Did you know you can tone your facial muscles right at the comfort of your home? Fishing around for the youthful and healthy skin, beauty buffs have discovered the incredible role of face yoga practice in sculpting the cheekbones. The face yoga works just as brilliant as a set of squats in strengthening the glutes. Furthermore, the face exercises help you achieve plump and radiant skin akin to the post-workout glow except the fact that it would linger even longer than the typical hot yoga class.
Now that the face yoga practice sounds darn good to be left shun, we’ve tapped the face yoga instructor and founder of Ati Svelte, to lay down the facial exercise details and a few beginner-friendly face yoga poses to try. Because our jawline certainly deserves a session dedicated to its mindful toning and sculpting!
To put it out in simple words, face yoga is a series of facial massage and exercises whereby we would wantonly isolate and tone our craniofacial muscles (facial muscles). For instance, the eye area has six extraocular muscles that constantly does the job by smiling, squinting, and expressing. Our face has muscles just like the rest of the body. And, these muscles require toning as much as the muscles of rest of the body does. With Face Yoga technique we get those facial muscles toned while relaxing the rest to achieve the results.
We do move our face every day while talking, smiling, and the like. However, the kick here is the ‘intention’, akin to yoga flow, we focus on specific facial muscles to strengthen them while we isolate the movement. There are a number of muscles connected together, and we have to be able to figure out what muscles are we putting to use with certain movement and how we would want to move the muscles in certain manner.
Benefits of Face Yoga:
The primary job met by face yoga are the effects on skin’s appearance in terms of its firmness and in keeping it plump. Face Yoga stimulates blood flow in the face which eventually spurs the production of collagen (that helps the skin look firm and taut) and keep the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles at bay. A study in 2018 has suggested that performing face yoga everyday could reduce the signs of face ageing with substantial improvements especially in upper and lower cheek fullness.
If you’re wondering if the constant movement of face could lead to wrinkles, you’re on the right page. We emote quite much throughout the day and that makes for a vulnerable spot for the fine lines. However, an intentional toning of those face muscles can stimulate blood circulation in the skin, thus, promoting skin firmness. Here, you do not create unwanted fine lines or wrinkles because the movements or expressions are controlled.
Furthermore, the face yoga practice awakens your conscience and conscious about your expressions (like, say for instance, furrowed brows as you slouch over the desk) that you might not have paid heed to all your life. “I strongly believe the fact that 20% of the benefits come from the facial exercises itself. However, 80% of the results are achieved from the fact that you’re paying a careful heed to your facial expressions throughout the day,” Neisha Arora explains. “You’re able to catch yourself clenching the face, frowning, tightening the shoulders, or may be tensing the forehead.”
How to do Face Yoga:
Before we plunge into the face yoga practices, here are certain keys that we need to be aware about:
- Ideally, face yoga should be practiced twice a day, says Neisha. Once in the morning to awaken the face muscles and another during bedtime to release all the stress and tension accumulated during the day. The procedure could be as little as five minutes.
- With regards to the number of poses per session, four to five poses (30 seconds each) would do the job. Begin with a quick warmup, and then proceed to focusing on specific muscles that you’re wanting to target.
- Don’t be bamboozled: It’s tough. You might discover yourself under inadvertent circumstances holding your breath or may be tensing up your face muscles as you hold the pose. The face muscles are so small and delicate that it turns up hard to isolate and activate the targeted muscles. This is why our face yoga expert, Neisha Arora, suggests the beginners to first target bigger muscles like frontalis (forehead) and platysma (neck) before diving into the delicate regions like orbicularis oculi (around the eyes). The process might come up challenging or difficult initially, but once you get used to the movements of your craniofacial muscles, it becomes quite an easy and natural job to do.
5 Face Yoga Poses for Beginners
As Neisha Arora advises, we’ll first target the bigger muscles (like frontalis, platysma, buccinator, masseter) before we move to the delicate muscles like orbicularis oculi (around the eyes) and orbicularis oris (around the mouth). Here’s your friendly heads-up: during every face yoga pose, make sure you keep your posture straight with spine erect, chest and shoulders open, and neck relaxed. Ensure your breathing simultaneously.
1. The Warmup:
This simple and go-to posture supports for an all-over stimulation of blood circulation. Begin by dropping your jaw as if you’re yawning. Your buccinator muscles (cheek) should be able to feel the sensation created there. Shift your gaze from eye-level to the ceiling, all the way past your forehead while you ensure that you do not move your frontalis muscles (forehead muscles) even a bit. Hold the position for 10 seconds, ensuring your breathing throughout. Repeat two sets of the pose for a total of 30 seconds.
2. The Neck Grind:
This neck pose helps release the stress accumulated in the neck region and tones the muscles involved. The neck and jaw are connected to the platysma muscles; hence, the stretch supports the chiseled jawline. Bring your shoulders to a relaxed position and, move your chin to one side, slightly up at an angle of 45 degrees. Pucker up your lips, ensuring the breathing throughout. Switch the side and repeat. Perform two sets of the same for a total of 30 seconds on each side.
3.The Forehead Crunch:
This pose might show you up as your instant pick-me-up for it masquerades as meditation, Neisha explains, as you clasp the surrounding energy. It works fantastic for a morning face yoga ritual. Place both the hands on your forehead facing inwards, gently sweeping up the finger outwards. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and chin slightly lifted. Inhale and exhale for 10 seconds. Run the palms down the sides of your face, feeling the sensation created. Repeat two sets for a total of 30 seconds.
4. The Eyes:
To target the delicate orbicularis oculi, this pose will isolate the lower lid movement together with the frontalis (forehead muscles). The key here is to ensure that no forehead wrinkles are created while performing the pose. Curl your hand into a c shape and place the index fingers on the upper eye bones, above the eyebrows. Position the thumb on sides of your nose, right above the nostril. Gently press your fingers downwards, and then sideways. Ensure that your shoulders are relaxed. Open your eyes as wide as possible and hold for five seconds while you firmly press your eyebrows using the index finger, ensuring there’s no movement of frontalis muscles (forehead). Now, Squint the eye five times. Close your eyes and relax for a few seconds. Repeat two sets for a total of 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
5. For the Mouth:
Aging leads to the loss of collagen, and that also leads to thinning of lips. This pose supports the stimulation of lip barrier for naturally fuller and plump lips. Position your index finger on the corners of your mouth. Smile, ensuring the corners of mouth are at the same level and the entire row of front teeth is visible. Slightly curl your tongue up and slowly move it to one side. Again, slowly move your tongue to the other side. Repeat two more sets of the same for a total of 30 seconds. Ensuring you breathe throughout.
Face yoga is akin to other Yogasans for body – you’re working to tone your craniofacial muscles, stimulate the blood flow, and get some dose of meditation and breathwork while you’re at it. And similar to yoga, it may require you some practice before you get the hang of it. Start with these five poses. Just perform them twice a day and you might witness some changes in your complexion.