Today’s blog post is perfect for anyone who is new to Face Yoga or anyone who would like to refresh their knowledge of the basics. I’m going to run through a full-face sequence that introduces some great massage techniques and exercises to relax, lift, and tone your face.
This full routine should only take around 15 minutes or so. If you’ve never done Face Yoga before, I’m also going to look at some of the principles that underlie this practice, such as breathing and posture.
As a general rule, I suggest spending around a minute on each of the techniques in this sequence.
If you prefer to follow along with a video, you can also find this class over on my YouTube channel, along with plenty of other Face Yoga sequences.
Before You Start.
Before you begin any face yoga routine, there are a few things you always want to do to prepare.
First, make sure you have clean hands. Ideally, you’ll also have a clean face, but it is OK to do the occasional short face yoga sequence with makeup on. Most of the time, we do want clean skin.
Apply something like the Fusion by Danielle Collins Pro Lift Moisturising Serum. This gives your skin a lovely glide. It also doesn’t sink in too quickly, unlike many moisturising creams. And it won’t leave your face feeling greasy like many facial oils do.
If you don’t have any of the serum to hand, just use what you do have available.
The next thing to think about is the breath. Face yoga is very much a holistic practice, especially the Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method. The breath is vital to helping our face and skin, as well as our minds and bodies.
Breathe in through your nose for a count of four, allowing your abdomen to rise. Exhale through your nose for a count of six, feeling your abdomen fall.
Continue with this deep, calming breath as you move through the sequence.
Another thing we want to consider before we start is our posture. Ground down through the soles of your feet. At the same time, imagine that you have a string running up your spine and out of the crown of your head, right up through the ceiling and up to the sky. Feel this string pulling everything upwards.
Find a neutral position for your shoulders – not hunching forwards or pulling too far back. Bring your chin parallel with the floor and then tuck it very slightly down, but not so much that you are squeezing or compressing the neck area.
Close your eyes and take some long, deep breaths. Bring your attention to your face. Take note of how it feels and whether any areas feel especially tense, or relaxed.
Finally, remember always work to your own level with face yoga. You are your own best guide and teacher. Don’t hesitate to stop and rest if you need to.
1. Frontalis and Orbicularis Oculi
To start, rub your hands together to generate some warmth and energy. This energy, or lifeforce, is called prana in yoga or qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and it’s an important part of face yoga.
Place your hands lightly over your eyes and face. Focus on relaxing and releasing tension as you breathe.
Next, take your hands to your forehead. The large muscle here is called the frontalis muscle and it is one that many of us overuse, leading to a build-up of tension in the forehead.
In face yoga, there are some muscles we want to relax and others that we want to lift and tone. The frontalis muscle is one we want to relax.
Find a point in front of you to focus your eyes. Keeping your hands on your forehead, widen your eyes as much as you can. This gently engages the ring muscles around the eyes, the orbicularis oculi, strengthening and toning these muscles.
Release the pose, closing your eyes and shaking out your hands. Then take it again.
Moving just your eyes, look up towards the ceiling and then down towards the ground. Continue to move between these two for around a minute. Use your hands to keep your forehead and eyebrows still as you do this exercise.
Find the focus point in front of you again and widen your eyes. Hold here, remembering to breathe. Then tap all over your forehead with your fingertips to release even more tension and encourage a good flow of blood and oxygen to the skin.
2. Procerus Muscle
Another muscle in the forehead that many of us overexpress with is the procerus muscle, which runs between our eyebrows. Tension in this muscle is what eventually leads to number 11 lines, so this is another muscle we want to relax through face yoga.
Place your thumb between your eyebrows with your nail facing down towards your nose. Smooth up over your forehead and then flick outwards. Repeat for around a minute.
I encourage you to follow your intuition with this move. Allow it to guide you in how far up your forehead you smooth and how hard you flick.
This massage helps to relax the procerus muscle. It also boosts blood circulation and gently encourages collagen and elastin production, helping your skin look brighter and plumper.
3. Eye Area
Next, we’re going to work around the eye area with a couple of massage techniques that help to reduce dark circles and puffiness.
