Getting on your mat and flowing with your breath comes with a plethora of benefits, with the latest showing incredible effects on your skin, especially the one on your face.
Recent research found clear evidence in the connection between consistent facial exercises and skin rejuvenation. And although the trial group wasn't large, the positive results were definitely hard to ignore.
Face yoga, or also called facial yoga, is a series of exercises that intentionally isolate and tone your face muscles. You can perform them on the daily and really spend some time focusing on each and every face muscle and boost your blood flow, allowing more nutrients to come in and feed your skin.
Just like with everything else in your body, your face muscles are connected and designed to move, and unless you spend your day intentionally changing expression from expression, chances are, you're not getting enough facial movement. This "intention" aspect of facial yoga is what makes it so efficient, as by simply frowning or moving our face muscles without any control, we're risking those unwanted wrinkles everyone always keeps on warning us about.
Even more so, this intentional practice helps us become aware of our unconscious facial expressions and makes us think twice before doing them. Just like regular yoga helps us become more aware of how tense we seem to keep our upper body and makes us relax our shoulders down and take a deep breath.
Gary Sikorsky, the founder of Happy Face Yoga, teamed up with Northwestern University to conduct the aforementioned study, and decided to show to the world what he's already seen in his own clients. His method is now well-respected and known all over the world, with hundreds of people taking his seminars and classes.
He started this whole movement because he wanted to make a change to his own appearance and after randomly hearing a story on the news, decided to do more about it and rejuvenate his face in a non-surgical way.
Many people have since joined the face yoga trend, with Fumiko Takatsu and her Face Yoga Method being one of them. After a tragic car accident that left her injured and bruised, she decided to start working on all muscles of her body, not just the ones below the neck. Pretty soon, people started complimenting her on her face glow and she realized, there must be something more to it.
She's well-known in the celebrity world with hundreds of satisfied clients and testimonials. Those who implement her method swear on her results and happily showcase their before-and-after photos.
So, What Exactly Should You Do?
There are a few things to keep in mind before you start practicing:
- Keep it consistent - Practice every day, if not twice per day (in the morning to wake up your muscles and in the evening to relax them).
- Keep it short - It doesn't have to take forever. You can choose four to five different exercises and perform them for 30-ish seconds.
- Make it a part of your skincare routine - If you have a good and established skincare routine, doing the exercises before you start applying your serums and further massaging your face with jade rollers will help you kill two birds with one stone and get the best from both worlds.
- Perform it in front of the mirror - While you're still learning, it might be very beneficial to look at yourself in the mirror so you can see which muscles you're moving and whether or not you're performing specific actions symmetrically. As you get more acquainted with the practice, you'll be able to feel and notice more, so you'll be ok with stepping away from the mirror.
- Don't underestimate how challenging it is - Some of these exercises might even seem silly, but learning how to do them properly will have you struggling and even holding your breath as you work hard to hold a pose. Our face has many little muscles that are hard to figure out how to isolate and target. Practice makes perfect, how in the gym, so in your facial workout.
Poses You Can Start With
For those who are just getting familiar with this whole concept, you might be Googling facial yoga and coming up with a myriad of different images, trying to figure out which ones you should start with. Here are some easy poses for beginners that can get you warmed up and start teaching you how to isolate your facial muscles and move them with intention.
1. The Forehead Move
This facial yoga pose is meant to instantly calm you down and cause your brow and forehead muscles to relax the tension. Place your palms on your forehead so that the fingers are touching and looking towards one another. Then turn them slightly downward so that you're creating a V-shape towards the space in-between your brows and gently start pulling up.Take deep inhales and exhales, staying in this pose for at least 10 seconds. On your last exhale, let your palms slide sideways down your face towards your chin and intentionally drop your shoulders.Repeat 2-3 times.
The "O" Pose
The "O" pose is known as the simplest pose that stimulates your entire face and drastically improves your blood flow. To start, drop your jaw, like you're trying to yawn and create an "O shape" with your mouth, laying your upper lip on your top row of teeth.Without moving your forehead, gaze up towards the ceiling and hold for 10 seconds. Place your fingers on the top of your cheeks and smile to relax.Repeat 2-3 times.
This face yoga pose is stretching and toning your cheeks, isolating them as much as possible in order to get the best results.Purse your lips and then smile without showing your teeth. Repeat this action a few times and then hold the smile, placing your fingers on the corners of your mouth. Slide them up towards the tops of your cheeks and hold for 10- 20 seconds.Repeat 2-3 times.
For the most of us, the stress and fatigue are first seen around the eyes. The delicate under-eyes region is always the most affected, with the formation of dark circles and sagging skin. This pose is meant to gently tone this area while working hard not to move the other parts of your face, especially your forehead.
Bring your hand to your face and curl it into a "C" shape. Position your index fingers above the eyebrow, along the upper eye bones and place your thumb on the side of your nose, right above the nostril. Press all of your fingers down and then sideways.
Keep your shoulders relaxed and open your eyes as wide as you possibly can. Hold for five seconds, while still pressing your index finger firmly into your eyebrow, making sure your eyebrow and forehead don't move. Squint the eye three to five times, before closing your eyes and relaxing for a few seconds.
Repeat for 2-3 times and do it all on the other side.
Lip Collagen Booster
We all lose collagen as we age, and as much as it's important to boost the collagen production in your skin, it's just as important to do it for your lips. There's plenty of collagen cells in our lips that when depleted, cause them thin out. This specific pose stimulates the lip barrier, creating naturally fuller and plumper lips.
Start by placing your index fingers on the corners of your mouth. Create a big smile, showing the entire row of your front teeth. Check the mirror and make sure the corners of your mouth are at the same level. Slightly curl up your tongue and take 5 seconds to slowly move it to one side. Then take 5 seconds to move your tongue to the other side.Repeat 2-3 times.
Face yoga might be just the thing you're missing as you're working so hard to keep the optimal health and fitness of the other areas of your body. Try it out for yourself and notice the changes!
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