With its rise in popularity, yoga has become a catch-all for different stretches and meditative exercises. From laughing yoga, where individuals incorporate laughing into their sequences, to more controversial practices such as beer yoga, practitioners have found plenty of ways to bring a bit of zen into their lives.
One of the key philosophies of yoga is to gain wellness and strength through mobilising the energies within our bodies. Though some disciplines, such as Iyengar yoga, invite different tools such as blocks and stretching belts, the fundamentals of yoga rely heavily on harvesting the body’s strength.
Much like practising sun salutations or ab curls, some yogis apply the same strengthening principles to the muscles in our face. Face yoga has gained interest over the years as beauty seekers look for alternative, natural ways to preserve their youthful features.
In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, subjects who performed a daily 30-minute face exercise saw improvements after 20 weeks. The study found the routine to ‘modestly improve the facial appearance of selected middle-aged women’. The study observed significant improvement in upper and lower cheek fullness in participants.
A certified facial exercise instructor provided training to participants in this 2018 study. Many approach the practice for the first time through online resources such as video tutorials, while platforms such as Fit Face provide training to those who want to become certified instructors.
Face yoga invites movement to the whole face, especially those we don’t tend to mobilise daily. For example, moving the upper lip as far as possible over the top lip is said to be helpful with firming the jawline.
Face exercise tools like Jade facial rollers and that funny Japanese gadget, as demoed by footballer Cristiano Ronaldo bobbing his head with what looks like two helicopter blades in his mouth, are geared toward working muscles that are usually dormant.
These exercises are cheap and risk-free ways to maintain youthfulness; as more people look for holistic and naturopathic approaches to keeping ageing at bay, face yoga might be the pain-free solution to battling wrinkles and sagging skin. Face yoga could be the natural alternative to injections and cosmetic procedures; 2021 research in South Korea found that the persistent practice of facial exercises positively impacts the skin’s elasticity.
Like most natural, non-invasive fitness approaches, one of the downsides to exercising the face as an alternative to beauty procedures is the lack of immediate gratification. For those who have the patience and persistence to incorporate the practice into their daily routine, it can take months to see visible results.
Also see: Chinese medicine practitioner shares herbal and acupressure remedies to manage alopecia and boost hair health