First, tap in a circle with your index fingers, coming up over your eyebrows and then round your eyes and down across the top of your cheekbones. This helps to release tension and stimulate both lymphatic drainage and blood flow, brightening the skin and encouraging the release of toxins from this area.
Then, use your ring fingers to smooth in a circle around your eyes, coming beneath your eyebrows and above your cheeks.
It’s vital to be very light and gentle with this move. The skin is extremely delicate around your eyes, so you don’t want to drag at it at all.
It may feel like this light touch isn’t doing anything. In fact, we’re working with lymphatic drainage, which is just beneath the top layer of the skin. So, all we need is a gentle massage here.
4. Flirty Eyes
This next move looks pretty funny. Some face yoga techniques involve pulling peculiar faces – I promise it’s worth it, although you might get some odd looks if you’re practising in public!
Place your fingers horizontally beneath your eyes. Form your mouth into an ‘O’ shape. Look up, then rapidly flutter your upper eyelids.
Your fingers help to provide a bit of resistance and support, while the ‘O’ shape of your mouth helps with engaging the muscles under your eyes.
This move will be familiar to anyone who has done my teacher training course. It’s surprisingly hard work but is great for toning and lifting the eye area.
Moving to the cheek area, we’re going to do a few exercises that lift and strengthen the muscles.
Puff your cheeks full of air. Place the fingertips of one hand on your lips, using them to gently tauten the skin above your lips.
With the other hand, tap all over one cheek. Then, switch hands and repeat on the other side.
Already, you should feel like your cheeks have had a bit of a workout.
Next, make an ‘O’ shape with your mouth again, then lift the corners of your mouth upwards to make a small smiling shape. Continue to switch between these two positions for around a minute.
You don’t need to over-exaggerate here. You’re just looking to engage the orbicularis oris muscle that runs around the mouth.
Then, place your index finger on your chin. Wrap your lips around your teeth and lift the corners of your mouth up. Gently tilt your head back as you repeatedly make a scooping movement with your lower jaw. Come back down, still making the scooping movement, then repeat.
Another area where many of us carry a lot of stress and tension is the jaw. So, we’re going to encourage the muscles to relax with a simple massage.
Using two fingers on each hand, massage along your jawline in a circular motion. Start at your chin and work up to behind your ears, then return your hands to your chin to repeat the massage.
You might find you want to apply a few more drops of serum here so that your fingers move easily over your skin.
We’ll finish today’s routine with an exercise that targets the neck area.
Tilt your head back, being especially careful if you have any neck issues. Bring your lips together.
Take the tip of your tongue up and down from the roof of your mouth, aiming for a rate of around one per second, for about a minute.
Finally, tap your fingers all over your neck area, up over your jaw and mouth, over your cheeks, and up over your forehead. Focus on releasing any last bits of tension.
Release your hands down and close your eyes. Just as we did at the start, we’re going to bring the attention back to the face. Notice whether it feels different and whether any areas feel full of energy, well-worked, or more relaxed.
Notice too if there are any remaining areas of tension. Continuing to breathe deeply, focus on releasing and relaxing any areas that still feel a bit tight.
When you are ready, open your eyes. And we’re all done!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to face yoga. This is a great routine for beginners, giving you an insight into some of the benefits of face yoga and how it works with the anatomy of your face to naturally lift and brighten your skin.
The techniques we’ve run through today really are only the starting point – there are so many other moves you can use to target different areas of the face and address specific issues.
Whether you’re a true beginner or are someone looking to brush up their skills and knowledge, one of the best ways to learn the fundamentals of face yoga is via my two books, Dannielle Collins’ Face Yoga Book and the Face Yoga Journal. In these, I take you through lots of different techniques, including massage, facial exercises, and acupressure.
I also give you tips and ideas to support your overall wellness through nutrition, exercise, and self-care. Although face yoga is a beautiful practice for giving you lovely glowing skin and a lifted, toned face, its benefits go much deeper. This is a truly holistic approach to wellness that prioritises mind, body, and spirit.
You can find both books in my online shop, along with lots of other resources and tools to help you on your face yoga journey.