BLOG 226: 8 FACE YOGA TIPS TO TONE EACH AREA OF YOUR FACE TODAYJul 31, 2023
One of the things I love about face yoga is how versatile it is. You can choose to focus on a particular issue or a particular area of your face, or you can do a full-face routine that covers all the areas. It is much like body yoga in this way.
Of course, the more techniques you know the more you can pick and choose your own face yoga routine that meets your needs in that moment.
With that in mind, I’m sharing a variety of tips in this blog post to tone each area of your face. You can use them all together or mix and match them to suit the time you have available or what you need today.
What I generally suggest when you are developing your own face yoga routines is that you have certain core techniques that you use every time. It’s just like in a body yoga class where you might always have some sun salutes and always finish with savasana. Then, you can bring in other techniques to either address a specific area of the face or to work on a particular theme – e.g., energising, relaxing, toning, etc.
This approach works just as well for your own practice and for teaching face yoga to others.
And the techniques I’m sharing in today’s post are just the very tip of the iceberg – there are so many different face yoga techniques to learn. If this post inspires you and you’d like to learn more, the most thorough resource I offer is my face yoga teacher training course, so do take a look at that.
In the meantime, let’s get stuck into these 8 face yoga tips to tone each area of your face.
I always get questions about how to smooth forehead lines – it is such a common area to have concerns about and often one of the first areas where we start to notice lines appearing.
When we’re working with the forehead, we’re generally concentrating on the frontalis muscle, which is the big one that runs across the front of the forehead.
Most of us overuse this muscle when we’re expressing, and we also hold a lot of emotional tension in this area, especially when we’re feeling worried or stressed, or are concentrating.
Over time, this tension causes horizontal lines across the forehead. When we’re younger, we don’t get those lines because we have higher levels of collagen and elastin in the skin. But our levels of collagen and elastin decrease as we age, which is why we start to notice lines and wrinkles as we get older.
So, to prevent and reduce lines in the forehead area, we want to encourage the frontalis muscle to relax by using massage. This also encourages a good flow of energy – known as prana in yoga or qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine – and it increases blood circulation too.
There are lots of techniques you can use. I like to smooth out from the centre of the forehead with my fingertips or knuckles, or use my fingers to draw little arches, coming up from the bridge of the nose and following the line of the eyebrows, then repeating the action but making the arch a little higher each time.
The other thing that helps with forehead lines is training yourself to use your eyes to express instead of your forehead muscles. To do this, place one hand on your forehead to help you keep it still, then open your eyes as wide as you can.
Moving just your eyes, look up and down, then side to side. You can do diagonals too. The aim here is to strengthen the muscles of the eyes and get used to moving them without moving your eyebrows and forehead. This, in turn, will prevent forehead lines.
2. LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE
Now, this isn’t an area of your face exactly, but I want to include lymphatic drainage in these tips because it can make such a big difference to how your face and skin look and feel.
The lymphatic system runs throughout your whole body and it is located just beneath your skin. It’s part of the immune system and its main job is to carry away all the waste and toxins from your cells so that your body can get rid of them.
Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system is a passive system – basically, it doesn’t have a pump like your heart to help drive it. This can mean it becomes sluggish or stagnant. In your face, this can lead to puffiness, bloating, dark circles, and dull skin.
Fortunately, we can use lymphatic drainage massage to stimulate the lymphatic system and encourage all that excess fluid away from the face.
There are two main tips to be aware of when doing lymphatic drainage. First, you want to use a featherlight touch. The lymphatic system is just beneath the skin, so you don’t need to press hard at all to reach it. If you do press hard, you’ll be getting down into the muscle instead of working with lymphatic drainage.
Second, you always want to be working downwards to encourage the fluid to drain away from your face and towards the lymph nodes in your neck and collarbone.
Many massage tools get too deep, so it is best to do lymphatic drainage massage with your hands or with a gua sha tool. I have loads of videos on this on my YouTube channel so that you can see how to do it.
Like the forehead, the jaw is an area where many of us store a lot of emotion, stress, and tension. This can lead to it feeling very tight and painful. You might even experience issues like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which can be very sore and sensitive.
My first tip, if you are experiencing chronic jaw pain, is actually to go see an osteopath or chiropractor because it may relate to alignment issues elsewhere in the body that they can help you address.
But if you’ve checked that already and it is simply down to holding a lot of stress and tension in your jaw, you can start to address it with daily massage – or even twice daily at first.
You can do this with your hands, with a gua sha tool, or with a jade or rose quartz roller (I have both gua sha tools and rollers available in my online shop).
You want to try to get quite deep into the muscle so that it helps it to relax and release all that stored tension. One option I like is to take your middle and index fingers together and massage along the jaw line in a circular motion.
Then, when you reach your ears, pause there for a moment and use your index fingers to massage the area just behind your ear lobe – this often feels very tight.
As you massage, make sure you take deep, slow breaths to help you relax and let go of that tension.
The jaw is also very connected to the neck and shoulder area, so you may find it helps your jaw stiffness if you regularly do shoulder rolls and exercises to release your neck throughout the day.
