Have you ever heard of facial yoga? No, me neither, until last week when I was kindly invited to a session with facial yoga extraordinaire, Susan Baxter.
I have to admit, I didn’t think my first yoga post would be quite this kooky. But a quick Google search revealed that Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow are big fans of facial yoga, so I simply had to give it a go!
Susan explained that, just like any other part of your body, your face is made up of muscles underneath the skin. The practise of facial yoga involves performing exercises which aim to tighten the muscles to create a more youthful appearance. She claimed that you could achieve sculpted cheekbones, plumped up lips and a smooth forehead, simply by following this routine. Hannah Kardashian, here I come!
When I was younger, I do have a memory of my Mum doing facial exercises in the morning to prevent getting a double chin. But since then, the idea has left my memory and I haven’t thought of it since.
According to Susan, who has been trained by Danielle Collins a facial yoga pioneer, because the muscles in your face are smaller than anywhere else in the body, the results are noticeable more quickly compared to exercising any other part of the body.
The best part about this is you don’t need any equipment, as you can perform the exercises almost anywhere, although you don’t really want anyone to see you because the faces you have to pull are hilarious. Spoiler alert: since the session, I’ve taken to doing mine every time I go to the loo at work!
I won’t run you through all of the exercises that we learnt, but I’ll mention a few that particularly stood out to me – mainly because they made Beky and me laugh so much while we were doing them.
Basically a brow lift – place your index finger under each eye, pointing towards the nose. Hide your teeth and tease the top lip and bottom lip away from each other at the the mouth. Flutter your upper eyelids while gazing at the ceiling for 30 seconds.
Not sure why this is called flirty eyes because it makes you look possessed. But you could feel it working, in between laughs!
Great for smoothing out lines and saggy necks and jowls (which I am definitely going to get)
Looking straight ahead, place your fingertips at the bottom of the neck and lightly stroke the skin downwards with the head tilted back. Bring the head back down to the chest and repeat twice more. Finally, jut the lower lip out as far as possible to pull the corners of the mouth down and place fingertips on the collarbone with the chin pointed upwards. Hold for four deep breaths.
Hamster Cheeks – Puffer Fish
Apparently this accentuates your cheekbones and brings a healthy glow to the skin. I have hamster cheeks anyway, so I am especially keen to continue with this one to see if it makes my face look thinner.
Inflate your mouth with air and move it from side to side for 30 seconds. Then blow your cheeks back up and gently tap your fingers on either side
Susan’s class was very enjoyable and relaxing, Beky and I felt so zen that we even skipped our planned run (which may have happened anyway to be honest…) and Susan includes guided meditation at the end of every class.
HOWEVER if we can perform simple exercises that counteract lines, wrinkles and – my impending future – jowls, then why isn’t everybody doing it? Leah Totten wouldn’t have a million pound cosmetic procedures business and everyone would look like they’d swapped their regular bottles of Evian in favour of pints from the Fountain of Youth!
I suppose practising these simple moves for 20 minutes everyday isn’t going to impact my life that much, in fact it would be a nice bedtime ritual, so for the time being I will try to keep it up and see if it makes a difference.
Susan’s class was very unique and interesting, so if you fancy trying something new then visit her at the Wonder Inn in Manchester on Thursday nights at 6pm.