Article by Barbara Currie
The ‘Godmother’ of yoga, Barbara Currie is one of the UK’s most high-profile yoga experts, with over 35 years of teaching experience and with numerous No.1 DVDs and books to her name. Barbara turns 70 next year and is still standing on her head, doing the splits and teaching 16 classes of yoga a week in her Surrey based School of Yoga.
Her aim has always been to help as many people as possible reap yoga’s benefits via a method of teaching that relates the 5000 year old system with the life we live today. It’s a philosophy that has seen her remain the UK’s No.1 bestselling yoga expert.
I’ve asked Barbara to put together some of her own Age-Defying Health & Beauty Tips for 2012
1. Smooth out the tramlines on your forehead
This is a lovely tension reliever and you can see the results immediately. It is ideal to do when you are worried, hassled or over worked.
• Sit straight and close your eyes and place your fingers interleaved on the centre of your forehead.
• Take a deep breath and as you exhale slowly for a count of 7 draw your fingers slowly towards your hairline. Repeat 5 times, then look in the mirror. Don’t you look calmer and more serene?
2. Make your hair shine
To invigorate your scalp try this wonderful massage. It is best done at night before bed or anytime your scalp feels tense. As well as stimulating your hair follicles to encourage beautiful shiny hair it is also a great tension reliever.
• Sit straight and place your hands in your hair near to your scalp, grab your hair and pull it very gently and whilst pulling it make three small circles with the part that you are pulling. Then release it.
• Now find another area and repeat. Continue until your entire scalp has been stimulated.
3. To firm and tone your neck
To firm a double chin easily. Sit with your back straight and grin from ear to ear. Whilst grinning, gently drop your head back and, still grinning, slowly open and close your mouth three times. Repeat twice. Do it slowly and see the difference.
4. To firm and tone your upper arms in the kitchen.
This is brilliant. Do it in the kitchen while waiting for the kettle to boil.
• Stand straight with feet about 1 foot apart (bare feet is best) about 3 feet away from your kitchen work top.
• Place your hands on the work top, fingers on top, thumbs underneath about 1 foot apart.
• Keeping your heels on the floor and your back straight, bend your elbows and lower your body towards the work top.
• Straighten your arms as your gently return to your starting position. Do 5 times to begin with and build up slowly to 10 and then eventually to 25.
5. Slim your waist
• Stand straight with your feet facing forwards and about 12 inches apart.
• Place your hands at your waistline with your thumbs in front and fingers behind.
• Inhale deeply and as you exhale move slowly forwards keeping your head up.
• Breathing normally, slowly and carefully in continuous motion roll your body to the right, then carefully backwards, then to the left and slowly forwards. Do two circles to the right followed by two circles to the left.
• After completing the body roll inhale deeply. Stand straight and stretch your arms straight up above your head. Place your hands together and straighten your spine. Hold the stretch for a count of 5 then exhale and slowly lower your arms and relax.
Tone your tum while watching TV
6. Tone and firm your tum and thighs while watching TV
This deceptively simple movement is like dynamite!
• Kneel with your knees about a foot apart.
• Lift your bottom from your heels and place your arms parallel to the floor making sure that your thighs are straight and perpendicular to the floor.
• Inhale and as you exhale just lean back a small way, at first increasing the stretch as you progress in the movement. (Don’t allow your bottom to sag). Hold the position for a count of 5, breathing normally, then inhale and return to an upright position and repeat twice.
7. To lift and firm your bottom in the supermarket
To lift and firm your bottom and also tone and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Stand straight with your feet about a foot apart and simply squeeze tight your pelvic floor muscles as though you are preventing yourself from passing urine. At the same time squeeze tight your buttock muscles, hold for 5 then release. Do 10 a day to start with increasing to 30 with practice.
8. To remove eye bags under your eyes
Put a thin layer of haemorrhoid cream on them and leave for 10-15 minutes. Clean off with eye make-up remover. It works like magic.
Caution : Please note this is an emergency measure only. Do not use more than once every 2 weeks!!
9. Walk tall with correct posture.
This makes such a difference to the way you look and feel. Good posture can make you look 10 years younger. Stand in front of a long mirror, lift your chin and stand straight with your feet together. Now, take a piece of hair on top of your head and pull if upwards. Walk forwards 6 paces and see how much straighter you feel. Alternatively adopt the old fashioned system of walking with 2 books balanced on the top of your head. Either way it will correct your posture and prevent you from stooping.
10. Get active!!
This is so easy – for example.
1. At the supermarket park your car furthest away from the entrance.
2. If your office is on the top floor walk up 2 floors and then take the lift.
3. Get up to change the TV channel instead of using the remote control.
4. Always walk to the post box (provided it is not too far away!!)
5. Run up and down stairs at home
It’s easy, just do it. It will help you lose weight, have more energy and make you feel like a much more energetic person.
11. Line smoothing face mask
This is brilliant, do try it, your lines and wrinkles just smooth away! If your face looks puffy or stressed before an important event, this easy mask will help. Cleanse your face thoroughly, then whisk 1 egg white with a few drops of lemon juice and apply it to the skin like a mask avoiding the eye area. Lie down and breathe slowly and calmly and leave the mask to harden (about 10 minutes). Remove with warm water then apply your moisturiser and make up as usual.
12. De stress and feel calm.
If you are really stressed and your life is in turmoil – sit quietly and breathe slowly and deeply, exhaling slowly through your nose after each breath. Repeat 10 times then imagine you are floating on an unsinkable raft in the middle of a calm, warm ocean with beautiful clear blue sky above you. Float on and relax, relax, relax…
Barbara Currie’s Power-Packed Yoga (ITV Enterprises) is out now.