What Is Face Yoga?

We all know we should exercise our bodies to keep them fit and healthy, but did you know you can do the same for your face?

Face yoga is a popular rejuvenating method that does just that. This type of yoga activates and tones facial muscles and boosts circulation and oxygen supply in the skin. 

With continuous practice, face yoga can visibly reduce signs of aging and improve the appearance of the face.

Read on and learn more about the benefits of face yoga and how you can incorporate it into your everyday routine.

Face Yoga Definition

Although it has yoga in its name, face yoga doesn’t involve any asanas you might already know, like Downward Facing Dog or Chaturanga. The term yoga refers to exercises and poses you can do to activate different muscles on the face. With time, face yoga may help you achieve a healthier and younger-looking complexion.

Short History of Face Yoga

Modern face yoga was developed by teacher Fumiko Takatsu, who created it during the late 20th century. She was in her thirties at the time when she suffered a car accident. With other struggles the accident brought, she also suffered facial injuries. She was looking for a way to recover her complexion, and she started doing facial exercises. Her face improved, and after many people asked her how she did it, she developed her face yoga method.

However, it seems facial exercises are much older than that. For example, empresses of ancient China used jade rollers to stimulate blood flow in the face, and yogis began to incorporate face yoga into their breathing exercises as early as 500 years BC.

In the west, the person who was first credited to create facial exercise was a French woman named Anne “Ninon” de L’Enclos. In 1705, after her death, her personal attendant published a pamphlet that described Anne’s face routine, including many facial exercises.

How Does Face Yoga Work?

So, face yoga has existed for a long time now, and today, many studies confirm its benefits. But how exactly does it work?

Our face has 42 muscles, and we naturally move them through the day as we’re laughing, eating, or expressing our feelings. However, most of us tend to repeat many expressions automatically, without being aware of them. When repeated many times, these expressions can cause creases or wrinkles – like the 11 lines between the eyebrows, which can develop if we frown often. Automatic face expressions can also develop facial asymmetry since we tend to move one side of the face more than the other.

Face yoga teachers believe their practice can help with those issues. It can fix lines by counteracting the movements we do automatically and fix asymmetry by focusing on activating both sides of the face equally. Face yoga also makes us more aware of our facial muscles, which can help us reprogram muscle memory and minimize unconscious expressions.

This practice also gives us an opportunity to invest a moment in self-care. When we’re stressed, we tend to hold tension in our face. Face yoga and massage release that tension and make us feel calmer and relaxed.

Benefits of Face Yoga

Benefits of face yoga may include:

  • Tension relief and relaxation which lessens the appearance of stress lines
  • Stronger facial muscles, which can improve the appearance of the face
  • Increased circulation in the skin for a glowing complexion
  • Decreased fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduced appearance of scars
  • Teach you to control facial muscles and movement patterns
  • Promote proper nose breathing
  • Firm the neck
  • Reduce the appearance of dark circles around the eyes
  • Make the face more symmetrical
  • Increase confidence and reduce stress

Face Yoga Poses

Face yoga poses include:

  • Eye tension relief
  • Eye circles
  • Brow smoother
  • Neck massage
  • Jaw unlocker
  • Smile smoother
  • Cheek sculptor
  • Neck tension reliever
  • Forehead smoother
  • Third eye softener
  • Lower eyelid firmer
  • Lion’s breath
  • Face tapping

How to Practice Face Yoga

We listed some of the most popular face yoga poses above. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform 5 of those exercises. You can try them to see if you like this yoga style.

When practicing face yoga, make sure you can feel you are activating the correct muscles. Practicing in front of a mirror is the best way to ensure you’re practicing with proper form. For best results, do the same routine every day. The studies that confirmed face yoga’s benefits mainly used practices of around 20 minutes. However, if you don’t have the time, you can also use only full-face exercises and perform them for a couple of minutes per day. Remember, consistency is key when doing any exercise, and the same is true for your face.

Face Tapping

If you have time to perform only one face exercise, try face tapping. Tapping boosts circulation and relaxes the face. It is also a fantastic exercise to warm up the face for other face poses.

This exercise is easy to perform – you simply need to tap your skin with your fingertips in a fast, rhythmic motion. Begin at the forehead and continue tapping toward your jaw. Make a couple of rounds around the entire face. Then, rub your hands together to heat them up, and cup your face to transfer the heat to your skin.

Forehead Smoother

Many of us tend to hold a lot of tension in the forehead, which can cause headaches and premature lines. This exercise will help release that tension and may also prevent eyelid drooping, lift the eyebrows, and smooth forehead lines.

To perform the exercise, place your index and middle fingers on the forehead along the hairline. Simultaneously, slide your fingers down towards the eyebrows, and lift your eyebrows up. Hold for ten seconds and release. Repeat a couple more times, holding a bit longer each time.

Neck Tension Reliever

This neck exercise will help release tension in the back of the neck, open the shoulders, and firm the skin on the front of the neck.

To perform it, tilt the head back and tap the front of the neck with your fingers. Then return to the collar bone, and move up again. Continue performing this motion for one minute.

Smile Smoother

Smiling is a fantastic face yoga exercise in itself, as it activates cheek muscles. However – the side effect is smile lines, which begin at the side of our nose and go to the corners of our mouth.

But don’t stop smiling – simply perform this exercise daily to minimize lines. To do the exercise, place the tip of the tongue up inside your mouth, as close as you can to the point where the outer edge of the nose and cheek meet, and the smile line begins. Rotate the tongue five times in one direction and five times in the other to massage the area. Repeat on the right side.

Lion’s Breath

Lion’s breath is a breathing exercise and a face yoga exercise in one. Although it might look funny, it’s a powerful movement that helps to reduce stress, relieve tension in the throat and relax the face muscles.

Start in a seated position and place your hands on the knees. Inhale through the nose, open the mouth wide, stick your tongue out and stretch it down as far as you can. Then exhale with force, creating a ha sound, like in ujjayi breathing. Breathe normally for a couple of breaths, and repeat the exercise around 5-7 times. When you’re done with the exercise, continue to breathe deeply for a couple of minutes.

Start Face Yoga at Home

If you prefer visual instruction for your face yoga exercises, check out these follow-along videos.

10 Face Yoga Moves To Do Each Morning

Face Lifting Exercises for Jowls & Laugh Lines!

5 Face Exercises You’d Wish You Had Known Sooner

Face Yoga FAQs

How Long Does Face Yoga Take to Work?

Face muscles need time to grow, just like any other muscle in your body. For real results, you’ll need to dedicate weeks, sometimes even months to notice a real change in your appearance. It would be ideal to practice at least 20 minutes daily, but if you don’t have the time, incorporate a 10-minute exercise in your morning or evening skincare routine. Like any other exercise, consistency is key to seeing and maintaining results.

Is Face Yoga Harmful?

Face yoga is a safe and non-toxic alternative to surgery. However, it’s important to perform the exercises properly, and with full awareness of the muscles, you’re activating. Some exercises and incorrect performance can cause more wrinkles, particularly in the area around the eyes. Additionally, face yoga increases the muscle mass in your face, which can make it appear bulky and more defined. This isn’t harmful per se, but it might not be something you like, depending on how you want/don’t want your face to look.

Does Face Yoga Tighten Skin?

Face yoga firms and tones the muscles on the face and neck and improves blood flow and oxygen supply to the skin. The result is tighter and healthier-looking skin.

Important: Check with your doctor before trying Face Yoga for the first time if you have any type of injury, illness, pain, or you are pregnant.

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