Friday, March 30, 2007

Will Yoga Replace Plastic Surgery?

An interesting story by Natasha Singer in The New York Times today highlighted a new trend in the yoga world. It seems that people are now performing yoga exercises as an alternative to plastic surgery! These classes can be found in many parts of the country such as Manhattan, San Francisco, and Austin, Texas and come under names such as Yo-Tox, the Yoga Facelift, and Revita-Yoga.

These classes are billed as combinations of yoga and facial exercises that will combat frown lines, wrinkles, and sagging. One instructor, Annelise Hagen, states that “each pose, stretch or exercise is designed to relax the muscles and release the patterns people unconsciously etch into their skin.” To sculpt your nose, she recommends alternating breathing out of each nostril (I would take the class just to see how this can be done!). To remove crow’s feet the student must open the eyes wide to smooth the lines. Another yoga exercise called the “downward dog” can add color to the complexion. By teaching her students to consciously relax their facial muscles, they can get a similar effect to using Botox. Gary Sikorski, another instructor certified in yoga facial toning, notes that “Folks are realizing the face has muscles and that there’s a substitute to plastic surgery that costs less and can achieve similar results.”

Can these exercises possibly work?
Will yoga replace Botox and plastic surgery?
Can I learn to alternate breathing out of each nostril?

Very unlikely. While the yoga exercises may relax you and your facial muscles, muscles aren’t the only culprit in facial aging. Here in Miami, it’s plain to see that many of the effects of facial aging are the result of sun, gravity, smoking, and genetics. Juvederm, Radiesse and other dermal fillers are an excellent way to replace facial volume that has been lost due to the thinning of our skin or that has descended because of gravity. Surgical procedures such as a facelift, brow lift, eyelid surgery, etc are still the best way to remove excess or baggy skin and reposition soft tissue to create a more youthful look.

The GOOD news is that these yoga exercises can’t hurt- unlike many of the “alternative” therapy regimens out there (just ask Anna Nicole). In our hectic lives, we all need more opportunities to stretch, relax, and rejuvenate ourselves. Who knows? Maybe I’ll learn how to alternate my breathing out of each nostril after all…

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