If the years are starting to take their toll on your once flawless visage, there may yet be a way to turn back the clock, before turning to Botox injections and other cosmetic procedures. It’s called face yoga and is apparently allows practitioners to control the way their face ages.
Face yoga was developed by Annelise Hagen, who calls is the ultimate face-lift. The New York yoga instructor says her technique is meant to be a natural alternative to Botox and cosmetic procedures, which cost Americans billions of dollars every year. She started working on her unique set of facial exercises after she learned her students, most of them well-educated professionals, were practicing yoga, but also getting Botox shots during their lunch breaks to hide their wrinkles. Hagen just didn’t feel that was in the spirit of yoga, so she decided to create a proper alternative. Based on the premise that, like any other muscles in the human body, facial muscles need exercise to stay toned, face yoga offers a range of exercises to help people looking younger for longer. And the best part, face yoga poses, like Smiling Fish (purse your lips and smile slightly), the Marilyn (blow kisses while keeping your forehead smooth) and the Satchmo (puff out your face and transfer air from cheek to cheek), also give you a chance to act silly and release accumulated tension.
But while face yoga may look as simple as making funny faces, Annelise Hagen says there’s actually a technique to it. “If you just made weird squirmy faces randomly you’d get more wrinkles,” she said in an interview with Good Morning America. “We’re trying to tone and lift the muscles of the face. It’s been scientifically proven that the muscular activity helps to prolong the production of collagen and elastin, which makes your face firm and springy.” Through repetition and resistance, face yoga practitioners can be proactive when it comes to aging and thus won’t have to worry about damage control in the future. There’s no need for Botox, according to Hagen, as this unique type of yoga gives people better results.
But face yoga does have its critics. Some yoga experts, like Rodney Yee, claim that while relaxing your face is an important part of yoga, saying it’s the same as a face lift is just commercialism. “That is the antithesis of yoga, pretending to be something that you’re not,” Yee told Gayam Life, back in 2007. “There is a beauty in becoming older.” Dermatologists also warn that good form is required to practice face yoga. Although it tones facial muscles, if someone unprepared would do some weird face contortions, they could spasm and even do permanent damage.
Whether it makes people look younger or not, it’s clear to see why everyone enjoys it so much. “You make a lot of funny faces at your neighbor or at yourself in the mirror. And we have a good time.” yoga instructor Jan O”Connell said, and Annelise Hagen adds that “it’s kind of cathartic for people to be in a room making ridiculous faces and laughing.” So even if it doesn’t smooth out all your wrinkles, at least it will make you feel like a kid again.