Beauty, or attractiveness is most certainly "in the eye of the beholder", as our perceptions of what is “beautiful” are very unique. The most important notion about “beauty” is that we ourselves “feel” beautiful, or in the very least accept who and what we are! We definitely mustn’t allow society or any individual dictate how we should look, or indeed whether we are “beautiful” or not! Sarah Maria, a body-image expert, agrees and describes beauty as "a socially constructed phenomenon that changes constantly." She says, "As society has evolved and changed, so has the concept of the "ideal" body. What is considered beautiful is both created and informed by changing thoughts and opinions."
Beauty lies in people's eyes, in their voices, in their smiles, and of course in a person's words, behaviour and overall personality. All this can make a person "beautiful", or "ugly" for that matter. Physical beauty is something we can all have, by simply making the decision to “be so”, and taking steps to make the very most of the bodies (and faces) we are blessed with. Appreciating uniqueness and individuality, caring for ourselves, and respecting our physical features in turn leads to increased self-confidence and genuine self-acceptance.
So how can we “enhance” our facial features and what’s the benefit?
Exercise is just as good for the face, as it is for the rest of the body. There are, surprisingly, around 25 facial muscles, and toning the muscles of the face has many benefits, including increased blood flow and circulation to the skin, and (as with exercising the body’s muscles), increased muscle tone and strength. Facial exercising, in turn, leads to improved “symmetry” or balance of facial features; faster skin cell regeneration, and a healthier, brighter and more vibrant complexion. Of course the real “beauty” of exercising the face is that you can do a “face workout” literally anywhere! Whether you’re sitting on the toilet, taking a shower, or driving the car, you don’t need anything like trainers or workout gear – you just need yourself and, if necessary, your privacy too!
The first 5 facial exercises come from the book “Pure” by "Barefoot Doctor", Stephen Russell. In his philosophical discussion of the many aspects of life, he helps the reader to see, understand and live the "beauty" that is inherent in all our lives. He touches on “pure beauty” in the physical sense, and includes these exercises to help “optimise” (not alter) the symmetry and tone of the facial muscles and facial features. The exercises are designed to stretch, strengthen, tone and elongate the face, and in Stephen’s own words help to "frame the beauty that shines in your eyes".
Try the following, which are both fun and easy to do…
1) Draw your upper lip downwards and looking up simultaneously (as stretched and long as your face will go), allowing that to break in to a smile once it reaches full extension. Repeat 18 times. (I am not sure why 18?!). This feels wonderful and really works to stretch your face! I couldn't understand why (the next day) my jaw line really ached! Then I remembered what I had been doing behind closed doors!
2) Stick your tongue out and look upwards with eyes wide open and release to normal 18 times.
3) With mouth closed, revolve your chin like a camel chewing in a circular motion 18 times one way, 18 times the other.
4) Revolve the tip of your tongue around the inside of your gums 18 times one way, 18 times the other. This will work the muscles at the root of your tongue.
5) Place a palm on each cheek and rub gently in circles upwards to the temples, then draw the palms lightly down either side of your nose and over your chin, and push back up the sides of the cheeks and temples, down over the cheeks again and so on 18 times.
As the author says, "You will feel a magnificent sensation of increased blood and energy circulation throughout your face as a result. Stop, rest and allow your face to relax completely - let all trace of expression slide right off it and feel your entire skull relax."
These exercises should be repeated everyday, and take no more than 10 mintues. Stephen Russell says that within 30 days your skin and facial muscles will feel more toned, more robust and you'll notice your features becoming more symmetrical looking.
6) The “O” Exercise…
This exercise strengthens all the muscles of the face. It flushes your whole face with new blood. As a result you will feel energized.
1) Sit straight, tilt the head slightly upward.
2) Wrap your upper lip over the upper teeth and your lower lip over your lower teeth. For an “O” with your lips.
3) Using your lips, make the “O” smaller, at the same time pressing the lips to the teeth as tightly as possible.
4) Hold the small “O” for a count of 6. Be sure you feel some burning sensation.
5) Repeat 10 times.
Lucy-Ann is a registered Nutritionist and health educator in the UK. She runs "Simply Nutrition", a health, performance and nutrition consultancy. She has several e-books, products and on-line coaching & mentoring nutrition programs available from her website http://www.simply-nutrition.co.uk