Leave your tongue hanging out and roll your eyes upwards, blow kisses, tilt your head back and try to kiss the ceiling... hold each pose for a minute. This might sound like a one-way ticket to the loony bin, but it actually sets you on the road to firm jaws and plump lips.
This is facial yoga. Sceptics may sneer, but the trend is here to stay, for those who want to get rid of worry lines and wrinkles. It's a natural facelift, says Asha Bachanni, a Mumbai-based expert, who trained in the art in the UK. She says, "We all know that looks are important. Gyms can tone up your body, but what about the face? A face is made up of 57 muscles, which are as responsive to exercise as other muscles. I believe the face is our biography, and we need to make it a bestseller."
In the four years since she began her practice, she has had clients from age groups 16 to 72 coming to her. The younger ones mostly to get rid of heavy cheeks or double chins, those in their 30s and early 40s for toning and the above-45 group to address the problem of sagging skin, deep nasolabial folds and wrinkles. It works well for sculpting and toning the face as well as for delaying and reversing the effects of ageing.
Facial exercises stimulate blood circulation for an even skin tone, rejuvenate elasticity and natural collagen. They help diminish fine lines as well as brighten and tighten the skin.
Bachanni has advised several celeb clients, including television actors Mouli Ganguli, Swetta Keswani and Tasneem Sheikh. Says Sheikh, who consulted Bachanni after an accident, "My jaw was stiff and the exercises did help to a great extent. However, I'm not practising it at the moment."
Yoga guru Swami Lalji, practising yoga for the last three decades, swears by it for anti-ageing benefits and a glowing complexion.
Laughter plays an important role in facial yoga and can smooth wrinkles as it increases blood circulation and removes polluted carbon dioxide from the lungs. Yoga expert Suneel Singh believes facial yoga can restore the glow on your face and remove spots, wrinkles, acne and pimples.
So, give it a shot... and why not? It's a lot cheaper than Botox as well!
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