By Katherine Palms
Face Yoga is an ancient discipline pursued for thousands of years in India and other parts of South Asia. Today, Face Yoga has been adopted in western cultures as a stand-alone practice or blended with various exercises to make it more suitable to consumers. The mix of traditional techniques combined with a current understanding of the skin makes Face Yoga, in particular, both powerful and practical.
Face Yoga is the practice of various exercises focusing on facial muscles to create a firmer, more sculpted-looking countenance with fewer wrinkles and sagging skin and a more defined jawline.
The name' face yoga' may sound ridiculous, but it is a solid yoga practice by its very nature. 'Yoga' is the Sanskrit word for union, and Face Yoga is the union of numerous techniques to bring about holistic well-being.
The target of this practice is primarily on the physical body, but it also has a strong focus on the well-being of the inner self. Face Yoga concentrates on facial exercises, but to do so, it employs breath control and specific yoga-like body postures that benefit overall well-being. It can build a more positive sense of self that many lose as we start to age. Like all true yoga practices, face yoga's aim is self-realization.
No specific tools or equipment are necessary to practice face yoga. You can practice the exercises anywhere – while doing laundry, driving to work, walking, or even watching a movie.
Until recently, there has been little scientific evidence to support the positive personal experience and anecdotal evidence of Face Yoga practitioners. However, the first study of its kind was completed by researchers in 2018. This study from Northwestern University in Illinois, published in JAMA Dermatology, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association, showed that by spending 30 minutes a day exercising specific facial muscles, study participants were able to tighten and lift the cheek areas to look more youthful.
The scientists were able to rate an approximate three-year decrease in age appearance over 20 weeks, supporting the argument that Face Yoga improves facial appearance and reduces visible signs of aging. The most dramatic effect was seen in the participants' upper and lower cheek fullness, who were all 50+ years of age. According to the study's lead researcher, the exercises enlarged and strengthened the facial muscles so that the participants' faces became more toned and shaped like younger faces.
While it may seem strange that moving your Face in a specific way reduces lines rather than creating them, Face Yoga works a lot like resistance training. Certainly, the principles are the same. As a strength trainer, you move your body in a specific way to build muscle. So too, you move your facial muscles in a particular way to plump cheeks and define the area of your Face, the loose, inactive muscle that has been dragging downward thanks to gravity.
Are you interested in trying face yoga? You can find my classes via the classes/events tab in our website.