BLOG 169: TRY THESE BODY YOGA MOVES TO LIFT YOUR FACEAug 02, 2022
Although I usually focus on Face Yoga when I share poses and techniques, there are also plenty of body yoga poses that can bring benefits for your face and skin. So, that’s what I’m looking at in today’s post.
I’m going to run through a lovely, calming yoga routine that is perfect for first thing in the morning, or whatever time of day you can find ten minutes to spend on your mat. Most of the poses focus on the upper body, releasing tension from the neck, chest, and shoulders, and mobilising through the spine.
Of course, when we release tension from the neck and shoulders, we also help to soften and relax the face. Everything is so connected. And by softening the face, we help to reduce and prevent lines and wrinkles.
This sequence also contains a few gentle inversions to get the blood flowing to the face and head. And we’ll also do a few poses to help with posture, which can have a surprising impact on our faces too.
As well as being great for the face, this body yoga routine is lovely if you’ve been spending a lot of time on screens and want to release your neck, back, and shoulders.
If you prefer to follow along with a video, you can also find this body yoga class via my YouTube channel.
BODY YOGA SEQUENCE FOR THE FACE
Start on your yoga mat in a comfortable seated position. I usually opt for a cross-legged pose, but you can also have your legs straight if that is more comfortable.
Bring your attention to the breath. Inhale and exhale through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise and fall with your breath. You can close your eyes here if that feels right for you.
NECK AND SHOULDER RELEASE
When you feel calm and centred, open your eyes. We’ll start by releasing the neck. Gently turn your head to one side, then roll your chin down and across your chest until you are looking in the other direction, making a half-circle.
Work to your own level here, especially if you have any neck issues.
Repeat the move a few times. When you are ready, you can start to complete the circle by tilting your chin up and back. If this feels like too much, just stick to the half-circles.
After a few circles, switch directions and do the move a few times in the opposite direction.
Next, we’ll release the shoulders by rolling them up, back, down, and forward several times. Then, switch to rolling them forwards, down, back, and up.
Once your shoulders are feeling more relaxed, take your hands onto your knees for a seated Cat/Cow. Taking an inhale, press your chest out and shoulders back as you lift your chin up. Then, as you exhale, curve your spine outwards as you tuck your chin in and pull your tummy button in.
Come back to a neutral spine, then repeat the action twice more.
Next, move into Tabletop pose – on your hands and knees, with your hands beneath your shoulders and knees stacked in line with your hips. Start with a neutral spine. We’re going to continue with our Cat/Cow movement to release tension from the front of the neck, which in turn helps to lift and tone the face.
Cat/Cow is also great for mobilising through your spine. Start by inhaling as you drop your belly down and lift your chin and chest up. Then, tuck your chin and belly in as you round through your spine, pressing it up towards the ceiling as you exhale.
Repeat twice more. Then, come back to a neutral spine.
DOWNWARDS-FACING DOG TO UPWARDS-FACING DOG
Press your hips up and lift your knees off the floor, coming into Downwards-Facing Dog. Focus on straightening your legs as much as possible and pressing down evenly through the palms of your hands. Reach your heels down towards the floor, but don’t worry if they don’t come into contact with it.
Pedal out through your feet, bending one leg and then the other to release tension from your hamstrings and encourage the flow of blood to your head.
Remember to continue your long, deep breath through the nose.
Bring your hips forward and down, coming into Upwards-Facing Dog. Keep your arms straight and lift your gaze upwards as you press through the tops of your feet to bring your knees off the floor. Your hips should be off the mat but are dropping down as you lift your chest, creating a lovely bend through your back.
Again, this pose is great for lifting the front of the neck and the face.
Push your tailbone up and back to come back into Downwards-Facing Dog. Repeat this transition twice more, finishing in Downwards-Dog.
Come down to your knees. Place the crown of your head onto the floor and your hands beside your ears, palms facing down onto your mat.
This is Rabbit’s Pose, a gentle inversion that helps to bring fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the head and face. As well as energising the mind, this pose helps our skin look invigorated and rejuvenated.
Bring your sit bones down towards your heels to come into Child’s Pose. Relax your arms down by your sides. Rest your forehead down onto your mat, gently putting pressure on the Third Eye point, which is found between your eyebrows. As well as stimulating the flow of energy through this acupressure point, this helps to soften number 11 lines.
Take a few breaths as you relax into Child’s Pose.
CHEST, SHOULDER, AND BACK RELEASE
When you’re ready, gently bring your body up so that you’re in a kneeling position. Sweep your arms back behind you like two big wings. Gently turn your head from side to side.
This pose opens up the chest and also helps to correct that forward posture we often spend a lot of time in when we’re using phones or computers.
Interlink your fingers together, with your hands still behind your back. Tilt your chin up and push out your chest a little. This is a lovely release for the shoulders and helps to lift the lower face and neck area.
Release your hands down and shift until you are sitting on your bottom again. Stretch your right leg out long in front of you. Cross your left leg over your right, bending your knee so that you can bring the sole of your left foot onto the floor by the outside of your right thigh.
Take an inhale to lengthen up through your spine, then twist through your upper body. Hug your right arm around your left leg and place your left hand on the floor behind you as you concentrate on turning your shoulders to the left.
This helps to lift the side neck and face, as well as releasing tension from the upper body and back.
Release and then repeat on the other side.
Bring both legs out in front of you. Bending your knees, bring the soles of your feet together to come into Butterfly Pose. Stretch your arms up towards the ceiling. As you hold this pose, move just your eyes as though you were looking at every number on a clock face. Start clockwise and then repeat anti-clockwise.
This is a great way to do some eye yoga at the same time as your body yoga!
Release your arms down. Lean forward to take hold of your feet. Relax your head and torso down towards your feet as much as feels comfortable. Feel the gentle release through your body.
Hold for a few breaths, then come back upright.
Return to your comfortable seated position. Inhale to sweep your arms up towards the ceiling. Bring your hands together into prayer position and then bring them down through your centre line. Repeat twice more, feeling yourself gathering in the energy and bringing it down through your body.
To finish, bring your hands in front of your heart centre in prayer pose and take a moment to thank yourself for this amazing practice.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short, calming body yoga sequence. Hopefully, your upper body and neck now feel much more relaxed, which will help to release tension in your face too.
Body yoga is one of my three wellness non-negotiables, along with walking in nature and Face Yoga. I aim to get on the mat daily, even if it is only for 5-10 minutes.
It might sound like a small thing but having the right yoga mat can make a big difference to your daily practice. I’ve spent years testing different mats, which inspired me to offer my own. Thick enough for comfort, grippy enough for safety, and beautiful enough to inspire you to step onto the mat daily. You can find my yoga mats via my online shop.