Autumn Evening Massage

The Autumn season can leave your skin feeling drier or more sensitive. Minimize these effects with a scented oil massage. It can be done in a hurry, but I like to slow it down and savour the moment. Light a candle. Slip on something comfy. This is great to do before bedtime.

Carrying tensions in the face can create lines and wrinkles. Even while we sleep!

Face Yoga : M(eye) Adventure part I

Mother Nature gave me small downward-turned eyes. But being a firm believer in the Face Yoga Method, I know I can battle gravity & droopy eyelids, correct my asymmetries, open up the gaze, AND improve the under-eye area to boot!

Summer Goal N°1 was : Work the Eye Area.

private photo

I’m also a victim of Presbyopia,”middle-age” or “old-age” sight. That pesky, gradual loss of nearsightedness. Noticing a greater dependence on my reading glasses for more than just reading, I started investigating ways to improve and/or reverse this process naturally.

Summer Goal N°2 was : Explore Yogic Eye Exercises

Summer goal N°3 was master Crow Pose. Well, that one…..

Yes. Summer is cool – less work & commitments. But Summer is also chaotic – vacations & visits, training, outdoor work and organizing for Autumn.

Fortunately my Face Yoga exercises are so anchored in my daily habits that I didn’t have to create a routine, just customize my existing one. (No excuses guys. Nothing is stopping you from creating YOUR own routine.)

With Face Yoga, opening the eyes wide, without wrinkling the forehead and squinting with the lower part of the ring-eye muscle are two integral movements. But I concentrated instead on Visualizing, Isolating & Moving just the upper part of the ring-eye muscle. Think raising one eyebrow, keeping the forehead relaxed. Not easy. I know!

private photo

I combined that with the famous squint while lifting the crow’s feet area, and circular and “V”-shaped yogic eye movements using my hands to encourage the eye muscles upwards. Hands help the muscles remember where I want them to go! And I massaged regularly from the brow upwards, around the eyes, and under the eyes to train & relax the muscles, drain fluids AND stimulate collagen & elastin production.

I also added Swinging into my upper body warm-up. Swinging consists of, well, swinging the body from side to side from the torso, first with the eyes open to focus rapidly on what is on each side of you, then with eyes closed, so the eyes will “remember” what you saw on each side.

Research taught me that our eyes need natural light to stimulate the rods & cones and decrease photo sensitivity, (You’ll squint less too, helping to reduce the 11 lines between the brows.) So I started Sunning*.

private photo

When Sunning*, we, very basically, face a light source with our eyes closed and turn our head from side to side for 30 seconds to 10 minutes or so as is comfortable. Never look directly at the sun!

I also learned our eyes need darkness to recuperate. So we follow Sunning* with Palming*, by cupping our hands over the eyes to block out all the light, breathing deeply, for the same amount of time. You can tilt your head 90° for a neck stretch or repeat affirmations if you like.

private photo

*But please, do some research on your own before practicing. I am not an expert in eye care, and you want to be informed before beginning any type of exercise.

My days included Face Yoga exercises whenever I had a moment and more massage-based movements, and eye circles before bed.

Actually all the “exercises” I did, though they seem stimulating, have relaxing effects on the eye. While we improve and lift the eye area, this dynamic relaxation is key to improving vision as well.

Two months later, I am satisfied with the results. I have less dark circles, more control over my eye movements, and a greater awareness to relax my brows.

I’ll never have Bette Davis Eyes and that’s OK.

My vision? It’s way to early to tell. I’ve got a lot more work & research to do. Stay tuned for the next installment of M(eye) Adventure.

If you have questions concerning Face Yoga Eye Exercises feel free to contact me :

kimfaceyogaluxembourg.com.

You can also check out my Quick Eye Area Workout Video here.

 

Face Yoga : Exfoliating

Our faces are exposed year-round, so we’re pretty diligent about keeping up with our facial skincare regime, but often neglect our bodies, hands and feet, especially when it comes to exfoliating.

Then, the warmer weather hits, the sandals and lighter, shorter clothing come out of the closet, the vacation is just around the corner, and we think, “Uh oh!” Time to run to the beauty isle and grab one of the many yummy-smelling body scrubs and creams on offer.

Or you could make your own…just as yummy smelling, just as efficient. But YOU control the ingredients.

