“Relax your face and the rest of your body will follow”
Many of us live excessively from our heads. We hold onto stuff. And it shows. Our face tells a story.
We sometimes (often) carelessly age ourselves. Distort our appearance. Worry, anxiety, confusion, emotional hurt, feeling overwhelmed, panic, rushing, lack of sleep, resisting what is, or plain ‘ol no frills exhaustion from soldiering on, can all leave the signposts of wear and tear on our face.
The clues – frowning, pursed lips, squinting, worry lines, listless eyes, fatigued skin, squished facial expressions, tight tongue, muscular clenching, more muscle tightness, jaw stiffness to the max and/or grinding teeth.
Whatever stressful is happening inside that head of yours, will somehow eventually creep into a wrinkle, line or muscle on your face.
And, I’m certainly no exception. I know exactly where I hold my stress. God bless its little socks!
It’s common on my retreats (yep, picture of me on retreat) that we often spend 15 – 30 minutes deeply relaxing the face, neck and head.
Internally and externally. It’s a relief to let go of the internal pressure.
Relaxing your face is profoundly therapeutic and has a magnificent soothing flow on effect to the rest of your body, nervous and immune systems.
So lets pretend you’re here with me right now. We’re going to pause and have a little chat to every nook and cranny in your face. It’s easy.
Sit or lay peacefully. Turn off distractions. Place your hands on the belly and say “hello to your body”.
Continue to step two when you feel you’re more present in your body. If you still feel a little distracted click here and practice the three arrivals.
Scan your face asking individual spots to surrender, soften and relax. Talk to your face. Encourage it to let go.
We’re aiming to release pockets of blocked energy, internal clenching and surface skin tension.
Breathing softly into specific spots on your face will greatly help your face soften and relax.
* Forehead relax. Soften and spread the skin across your forehead. Continue breathing into your forehead and feel a subtle release on the skin surface.
* Eye brows relax: Soften and relax your eye brows. Breathe into your eye brows feeling a subtle release and expansion, no matter how small.
* Eye balls relax: Eyes take in a lot of stimulation and can hold enormous amounts of tension. So spend longer relaxing your eye balls. Get a sense of releasing internal pressure from all sides of your eye balls. You might even notice one eye more tense than the other. That’s ok. Feel or sense your eyes soften and release each time you inhale into them.
* Temples relax: Inhale into your temples. Exhale from your temples. Ask your temples to release internal pressure and tightness lodged deep within them. Feel the releasing effect from your temples flow down to the sides of your face, jaw and neck.
* Cheek muscles relax: Ask your cheek muscles to soften. Feel the skin surface subtly spread and the muscles underneath release towards the ears and nose.
* Nose relax: Breathe into your nostrils and nose. Soften the internal muscles as it sends a relaxation ripple towards your cheeks.
* Tongue relax: Hugely important. Tight tongue equals tense thinking. Soften and spread your tongue. Part your teeth and lips slightly if you need too. Feel the release automatically send a relaxation ripple towards your jaw, neck and shoulders.
* Jaw relax: This is one of my tight spots. Parting my teeth and lips ever so slightly, often throughout the day, and I mean often, prevents the build up of tension in my jaw and neck.
* Scalp relax: Imagine the skin covering your scalp softening and spreading. Direct the breath into your scalp. Feel the release (no matter how subtle) spread to your ears.
* Neck relax: Hugely important. Lengthen your neck. Un-hunch your shoulders. Create more space between shoulders and your ears. Roll her head gently if you need too as you breath deep into your neck muscles encouraging them to soften, release and relax.
* Whole head relax: Repeat silently to yourself as a therapeutic mantra as you repeatedly breathe into your whole head. Inhale. Whole head relax. Exhale. Whole head relax. Inhale. Whole head relax. Exhale. Whole head relax.
* Whole head relax: Repeat once more for good luck.
Notice how your face feels now. Notice if your breath has slowed down a little. Notice if your thoughts a little more spacious. Notice if you are more aware of the here and now. Above all notice how happy your body is since you’ve spent 5 minutes nurturing it.
What I’m reading now:
I’m re-reading for the third time. Yep, needing a little clarity and wisdom from the Dalai Lama at the moment.
The guidance is simple, yet deeply profound. A beautiful reminder about compassion to self and others and what happens when we resist what is.
The Dalai Lama’s Cat is by far my favourite book for 2013. xx Carole
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