Why jumping straight in to exercises targeting the eye area isn't always the most effective strategy for reducing puffy eyes.
People often ask me which specific exercise they should focus on to target a certain "problem" area of the face. Many people hope to reduce dark circles and under-eye puffiness, yet often the answer to these issues can lie not in the exercises specifically targeting the eyes, but in those which work to release tension in the jaw.
What is important to understand here is which muscles are involved in mastication; the act of chewing.
/ˌmæs.tɪˈkeɪ.ʃən/ noun 1. the action of chewing food.
When we hold tension in the masseter or the temporalis, this can lead to teeth clenching* we often do this unconsciously in times of stress** This tension can also block the flow of lymphatic fluid, leading to retention of toxins and fluids in the face.
The lymphatic system is the body's waste disposal system, working to remove toxins and waste products from the body and plays a key role in our immune system.
tension can also block the flow of lymphatic fluid, leading to retention of toxins and fluids in the face.
Sometimes this system can become sluggish, leading to a build up of toxins which may result in swelling and weakened immunity. This can show up in the form of bags under the eyes, puffiness, jowls and dull, sagging skin.
Face Yoga is an effective way to stimulate and activate the many lymph nodes in the face and neck, using our hands to apply controlled pressure and release.
Working the muscles of the face helps to boost circulation and lymphatic flow, speeding up the exchange of waste products and blood rich in oxygen and nutrients.
By stretching and releasing tension in the masseter and temporalis muscles, we help to unblock stagnant lymph flow and reduce facial puffiness...even from under the eyes! Magic!
Not to mention, of course, the added benefit of helping to alleviate teeth grinding.
So, which exercises should you focus on to stretch and release tension in the jaw and temples?
The beginners programme is structured in such a way, that each week prepares the facial muscles for the next. You start by working the largest, heaviest muscles of the face, neck and skull; making room to activate the smaller, weaker muscles in the later weeks.
Once you have completed the programme, make sure you incorporate the following exercises regularly into your Face Yoga routine.
Bye Bye Double Chin 1 & 2
Advanced Neck Lift
Note - if you hold a lot of tension in the jaw, the exercises can sometimes feel painful at first. Make sure you warm up properly with neck stretches beforehand.
If pain is severe, always consult your doctor or medical practitioner.
*The Concise Book of Muscles, Third Edition, Chris Jarmey, John Sharkey, North Atlantic Books, 2016
** Anatomy Coloring Book, The, 4th edition, Wynn Kapit, Lawrence M. Elson, 2014
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