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For centuries, yoga as a discipline has been associated with a healthy lifestyle, young and agile body. But did you know that there's yoga for the face? There are about 43 individual muscles in the human face alone. Face yoga is a technique that combines exercising, acupressure, and massage of these muscles, strengthening and toning your cheeks, forehead, chin, neck, and the muscles around the eyes.
You can think of it as a kind of facial gymnastics that can maintain the structural framework of your face, helping you keep a younger appearance for longer.
So, how does it work, and what can you expect from it?
Benefits of Face Yoga Exercises
Face yoga is a relatively new beauty trend, started by Fumiko Takatsu (you can check out her YouTube channel here). When she was in her 30s, she had a car accident that drastically changed her life as well as her appearance. She thought that if you're able to strengthen your body through exercise, you should be able to do the same for your face.
And, she was right! Only a few weeks after she started doing facial exercises, she was able to notice excellent results. And, that's how this new trend was born.
How Does Face Yoga Work?
Facial muscles are no different from other muscles in our body. If you don't exercise, these muscles will become weak and limp. Over time, the muscles in your face and neck become less and less firm, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. Exercising facial muscles around the jaw, chin, mouth, eyes, and forehead can prevent the formation of the signs of aging.
Just to be clear, face yoga exercises won't make the wrinkles magically disappear. Still, they will definitely affect their depth and visibility and prevent the appearance of new ones.
Facial yoga stimulates the facial muscles to work. It affects the hypodermis (the subcutaneous tissue layer that underlies the skin) and the muscles right underneath the skin. When done correctly, face yoga exercises will improve blood circulation and the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, hypodermis, and skin cells.
What Are the Benefits of Face Yoga?
Research suggests that only five months of regular facial exercise can lead to improved lower and upper cheek fullness as well as the reduced appearance of signs of aging in middle-aged women.
The combination of exercise, acupressure, massage, and relaxation of face yoga helps firm and lift the muscles underneath the skin, leading to smoother, younger, and plum-looking skin with fewer fine lines and wrinkles. This is a perfect blend of different techniques that tone weaker muscles but relax other over-active muscle groups, preventing sagging skin and expression lines.
According to Danielle Collins, a face yoga teacher and expert, you need to take a holistic approach and focus on your overall well-being to achieve all the benefits that face yoga has to offer. So, besides exercising your face muscles, it's paramount to eat healthy, sleep well, and reduce stress if you want your skin to be healthy and radiant.
Here are some of the incredible benefits of face yoga:
Tightening and toning of the skin;
Strengthening facial muscles;
Reducing fine lines and wrinkles;
Increasing blood circulation to the skin;
Softening the skin;
Bringing youthful plumpness to the skin;
Firming the neckline;
Correcting sagging of the skin;
Sculpting your face.
11 Easy Facial Yoga Exercises for Anti-Aging
You might look silly while doing these exercises, but it's still best to do them in front of the mirror (at least initially) to make sure you're doing them correctly. They may cause a warm sensation in some regions of your face, but you shouldn't feel any pain or discomfort.
Also, as these exercises include massaging and rubbing, it would be best to use a massaging oil, cleansing balm, or serum to ensure your fingers glide over your skin easily, without any stretching or tugging. Additionally, always start with your face and hands nicely cleansed.
#1: The Lion Pose: Neck and Double Chin Exercises
While performing this exercise, your facial expression is reminiscent of a lion from traditional Asian art, hence the name – the Lion Pose. This exercise helps shape and tone your neck muscles. It also strengthens muscles around the chin area and can reduce a double chin if performed regularly.
Step 1. Start by finding a comfortable position where you'll be completely relaxed, lying down or sitting. Next, open your mouth as wide as possible and stick your tongue out. Then, stretch your tongue down your chin as far as you can, and hold it for about ten seconds.
Step 2. Again, open your mouth and stretch your tongue upwards toward your nose. Stretch your tongue until you feel your chin and neck tighten. Hold it in this position for another ten seconds.
#2: Tongue-in-Cheek Push and Sweep: Exercises for Marionette Lines
Pushing your tongue against your cheeks will strengthen cheek muscles as well as the muscles around your mouth. As a result, the cheeks will be lifted and firm, and marionette lines (vertical lines between your chin and mouth) will be reduced over time. We would recommend doing this exercise even if you don't have any lines showing yet since it will help prevent them in the future.
