We all want to look younger, and yoga is the secret weapon of aging gracefully. If all the other muscles in our body need tender love and care, then why shouldn’t the 43 muscles of the face? Face yoga targets all problem areas that come with aging, from crows feet to smile lines. You can even tone your neck and jawline for a firmer and more lifted chin. With so many movements to explore, you’ll manipulate your facial muscles in ways you never have before. Face yoga may look strange, but it is truly an anti-aging miracle!
Face and Neck Anatomy
The face is made up of muscles, blood vessels, fat pads, soft tissue, nerves, skin layers and bones. Alone, it contains 43 muscles that extend from the top to bottom, side to side, and around the scalp. The skin is made up of the hypodermis (lower layer), the dermis (middle layer), and the epidermis (surface layer). All of these components influence how our face appears and functions. The neck and throat area are just as important as the face. These muscles activate when we smile, chew, swallow, talk, and do just about everything!
As we age, all physiological compositions in the body change. The intrinsic factors of how we age include genetics, expressivity, and mineral absorption. Extrinsic factors are almost solely gravity, sun exposure, and smoking. Often aesthetic issues with the neck and face are due to skin losing its elasticity, where the skin begins to droop or sag. In addition, if muscles aren’t as active, this can cause atrophy of the face and make it appear older. It may also be more difficult to hold fat in regions of the face and neck, since collagen production reduces the older we get.
By stimulating all parts and layers of the face, it increases blood circulation and provides more oxygen to those areas. This nourishes the cellular body, releases toxins, and allows the face to regenerate more efficiently. Facial exercises also stimulate collagen and elastin production. Collagen and elastin lie in the middle dermal layer of the skin and give you a more smooth, supple, and youthful complexion.
Facial yoga also incorporates relaxation. Throughout the day, we hold tension everywhere in our bodies, from head to toe. Even if we don’t feel tense, we subconsciously communicate with our physical selves, including the face and neck. Through intentional relaxation, the layers of the skin and muscles release their holding patterns, assisting with facial rejuvenation.
On a more energetic level, facial exercises can reduce stress and release emotions. In yoga, the body is one with the mind and the emotional body. Where we hold our feelings can often dictate problems in those areas. For example, if you are burdened with an excess of responsibilities, you may feel tense in your back or shoulders, as you are emotionally carrying the weight of these problems around with you.
Face Yoga Techniques
Before doing any of the following exercises, make sure your hands are squeaky clean. Wash your face before this routine and apply a soothing moisturizer. You definitely don’t want a more youthful appearance to include breakouts!
If you have wrinkles across your forehead or feel like your skin is starting to droop around the top of the face, do these exercises for an automatic brow lift without any cosmetic surgery or botox!
Place both hands on the forehead with the fingers facing towards each other.
Spread the fingers to cover the forehead from your hairline to your eyebrows.
Apply gentle pressure, and slowly sweep the fingers away from each other to the sides of the forehead at the hairline.
Repeat this 10 times and relax the muscles of the forehead in between each repetition.
Rest the tips of all 10 fingers right above the eyebrows on the brow bone. The palms will gently hover over the face.
Spread the fingers to cover the entire length of the forehead.
Apply gentle pressure and slowly slide the fingers up towards the top of the hairline, smoothing out all wrinkles.
Practice this 10 times and relax the muscles of the forehead in between each repetition.
Lower Face Lift
If you have smile lines, laugh lines, sagging of the cheeks, or wrinkles in the chin, these exercises are great for you! By opening and moving the muscles and skin of the face, you won’t have to get a facelift or fillers.
Open your mouth into an O-shape. Cover your teeth with your upper and lower lips.
Inhale, and smile as wide as you can while maintaining the O-shape in your mouth, keeping your teeth covered.
Exhale, release the smile, but continue to hold the “O”.
Repeat this 10 times.
Relax your face and place your fingers on your lower face facing towards each other. The index fingers will rest on the corners of the nose and the pinkies on the lower chin.
With gentle pressure, sweep the fingers across the face towards the side of the hairline and ears.
Repeat this 10 times and relax the muscles of the face in between each repetition.
