The art of face yoga poses has been practised and revered since ancient times. In India, it was a tradition passed down generations as a combination of philosophy, mental wellbeing, spirituality, and physical fitness. Yoga connects the trinity of mind-body-spirit, allowing you to access your thoughts and senses with clarity. It renews strength in the muscles, improves posture, and increases blood circulation. But did you know that the magic of yoga is not just limited to your body? Recently, yoga for the face has been particularly popular. Face yoga consists of simple, quick, and relaxing exercises that affect both the appearance and vitality of your facial structure. Today, we are going to tell you a little bit about the benefits of face yoga and introduce you to a few poses that you can try at home! What is face yoga? Face yoga is a set of techniques that target facial muscles, skin, and the tension stored within. It can also extend beyond the face, with specific messages for the jaw, neck, and even the shoulders! Like body yoga, it recognizes the link between the internal and external. It works to alleviate the strain both physically and mentally. These exercises can be directed towards reducing wrinkles, frown lines, sagging eyes, etc. They can also relieve inner stress and exhaustion, renewing your energy and making you feel much lighter. Daniel Collins, who invented the Daniels Collins Face Yoga Method, states on her website that face yoga mainly consists of five techniques: face exercise, face massage, acupressure, relaxation, and wellbeing. Of course, face yoga must be combined with an overall healthier lifestyle, such as a well-balanced diet, sufficient exercise, proper rest, indulging in safe hobbies, and practising mental healthcare. When this is done, you will feel much closer to peace and happiness. Benefits of face yoga There are endless benefits of face yoga exercises. Here are a few of them: 1. It can tone facial muscles, make your face more symmetrical and reduce sagging areas. 2. It improves blood circulation, revitalizes your senses, and brings forth a burst of pleasant feelings. 3. It can make your jawline firmer and reduce stiffness. 4. It can promote healthy breathing through your nostrils. 5. It can relax you mentally, emotionally, and physically. Doing facial yoga can make you feel more in control of your body and more aware of the little movements of your facial muscles. These are the muscles that allow you to see, taste, smell, hear and experience touch. These are the muscles that allow you to smile and laugh. Face yoga exercises can make you feel more connected to them. Of course, there is nothing wrong with aging lines, rounder face shapes, etc. Face yoga is not a way to ‘better’ you. Its physical effects are only an option for those who want them. After all, here are different ways of being comfortable in your skin. If you don’t want to change any features on your face, then you can just access it for its mental and emotional benefits. 5 Face yoga exercises If you are now in awe of the benefits of yoga and are feeling ready to just dive into it, then know that you can start right away. Koko Hayashi, a face yoga expert, says that facial posture is as important as the actual exercises. The position of your tongue and tongue when your face is at rest or a habit of furrowing your forehead idly can all have a lasting effect. Thus, generally taking care of your face and relaxing is a pre-step to face yoga. Before doing the actual poses, you can start with a quick warm up. You can try vibrating your lips and cheeks to relax your facial muscles. You can also open and close your jaw, move your eyes vertically and horizontally, etc. This is just to get your face ready for the face yoga poses!. Once you are prepared, you can try any of the following 5 face yoga exercises! 1. Forehead Circles Let’s start with your forehead, which is often the place where a lot of tension is located. You can release this tension in the following steps: Make fists with your hands and place them on the centre of your forehead. Then softly press into your forehead and keep moving your hands sideways, towards your temples. Release and continue this motion for about 30 seconds. Forehead and eye strain can be caused by long hours of staring at the screen, lack of sleep, etc. So make sure to incorporate self-care habits along with the massaging! 