Standing on London’s famous Harley Street, I’m excited. I’m here to try face yoga, with the promise of a fresher, brighter complexion and a more toned visage.
A combination of facial exercises, massage, acupressure and relaxation, face yoga is a favourite of Meghan Markle. It may sound a little strange, but it’s effectiveness has been backed up by scientists – a recent study by researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago revealed it can knock two years off your face.
My teacher is the world-leading face yoga expert Danielle Collins, who believes if we exercise our bodies, why not our faces? With her fresh, line-free complexion she’s basically a walking advert for the practice.
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After a short questionnaire and a chat on what I hope to achieve from the session – a more relaxed and youth-defying face, please, and no more frown lines – we start.
To become more ‘face aware’, I close my eyes, breathe deeply and notice how my face (from my forehead to my neck) feels. Tired and tense is the overriding feeling. But, hopefully, not for long...
Face yoga: The Owl
First, forehead toning - aka The Owl exercise. Placing my index fingers on my brow and pulling down, I try to raise my eyebrows and open my eyes wide. It’s trickier than it sounds – all I want to do is wrinkle my forehead. Danielle recommends looking in a mirror to help perfect the movements.
Face Yoga: Forehead Tightener
The Owl is followed by the Forehead Tightener. ‘Both exercises strengthen the big muscle at the front of your forehead,’ says Danielle. They’re also designed to reduce and prevent wrinkles – goodbye dreaded frown lines. Finally, I smooth away the day’s stresses by sweeping my fingertips across my forehead.
Face Yoga: Circle the Eyes
Next, my eyes. With the promise of reducing crow’s feet, and getting rid of dark circles and puffiness, I flutter my eyelashes for 30 seconds, shift my eyes up and down and side to side without moving my neck, and tap gently around my eyes. This move ‘helps bring blood, nutrients and oxygen to the skin’s surface and eliminates fluid build-up,’ explains Danielle.
Face Yoga: Hamster Cheers & Puffer Fish
Moving down my face, I perform Hamster Cheeks, passing air from side to side, then I do the Puffer Fish – puffing both cheeks out and tapping them – and Cheek Pinching. I probably look ridiculous, but I don’t care, as long as they lift, tighten and make me glow.
Face Yoga: Jaw pinching
I end the session with jaw pinching (great for toning), neck strengthening and lengthening exercises, and a final relaxing acupressure point on my temple.
Face yoga: the verdict
I’m exhausted. This isn’t called face yoga for nothing – I feel like my face has had a full-on gym sesh. But my cheeks look rosier – it must be all that pinching – and the tension in my jaw and head has subsided. If I manage to keep my routine up – even for five minutes a day – I could expect a more youthful, less frowny face in just two weeks. Those scientists were definitely onto something.
Want more? Check out Danielle's guide to four face yoga exercises you can do at your desk below...
Natalia is a health and fitness journalist who has written for the likes of Woman & Home and Marie Claire, and likes to practice what she preaches when it comes to staying fit and well. She loves the outdoors and would happily swap the treadmill for the trail at any opportunity. As such, in her free time you'll likely find her up a mountain somewhere. She has hiked eight of the major mountain ranges across four continents, including the Appalachians, the Smokies, the Sierra Nevadas (where she hiked to the top of Half Dome during her honeymoon) and the Atlas Mountains, as well hitting the summits of Snowdon and Pen-Y-Fan (Brecon Beacons), Table Mountain in South Africa and the Blue Mountains in Australia. She was also a fencer for 13 years, wielding an epée for Team GB during her teenage years. Having recently welcomed a baby, Natalia is currently getting back into her fitness routine, and has her sights set on completing a triathlon, something she and her husband started out on before their bundle of joy arrived.
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