Alice York
August 21, 2023

The Benefits of Face Yoga

A natural way to tone and lift the face, reduce fine lines, and embrace a holistic approach to aging.

What is face yoga and what are the benefits?

Face yoga is a facial exercise technique aimed at toning and lifting the face to combat some of the effects of aging, helping to reduce facial asymmetry, and soften fine lines. Particularly as we get older, just like with the body, it’s important to move and engage our muscles. And I love any practice that makes us more embodied, or connected to our bodies, and develop more mastery and control over our muscles and movement.

How can someone try face yoga at home?

Step 1 - Elated (big smile mouth closed) with eyebrows up, take a deep breath...

Step 2 - excited  (big smile with teeth) with eyebrows up, take a deep breath...

Step 3 -  surprised (mouth in an wide oval) and push eyes out, take a deep breath...

Step 4 - silly (closed eyes, mouth in oval then widen  to circular shape and repeat 4 times with tongue out) take a deep breath...

Step 5 - kiss (close mouth, open eyes, and repeat between a puckered lip like a kiss, to a soft smile and repeat 4 times).

A great way to start is through @faceyogamethod on Instagram - they have a lot of short instructional videos by way of introduction to the technique. Very ideal for beginners or those just lightly curious. And there is definitely a very deep rabbit hole one can dive down on YouTube. I think I came to the practice through a Google search years ago after seeing a photo of myself where my mouth looked more than a little unbalanced on my face - I searched something like “exercises to fix mouth asymmetry” or something equally specific (and steeped in self-consciousness). There is certainly a wealth of free resources across the internet.

Why has face yoga become so popular lately?

A couple things. First, I think we are in general feeling like we have more ownership and access in the steps we can take to feel more confident with regards to our appearance and aging. Things like facelifts were (and still are) cost prohibitive for most and also very major surgical procedures. Now less invasive and less expensive treatments abound. We have a wealth of options to choose from and to combine and customize - the menu keeps expanding and populating. I think a lot of us want to be proactive but not necessarily ready to cross over a certain threshold, so I think maintenance practices like a little Botox here and there and massaging and moving around the face feel like the right recipe for me for now at 40. And the idea of something you can do at home, that’s free, while you’re watching Love is Blind is extremely appealing.

Second, as yoga has become more ubiquitous and mainstream in the West, along with other Eastern practices like cupping and acupuncture, it’s not surprising their Western counterparts would also branch into the beauty realm. Again, this idea of maintenance, wellness, and preventive medicine not just for the body (and mind) but for the face - feels like a natural progression.

What are some of the core principles or techniques in face yoga?

As with a yoga class you’d take with me focusing on the whole body in studio and on the mat, expect a mix of movement and holding of poses in face yoga. And mindfulness, manipulation, and incorporation of the breath. Some “poses” you might stick with for a count of ten, like lifting the chin and holding the mouth in a certain way, while others you repeat specific movements.

And just as certain yoga poses are known as hip openers or heart openers, face yoga also can be broken down by what is being addressed, whether that’s the jawline, eye area, and so on.

What results can one expect from face yoga, and how soon?

I’m definitely the type of person who lifts weights once and wants to see a perfectly toned upper arm immediately, but like anything, face yoga is all about consistency. When I’m being diligent, I can see a little more lift and more tone after a few weeks.

I highly recommend combining face yoga work with self-massage of the face/facial cupping - to make moisturizing more ritual than routine. Meaning that you can practice mindfulness with the activity of moisturizing the face, vs something that happens quickly and without much thought. Intentional, sensory experience can be a meditation of sorts.

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