24 Dec FACE YOGA 101

In a world where most Western people’s frame of reference for yoga is Instagram-worthy peak poses on clifftops and pristine studios, Face Yoga doesn’t exactly seem destined for success. Yet, here it is, it’s a ‘thing’ and it is growing in popularity amongst certain circles.

 

Why? Well, whilst purists may not agree to calling it ‘yoga’ in its truest definition of the word, Face Yoga promises to ‘relax and tone muscles’, enhance your natural beauty from the inside out via non-invasive or chemical-based methods, and keep you youthful (looking). What’s not to love about that?

Initial studies carried out at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University and published by JAMA Dermatology indicate that, if you are willing to set half an hour aside to look slightly ridiculous in the privacy of your own home, you can start to banish under-eye sag and wrinkles around your mouth by starting to exercise specific muscles. Um, sign me up please.

Resistance training (moving your limbs against oppositional weight) is considered one of the most strengthening and toning forms of exercise and that is the principle on which Face Yoga is based. Whilst some dermatologists have expressed concerns that exercising your face would cause more wrinkles, this study found the exact opposite to be true. Instead, participants reported fuller cheeks, firmer skin and less wrinkles, according to the study’s lead author Murad Alam, MD.

A recent article in Goop shares some of the most popular exercises as introduced by Gary Sikorski, certified facial-exercise instructor and founder of Happy Face Yoga in Providence, Rhode Island.

Check out two of our favourite Face Yoga exercises via Goop below.

THE JAW AND NECK FIRMER

This exercise helps strengthen the group of muscles located on, around, and under your chin (including the triangularis, depressor labii, mentalis, and the platysma). Working them may help tone sagging cheeks and droopy jowls, as well as strengthen your jawline.

  1. Begin by smiling.
  2. Open your mouth and make an “ahh” sound. Fold your lower lip and the corners of your lips into your mouth and hold them tightly. Extend your lower jaw forward.
  3. With your lower jaw, make a scooping-up motion very slowly as you close your mouth. (Imagine using your jaw to scoop up something very heavy.) Pull your chin up about an inch each time you scoop, tilting your head backwards.
  4. Open and close your lower jaw ten times. On the final repetition, your chin should be pointed toward the ceiling. Keep the chin extended and hold this position tightly for twenty seconds, while visualizing the sides of your face lifting.
  5. Repeat twice.

THE CHEEK LIFTER

Gravity pulls our cheeks down, and this exercise is designed to help lift them back up by strengthening all the muscles in that region: the levator labii superioris, caninus, and zygomaticus major and minor. This will also help keep the upper lip defined.

  1. Open your mouth and form a long “O.” Fold your upper lip over your front teeth.
  2. Smile to lift up your cheek muscles.
  3. Place your index fingers lightly on top of the cheek muscles, directly under your eyes. Relax the cheek muscles, allowing them to return to their original, relaxed position.
  4. Smile again to lift the cheek muscles back up. Visualize pushing the muscles up towards your eyes as you smile. You have just completed one “push-up.”
  5. Do ten more “push-ups”.
  6. On the tenth one, hold your cheek muscles up as high as you can. Imagine that your cheeks are moving up from your face towards the ceiling.
  7. Take your index fingers and move them up over the scalp. (This helps as you picture your cheek muscles moving up.)
  8. Hold this position for twenty seconds, while looking up towards your fingers. If you tighten your buttocks during these twenty seconds it will help to push your cheek muscles even harder. Release and relax.
  9. Repeat three times.

Yes, Face Yoga requires a significant (to some) investment of time, it certainly ticks the boxes of self-care, non-surgical, non-chemical interventions and improvements. So why don’t you give it a go for a while and let us know how you go!

For those of you who are down with the more traditional forms of yoga, we’ll see you in class sometime soon!