I make my own Pink Himalayan Salt Scrub. Himalayan Salt is a super strong exfoliator. It draws out toxins, contains 84 minerals and trace elements, and is 99% pure.

private photo can not be copied

HIMALAYAN SALT SCRUB

½ cup Fine Pink Himalayan Salt

¼ cup Coconut or Sweet Almond Oil (or a mixture of both)

1/8 cup Castile Soap

10 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

You could substitute the Himalayan Salt with Sea Salt, swap the rosemary for another oil of your choice, or, if you prefer something more gentle and sweeter-smelling, make a SUGAR SCRUB.*

Sugar is a better alternative if you have sensitive skin and is recommended for the face. Salt granules tend to be rough-edged and harsher, great for removing rough or calloused patches, while the more-rounded sugar granules are less-irritating for the face and bust. You can use your salt scrub anywhere, but GO GENTLY! Some people also find the salt scrub more drying and need to moisturize more afterwards. My scrub contains a lot of oil, so I don’t feel the need. It’s a personal preference.

* And please, keep in mind, whether you buy or make a scrub, be cautious about ingredients and your skin’s sensitivity, or possible allergic reactions. Always test a product first.

We all know the benefits of exfoliation:

-Removes dead skin cells for better cell turnover and softer-feeling skin

-Cleanses pores to reduce their appearance and prevent acne

-Improves circulation to oxygenate the skin and get that rosy glow

-Drains lymph and reduces fluid retention, puffiness & swollen skin

So don’t forget to exfoliate both face & body all year long. You deserve to pamper yourself.

Face Yoga : Oil Pulling?

I’m convinced.      Oil Pulling really works.      Really.      Truly.

I’ve known about it, thought it seemed like a good idea and even published an article on the Facebook page last year. So why am I just discovering this now ?

I had a micro-gum infection. It sounds a lot grosser than it was, but it just wouldn’t go away. So after a couple of months of returning to the dentist weekly, only to be told that I needed to make yet another appointment for a novocaine-numbed deep-cleaning, I decided to trade in the nightly application of anti-bacterial gel for a morning session of oil pulling. I returned to the dentist two weeks later, braced for my deep-clean, only to be told the infection was gone and that my gum had returned to a normal level along the tooth.

Ha! The sages of India really knew their stuff after all. Oil Pulling has been used for thousands of years and is part of Ayruvedic medicine as a natural detoxifying practice. It improves overall oral health (including fighting cavities and gum disease), soothes and heals throat issues and can even, help flush out sinus problems. Oil Pulling is also thought to have an effect on other parts of the body as well.

Many different oils can be used including, coconut, sesame, olive, unrefined sunflower or ghee (butter oil).

My go-to, and obvious choice was coconut. It’s one of those products you will always find in my pantry (along with peanut butter). I cook with it, add it into smoothies, use it to make some of my homemade creams and beauty products and even slather it on toast (yum!). So I didn’t need to be convinced about it being one of the world’s healthiest oils. It’s got so many uses to go into them all here, but I will mention that it is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. In short the anti-oil. It’s good for you.

How do you Oil Pull?

In the mornings, before eating or drinking any beverages, rinse the mouth, then swish a spoonful of the oil of your choice around in your mouth for 10 – 20 minutes. (Personally, I drink my hot water first.) Do not swallow the oil. Spit it out when you are finished. Then rinse the mouth again.

So, yes, MY morning routine may have gotten a bit longer. But it also doubles as a great  warm-up and workout for the mouth area!

Workshop : Neck & Jawline Lift

Where : Club Haus Am Brill, Capellen

When : Saturday June 30, 10h – 11h30

This workshop concentrates on firming and toning the lower face while relaxing the neck and upper back. If you are worried about double chin or “turkey neck,” these exercises are for you. Come discover what Face Yoga can do.

For more information or to sign up for the workshop contact the Club Haus Am Brill on : 30 00 01

For more information about Face Yoga contact: kim@faceyogaluxembourg.com

Workshop : Face Yoga Basics

Where : Club Haus Am Brill, Capellen

When : Saturday June 2 , 10h – 11h30

This workshop gives you core exercises that strengthen and relax all areas of the face, and improve circulation for a healthy glow. If you have never done Face Yoga before, this workshop is for you. Come discover what Face Yoga can do.

For more information or to sign up for the workshop contact the Club Haus Am Brill on : 30 00 01

For more information about Face Yoga contact: kim@faceyogaluxembourg.com

Face Yoga : On Vacation

If you follow me on Facebook, have participated in one of my workshops, or have read some of my previous blogs, you know that I am always encouraging people to find those moments during the day when you can do your Face Yoga exercises. And if you have a block of time to do a little routine or work on a specific area, all the better.

