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What Are Facial Yoga Exercises and How to Do Them

An image of a woman doing Facial yoga exercisesFacial yoga exercises are natural exercises that anyone can do from the comfort of their own home. While the science behind whether or not facial yoga can replace botox is still somewhat inconclusive, the trend is quickly receiving backing from countless celebrities and social media influencers. It also has other purported benefits, such as reducing headaches and stress. This article will explore what facial yoga exercises are and how to implement them today.

What Are Facial Yoga Exercises?

Facial yoga exercises are exercises and stretches that focus on the muscles in your face. Similar to how yoga for the body asks you to position yourself into different poses, face yoga asks you to stretch your face through different facial expressions.

Facial yoga does not just target your face; it also incorporates stretching and massages for your neck and shoulders as well. Face yoga incorporates a holistic combination of stretching, massages, relaxation, and acupressure techniques when done correctly.

Our daily lives can be pretty stressful, and we face numerous triggers, whether they be relationships, finances, work, or even a global pandemic. And many of us hold a majority of this strain in our face and neck, which builds muscle memory and can lead to wrinkles. It is very easy to overload the same muscles on our face, making facial yoga exercises a vital practice to release this tension. It may even result in face-lifting effects.

What Are the Benefits of Facial Yoga?

Facial yoga exercises offer more health benefits than just tightening up your face. The science behind face yoga slimming your jawline is still relatively inconclusive. Still, it has developed a significant backing over the years.

The most widely argued benefit across the limited research conducted is that face yoga can improve your facial structure. Proponents say that through a dedicated face yoga regime, you will see the following benefits:

  • Improved mid-face and lower-face fullness.
  • Enhanced upper and lower-cheek fullness.
  • A more youthful appearance.
  • Increased blood flow to your facial muscles giving off “a glow.”
  • Reduces the appearance of scars.

In addition to the visual benefits, there are claims that face yoga also offers:

  • Improved control of your face muscles
  • Treats pain from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.
  • May reduce the effects of hemifacial spasms.
  • May reduce the effects of Bell’s palsy.

Others claim face yoga can reduce stress, help drain lymph from your head and neck, and reduce the tension associated with headaches.

Although numerous proponents of these benefits exist, more research is required to validate these claims.

Potential Risks of Face Yoga

If your primary purpose in beginning facial yoga exercises is to reduce the appearance of aging, be warned that facial yoga can actually be counter-intuitive and lead to more wrinkles. Some experts argue that face yoga may actually promote more wrinkles such as crow’s feet, laugh lines, and forehead wrinkles. Constant “scrunching” and other repetitive facial expressions are widely believed to cause wrinkles. With the premise of facial yoga exercises being to stretch and manipulate your facial expressions routinely, some argue that this may even accelerate the appearance of aging.

An image of a woman touching her faceIf you have problem spots with wrinkles you are trying to reduce, you may want to be careful to choose facial yoga postures that do not recreate those wrinkles.

If you struggle with acne, facial yoga may not be for you as you do not want to add more oils to your face. A key component of facial yoga exercises incorporates facial massage. If you deal with acne, touching your face may leave your pours vulnerable to added oils, dirt, and outside agents that could increase the severity of your acne.

Face Yoga and Stress

While many are interested in facial yoga for its purported ability to improve the youthful appearance of skin, its original purpose as part of a yoga routine was to reduce stress. Stress is ubiquitous in the modern world, and can lead to many chronic health problems.

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is a chronic condition where the body’s stress response cannot keep up with daily stressors. If you have not heard of AFS before, don’t be alarmed, adrenal fatigue is widely regarded as a sub-clinical syndrome or one that is not recognized by conventional medicine. Do not be surprised if your primary care provider has not heard of AFS, because it is not seen as a medical condition; not all doctors know how to diagnose or treat it.

If you think you may have AFS or want to learn more, read this article: Fundamentals of Adrenal Fatigue.

