Reduce the appearance of wrinkles and release tension with facial exercises that aim to keep you looking youthful. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS.
Making a series of facial expressions no longer belongs in the realm of just Instagram selfies or TikTok videos. These days, a new wellness trend called face yoga is making waves for its purported ability to keep you looking youthful. If physical exercise helps you to look and feel good, then think of facial exercises doing the same for your mien.
Unlike traditional yoga with its downward-facing dogs and chaturangas, face yoga is a new-fangled term for moving your facial muscles into various positions. The practice has its roots in Japan, through teachers like Fumiko Takatsu, the creator of Face Yoga Method, and Koko Hayashi, the founder of Face Yoga with Koko.
According to Koko, face yoga includes two different types of exercises, namely those that wake up “sleeping muscles” for a face-lifting effect and poses that relax overworked muscles to reduce wrinkles. The former refers to areas like the cheeks and the lower eyelids, while the latter includes the area between the eyebrows and around the mouth. Meanwhile, Fumiko notes that blood circulation is improved when one exercises their face muscles.
Most of us hold tension in our faces, either through long hours of staring at the screen or via everyday facial expressions. As such, face yoga is said to help release this tension via exercises that tone facial muscles and lift areas that appear to be sagging. The two more popular face yoga programs available are Happy Face Yoga and Face Yoga Method, both of which offer teacher training courses.
According to them, face yoga helps to release tension and minimise stress lines, strengthen and tone facial muscles to raise cheeks, and firm the jawline. Those hoping to lay off heavy makeup or Botox treatments can also consider face yoga as it’s said to increase blood circulation and flow to the skin, resulting in a healthy-looking glow.
For the curious, some of the common exercises in face yoga can include opening the mouth and forming an “O” shape, before using your fingers to lift and lower your cheeks—this aims to create a lifting sensation for the face.
A 2018 study featuring a group of participants performing facial exercises for 30 minutes a day over a span of eight weeks, saw improved upper and lower cheek fullness. While there’s little research regarding the proven benefits of facial yoga, practitioners have found that regular face exercises make a good anti-aging regime, complementing good skincare and regular physical workout.