There are lots of different things we can focus on with the eye area, but a common question I hear is how to get rid of dark circles, eye bags, and sagginess under the eyes.
With dark circles, I always think it is worth looking at what the cause is. Some of us are genetically prone to dark circles, but lifestyle also plays a very big role here. So it could be that you aren’t getting enough sleep, it could be stress, it could be sun damage, it could be the wrong skincare routine, it could be your diet – there are lots of things to consider.
The same with sagginess, it can be caused by lots of different factors, including fatty deposits under the skin, a build up of lymph, sun damage, loss of muscle strength, etc.
If you can discover the root cause, you can then address the issue from two angles – using face yoga to improve the symptoms but also looking at lifestyle changes that can help prevent it.
But if you aren’t sure yet, a simple option is to do regular massage in the eye area to increase blood circulation, encourage lymphatic drainage, and stimulate good energy flow.
For example, you can place your index, middle, and ring fingers on your skin, just above your cheekbones, and then gently pulse your fingers. Then, stroke gently down the sides of your neck and do the same movement with your fingers resting on your collarbones to encourage lymphatic drainage.
Another lovely option is to take your ring finger and very gently smooth it around your eye, coming up over your eyebrow and then back down and round below your eye.
The skin here is very delicate, so using your ring finger will make sure you stay light and gentle with this massage.
As we get older, it is normal to find that we lose volume in our cheeks and the skin might also start to sag down. This is because we produce less collagen and elastin as we get older, so the skin is less plump and elastic.
One way to address this is to do daily face yoga exercises that lift and strengthen the muscles of the face. Of course, you will probably want to focus on the cheek area, but I encourage you to work the muscles in the rest of the face too – don’t forget, they are all interconnected.
As the muscles get stronger and more toned, the skin attached becomes tighter and tauter too, helping your cheeks look firmer and less saggy.
One of my favourite techniques for the cheeks is to puff them full of air and then pass that air from cheek to cheek. It is a good idea to look in a mirror while you do this so that you can see if any lines are appearing around your mouth – if they are, just use your fingers to smooth them out.
Do this for a minute at a time, ideally twice a day. You should feel the muscles working!
6. NUMBER 11 LINES
Another question I get regularly is how to reduce number 11 lines, which are those vertical frown lines that appear between the eyebrows.
The muscle we’re working with here is the procerus muscle, which is the one that draws the eyebrows together. Many of us find we do this when we’re concentrating or thinking hard, or when we are feeling stressed.
We can use massage to smooth this area and release tension from the procerus muscle. But another powerful thing you can do is simply to become more aware of when you are tensing those muscles and pulling your eyebrows in.
The more you are aware of it, the more you can work on relaxing your eyebrows and preventing lines from forming in the first place.
Then, to massage this area, one option I like is to make a hook shape with one of your index fingers. Turn it upside down and use your knuckle to gently smooth up between your eyebrows. Vary the angle of your strokes from time to time to cover a wider area.
One of the first things I always suggest if you are seeing lines in the neck area or experiencing a lot of tension in this area is to look at your posture.
Posture makes a huge difference to how much tension we carry in our upper bodies and faces. You want to concentrate on keeping your shoulders dropped down and your spine straight – imagine that there’s a string running all the way up through your spine and out the top of your head, tugging you up towards the ceiling.
Another thing that is important for reducing neck lines is your skincare routine. Make sure that you don’t stop at the chin but continue down over the neck and chest too. This is especially important with your moisturisers and serums. I recommend using something that has a lot of nourishing botanical ingredients, like my Fusion by Danielle Collins Pro Lift Moisturising Serum.
Then you can use some simple massage techniques too. For example, use your fingers to tap all over the skin on your neck to encourage blood flow, or gently smooth down the neck with your fingertips to relax the muscles.
And I also like to do exercises to lift and tone the neck muscles. One you can try is turning your head to one side and lifting your chin up and slightly back. Holding there, move your tongue up and down from the roof of your mouth around 30 times, then repeat on the other side.
8. NASOLABIAL FOLDS
Last but not least, an area where many of us get lines is coming down from the nose to the mouth. These are known as nasolabial folds – or smile lines.
Firstly, don’t stop smiling! If your life makes you smile regularly, that’s wonderful and definitely not something you want to try to prevent. I always say that there’s nothing wrong with lines and wrinkles. They tell the story of the lives we’ve lived and the years we’ve enjoyed.
I see getting older as such a privilege and my aim is never to stop or reverse those signs of aging. My face yoga techniques are all about loving the skin you’re in and feeling the best you can for the age that you are.
So, we don’t try to prevent lines altogether. We just use these holistic, self-affirming techniques to keep the skin healthy and to help us enjoy our faces as we age.
In the case of nasolabial folds, a lovely technique is to place your index and middle fingers on your jaw, just to one side of your chin. Then use the index finger on the other hand to gently draw a line up to your nose. Lift off and repeat.
And that’s it – my list of 8 face yoga tips for each area of the face. I hope you find these useful and remember, if you want to learn more, the best way to really dive deep into face yoga is to take my face yoga teacher training course.