‘I’m a Celebrity Face Trainer, and These Are the 9 Facial Exercises I Always Recommend for Staving Off Tech Neck and Sagging Skin’

Your face is made up of 40 major muscles, and—much like your glutes, core, and other muscles in your body—they go slack when they're neglected. It's the only area of the entire body where the skin and muscles are directly attached to one another. So where the muscles go, the skin goes too. Facial yoga allows you to tone, strengthen, and stretch those muscles to benefit the skin on top.

"Face yoga is a holistic approach to beauty that employs natural rejuvenation techniques. It focuses on exercises to tone facial muscles," says Jasmine Tella, a certified face yoga instructor and celebrity face trainer. "These exercises promote relaxation, boosted circulation, and muscle tone, leading to a more youthful and radiant appearance."

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Although "face" is in the name, face yoga techniques can also be employed on the neck, to sculpt and define while releasing neck pain. If you're looking to firm the skin around your jawline and neck and stave off painful "tech neck" (neck pain resulting from looking down at technology), Tella is here to share the best face yoga exercises you can add to your neck skin-care routine.

What is facial yoga?

Like sourdough starter and TikTok, facial yoga gained popularity during the 2020 lockdown when instructors started showing off their moves on Instagram and offering Zoom sessions to guide people through the practice. But for Tella—and many others—face yoga is so much more than a beauty trend.

"Beyond simple facial exercises, face yoga incorporates meditation, posture awareness (essential for wrinkle prevention), and restoration of self-confidence," says Tella. "Face yoga helps you love the person you see in the mirror."

In other words, the same principles of body yoga apply—sans downward dog. The practice uses stretches, poses, and facial expressions to lift, tone, and sculpt the face while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.

"Both face yoga and traditional yoga share the term 'yoga,' meaning the connection between breath, mind, body, and face," says Tella. "Both practices involve muscle toning, gentleness to the body, and consistent practice for results. They integrate postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and relaxation for both body and mind."

In addition to toning facial muscles, face yoga helps you relax these muscles without immobilizing them, which is what happens when you use neurotoxins like Botox.

"Face yoga cultivates awareness of facial expressions' impact on wrinkles, enabling control over muscles for dynamic, youthful skin," says Tella. "Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of the vital role of facial expressions and wrinkles such as 'crow’s feet' in nonverbal communication, as they express our true feelings and allow for better empathy in society. A smile that doesn’t reach the eyes, is read as non-sincere, fake. Face Yoga allows us to maintain our uniqueness and expressions while rejuvenating."

6 face yoga benefits

1. Improved Muscle Tone

"Facial muscles, primarily attached to the skin rather than bones, respond to muscle toning by lifting and sculpting the skin," says Tella. "Strengthening facial muscles contributes to a lifted and firmer appearance."

2. Tension Relief

"Face yoga exercises release tension from overworked muscles, which are often the cause of unwanted wrinkles, sagginess along the jawline, and painful neck stiffness," says Tella.

3. Improved blood flow

"The exercises boost blood circulation, leading to healthier skin and a natural glow," says Tella. "A quick exercise like the "Big O" has been shown to increase blood circulation through thermal imaging."

4. Stress reduction

"Similar to traditional yoga, face yoga involves relaxation and breathing techniques that reduce overall stress levels," says Tella. "One can feel an immediate difference at the end of a single session. Face Yoga is a daily reminder to take care and make time for ourselves, for our well-being."

5. Non-invasive firming option

"Face yoga provides a surgery-free, injection-free method to enhance facial appearance," says Tella, "allowing you to maintain the features that make your face unique and special."

6. Soothes the vagus nerve

"The too often-overlooked real beauty and utility of face yoga lies in its role to tone and stimulate the Vagus nerve, which is often disrupted by trauma," says Tella. "Face yoga calms the nervous system, promoting a parasympathetic state. Enhanced vagal tone positively influences various bodily functions, emphasizing the holistic aspect of face yoga beyond just cosmetic benefits.
The vagal tone, in the facial tract (the Vagus nerve runs from the brain to the gut), is acquired via selected eye and tongue movements; and ear and neck stimulation. By practicing face yoga, we help improve this body’s 'Sith sense.'"

Face yoga moves for the neck and jawline

3 face yoga neck exercises

1. Tongue Push-ups: Gently press your tongue to the roof of your mouth while slightly tilting your head back. Pulse up to 30 times.

2. Tongue Swings: Extend your tongue and swing it side to side around 20 times.

3. Platysma Stretch: Turn your head to the side, tilt, pout your mouth, and move your lips back for a 10-second hold. Repeat on both sides.

2 face yoga jawline exercises

1. Knuckles Massage: Swipe your knuckles from the chin to the ears in gentle movements around 10 times.

2. The 3-1 Cheek Pose: Curl your lower lip, show your upper teeth, smile as broadly as possible, pull your chin forward, place the tongue on the roof of your mouth, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this pose three times, ensuring you remember to breathe.

4 face yoga exercises to prevent tech neck

"Prevention is key to countering text/tech neck. Prioritize maintaining good posture throughout the day," says Tella. "Tip: Set an alarm every hour to check our neck posture are most useful and importanSoon enough you will start checking your posture without a reminder."

1. Chin Tuck: Gently tuck your chin toward your neck while keeping your back straight.

2. Neck Retraction: Slowly retract your neck, creating a double chin effect.

3 Neck Nods: Move your chin above each shoulder and nod rapidly around 20 times on each side for relief and improved mobility.

4. Bath Towel Rest: Lie on your back with a rolled bath towel under your neck, staying in position for up to a minute while breathing gently through your nose. Adding lavender oil to the towel enhances relaxation. (You can also try getting a pillow for neck pain.)

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