're young, will save you a world of hurt down the road when age and stress have taken a toll. Make sure to put aside time for yoga exercises for your face and neck several times a week.
Lion is not the prettiest of yoga poses, but it comes with a wealth of benefits. Not only does it exercise and tone the muscles of your face but can also help with fatigue, bad breath and a stiff jaw caused by tension. While the traditional pose has you kneeling on the floor and sitting back on your heels, you can perform a quickie version at your desk or on your bed after waking up in the morning. Just warn your hubbie before you open your jaws wide, stick out your tongue and roar as you exhale.
Neck rolls are a tried and true way to relieve tension and are a long-time favorite of yogis; but there's something you ought to know before you begin whipping your head around like a whirligig. Your neck contains the most delicate of your spinal disks and it doesn't take much to throw them out of alignment. When you feel the need to exercise your neck, take it slowly and get creative. Instead of the classic roll, drop your head forward, then to one side without rolling, to the back and then to the other side. Pause in between each movement, breathe deeply, and even chomp your jaws as if you were chewing gum while your head is tipped back.
Yoga teacher Annelise Hagen noticed that her students were performing poses to perfection but their faces were pinched into grimaces and scowls. It dawned upon her that she could create a series of poses that would exercise the face and hopefully stop the spread of premature wrinkling caused by sun damage, stress and fatigue. Performing poses like Puppet Face, Smiling Fish Face, The Satchmo, and Bumblebees, you get to exercise all the little muscles of your face.
Back It Up
All back bends in yoga -- except for Bridge pose -- have one thing in common; they lengthen your neck. That’s a good thing; especially if stress has your shoulders skimming the bottoms of your earlobes most days. Scrunching your neck not only impedes your breathing, but could lead to premature horizontal lines around your neck. Decompress and exercise your neck with poses like Fish, Bow, Up Dog and Camel so that you can spend the rest of the day looking like a swan.
Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor's degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.