We all know how beneficial yoga can be, not just mentally but physically too. Many people attribute weight loss to their diets and exercise regimes they have, including yoga classes. Yoga has become increasingly popular over the years and many different types are available to hold classes in.
What About Facial Yoga?
Lets start off by saying, yes it is a thing and it does exist. When we think about exercise, we think about toning our muscles in our body. We think about making our bottoms firmer or our legs slimmer and maybe even training our abs, why not our face?
There are around 43 muscles in our faces… 43! That’s a lot of muscles in such a small area but the number differs from person to person. Some have more, some have less, it’s part of what makes our facial expressions unique. Also don’t take what you hear as the truth when it comes to the good old saying ‘It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile’. Whether it is true or not, we actually all smile differently so regardless the numbers would differ for each person and no one really knows the numbers as it’s difficult to tell.
Further more, these muscles are pretty much neglected when it comes to working out. How many conversations can be heard about exercising faces in comparison to going to yoga classes or the gym?
How Does Facial Yoga Work?
Exactly how it works for your body, by exercising and using muscles but in your face. Granted you can’t just pull on your face like you can your leg or stretch it out like in downward facing dog. The idea is to put the concept of your face to good use and make it work to your advantage. Your face muscles are there for a variety of reasons but mostly the amount of muscles allows you to contort your face to express your emotional well being. We use our face everyday and even while we sleep, if you watch a baby sleep they will put a variety of facial expressions while they dream and adults are no different.
How Do You Do It?
By using a combination of facial expressions and movements, you can work the different muscles in your face which will relate to a particular part or end goal. Say for example you wanted to have firmer cheeks or forehead, you would concentrate on those particular movements sets, move the parts of your face needed and repeat. Just like in normal yoga or exercise the constant movement of using the muscles regularly in different ways will encourage strengthening and toning.
Have You Seen These Before?
Yes, probably. If you are unlucky enough to trap a nerve in your neck or annoy your shoulder muscles, it is probable your doctor or physio therapist has given you exercises to do to help relax and release the tension in your muscles. Practically prescribing yoga. Some of these exercises will be similar to those given by health professionals, why, because they are versatile enough to do that.
Where Can You or Should You Do It?
Anywhere. Or rather anywhere you feel comfortable doing so, it is likely you will be pulling some choice facial expressions as you do it. It might be good to practice in front of a mirror while you get the hang of it. If you aren’t bothered though, you could sit at your desk and do them there.
The Exercises – Lets Take a Look
The Shocked Look
The Benefits – Smooth out your forehead and combat frowning.
Exercise – Choose a point and straight at it. Widen your eyes as much as you can and hold for as long as possible until your eyes begin to water. Doing this stretches the muscles in your forehead and around your eyes.
The Benefits – Firmer, fuller looking cheeks.
Exercise – Puff air into your cheeks so you look like a frog (or a hamster) and now pass the air between the two cheeks pushing outwards. This will help stretch and strengthen the muscles helping tone them. As a knock one effect they will appear slimmer but defined, also changing the way your face looks and your facial expressions.
Crow Feet be Gone
The Benefits – Firmer skin, decreasing crow feet.
Exercise – It’s a lot like squinting but with your lower lids, it seems impossible to start with but within minutes you’ll get the hang of it. After a few times, place your fingers on the outskirts of the crows feet and very slightly pull back away from your face. By creating a bit of pressure, you are giving the muscle some resistance, something for it to work against. By doing this you are working your eye muscles and in turn firming the surrounding skin. The skin around your eyes is very delicate so be sure to have a nice clean face and slightly moisturize it so it isn’t tight.
The Benefits – This will help you maintain plumper firmer cheeks.
Exercise – Produce a really cheesy grin while bearing your teeth. Imagine you are posing for one of those annoying photos and the photographer is taking their time. While smiling, place your fingers in the grooves underneath your cheek muscles, above your lips. Now lift the muscles up while pushing downwards into the space. This will lift your nasal labial folds and create a resistance for the muscles to push back on. By doing so tightens the muscle so it appears firmer. Who needs botox when you can do this for free.
The Benefits – tighten your chin and neck to prevent sagging.
Exercise – Look up and point your chin to the ceiling, pop the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, smile and swallow. This will seem difficult the first couple of times you do it, the difficulty may be in the swallowing part as it uses the muscle for chewing. This also works the muscle surrounding your collarbone and neck.
The Benefits – Helps you prevent scowling lines and relaxes your face.
Exercise – The easiest of the bunch, simply relax, close your eyes and focus on the space between your eyes. Make a slight smile with your lips and hold for a few minutes. When we concentrate we often pull a scowling face or grit our teeth, this can cause unwanted lines so practicing this pose throughout a stressful day will help offset those lines.
Fishy Fish Face
The Benefits – Helps tone your cheeks and muscles around your lips.
Exercise – We have all done it at some point, suck your cheeks in (into the gaps between your teeth) and do your best fish impression. If you use this to make a combination exercise with the puffing exercise you could fine the outcome pleasing.
The Neck Roll
The Benefits – Stretches your neck muscles.
Exercise – Tilt your head to the side and hold, repeat on the opposite side and carry on for another 4 times. After that slowly roll your head in a clockwise direction and then anticlockwise direction. This will help stretch your neck out and release tension in your muscles.
So there you have a few examples of facial yoga. If you still aren’t convinced have a think about the types of professions that might use these methods such as acting or singing. In an acting career, having strong facial expressions and defined cheek bones can make a huge difference.
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