Face Yoga: What Is It, Benefits & 5 Poses For Beginners | mindbodygreen – mindbodygreen.com

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Did you know you can “tone” your face muscles? It’s true: In the hunt for youthful and healthy-looking skin, many swear by a daily face yoga practice to carve the cheekbones, similar to how a round of squats can strengthen those glutes. Plus, the exercise can give you a plump, radiant complexion, to boot; picture that post-workout glow, only it lingers way longer than your typical hot yoga class. 
It sounds too good to pass up. That’s why we tapped Fumiko Takatsu, face yoga instructor and founder of the Face Yoga Method, to break down all the details of the facial exercise (plus, a few beginner-friendly poses to try). Because your jawline deserves a little toning, too. 
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To put it simply, face yoga is a series of facial exercises, where you intentionally isolate and tone your face muscles. We all have these tiny, delicate muscles in our face that you might not even think twice about. Take your eye area, for instance: There are over 10 muscles around our eyes constantly squinting, smiling, and expressing. “The face has muscles, just like the body,” Takatsu explains. “So why not isolate and tone those muscles, relaxing the rest so you can get results?”
Of course, you move your face every day (smiling, chatting, and the like). But the kicker here is intention; like a yoga flow, you’re focusing on specific muscles, strengthening them as you isolate the movement. “So many muscles are all connected; you just have to know which muscles you’re using and how you want to move your muscles in a certain way.” 
Face yoga’s main praise is its effects on the skin’s appearance—namely, tightening the skin and keeping it plump. By stimulating the blood flow in your face, the circulation can spur the production of collagen (which as we know keeps your skin looking firm and taut) and delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. One 2018 study even found that the daily exercise could reduce signs of facial aging, with improvements especially in upper and lower cheek fullness. 
You might be thinking: Isn’t constantly moving your face what causes those wrinkles? And you’re right—we emote quite a bit throughout the day, making the face a vulnerable spot for fine lines. But by intentionally toning those facial muscles, you can promote blood circulation in the skin and actually help tighten the area. “You’re not causing any unwanted wrinkles because you’re controlling the movement,” says Takatsu.
Even more so, the practice helps you become aware of those unconscious expressions you might not think twice about (like, say, a furrowed brow as you slouch over your desk). “I truly believe 20% of the benefits is the exercise itself, but 80% of the results come from the fact that you’re paying attention to your facial expressions throughout the day,” Takatsu explains. “You catch yourself tightening your shoulders or tensing the forehead.” 
Before diving into the poses, here’s what you need to know:
Below, a beginner-friendly face yoga flow. As Takatsu advises, we’ll start with the bigger muscles first, then dive into the more delicate areas like the eyes and mouth. Friendly heads-up: During each pose, be sure to keep your posture straight, keep your chest open, and keep breathing. (It’s harder than it sounds!)   
For allover blood circulation, this is your go-to, simple pose.
This pose releases tension and tones the neck area. The neck and jaw are connected by the platysma muscle, says Takatsu, so this stretch can also tone your jawline as well. 
Takatsu calls this pose the “instant pick-me-up.” That’s because it doubles as a meditation, she explains, as you embrace the energy of your surroundings (great for a morning face yoga ritual).
To target the delicate under-eye area, this pose isolates the lower lid movement, as well as the forehead muscles. The key here, Takatsu says, is to try not to wrinkle your forehead.
As we know, our lips thin as we age due to a loss of collagen. This pose works to stimulate the lip barrier, for naturally full, plump lips.
Face yoga is actually quite similar to the other types of yoga—you’re toning the muscles, getting your blood flowing, and getting some meditation and breathwork in while you’re at it. And just like yoga, it may take a bit of practice before you finally get the hang of the exercise. But start with these five poses—just twice a day—and you might notice some changes in your complexion. Namaste. 
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Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.
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