We are all familiar with the idea that yoga can tone our bodies, improve our posture and generally make us look and feel better. Susan Baxter is a qualified practitioner of Face Yoga and believes that simple facial exercises, repeated regularly, can improve the appearance of the face in the same way. Beloved of both Cleopatra and Gwyneth Paltrow, Face Yoga is well established in Asia but little known in the UK.
Susan used to have Botox and fillers but stopped about five years ago as she no longer liked the way that they made her look. She felt that she could achieve the same rejuvenation via natural means including Face Yoga. Susan points out that there are fifty -seven muscles in the face and head. The scalp is, of course, attached to the facial muscles – if the scalp is relaxed so are the facial muscles. If you have ever looked in the mirror when suffering a headache, you’ll have seen the effect of tension on your facial expression.
According to practitioners, Face Yoga can reduce those dreaded effects of age and gravity – sagging and dull skin. It makes the face look firmer by stimulating the production of elastin and collagen. Blood flow is increased which makes the skin glowing and plump. The muscles are also more relaxed giving a more open expression and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Ambitious claims indeed, but I must say that Susan looks great on it. The effects that she and others have noticed are that her cheekbones appear more defined and that the frown lines between her eyes are less pronounced.
A full programme would involve exercising for 20 minutes five times a week, working the muscles of both the upper and lower face. Susan suggested two exercise that can easily be done every day.
‘Flirty eyes’ is an exercise for the upper face. Cover your teeth with lips and make an O shape with your mouth, place fingers across cheek bones and flutter lashes for 30 seconds.
Susan demonstrates 'Flirty Lashes'
‘Swan Neck’ tones the lower face by exercising the platysma muscles. Turn your head to the right and tilt neck back gently – hold for 5 seconds. Do the same on the other side and repeat on each side three times. Since meeting Susan I have practised ‘Swan Neck’ regularly and found it beneficial. It is particularly good as for counteracting the stress that builds up from looking down at a mobile phone or computer for long periods. (See above for a photograph of Susan demonstrating the exercise)
Susan is qualified to teach Face Yoga at an advanced level. She offers 1 to 1 sessions and group workshops, with an initial session lasting for 1 hour and 30 minutes and then further sessions lasting for 1 hour. Clients leave refreshed and with the tools to keep on practising the technique at home for themselves. Susan is launching a new eight-week programme at the end of January for groups of up to four people. One to one Skype sessions are also available. Have a look a her Get the Glow programme.
Susan attended a yoga retreat herself in Ibiza in September with David Sye, renowned yoga teacher, and found it a very passionate and emotional experience which has revitalized her own yoga practice. Susan is now even more aware of the positive psychological effects of yoga for her own students. She is well respected in the yoga world herself and did a 20-minute workshop at the recent OM Yoga Show in Manchester last year. She also demonstrated her face yoga, massage and acupressure at the Wellfest in Dublin last summer.
Susan's workshop at the OM Yoga show in Manchester
Susan’s interest in yoga is part of her holistic approach to beauty and wellness. She has her own holistic beauty practice at which she offers face massage using acupressure and teaches her clients how to do for themselves. She is also a great advocate of meditation and practises it every day, believing it to have great health benefits. Again this amazingly busy woman is a qualified teacher and is keen to introduce other to mediation.
Susan’s talents do not end with yoga and meditation! She also runs a colourful vintage fashion business and is a personal stylist. Everything that Susan does is about feeling good, being happy with yourself and making the most of every day. Have a look at her website susanstylesyou.com