Face Yoga is what I do. So I have a fairly set morning and evening routine. I honestly fit in exercises whenever I think about it. And if you find me in front of the TV or in a car (driver or passenger), you can bet I’m doing a little Face Yoga at the same time. Some days I prepare and practice for lessons and workshops. Other days I revise the exercises I do less frequently. Then there are busy days, disorganized days, and just plain old lazy days where I do less. But I do something EVERY day, no matter when, where or how long. It is habit, a part of my lifestyle.

I was recently traveling. Being away from home, being on the move, and sometimes being exhausted gave me the perfect opportunity to put my money where my mouth is and fit in Face Yoga exercises whenever I could.

There’s always a lot of sitting and waiting for a plane, train or bus. I just held my magazine up (book, tablet, newspaper) and no one could see if I was making faces or not. (Neck high, not down creating wrinkles and helping gravity!) When I was doing an exercise like The Smile Lifter, it just looked like I was enjoying what I was reading!

Then there’s the time you actually spend in transit. There were a lot of exercises I could do in the confines of the airplane seat – exercises to stretch the neck, tone and relax the eyes, push acupressure points or mini-massage areas to name a few. They all helped to make me feel more relaxed and refreshed AND pass the time more quickly.

Spending several hours in the car? Rather than just slouching and watching the scenery, I could do as much or as little Face Yoga as I wanted. No matter if I was the passenger, or the one driving.

And all that sitting (no matter what type of transport we’re talking about) gives you the opportunity to remind yourself to sit up straight, shoulders down and relax the upper back. You feel less cramped at the end of the trip too.

Sometimes you can spend a lot of time on the subway before you get to your destination. It was another perfect moment to exercise. “What did the other passengers think?” you ask. They were all on their phones, reading or sleeping. No one was looking at me!

Being a tourist, you spend a lot of time waiting in queues for museums, monuments, amusement rides, food etc… Since not all Face Yoga exercises are spectacular facial movements, I doubt anyone else even realized I was exercising.

Not having time for my morning routine made me feel guilty at first. So I had to decide which area(s) of the face I wanted to NOT neglect, which exercises were the most powerful for me, and how could I combine exercises to get maximum benefits in a short amount of time. Two or three can do the trick. Then I though about what I do normally just walking around my house doing other things, and combined that with getting ready for my day. It’s called multi-tasking.

It was a little harder to stay hydrated with all the moving around – especially getting hot water. Mornings and evenings at the guest houses were easy. But most restaurants plop a big glass of ice water in front of you as soon as you sit down. When I, a bit sheepishly, asked for plain, hot water the first time, the response was not what I expected. The waitress told me people order it a lot more than you would think. So don’t be afraid to order it yourself.

My homemade cream, moisture spray and lip balm were lifesavers, as far as keeping my skin moist. No surprise, but this was especially true for the plane trip and during the day when I was out visiting and not having the opportunity to drink water whenever I wanted, or whenever my skin felt dry and tight. Taking care of the skin while you travel is so important whatever products you prefer.

I hope I don’t give the impression that I spent my vacation obsessing about my skin and doing Face Yoga exercises – far from it. But it was surprisingly easy to keep up with some sort of routine away from home.

So I’m sure there are many, daily moments that you could be doing Face Yoga too. And that, if you are committed enough, they can become part of YOUR daily routine.

And if you’re on vacation? No excuses.

Face Yoga : Incredible Edible Face Masks

If you follow me on Facebook, you already know I spent last week sampling face masks – Incredible Edible Face Masks.

I combined plain yogurt with ingredients easily found at the supermarket. You can’t keep them for any length of time, so after slathering the mixtures on my face, I either directly ate the leftover or prepared something with it.

Why plain yogurt?

Yogurt boosts the beneficial bacteria on our skin.

Gross as it may sound, we have over 500 species of bacteria crawling around on our skin. Our biggest organ hosts a Far West of “good” and “bad” bacteria fighting it out. The beauty of our skin depends on the delicate balance of these microorganisms.

The healthy bacteria, or skin microbiota, help stop pathogens from entering the skin, stop inflammation, control infection, and kill off the more harmful strains.

I recently read that cosmetic companies are exploring this idea of pro-biotics for the skin. But you need look no further than that pot of plain yogurt sitting in your fridge.

I used plain Greek Yogurt in my recipes. It is a personal preference because it’s a little thicker.

I had never tried these masks before. Here’s what I found.

*I have what is considered “normal” skin and no particular skin issues, nor do I have any food allergies. Should you want to try any of these masks and have any doubts about the ingredients or how they may affect you, do some research first.

