I’m nearly 39, but I’m regularly mistaken for 27. It’s not just wishful thinking—that’s the number everyone uses for me when we first meet, so it can’t be all good manners. Some of it is good genes, but the rest I credit to yoga.
That’s right, when used properly, three hours of challenging yoga, like any vigorous exercise, has been shown to switch on your anti-aging hormones and, according to recent studies, make practitioners look 9 years younger on average! Now that’s a natural facelift I can get behind.
And That's Not All
Yoga has additional benefits that many other exercise forms don’t offer. By guiding you through twists, bends, and even inverted, or upside-down, positions that other exercise forms don't, you learn to breathe more deeply and train your mind as well as your body. Together with the stretching and strengthening (not just one muscle but many at once), you amp up the rate of transformative improvements that are more than just skin deep.
The key to accessing your own personal fountain of youth is to make sure to include three types of poses in your routine: twists, inversions and facial yoga.
Twists massage your inner body so your circulation and lymphatic system moves optimally, carrying fresh nutrients to the muscles and skin and remove toxins that cause you to age faster.
Inversions do the same, plus they reverse the tendency of gravity to drag you down, literally.
Facial yoga moves tone and lift the muscles underlying the skin, so you look younger, brighter and most importantly—healthier—all day long.
For the best results, I suggest boosting your regular exercise or yoga routine with the following two poses:
Down Dog Split & Hold
This pose gives you a youthful rearview in addition to its anti-aging benefits! Add the breath and you’ve got the added oomph of oxygen to cleanse and clarify your skin.
To do it: Come into Downward-Facing Dog, hands planted, fingers wide. Keep your hips squared towards the ground, flex your right foot and lift your lower belly as you raise the right leg up high. Take 5-10 slow, deep breaths here, then step both feet to the front of your mat, and proceed to the next pose.
You’ll amplify your energy along with turning back the clock with this whole inner-body detoxer that also gives you a fierce outer body experience too.
To do it: With feet and knees pressing together, bend your knees and reach your torso and arms to the sky. As you exhale, bring your palms together, draw in your belly and twist your right elbow to left knee. Keep your navel facing the floor to protect your low back, and let your chest and top shoulder spin up.
Take 5-10 breaths here, then fold forward, plant your hands on the mat at shoulder-distance, and walk back to Down Dog. Repeat the sequence on your left side, and enjoy!
Your face is made of muscles! Doing these exercises can help relieve tension and stress and give you a youthful glow.
To do it: Watch this video I made to lead you through a sample sequence. SPOILER ALERT: You will laugh as you learn!
Sadie Nardini is the founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga in New York City and the creator of the bestselling Total Body Transformation DVD series. For more information about Sadie or to access her free yoga videos and tips, go to SadieNardini.com