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  • Writer's pictureKari

3 Steps for real change in the face.

Here is the best strategy that I’ve found to reach your physical, mental, and aesthetic face-related goals.

Step 1: Release Facial Tension

The best way to begin the journey making changes in the face is to start with face massage. This helps us learn our facial ‘landscape’ - which regions have ‘sleeping’ muscles and which ones have ‘overworking’ muscles. Overworking muscles in the face can then be released further with more face massage and other tension-releasing techniques. Once tensions begin to ease in the overworking muscles, the sleeping muscles in our faces start waking up much more readily.

Step 2: Introduce Facial Exercises

There are over 50 muscles in the face- that’s a lot of muscles in a small surface area! Imagine exercising a small muscle near the eye when many of the nearby eye muscles are in a perpetually contracted state (aka ‘overworking muscles’). It’s pretty difficult to isolate that ‘sleepy’ (aka atrophied) muscle nearby! At the start, sleepy muscles are harder to sense and feel a bit ‘numb’ to us.

Massage prepares us to make a neural connection with the sleeping muscle during the first exercises. If the sleepy muscles have already been massaged, blood circulation and lymph drainage has already occurred in the area and this wakes up the nerves in the area.

Once we establish a connection to that muscle - we can feel it and isolate its movement - we are ready to build and strengthen it. By strengthening the sleepy muscles, we give the overworking muscles a chance to shift some of the workload (eg facial expressions, bodily functions like eating, talking, etc ) to the sleepy muscles. This has an overall balancing effect on the face. Our face begins to feel and look different. Even subtle shifts in this balance can produce a noticeable difference.

Based on my personal experience and what I have seen as an instructor, I believe both our physical and mental health improves when we shift the tensions in our faces to a more balanced state.

Stage 3: What’s the Point? Daily Habit (Re-)training

Massage and exercises are fantastic at helping us relieve tension and awaken new areas of the face. It’s all well and good diligently doing our daily face yoga routines. But what are our faces doing with the remaining 95-99% of our time, when we aren’t doing face yoga moves?

‘Progress, not perfection’ is the mantra of choice here!

Our faces are involved in sleeping, eating, drinking, working, talking, sitting, laughing, yawning, etc! How we do these functions has a profound impact on our faces. In my method, face yoga is merely a tool we use to retrain how we do these daily functions. This is CRITICAL. By changing something subtle about how we speak or swallow water (two frequent functions) - we begin to really change our face.

This happens in two ways. Firstly, more dramatic changes are possible when we let our habits guide our face yoga practice. This is simply because we do these habits so many times. Think about it - we may do neck exercises 10 times per day for about 3 mins total. But we might hold our phone in a forward head position for hours per day! That is going to have a much bigger impact on our facial form and function than the exercises.

Secondly, these bigger facial changes happen much more rapidly. By changing an eating habit, we can start to notice a significant difference in the face in about a month, even less. Since we eat daily 3 times per day, changing how we swallow or chew leads to significant changes within a relatively short time.

The good news is we don’t need to change 100% of the time to start seeing results. Even if we change how we swallow 50% of the time, or even 30%, often that is all it takes to reach a critical point where the face starts to shift. ‘Progress, not perfection’ is the mantra of choice here!

Other tools also exist besides face yoga. But what I personally love about using the tool of face yoga is that it is very empowering. All you need is yourself, your face, and your hands (or a widely available tool).

You can learn more about my face yoga method on my YouTube channel and on my TikTok.

Want to experience transformational face yoga for yourself? Join Kari every week for her live online face yoga classesand get real-time, face-to-face instruction, wherever you are in the world!

*Class recordings available upon request.

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