'Face yoga' helps keep off the wrinkles - FOX 13 News

'Face yoga' helps keep off the wrinkles

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Yoga stretches and poses are parts of rituals refined over thousands of years.

But yoga as we know it is taking a bit of a twist.

In a New York classroom, sessions are filled with funny looking facial poses, all serving a purpose: to help your face look younger.

It's called face yoga.

There's the lion face, where students stick out and stretch their tongues. Then there is the "psycho prom queen" pose.

"A lot of facial aging and wrinkles are from expression that we habitually make The facial muscles are involuntary and do stuff without our permission all the time, so this is training the muscles which direction we want to go," Annelise Hagen, who wrote the book "Facial Yoga."

She leads classes, helping participants relax the mind and stretch their muscles and believes exercising the face helps us look and feel younger.

"Stress and tension bring your facial muscles down," she says as she highlights the area below her eyes. "Everything below here tightens and then it falls, so if you do stuff to exercise those muscles it frees up that space again. So the facial exercises plump up the face.. kind of takes the place of a filler."

Many who try face yoga swear by it.

"I feel better as I do poses, and I feel relaxed afterwards, and I'm keeping away some of the wrinkles," says student Sam Cardona.

Tom Kopache says, "It just takes focus to really focus with your breathing as well...to making the facial jesture I think anyone at any age can benefit.

Both Kopache and Cardona say Face Yoga is slowing down nature naturally.

"A lot of people want to look for a shortcut. They look for things like botox or plastic surgery to stay young but I think doing something like the face yoga helps you stay young from the inside out," says Cardona.

Kopache agrees, "If we work our body, we know blood rushes to the part of the body where we feel worked. One of the things that makes the face feel flush is the circulation and I like the feel of that as opposed to removing things or masking yourself."

Some dermatologists are concerned face yoga could have the opposite effect because bigger muscles can create bigger wrinkles but Annelise says plastic surgeons approve of her exercises which tone the face and help with mobility.

Hagan admits there are skeptics, "Most people who don't believe in it, haven't tried it. It's kind of contempt prior to investigation. If you have a scientific bent you should actually do the exercises, and the proof is in the pudding."

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