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The Wrinkle-Reducing Yoga Trend You Need to Know About

Pretty much everyone would love to be forever young, but unfortunately, time does not stand still and neither does your age. With age comes many changes in your body, including those much-dreaded wrinkles. Yes, there are temporary solutions like botox, but it’s expensive and not accessible to everyone. What is? Well, have we mentioned face yoga?

What the heck is face yoga?

Face yoga is not entirely new, but the world was reintroduced to it when the Kardashians tried it on their show back in May. And usually, when the Kardashians try something, the rest of the world follow suit. You’re probably wondering what exactly face yoga is. According to Health, it’s pretty simple – it basically consists of making a series of faces to help tone and relax the muscles and create a slimmer, younger complexion. Think of the faces you used to make at your siblings when they annoyed you – it’s pretty much the same.

How does it work?

Face yoga originated in Japan. Koko Hayashi, the founder of Face Yoga With Koko and also the Kardashians‘ face yoga instructor, explains that face yoga consists of two different types of exercises. Firstly, there are poses that wake up the “sleeping muscles” in the face. Sleeping muscles are found in areas of your face that you don’t constantly use, like the area underneath your lower eyelids and cheeks. Then there are the “overworked muscles”. You guessed it – those are the muscles in your face that basically work 24/7. These muscles are located on your forehead, between your eyebrows, and around your mouth. Poses that wake up the sleeping muscles will help to lift your face, while poses that work the overworked muscles will help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles – no botox needed.

Hayashi says that tense muscles are the main cause of wrinkles:

“When we keep doing the same face over and over, the muscle becomes tense, which shows us wrinkles. I teach how to relax and tone the right muscles to help get rid of the appearance of wrinkles.”

Science actually backs it up

You’re probably wondering if there’s any science to back up this miracle worker. Well, as it turns out, there is. According to Science Alert, a small study has been done on face yoga by the Northern University in Illinois. The study showed that by doing face yoga for 30 minutes a day, it is indeed possible to lift the cheek areas and make you look younger. Lead author Murad Alam, who is a dermatologist from Northern University, says that the exercises face yoga consists of help to enlarge and strengthen the facial muscles. This means that the face becomes firmer and more toned, which in turn changes the shape a bit to make you look younger.

Even though this was a proof-of-concept study consisting of only 16 people who completed a full 20-week program, all the participants showed some results. To fully prove that this works, however, a larger and more controlled study needs to be done. The 16 participants in the small study underwent two face-to-face training sessions of 90 minutes. In the 20 weeks that followed, they continued the exercises at home. For the first eight weeks, they did the exercises every day for 30 minutes. After that, they did the exercises every other day.

The study found that face yoga does indeed change your appearance

The change in the participants’ faces was documented by photographs, and at the end of the study, dermatologists studied those photographs using a standardized facial aging scale. After studying the before and after pictures, they found that the patients rated to be 50.8 years on average had dropped to the average age of 48.1 after doing the exercises for 20 weeks. According to Alam, that is almost a three-year decrease in age appearance, all from just doing face yoga for 20 weeks. She added that the biggest changes could be spotted in the participants’ upper and lower cheek fullness.

It is believed that by doing face yoga and strengthening the muscles in the face like you do your body with normal yoga will lead to your face becoming more firm and toned, just like your body does when you exercise it regularly. It’s simple and pretty easy. It almost seems too good to be true, but those who conducted the study are positive that a larger study will confirm the smaller one’s findings. Now you really don’t have an excuse not to try it for yourself.

How do face yoga classes work?

The cool thing about face yoga classes is that it doesn’t usually include the instructor touching your face. For people who hate it when other people touch them, this is the perfect kind of class to take. Hayashi says that she would occasionally massage a specific part of a client’s face if it is a one-on-one session, but this kind of yoga really requires you to do all of the work by yourself. What’s even cooler is that a face yoga class typically “flows” through movements much like a normal yoga class – there’s a warm-up after which the stretching of the muscles take place.

You won’t easily get bored with these kinds of classes either – there are dozens of movements to try out, just like in typical yoga. Hayashi uses movements like raising the eyebrows, puckering the lips, sticking out the tongue, and puffing up the cheeks. She custom-designs classes for the specific areas her clients want to fix on their faces, but there are tons of movements you can try out for free on her YouTube channel.

Not all classes are the same

Hayashi says not to be fooled by what she taught the Kardashians on their show – she was showing off some of the extra dramatic moves with them for TV purposes. She would, for example, not usually ask people to make sounds while doing the movements in a one-on-one session. She does, however, tend to do so when she is teaching a bigger group of people. Making noises is more fun when you’re in a group setting and it also helps to create bigger movements, thus giving those muscles an extra stretch.

As with all yoga, practice makes perfect

Hayashi says that, just as with normal yoga, people need to be patient with the results. Face yoga is in no way a quick fix – it requires that you do it on a regular basis. If you’re committed to it, you will likely see results in a couple of weeks or months – it all depends on how often you do it. If you’re already an avid yogi, you know the drill – a little every day is worth much more than a lot once in a while.

On to the next question: How much face yoga should you be squeezing into your daily routine? Hayashi says that the best way to practice it is to do it in small, three minute sessions a few times throughout your day. The number of times all depend on you.

You can do it anytime, anywhere – no excuses

The greatest thing about face yoga is probably the fact that you can do it anytime, anywhere. Well, perhaps you shouldn’t do it while in a waiting room full of people, or while commuting to work – people might be slightly freaked out if they don’t know what you’re doing, but hey, YOLO. Let us know their reactions if you end up doing it.

Something else that’s really great about this exercise is that you don’t need a gym membership for it, in fact, you don’t have to spend a dime on it. As mentioned before, Hayashi has a YouTube channel full of tutorial videos on how to do face yoga – all you have to do is take some time out of your day to do them and pretty soon, you’ll look like a total god or goddess. Imagine that amazing feeling when people ask you what you’ve been doing to get that flawless, wrinkle-free face and you can simply smile and say, “It’s all in the yoga. It turns out that ‘just stretching’ really does work miracles.”

Over to you: Have you tried face yoga? Are you eager to try it? Tell us in the comments!

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