Step 1. While having your mouth tightly closed, push your tongue against the inside of your left cheek. Then move your tongue up and down ten times. Next, repeat the same on your right cheek.
Step 2. Then, while you still keep your mouth closed (or just slightly open), sweep with your tongue along the outside of your teeth and gums. Start from the top and sweep with your tongue all the way around the top and bottom front teeth and gums, making circles. Repeat ten times.
#3: Push-and-Press Your Nose and Cheeks: Exercises for the Mouth Area
If you have wrinkles on your upper lip as well as smile lines, this exercise is perfect for you. It will tighten the skin and muscles around your mouth, strengthening them and reducing fine lines and wrinkles in this area. Some say that this exercise even helped them shape and slim down their nose. So, let's do it:
Step 1. Position your index finger on the tip of your nose. Apply gentle pressure and push it slightly upwards, then release it. Another way to do it is just to put your index finger on the tip of your nose, applying slight pressure but without pushing it upwards. Instead, curl your upper and lower lip firmly around your teeth. That way, your nose will be automatically pressed against your index finger. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times.
Step 2. Shape your mouth in the form of an 'O'. Position your index fingers beside your nostrils, but don't block the airways. Next, press your fingers against your cheeks while stretching out your lips and nostrils simultaneously (remember to maintain the 'O' shape with your mouth). Repeat this process 10 to 15 times.
#4: Chin Down, Eyes Up: Exercises for the Lower Face and Under-Eyes
This exercise is ideal for smoothing out smile lines, firming sagging skin, and reducing under-eye fine lines and wrinkles. Doing this exercise regularly will have the same effect as if you had dermal fillers and a lower face-lift.
Step 1. First off, find a comfortable position where you can sit with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Next, open your mouth wide, moving your chin toward your chest but without moving your head. Make an oval shape with your lips, then wrap them around your teeth. Next, make a slight smile and look up as far as you can. Hold this expression for a few seconds, then release.
Step 2. Again, open your mouth wide, making an 'O' shape. But this time, pucker your lips while maintaining the oval shape. Place your fingertips under your cheekbones and press down. Then, look as far up as you can. Imagine you're looking into the sun and squinting a little bit. Hold for a moment, then release.
You don't have to do too many repetitions of this exercise; two to three will suffice. It gives you a deep stretch of your entire face, and if you repeat it too often, you might be risking making your muscles over-stretched and loose, which will only bring you a counter effect.
#5: The Puffer Fish: Exercises for the Lower Face and Chin
These facial expressions target the same muscle groups and are also known as the Frog pose and the Puffer Fish. They will strengthen the muscles of the lower third of the face and chin and, thus, reduce the wrinkles that form in that region, such as smile lines and marionette lines.
Step 1. Pucker your lips like you want to give someone a kiss. Hold them that way for about five seconds, then release. Next, you can pucker your lips the same way again, but instead of holding it still, move your pucker from right to left. Repeat it ten times.
Step 2. While having your lips puckered, hold them tightly together and puff your cheeks. Put your palms together and against your lips to prevent any air from escaping. Then use your right-hand fingers to press your right cheek while having the left hand and cheek relaxed. Repeat the same, just with the opposite side. Hold the pressure on each side for about ten seconds.
#6: Exercises for Hooded Eyelids
This exercise helps build muscles around the eye and contributes to the eyelid and brow lifting effect, giving you an overall youthful and awake-looking appearance. The eyelid muscle group is pretty easy to exercise. Using only your fingers and mild resistance, you can reduce wrinkles and strengthen and tighten your droopy, also known as hooded, eyelids.
Step 1. Make a bow around the eyes, using your thumbs and index fingers. Place your index fingers over your eyebrows and thumbs on your cheeks, just under your cheekbones, as if you were holding binoculars. Relax your face and slightly tighten the skin around your eyes using your fingers. Open your eyes wide, and then slowly close them and hold them tightly closed for a few seconds. Then release both your eyes and the bow you made with your fingers. Repeat the whole process about five times.
Step 2. Next, relax your eyelids and place your index fingers just underneath the eyebrows. Use your fingers to gently raise your eyebrows while at the same time closing your eyes. Hold this position for about five seconds, then relax. Repeat ten times.
