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What Is Face Yoga, and Does It Prevent Wrinkles?

A young woman performing face yoga in a mirror.
Miljan Zivkovic/Shutterstock.com

Hitting your yoga mat each day provides a plethora of benefits for your body. Strange as it might seem, it works for your skin, too—especially your face! Face yoga can not only rejuvenate your complexion, but it can also prevent wrinkles and fine lines.

Whenever we frown or move our face muscles without intention, we risk creating unwanted lines and wrinkles. But recent research has linked consistent facial exercises with skin rejuvenation. Although the trial group wasn’t large, the positive results were definitely hard to ignore.

Face yoga (also called facial yoga) is a series of exercises that intentionally isolate and tone the muscles in your face. You can perform these on the daily to work and build them, just as you would any other muscle in your body.

First, we’ll share the scientific research and benefits, and then show you how to do face yoga and pinpoint any problem areas.

The Research

Gary Sikorsky, founder of Happy Face Yoga, teamed up with Northwestern University to conduct the aforementioned study. He wanted to prove the results he’d already seen in his own clients. His method is now well-known and respected worldwide, with hundreds of people taking his seminars and classes.

Sikorsky started this whole movement because he wanted to rejuvenate his face without surgery. After catching a random story on the news, he decided to learn more about how face movements could prevent signs of aging.

Since then, many people, including Fumiko Takatsu, creator of the Face Yoga Method, have joined the movement. After a tragic car accident left her injured and bruised, Takatsu decided to start working all of her muscles, not just those below the neck.

Pretty soon, people started complimenting her “glow,” and she realized there must be something more going on. Takatsu is now famous in the skin care industry, with hundreds of satisfied clients and testimonials. Those who implement her method swear by her results and happily showcase their before-and-after photos.

How to Make Face Yoga Work for You

A woman performing face yoga outside.

Like any other exercise routine, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start practicing face yoga:

  • Keep it consistent: This is key. Do your face yoga routine at least daily or twice a day, if possible. First thing in the morning and once in the evening would be a good plan.
  • Keep it short: Your face yoga routine doesn’t have to take forever. Choose four or five different exercises and perform them for about 30 seconds each.
  • Make it part of your skin care routine: If you already have an established routine, do face yoga before you apply your morning moisturizer and evening serums. If you also use a jade roller, even better! This will make it easier to get in the habit of doing face exercises.
  • Perform face yoga in the mirror: While you’re still learning, it might be beneficial to watch yourself, so you can see which muscles you’re moving, and whether you’re performing specific actions symmetrically.
  • Don’t underestimate how challenging it is: Some facial yoga exercises might initially seem silly, but learning how to do them properly will have you struggling, or even holding your breath, as you work hard to hold a pose. Our faces have many little muscles that are hard to find, isolate, and target. But, like anything, practice makes perfect.

How to Do Face Yoga

If this is the first you’ve heard of face yoga, you’re most likely searching online and finding scores of images showing different exercises. Look no further! Here are some easy poses specifically for beginners.

These movements will help you get warmed up and teach you how to isolate your face muscles and move them with intention.

The Forehead Move

A woman doing the forehead face yoga move.
Lena Nester/Shutterstock

This pose is meant to instantly calm you down and cause your brow and forehead muscles to relax. Place your palms on your forehead so that your fingers are touching.

Then, turn them slightly downward to create a V-shape toward the space between your brows, and then gently start pulling up.

Take deep breaths, then stay in this pose for at least 10 seconds. On your last exhale, allow your palms to slide sideways down your face toward your chin, and then intentionally drop your shoulders.

Repeat this two or three times.

The “O” Pose

The “O” pose is the simplest face yoga exercise to do. It stimulates your entire face and drastically improves blood flow. To start, drop your jaw, just as you would if you were getting ready to yawn and create an “O shape” with your mouth. Rest your upper lip on your top teeth.

Without moving your forehead, gaze upward and hold for 10 seconds. Then, place your fingers on your cheeks and smile to relax.

Repeat two or three times.

Cheek Sculpting

This pose stretches and tones your cheeks by isolating them as much as possible.

To do it, first, purse your lips, 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 upward toward the tops of your cheeks and hold for 10-20 seconds.

Repeat two or three times.

Eye Toning

A woman using the "C' eye face yoga pose.
Tatyana Dzemileva/Shutterstock.com

For most of us, the first signs of stress and fatigue start to appear around the eyes. That delicate under-eye 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 not moving any other part of your face, especially your forehead.

To start, just bring your hand to your face and curl it into a “C” shape. Position your index fingers above your eyebrows 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 this pose for five seconds, while still pressing your index finger firmly into your eyebrow, but make sure your eyebrow and forehead don’t move. Squint your eyes three to five times, then close them and relax for a few seconds.

Repeat two to three times, and then do it all on the other side.

Lip Collagen Booster

A woman using the tongue roll face yoga pose to boost collagen in her lips.
Tatyana Dzemileva/Shutterstock.com

We all lose collagen in our skin and lips as we age, which causes our lips thin out. This pose stimulates the lip barrier, creating naturally fuller, plumper lips.

Start by placing your index fingers on the corners of your mouth. Create a big smile, showing your entire row of front teeth. Check in the mirror to make sure the corners of your mouth are at the same level.

Then, slightly curl up your tongue and take five seconds to slowly move it to one side, then another five seconds to move it to the other side.

Repeat this two or three times.

If you’ve been looking for new ways to tackle fine lines and wrinkles (or prevent them from appearing in the first place), try adding some face yoga to your daily skin care routine. You’ll likely discover that it works even better than those expensive creams and serums.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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