I kicked off the week with a Greek Yogurt & Matcha Powder brightening mask. The Matcha’s strong anti-oxidants promote elasticity, even skin tone and reduce inflammation.

This mask did not disappoint – even smelled “healthy.” It tingled while on and stayed rubbery. Afterwards, my glowing skin felt like it had a protective layer on it and stayed supple all day.

Unless you like that full-on vegetal taste, add the leftover into a smoothie or shake.

Tuesday’s Greek Yogurt, Egg & Olive Oil mask was liquid. Maybe needed more yogurt. The olive oil smell was pleasant and the mask tightened as it dried (so no smiling). My skin felt taught and bright, especially in the under eye area.

The skin easily absorbs the amino acids in the egg, while the oil softens and hydrates.

Scramble up the leftover for breakfast or lunch.

I combined Greek Yogurt, Honey & Oats for Wednesday’s  mask. The oats provide gentle exfoliation and absorb excess oils, while the honey moisturizes and softens.

This mask was a bit messy. It was liquid when applying and sticky while on. But the results were, as promised, luminously, smooth skin. This mask is a facial and breakfast rolled into one.

The Greek Yogurt & Coco Powder Mask on Thursday came highly recommended. The coco contains minerals like potassium, phosphorous and manganese, plus tightening caffeine. It is definitely a firming mask. To me it felt a bit itchy as it was drying and I had to moisturize a little more afterwards.

If you like the taste of dark, unsweetened chocolate, eat this off the spoon. If not, add it to your smoothie, cereal or oatmeal.

Friday I mashed up Avocado, Olive Oil & Greek Yogurt for a super-hydrating mask – because of the lubricating qualities of the oil and the healthy fats from the avocado. Great for flaky or peeling skin. Perfect for coming out of the Winter months.

My skin felt baby smooth after rinsing, and fine lines were reduced.

Have the rest of the avocado for lunch.

Finally Saturday’s Grated Orange Peel & Greek Yogurt mask promised to repair, lighten and erase blemishes. It smelled like orange sorbet and tasted less bitter than you would think.

The vitamin C from the oranges help heal the skin and fight free radicals . It also plays a role in collagen production.

The mask dried stiff and took some time to rinse. There was some exfoliating going on. My skin was super soft all day, all evening, and still so at midnight, after taking off my makeup.

Do-it-Yourself, edible masks make your skin feel great and allow you to take care of your skin on the inside and out. The perk is that YOU control the quality of the ingredients in them. Incredible.

Are you tempted?

Face Yoga : Make Me Smile

Smiling is an instant-anti-aging tool.

Doesn’t that make you want to smile already ?

This simple movement is often considered the most powerful gesture. Because it works on a feedback loop with your brain. When our brains are stimulated to feel good, they send a signal to smile. When we smile, we send a signal to the brain that stimulates it to feel good. It’s a virtuous circle – of Happiness.

Smiling is an expression of joy and plays a role in social interaction. People who smile more often are perceived as being both younger and more attractive.

Unfortunately, with age, things like tooth and gum problems, loss of bone mass, and reduction of collagen (to name a few) can affect the broadness of our smile. We stress and get in the (bad) habit of letting the corners of our mouth sag. It becomes the norm for our face muscles to droop.

Also when we forget about just HOW we smile, we develops different types of lines around the mouth and in the nasolabial area.

Start with identification. Notice the times during the day (activities, thoughts, feelings) when you are letting gravity pull the mouth down. Then CONSCIOUSLY remind yourself to lift those corners ! Do this as often as possible. It really helps.

Add in Face Yoga exercises to strengthen the cheek muscles and exercises that hold the mouth in one position. You will purposefully work towards reversing your habits and make grinning the norm. The action of the exercises will also center the jawline and lift and prevent sagging jowls

Don’t like your smile ? Change it.

Yes. It’s possible.

With Face Yoga you’ll also identify which muscles you are using. You may need to relax certain muscles or re-train them, or use others. You can even create a more symmetrical smile or correct a gummy one. Other exercises plump and color the lips. With regular practice, you can get more lasting results .

Ask yourself, “How do I want to smile?”

Face Yoga can help you achieve that.

Our mouths not only show our age, but also our emotions. Smiling is not just mechanical movement. Think of all the different types of smiles out there – the closed-lip smile, the sweet smile, the flirtatious smile, the smug smile, the “botox” smile, the naughty smile, the forced smile, the know-it-all smile… But nothing can replace a sparkly-eyed, lit-up face, ear-to-ear, genuine S. M. I. L. E.

Even if it causes a few laugh lines around the eyes.