Since chronic stress causes AFS, facial yoga exercises may help combat the effects. Your body’s primary method of combating stress relies on organs and systems organized into the six circuits of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response. These circuits work together to reduce the impact of stress on your body.

The best way to reduce the effects of AFS is to remove the stressors. Unfortunately, without reducing or eliminating the stressor, you will continue to feel the symptoms associated with AFS. Facial yoga exercises assist in relaxing the body to minimize the impact stressors have on the body.

Take note that if you struggle with your physical appearance, facial yoga may actually increase stress. While face yoga may reduce stress in some, this is not the case for those who may be prone to acne or increased development of wrinkles. If you battle positive body image, please consult your health care provider for other methods to reduce stress.

How to Do Facial Yoga Exercises

Face yoga is simple and easily done from the comfort of your home. If you are interested and want to try it, here are three excellent exercises and how to do them. These exercises should be done daily for the best effects.

1. The Brow Smoother

This exercise eases the tension of the frontalis muscle, the largest muscle in the forehead. This muscle is often considered the most overused facial muscle and can lead to tension, stiffness, and increased stress. Regularly complete this exercise to help reduce stress.

  • Start by placing your fingertips at the center of your forehead.
  • Gently apply pressure to your forehead as you slowly move your fingertips outward toward your temples.
  • Release the pressure and repeat.
  • Continue this exercise for at least 30 seconds.

2. Lion’s Breath

An image of women in a yoga class doing the Lion’s breath poseLion’s breath is also often referred to as Lion’s Pose - it is a breathing exercise that reduces stress and eases tension on your facial muscles. This breathing exercise is perfect for those with AFS.

  • Assume a seated position and lean forward to place your hands on your knees or the floor.
  • Take a large breath inhaling through your nose.
  • Open your mouth as wide as you can, stick out your tongue, and stretch your tongue as close to your chin as you can.
  • Exhale your breath out while maintaining your tongue's position and make a “ha” sound.
  • Relax and continue to breathe normally.
  • Repeat this exercise over the course of one to three minutes.

3. Temple Developer

This exercise eases the tension placed on your temples. The temples are another facial region that holds a significant amount of strain; focus on this area regularly to help reduce stress.

  • Close your jaw and press your fingertips into your temples.
  • Clench your teeth and tilt your chin up.
  • While clenching your teeth, begin to push your fingertips back toward your ears.
  • Hold this pressure for 10 seconds.
  • Release your fingertips and clench your teeth for 10 more seconds.
  • Ensure your temple muscles flex each time you clench your teeth.
  • Repeat this exercise three times.

If you decide you need a little more structure to your facial yoga routine, there are a number of classes in person and online.

The Bottom Line

Are facial yoga exercises worthwhile? The science behind face yoga is still unexplored. While more research is required, there is a growing fanbase for this self-care trend.

If you have AFS, or if you are interested in facial yoga exercises for the impact it may have on your facial features, here are a few things to consider:

  • The claims that facial yoga exercises reduce the effects of aging or wrinkles are disputed.
  • Several camps believe facial yoga can help combat TMJ, hemifacial spasm, and bell’s palsy.
  • Facial yoga is easy to do in the comfort of your own home.
  • Our top three exercises to try are the brow smoother, the lion’s breath, and the temple developer.

Whether you decide to try face yoga or not, please ensure you consult your primary health care provider first. Your doctor can assess any potential benefits or causes for concern before you introduce any new exercises.

If you would like more information on facial yoga in terms of reducing stress, AFS, or the NEM, the team at Dr. Lam Coaching is happy to help. We offer a free, no obligation phone consultation at +1 (626) 571-1234. We will confidentially discuss any concerns that you may have and provide various options to help alleviate these concerns. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor System here.

© Copyright 2022 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

While many claim that facial yoga exercises leave them looking younger, it is actually designed for stress. These exercises are intended to soften the facial muscles associated with stress, anxiety, and tension. The softening of these muscles may also result in easing the development of wrinkles.

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