2. Eye Workout Let’s move down to the eyes and set them in motion. Eyes can often be sites of strain due to being fixed in one spot for long periods. With this workout, not only will your eye muscles relax, but also reduce puffiness! Place your palm on your forehead Look upwards, without moving your forehead muscles. Then, look downwards. Make sure to do all these movements using just your eye muscles. Repeat this a few times. Next, still keeping your hand on your forehead, look at one side. Then, look at the other side. Repeat this a few times. Then, open your eyes as wide as possible. Hold for one deep breath and then release. Remember to incorporate this with general eye care, such as eating foods beneficial for sight, moving your eyes around, not straining them in low lighting, getting regular eye check-ups, etc. 3. Ears Pull-ups Let’s move to the ears. The ears are a site often ignored since they are located at the very ends of the face. However, our ears can also benefit from massaging and relaxing. Especially these days, our ears are often strained under constant earphone or headphone use. It is important to allow them to breathe as well. Hold your earlobes gently and pull them downwards. Maintain this pose for 30 seconds. Then, pull your earlobes outwards carefully. Hold this pose for 30 seconds. With your fingers, rotate your earlobes clockwise for 30 seconds. Then move them anticlockwise for 30 seconds. Release and relax afterward. Incorporate this gentle exercise with ear care such as listening to music at a lower volume, not putting unsafe objects inside for cleaning purposes, etc. 4. Smiling Lips Let’s move onto the lips. The lips are indicators of the body’s health. For example, if your body is dehydrated and tired, it will reflect on your lips. Your lips are also the locus of your smile. This is where happiness blooms on your face. And this particular exercise — dubbed ‘The Yummy Face’ by famous face yoga practitioner, Fumiko Takatsu — utilizes just that power of your smile! Put one fingertip at each corner of your mouth. Smile slowly, revealing your front teeth. Ensure that both corners of your mouth are at the same level. Stick your tongue out, slightly curled. Move it one side slowly, taking around 5 seconds. Then, move it to the other side the same way, Repeat this a couple of times for around 30 seconds, making sure to breathe properly along with it. Along with this exercise, it is also important to incorporate proper lip care, such as drinking enough water, moisturizing your lips, using safe products, etc. Most importantly, make sure to keep smiling widely! 5. Relaxed Jaw Finally, let’s work on the jaw. The jaw is the supporting structure of your face, especially your mouth. It can often grow tense due to constant clenching of teeth or improper posture. Thus, it is important to relieve the stress stored inside it. Being seated, put your fist against the outside of the jaw with the thumb pointing downwards. Without moving your hand, turn your head towards your fist. This should make you feel a stretch on the side of your neck. Next, press your jaw into your hand for a few seconds. Softly release and then repeat again. Along with this, make sure to incorporate proper jaw and neck care, such as having a comfortable posture while sleeping and working, resolving the stress which leads to gritted teeth, other exercises, etc. Things to remember It is not enough to know face yoga poses if they are not done with proper care. When doing face yoga, make sure to breathe properly throughout all the steps. Maintain a straight posture and keep your chest open. Remember to always be gentle with your face during the exercise. Don’t aggressively push or pull your skin. Ensure that your nails scrape or hurt your case. Face yoga doesn’t require lots of force. Rather, it focuses on carefully working on target spots. Also, make sure that your hands are clean before they touch your face. Any dust, dirt, oil, etc. on your hands can transfer to your skin and affect it negatively. So, maintain thorough hygiene while practising the massages and exercises. Most importantly, follow the correct exercises that have well-demonstrated steps. Using incorrect methods could have the opposite effect, such as causing wrinkles over time. You can also always consult your dermatologist to enquire about which exercises would be the safest for you and your face. Diving face first into self-care Notice how any exercise or health-related routine boils down to self-care? That is because self-care is the basis of everything. It is what motivates you to go forward, it is what lets you heal when the world collapses around you. It is what lets you inhabit the space of your body without shame or guilt. We do the things we do so that we can look after ourselves, in whichever way. Face yoga is only one such way, out of a billion others. If you would rather move onto something that fits you more, then you can do that, too. Self-care is a lifelong journey and we walk away from that road every so often. That doesn’t mean we are lazy, or bad. It only means that we will learn to do things a bit differently next time. That we will grow into a happier, healthiest, healing version of ourselves.