By Carol Brzozowski
City & Shore Magazine
In a Pompano Beach yoga studio, several women make faces at “face yoga” teacher Susan Forma.
They’re trying to get a more youthful appearance within weeks, they say, by moving and contorting their facial muscles.
Forma, of Boca Raton-based Face Yoga by Susan Forma, is one of 20 U.S. teachers of the method – developed by Japanese yoga instructor Fumiko Takatsu – and the only one in South Florida.
“It takes a concentrated effort to isolate the muscles to know where they are on the face and how to move them properly,” Forma says. Within a few months of practicing face yoga herself, Forma noted “smoother cheeks from the increased blood flow and circulation and fuller lips. Instead of being so tense, my mouth looks so much more relaxed.”
She says she also experienced a decrease in her long-standing TMJ (jaw) pain.
“I look at myself at 57 and my face looks great,” Forma says. “I still have wrinkles, but it’s the tone that makes all the difference in the world.”
Through face yoga, “the muscles will reflect the nutrients, blood flow and ease at which you are comfortable with your own face and your own world,” Forma says. “I feel happier. I think I look happier. I am a cancer survivor. That took its toll on my body, but it didn’t stop me from exercising my face and it really shows.”
Some people’s faces are a map of their life experiences, including painful emotions that present, for example, a “snarling” look. Some people attempt to soften the effects with injections, cosmetic surgery or other medical interventions
“By allowing your muscles to be toned in the direction of the muscle itself, it naturally uplifts the corners of the mouth, which increases the endorphins – the feel-good hormones – in your body,” Forma says. “Face yoga creates a mindfulness about the way in which you’re holding your face. Not only are you toning, but you’re also learning to relax.”
Some poses take five to 10 minutes a day and can offer results within a couple of weeks, she claims.
The scientific community is taking notice. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association‘s JAMA Dermatology indicated that after eight weeks of practicing face yoga, participants exhibited results noticeable to dermatologists.
Denise Prno, 51, of Lighthouse Point, practices face yoga daily while walking her dogs or in the car.
“I was looking to reduce wrinkles without introducing harmful chemicals into my body,” Prno says. “I not only decreased fines lines and wrinkles, but also made my smile and face more symmetrical. Friends and family have noticed the changes.”
Susan Forma teaches face yoga through a variety of formats and price points, listed on her website: yogaforface.com