If you have drooping eyelids, under eye puffiness, crows feet, or hollow eyes, try these yoga exercises as an alternative to botox or eye surgery.
Bat Your Lashes
Place an index finger under each eye, fingertips pointing towards each other.
Gently pull the fingers down as you gaze up towards the ceiling.
Flutter the eyes for 30 seconds, then release and relax all muscles of the face.
Make two peace signs with both hands. Flip the fingers towards your face and place the corners of your fingertips on the inner and outer corners of both eyes. This should look like two “V’s” on your face.
Gently press your fingers into the outer corners of each eye.
Hold this pressure and squint your eyes 20 times. Be mindful not to tense any other parts of the face or neck, only the eyelids.
Release and relax the entire face.
Sallow cheeks often arise as we age. If you want lifted, pumper, and smoother cheeks, try the following exercises. Instead of botox, implants or fillers, you can simply do this face yoga right at home!
As you breathe through your nose, puff one cheek out to the side.
Release and puff the other cheek out to the side. Start slow, and continue at a more rapid pace with each succession.
Practice this exercise for 30 seconds, then release the facial muscles completely.
Smile upwards, leading with your cheeks. Lift your cheeks as high as they will go, then release. Try not to tense the forehead or jaw too much.
Repeat this rapidly for 30 seconds. This especially activates the cheek muscles right on the apples of the cheeks.
These exercises help to combat sagging skin in the neck, chin and jaw area. They help activate the muscles and soft tissue, giving you a smoother complexion. Use these exercises as an alternative to a neck or jowl lift.
Lift your chin slightly to create more space in your neck.
Place the backside of your dominant hand against the underside of the chin, letting your index finger rest right against the top of your throat.
With gentle pressure, tap the hand repeatedly against this area for 30 seconds. Keep your chin lifted.
Look straight ahead and tilt the head back. Do not go so far as to pinch the back of your cervical spine.
Place your fingertips at the bottom of your neck. Lightly stroke the skin downwards towards your decolletage.
Tilt your chin back down to the chest. Repeat this exercise for 1 minute.
Looking for an entire facial stimulation? These exercises are so easy and efficient for lifting and shaping the entire face and layers of the skin.
Place all fingertips on your face, spreading the fingers slightly apart and bending them at the knuckles.
Begin to tap with gentle pressure around the entire face. Don’t stay in one spot for too long, and move around the cheeks, chin, jaw, eyes, eyebrows, and forehead.
Continue tapping for 1-2 minutes. This will bring blood flow back into your face for a more rosey and youthful complexion!
On an inhale, move your face as if you were being taken aback with delightful surprise! Lift the brows, open the eyes wide, open the mouth and lift the cheeks towards the ears.
On your exhale, relax the face completely.
Repeat this 10 times for a complete facial workout!
Relaxing the face is just as important as activating it. Any muscle after a good workout needs to cool down and return to a softer state. Practice “Savasana Face” after you do the exercises in this article, and also before bed for rest and rejuvenation.
Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath. Let yourself withdraw from the world around you, and meditate while listening to your body.
Notice your neck, relaxing all the muscles and tissues in these areas.
Now, observe your chin and jawline, letting all the tension leave your face through an exhale breath.
Observe your lips, nose, cheeks, ears, eyes, eyebrows and forehead in this same manner. Move slowly and mindfully, intentionally releasing anything you are holding onto physically and emotionally.
Now focus on your entire face as a whole. Notice what is present here and what has shifted.
See The Results for Yourself!
Doing face yoga may look crazy to an outsider, but it just may be the best anti-aging miracle. By moving all the layers of the face, you can actually counteract the signs of aging and reverse wrinkles and sagging. The best part? Face yoga can be an incredible emotional tool to release stress and anxiety. You can do face yoga every day, and it only takes 10 minutes to get through all of these exercises! To really see your results, take a before and after picture. It may only take a week for you to look younger, feel better, and be your own yoga goddess!
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Having been a teacher’s assistant at over 50 yoga teacher trainings worldwide, Rebecca Rebecca has a firm grasp on the fine art of yoga and meditation. In her work, she carefully reflects on a vast expanse of knowledge to help others find peace in both body and mind.