I personally question anything having to do with the face that has to do with repetitive movement are we just creating wrinkles in different places? Such as sucking on a straw, smoking a cigarette, squinting from the sun. Yes, we are stretching and strengthening the numerous muscles of the face that I can definitely agree upon when doing facial exercises or facial yoga. To me the jury is still out on whether or not facial exercises or yoga works. I do believe that facial massage is fabulous!!!
I will let you decide for yourself!
We know the ‘lotus’ and the ‘downward-facing dog’ – but there’s a new set of yoga poses in town. Could you manage ‘the owl’? How about ‘the puffer fish’?
Face yoga is the beauty trend of the moment. Fans say it can smooth wrinkles, firm jawlines and create a healthy glow, as well as easing eye strain and headaches.
Fresh-faced stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston are said to use it as a weapon in their anti-ageing armoury.
The UK’s foremost ‘face yoga’ practitioner is Danielle Collins – and Julia Anastasiou is her first UK ‘face yoga Super Trainer’. For £65 an hour, Julia will teach you a 20-minute programme that she says can change your face for ever.
The exercises are designed to be carried out six times a week and, she claims, can yield results in only seven days. Devotees say it can knock up to five years off your face – and that it’s better than Botox.
The 18 separate facial poses can be done either in one sitting or manageable chunks. I might, for example, have time for a ‘tongue twister’ while sitting in traffic, but leave the more challenging ‘giraffe’ for the privacy of my own bathroom.
The theory is that the skin is tightened as the facial muscles are toned through specific movements.
This also encourages the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin elastic and gives it a plump, youthful feel.
Julia believes face yoga is growing in popularity because of the risks associated with Botox and fillers, and the fear of puffiness which can be caused by these treatments.
‘Face yoga will give you the perkiness you might associate with cosmetic procedures, but it won’t stop you looking like you,’ she says.
Other yoga aficionados, however, are sceptical. James Muthana, founder of yoga instruction company YogaAt.com, says it lacks ‘the breathing elements or the sense of presence and greater awareness which you get with yoga’.
So can face yoga give me an ‘all-natural face lift’?
Before we begin, Julia points out that although you’re using your fingers like gym weights to push down your muscles, you have to be gentle, as the skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body.
Also, most of the 57 muscles in the face and neck are small and don’t need to be yanked too much to see a result.
We start with ‘the owl’ – one of the hardest exercises. While making two ‘c’ shapes with my fingers around my eyes, I must relax my forehead and open my eyes wide.
I find myself either squinting to smooth my forehead or wrinkling my forehead to raise my eyes.
We move on to ‘flirty eyes’. While covering my teeth with my lips, I form my mouth into an ‘O’ shape. Then I am told to place my index fingers horizontally under my eyes.
In this position, I am told to flutter my upper eyelids and lashes. For 30 seconds. I have rarely felt this ridiculous.
There are a few exercises in the 18-step programme that I’m sure I remember my grandmother doing: pinching the apples of the cheeks or along the jawline towards your ears (‘rosy cheeks’ and ‘jaw toner’).
I make it to the final relaxation step: gently tap your fingers all over your face, then finish with a deep breath.
Do I feel younger and more invigorated? I’m certainly flushed – but that may be because I haven’t been so embarrassed in a while.
So can facial contortions stop the ageing process? I’ll have to get back to you on that in a few years.
A week of practice hasn’t made a visible difference to my skin.
Meanwhile, if you spot women blowing kisses to heaven, or grimacing like mad hatters in their cars, then you’ll know face yoga has reached your neighbourhood.