Updated: Nov 8
I was talking to another yoga teacher the other day about my work with face yoga. She said, " Well, of course, it's problematic." I was silent, feeling conflicted. I didn't want to have a fight with her. I could tell she had decided already that face yoga wasn't really yoga. In a prior conversation she had said, rather dismissively about my work with the face, "Well, you do the beauty stuff." This hurt my feelings. As though face yoga were only about beautification! (not that beauty is unimportant, by the way).
I have experienced this sort of dismissive attitude from many in the yoga community. Maybe it's because they assume I only teach facial yoga to help people look younger.
Some may think face yoga is a bunch of exercises for the face. That is not face yoga, in my opinion.
I came to the world of face yoga as a yoga teacher. When I created the Yoga Face, it was from that lens. Therefore, when I teach Yoga Face, I create sequences and series of practices and poses that will lead to the same goodness for the face that the body and mind enjoy in a "regular" yoga practice. Sometimes these sequences emphasize one area of the face, such as the eyes or the forehead.
No matter what kind of yoga you do, kundalini, raja or even tantra- the face is involved!
Yoga ultimately endows the aspirant the power to subdue their mental modifications, or mind chatter. We gain power over the mind, through all the practices, and learn that we are not our thoughts.
How does this apply to face yoga?
We must ultimately redefine our thinking in regard to our faces.
We must not associate "who we are" with our face.
The face is a reflection of the person we are (like the house we occupy) , but it is not who we are. By yoga philosophy and science, it would be erroneous to identify our faces as our identity.
The face is the lantern through which the soul shines.
It is the most identifiable part of who we are physically, and as such must be maintained and polished, so the soul can shine through it more clearly.
Your face is your calling card and so much more. It facilitates (pun intended) communication, expression, breathing, eating, and by proximity cognitive faculties. Of course it needs yoga!
Just as practicing "regular" yoga rejuvenates the body and mind, so does face yoga rejuvenate the face.
I wish I had said all this to my colleague.
The face is as worthy of yoga as any other aspect of who we are. If we can avoid overly identifying with it as WHO WE ARE, perhaps we will be less apt to try to subdue it into what we think it "ought" to look like and just enjoy it for what it is- a beautiful and unique part of our identity that deserves to be loved, cherished, protected and nurtured. A part of us that can be tended, like a garden. We don't have to let it run to weed, nor do we need to make it a severe topiary. We can tend it and celebrate its capacity for regeneration- enjoy its flowering and its fallow periods, knowing it is another expression of lila, or the divine play of the gods on the stage of the world.