The importance of taking the Ayurvedic route to health, wellness and beauty and how you can incorporate it with some easy asanas
BY VIBHUTI ARORA
Remember the dark ages of body shaming challenges on social media like #collarbonechallenge and #bellybuttonchallenge? These were aimed at preaching body shaming and putting a specific body type and shape on a pedestal while proving others to be undesirable. Social media—the yellow brick road to make interactions easier—is also one of the reasons why the younger generation has been facing several eating disorders and diffidence spawned by lack of self-confidence. This superficial sense of self-worth based merely on having ‘a supermodel body type’ and Botoxed faces with unrealistic standards has degraded the youth’s idea of healthy living.
However, millennials and Gen Z have been paving the way for a holistic way of living, thanks to rising awareness of the importance of keeping the mind healthy in addition to the body. Yoga and meditation are the de facto gymming of the new era. Ayurveda is not restricted to health and wellness but is the perfect way to enhance one’s beauty by providing a glowing skin. My practice of face yoga—the beauty gym for your face—aims at toning and relaxing those facial muscles and results in refined facial features like a defined jawline, slimmer nose and a lifted face.
Why you should practise yoga
Yoga has been part of our civilisation since time immemorial but unfortunately today we get tummy tucks done during lunch breaks and intoxicate ourselves to stay up for those all-nighters. This affects our stress levels, our hormonal functions, and erodes immunity.
The transcendence of yoga in later years
Yoga took several forms because it was internalised differently across cultures. People took different approaches to yoga, be it Ashtanga which focuses more on asanas or bhakti/meditation which improves focus and concentration.
Yoga: The remedy for all modern ailments
In a world where every task is cloaked as a time trial or a battle to prove one’s self-worth and where not accumulating enough achievements is equivalent to being a black sheep, most people (especially the youth) are grappling with mental health issues like stress and anxiety and sleep disorders such as insomnia. Aiming for the perfect body has induced eating disorders and impacted self-confidence and self-worth, resulting in a search for solutions in rigorous gymming and strenuous exercise. Tiredness after gymming, its non-suitability for all age groups, requirement of proper space, expense and dependence on the right equipment—is it worth it?
Living the holistic way or taking the Ayurvedic approach accrues numerous benefits for physical, mental and overall well-being.
1. Aids Physical Health
To counter a sedentary lifestyle, practising active yoga helps melt body fat and helps tone muscles. By increasing the heart rate, it helps boost metabolism and ensures a healthy blood flow, maintaining cardiovascular and parasympathetic nervous health. It helps reduce cortisol levels, thereby regulating the adrenal glands which are responsible for maintaining the immune system. It aids in focus, sleep disorders and anxiety issues.
For those sitting 8 hours or more on a work chair
• Lie on your stomach with feet slightly apart and arms on the side of your body
• Slowly fold your knees, stretch out and hold your ankles with your hands
• Breathe in while raising your chest, and pull your legs up and stretch out
2. Reduces Stress/Anxiety and relieves Depression
If you have acute or long-term stress, mind-yoga calms your nervous system, providing oxygenated blood to your brain and easing the muscle tension. When we are stressed, we unconsciously adopt a long, rapid breathing pattern which disrupts our whole system. Yoga connects us to our inner self and teaches breath control, which in turn soothes our overall system and keeps our mind relaxed. Serotonin, which is our body’s natural ‘happy hormone’, plays a key role in easing depression and is said to increase by practising yoga.
3. Enables Better Sleep
With online cinema available on demand, the first thing that is affected is our sleep patterns, which in turn affects our gut health. A proper sleep schedule doesn’t just rely on eight hours of sleep, but is equally dependent on sleep quality. Yoga helps release sleep hormones, thus calming the mind.
By practising Face Yoga Nidra, a state of meditative consciousness called samadhi can be achieved which further results in better overall wellness. It starts with relaxing the mind and muscles of the scalp followed by forehead muscles, eyebrows, temples, eyes, nose, ears, cheeks, lips, tongue, jaw, neck and shoulder—in that order. It is highly beneficial to leave recurring thoughts behind.
4. Face Yoga: Your Beauty Gym
Backed by science and Ayurveda, face yoga is an inexpensive and a non-invasive way to achieve anti-ageing and has been a game changer in the skincare game. It is a mix of a facial massage, facial exercises and acupuncture which fights skin issues like wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, puffy eyes, dullness, loose skin, and so on. Isn’t opting for chemical-free options the obvious choice? We all know Botox is a food poisoning poison at the end of the day!
Botox is not the only way to retain a youthful look. Relaxing and toning are two ways in which face yoga helps achieve wrinkle-free skin by targeting the right muscles. Not only does it de-stress the working muscles, it also wakes up the sleeping muscles and helps in lifting the face up, giving it a more sculpted look. It helps boost the collagen and gives the skin a radiant complexion. It also works wonders in improving lymphatic drainage and easing tension. By working on the right muscles, face yoga helps achieve a slimmer nose, chiselled jaw line and symmetrical face, providing the results of cosmetic procedures in a non-invasive way!
Steps to Signature 1 Minute Vibhuti Massage for all the zonal targets of face: Jaw & Jowl, Zygomatic Cheeks, Orbicularis Oculi (Eye Muscles), Forehead and Neck
• Apply face oil all over your face— jaw upwards, cheeks upwards and forehead.
• Apply upward pressure from the heel of your palm from jaw line upwards, from cheek muscle upwards—3 times.
• Do forehead wipes in opposite directions with firm pressure—20 times.
• Follow up by swipe-up motions along the under-eye area: “A” — Swipe—Lift—Drain.
• For upper eyelids make a V: Swipe—Lift—Drain.
• Make an X on your neck and massage 6 times.
(The writer is a Faceyogi/Skin tech-preneur/Co-founder at House of Beauty & Face Yoga School and a staunch believer in non-invasive beauty tools and techniques to defy gravity.)
@pravasindians @vibhutiarora @houseofbeauty @faceyogawithvibhutiarora