The latest workout trend is giving Botox a run for its money: Face yoga is the way to up your asana game, no mat or block involved.
The practice, which originated in Japan, involves making a series of faces to help relax and tone muscles to create a slimmer, younger complexion. Koko Hayashi, founder of Face Yoga With Koko, explained that face yoga includes two different types of exercises: Poses that wake up “sleeping muscles” to lift the face, and poses that relax overworked muscles to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Sleeping muscles are located in areas like the lower eyelid and cheeks, whereas overworked muscles are located in the forehead, between the eyebrows, and around the mouth.
“When we keep doing the same face over and over, the muscle becomes tense, which shows us wrinkles,” Hayashi says. “I teach how to relax and tone the right muscles to help get rid of the appearance of wrinkles.”
Unlike a facial, face yoga doesn’t involve the instructor touching a student’s face. Occasionally during a one-on-one, Hayashi will massage a certain part of her client’s face at their request, but for the most part, face yoga involves the person working the face on their own. Hayashi says that a typical class “flows” through the movements like a full-body yoga class, which includes a warm-up and stretching.
There are dozens of movements that Hayashi uses in a typical class, including raising the eyebrows, puckering the lips, sticking out the tongue and puffing up the cheeks. Hayashi designs different routines based on the areas of the face her clients want to fix.
Hayashi said that the best practice for face yoga is to do it daily in small, three-minute sessions multiple times throughout the day.
“The best part about face yoga is that you can take it anywhere,” Hayashi adds. “You can do it at work or while walking your dog, which makes it easy to work into your daily routine.”
Most of the exercises involve making extreme facial expressions. For example, one face workout is to smile as wide as possible with your mouth closed. Simply hold the smile for a few seconds and repeat the process to see results. If you want to tackle a double chin, you can rotate your head while puckering your lips. This will cause some tension in your jaw muscles.