We do asana to stay strong and limber, we meditate to find peace, we scrape our tongues and dry brush our bodies and eat foods rich in Prana and practice loving-kindness…
All of this shows up on our face!
Our forehead, eyes, cheeks, nose, mouth, chin, ears, neck tell the story of our lives. Outside of the occasional Simha or Sitali pranayama, or Drishti exercises, we hardly give our visage the consideration, touch and love it deserves.
Face Yoga is a technique that stretches, energizes and relaxes, targeting the muscles responsible for speech, eating and expression. Using your hands or a Gua Sha (pictured above), and an organic oil that suits your skin type/dosha/mood, you use massage and acupressure points to increase blood and lymph flow. The exercises result in juicier skin and an overall feeling of tranquility.
“ (…) a complementary practice to take into your daily skin care routine. Your skin will thank you for it!” —Sharon Lysaght, face yoga and yoga asana teacher in Paris
Two ways to begin your Face Yoga journey:
RESERVE A FACIAL YOGA SESSION WITH AN EXPERT IN PARIS
• Elaine Huntzinger (incredible acupuncturist and facial whisperer)
• Sharon Lysaght (yoga and face yoga teacher offering group & private one-on-one sessions)
• Amélie Guiraud (bilingual yoga teacher offering holistic massage for face & body)
DO IT YOURSELF AT HOME
All you need to get started on your own is your hands and oil. That’s it!
The technique is called Face Yoga so let’s make it more yoga by invoking Ayurveda and use the Doshas to find the right oil for you.
• Vata: Vata skin is typically dry and thin, prone to fine line/wrinkles so you’ll want an oil that grounds and hydrates. For this type of skin, use organic sesame oil (untoasted) or almond oil.
• Pitta: Pitta skin is warm, of medium thickness and tans easily. To balance the ‘heat’ of this skin type, use a cooling oil like organic coconut or sunflower.
• Kapha: Kapha skin tends to be oily so the best oil will be one that is light such as organic almond or olive.
All of these oils can be found at reasonable prices in your favorite organic market. You don’t have to invest in anything more expensive because an oil that you can put in your body is also an oil you can put on your body. Any product that can do double duty—oil for your salads and your face, toothpaste for your mouth and your silver jewelry, coffee grounds for your americano and your body scrub—gets our stamp of approval.
BE FANCY! SPLURGE ON A SPECIAL FACE YOGA OIL
If a high quality oil from the market is fine, why would you want to spend extra money on another one just for your face? Because if the oil is special, smells good, has pretty packaging and makes you excited, you will be more inclined to use Face Yoga techniques and turn the practice into a daily habit.
Ultimately that’s the goal of Face Yoga: to develop and hone a routine that will empower your self-confidence and enhance your well-being on a regular basis.
Great Paris organic, small-batch facial oil options:
FRANCE: FAVORITE ORGANIC, SMALL-BATCH FACIAL OILS
• Amalthea (subscription-based oils, refillable at their beautiful boutique in the 3e arrondissement)
• Oden (made in France from locally-sourced plants, also available as subscription)
• Matière Brute Lab (subscription-based oils available in seasonal bundles)
• Wesak Paris (crystal-infused oils that come in a fun, chunky roll-on)
US & CANADA: FAVORITE ORGANIC, SMALL-BATCH FACIAL OILS
• Living Libations Best Skin Ever (Seabuckthorn is the bomb)
• Bathing Culture Outer Being Face & Body Oil (a hippy surfer’s dream)
• Everyday Oil (everything about this brand is rad)
You may be wondering: is Face Yoga, Yoga?
The Face Yoga ritual itself draws on mindfulness and self-compassion, two things we cultivate in yoga through movement, reflection and conscious breathing. Face Yoga hand movements/gestures are tied to your breathing, and there are pauses in between sequences to allow you the time to assimilate what you’ve done. Not quite a break in child’s pose or savasana, but similar.
If your definition of yoga rests on the concept of Abhyasa, then it’s possible you’ll see Face Yoga as a proper mind-body ritual: one meant to be practiced repeatedly, without interruption, over a long period of time. Done regularly, you may find yourself becoming more than a little attached to the glowy, tones benefits so we will ignore Vairagya for now 😉
So… is Face Yoga, yoga? We’re on the fence. Simply putting the word “yoga” next to “face” doesn’t automatically transform what is essentially an aesthetician’s method into a mind-body practice.
That said, contemplating yourself in the mirror, without judgement or concern for how you are perceived by others, for five or 55 minutes, is an act of radical self-affirmation.
And that, to us, is yoga.