The simple poses in Fumiko Takatsu’s video tutorial “Face Yoga Method” are fun to do, and will definitely put a smile on your face.
However, there is nothing flippant about Takatsu’s dedication to developing exercises that target the over 43 facial muscles. I joined the class at the Oak Bluffs library this past Saturday, sitting with a group as Takatsu led us through a set of exercises aimed at toning the muscles to increase circulation and blood flow, which should result in a more youthful and radiant complexion. Her exercises involve the muscles in our brow, cheeks, chin, neck, and shoulders, and while it may take a few weeks to see the outward results, the relaxation I felt was immediate.
One of the first exercises helped open up my back and neck muscles. We essentially hugged ourselves with arms crossed and hands resting on our opposite shoulders and then made figure eights with our elbows. Try doing it yourself 10 times, remembering to breathe and to keep your shoulders down, and see if you feel an expansion across your back. One of the group’s favorites were the Wows. Here you open your mouth as wide as possible and thrust your arms out to your sides as you say, with expression, “Wow, wow, wow, wow” 10 times. Sound silly? Try it and see how good it feels.
There were sequences where you made a fist and used your knuckles to relax your face by applying pressure while drawing your hands over your brows starting at the nose and move outward to your temples, and then down either side of your face.
“I’d heard of face yoga about five years ago,” said Robyn Reilly, one of the participants. ”I’ve never done body yoga. And she [Takatsu] has such a lovely personality that you leave and you’re happy and you feel good. I enjoy coming and I enjoy the instructor. It’s a positive thing you’re doing for yourself.”
There seem to be countless opportunities to practice yoga across the Island, but in this program, you get the opportunity to focus entirely on the 43 muscles in your face. It’s a great way to laugh and practice with others. You can take the exercises home with you. You can do it with your morning coffee, in the car, or while washing your face. You can’t say that about a lot of other forms of exercise.
Face Yoga Boot Camp runs Tuesday and Thursdays from 4 pm to about 4:30 pm at the Oak Bluffs library, and Saturday from 3 pm to 3:30 pm. You can drop in or come to all of them. Contact Carolina Cooney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-693-9433, ext. 408, for more information. To learn more about Takatsu’s method, visit faceyogamethod.com/courses/.