#7: Lip Hold-and-Release: Exercises for the Mouth, Jawline, and Chin
Here's another great exercise for your mouth. By exercising the muscles around the mouth, jawline, and chin, you'll be able to get rid of some effects of aging without surgery. For this exercise, you'll need a teaspoon or a plastic bottle cap.
Step 1. Place the plastic bottle cap between your lips. Press only with your lips while having your jaw almost completely closed and relaxed. Hold for a minute or longer if you can.
Step 2. Next, take the cap out and have your mouth relax for a bit before repeating the whole process again. Finally, you can blow a raspberry with your lips to make your entire face loosen up.
#8: Iron Out Smoker's Lines Exercises
These lines aren't necessarily from smoking, but they do appear after repeated muscle contraction that encircles the mouth. So whether you're a regular smoker or drink out of straw a lot, you can quickly develop tiny vertical lines on your upper and lower lip. So, with this exercise, we want to do the opposite of pursing your lips (when smoking or whistling, for example) to counteract the forming of those wrinkles.
Step 1. Place your index fingers above your upper lip and press. While pressing with your fingers, roll your upper lip around your teeth. Repeat it 10 to 20 times. You can do this exercise several times a day.
Step 2. Relax your lips, have them closed, then gently smile. Next, place your fingertips slightly underneath your lower lip, close to the corners of your lips. Press your skin with your fingertips and try to force a kiss or a pucker with your lips while giving resistance with your fingers. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat ten times. This exercise will reduce the smoker's lines on your lower lip, if any, and help with jowls as well.
#9: Press-and-Hold: Forehead Exercises
The following two steps are excellent exercises for wrinkles on your forehead and frown lines. They are very relaxing too, so you could repeat them several times a day.
Step 1. Place your palm (or both palms) on your forehead, just above the eyebrows. While holding it tightly on your forehead, pull your skin slightly upward with your palm and, at the same time, try your best to frown with your eyes closed (or looking down). Feel the pressure and counter-pressure for a few seconds, then release.
Step 2. Arch your index fingers and place them between the inside corners of your eyebrows. Spread your eyebrows with your fingers so that the skin between is flat with no lines. Then, similarly to the previous step, try hard to frown while giving resistance with your fingers. Make ten squints or frowns, then release.
#10: Exercises for the Eye Area
Face yoga entails another great exercise that focuses only on the eye area. Its purpose is to tighten the area around the eyes and strengthen the muscles needed to prevent wrinkles in this region. It specifically targets the under-eye area and crow's feet.
Step 1. Spread your index and ring fingers into a 'V' shape. Next, place your index fingers onto your eyebrows and ring fingers under your eyes, just on the edge of your eye socket, where the most delicate skin starts. Fix them tightly into place while looking up, squinting, and flattering your eyes.
Step 2. Place your index fingers on your temples while having the rest of your hands resting on your cheekbones. Press the skin, holding it into place, and flatter your eyes again. Do it for five seconds, then release. You can repeat both steps three times.
#11: Head Back, Chin Up: Neck and Jawline Exercises
This is probably the easiest exercise of all. It involves strengthening your neck muscles. It will also ensure the toning and firming of your jaw muscles.
Step 1. Stand or sit with your back straight. Tilt your head slightly back and push your chin forward until you feel a strong tightening in your neck and chin. Hold for five seconds and repeat.
Step 2. Again, holding the position from Step 1, slowly tilt your head back a bit more until you face the ceiling. Keep your chin forward and try to pout, puckering your lips as far as possible. Hold for five seconds, then repeat.
Of course, you don't have to do all of these exercises in one go. Instead, choose those anti-aging face yoga exercises that go along with your current skin goals and concerns.
So, if you have smile lines, marionette lines, and jowls, for example, pick exercises and massages that target these areas of the face. Whatever you choose, however, don't expect smashing results to happen fast. It's essential to stay persistent and regular – with only several minutes each day, you'll go a long way.
The best thing about face yoga is that it's easily accessible, costs zero dollars, and anyone can do it at home. Therefore, make use of countless online resources and YouTube tutorials, study the moves, and make your facial exercises a part of your daily (or nightly) beauty routine.