What do celebrities like Meghan Markle, Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, and Gwenyth Paltrow have in common? They’ve all devotees to face yoga.
Wait, face yoga?
Yep! Much like how yoga can help strengthen your body and build muscle, face yoga exercises are said to help create defined cheekbones jawline.
“I swear it works, as silly as you may feel,” Markle told Birchbox in 2014. “On the days I do it, my cheekbones and jawline are way more sculpted.”
It’s also shown to help plump and firm skin, creating a radiant complexion and radiant glow that lasts way longer than a regular yoga class.
The bonus? Not only is your skin firm and plump, but these face exercises are simultaneously working on wrinkles and fine lines. Face yoga is cheaper (as in, free!) and is a natural alternative to invasive procedures like botox and plastic surgery.
So the beauty-boosting benefits of face yoga are the biggest draws, but a regular practice also offers plenty of other benefits.
Facial exercises — also known as orofacial myofunctional therapy — are often recommended in recovery plans for people with facial paralysis to help retrain oral and facial muscles.
Face and tongue exercises help promote a proper tongue position, improve breathing, chewing, and swallowing. Through the therapy, patients learn how to breathe correctly through the nose and rest the tongue against the roof of the mouth. This exercises all facial muscles and works on functional posturing and chewing.
Face yoga can also help with other health concerns, including neck pain, snoring, headaches, speech issues, teeth grinding, allergies, mild to moderate sleep apnea, frequent choking, gagging, or trouble swallowing.
But most important of all, it helps reduce wrinkles. One study showed that participants who practiced specific facial massage techniques using a Japanese facial exercise tool twice a day for eight weeks experienced increasing muscle thickness. This helped create a more youthful, rejuvenated look — AKA they had fewer wrinkles.
How to Do Face Yoga
Ok, we’re sold. But how do you do face yoga? Let’s get to it.
Fumiko Takatsu, the founder of the Face Yoga Method, recommends practicing face yoga twice a day regularly — ideally, once in the morning to wake the muscles up and before bed at night to release the tension from the day.
She also recommends practicing four to five poses per session, lasting for 30 seconds. Start with a warmup and then target specific muscles that the individual wants to focus on.
It might sound like a big commitment, but the workout takes five minutes, tops.
Takatsu suggests starting with toning the bigger muscles first, the neck or forehead area, before moving to smaller facial muscles like the eyes. Because the eye area is delicate and small, isolating and activating those muscles is difficult.
At first, it can be challenging, but once you get used to it, the facial expressions that come with face yoga will feel natural.
Face Yoga Exercises to Try
Get your blood pumping! Start by dropping your jaw as if yawning; the forehead muscles move your gaze from eye-level to the ceiling without moving.
Hold the pose for 10 seconds and repeat it twice for a total of 30 seconds. Don’t forget to breathe!
The Forehead Smoother
This exercise helps with fine lines and wrinkles and replaces Botox injections.
Make a fist with both hands, with the fingers facing you, place the knuckles of the middle finger in the center of the forehead and apply moderate pressure.
Slide the fists to each side of the forehead ending at the temples— repeat the exercise 6 times.
This exercise helps with drooping eyelids, crow’s feet, eye bags, and puffiness.
Press both middle fingers together at the inner corner of the eyebrows, with the index fingers applying pressure to the outer corners of the eyebrows.
Look to the ceiling, lift the skin below the eyes upward into a strong squint, and then relax.
Repeat the exercise six more times and finish by squeezing the eyes shut for 10 seconds.
This exercise helps by plumping the face for a youthful and healthy glow.
Start by pursing your lips together and smiling like you are putting blush, then place your fingers on either side of the mouth under the apples of the cheeks, slide the fingers up so that the cheeks are lifting, and hold for 30 seconds.
Repeat the exercise eight times and pair with face creams that contain aloe for facial elasticity.
As we age, our lips thin due to a loss of collagen.
This face yoga pose helps stimulate the lip barrier for plumper lips. Place your index fingers on the corners of the mouth and smile (make sure you are showing the entire row of the front teeth).
Both corners of the mouth must be at the same level and curl the tongue up slightly. Take five seconds to slowly move it to one side and take another five seconds to move it to the other side.
Repeat twice for a total of 30 seconds, and remember to breathe throughout.
This face yoga exercise is for the chin and neck. This exercise is good for lines and loose skin on the neck, and it is an alternative to a neck or jowl lift.
Start by looking straight ahead, placing the fingertips at the bottom of the neck, and lightly strokes the skin downwards with the head titled back.
Bring the head back down to the chest and repeat it twice. Put the lower lip as far as possible and pull the corners of the mouth down.
Place the fingertips on the collarbone with the chin pointed up. Hold the pose for four deep breaths.
Like the gym, when it comes to seeing results, you must be consistent. It is essential to do face yoga exercises daily, at least twice per day. Remember to breathe throughout and relax. Namaste.