How to sculpt and lift your cheeks using face yoga


If you'd try anything except a facelift to look younger, Face Yoga may be right up your alley. Yoga teacher Annelise Hagen, author of The Yoga Face, demonstrates simple moves that she says will sculpt and lift your cheeks and keep you younger-looking.

How to sculpt and lift your cheeks using face yoga

Did you know that you can keep the muscles in your cheeks firm and younger-looking through face yoga? Here are some exercises you can use to tone your cheeks and keep them from drooping.

These exercises concentrate on the following sets of muscles:

  • The risorius and zygomaticus, which run along the cheek bone area.
  • The buccinators, which form the apple of the cheek.

The Satchmo
  • Inhale, hold your breath, and alternately puff your breath back and forth from cheek to cheek, puffing out each cheek as you do so.
  • Repeat until you run out of breath, and then exhale through your mouth.

The Marionette
  • Wrinkle your nose up and down, the way that a bunny would.
  • Place your index fingers in the crease on either side of your nose. Apply pressure to create resistance as you move your nose up and down.
  • Do not move your eyebrows.
  • It may be helpful to try to smile as you do the exercise.
  • Do three sets of 20 repetitions.

The Prom Queen
  • Stretch the corners of your mouth toward your ears with a slightly upward smile as though you are laughing out loud.
  • Widening your eyes will help with the exercise and can also help prevent eye creases.
  • You should feel a stretch in your lips toward your ears.
  • Hold the stretch for five to ten seconds.

Smiling Fish Face
  • Suck in your cheeks and pucker your lips to imitate a fish face.
  • Try to smile simultaneously as you hold the fish face.

Jennifer: I'm Jennifer Morris for Have you heard about face yoga? The idea is that with facial stretches and exercises you can keep the muscles in your face firm and younger looking. Annelise Hagan a yoga expert and author of The Yoga Face is here to demonstrate some moves that she says will keep your cheeks from drooping. Okay Annelise what can we do?

Annelise: All you need to do is tone the muscles in the cheek area so you have a few. You have risorius, zygomaticus, and you have the buccinators.

Jennifer: And where are those, those are--

Annelise: The buccinators are like where the apples of the cheek would be and risorius and zygomaticus, the zygomaticus is sort of under the zygomatic arch. So they're both kind of along the cheekbone area. So let's start with the Satchmo because it's fun and you're working the buccinator muscles. What you do is you take an inhale of breath and you puff the cheek, you puff the breath from cheek to cheek. So I'll demonstrate. [demonstrates] So I'll call it the Satchmo because of Louis Armstrong because if you notice the people who play the horn, they tend to have very firm cheeks because they're working those muscles. 

Jennifer: And how many times do you have to do it on both sides?

Annelise: Until you run out of breath.

Jennifer: What are some others? 

Annelise:Well, I like this one a lot. It's really for the nasal labial fold, you know the droopy marionette line that's part of the cheek area. So in order to help--and believe it or not I used to have really big sags here so this one's been very effective for me. And you can think like your Bugs Bunny because you're isolating exactly those muscles right there. 

Jennifer: And that's for those lines right here. 

Annelise:Yeah and then you put your fingers into the indentation in the crease so that you have resistance. Try not to move the eyebrows. Try smiling. Yeah that helps to be a little more relaxed. You want to isolate so that your nose and brows aren't moving. Give it some good pressure right in the crease. You actually don't have much of a crease there but it's like right here. It's a very subtle movement, it's just here. You'll feel a pulse.

Jennifer: And how long do you do this for?

Annelise:Twenty of these in a row and then like three reps of those.

Jennifer: So we've done the Satchmo which is like back and forth. And we've done this one which I need to work on.

Annelise:Right. The Marionette. 

Jennifer: And then what else can we do?

Annelise:Well we can also do the prom queen which is stretching the corners of the mouth toward the ears with a slightly upward smile and like you're laughing out loud. And it's good to widen the eyes here because that will work your eyes at the same time and it will prevent muscle creases happening. And just feel that stretch, the lips towards the ears. Yeah and open the mouth. Ah!

Jennifer: And the more glassy eyed and crazy you look the better?

Annelise:Oh absolutely. Yeah. We don't like to use the term crazy, but committed.

Jennifer: Right. And how long do you hold that for? 

Annelise: Five to ten seconds. You should be able to feel some stretching here, do you?

Jennifer: I do.

Annelise:Really feel some stretching.

Jennifer: I really feel it back here.

Annelise:Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jennifer: I'm feeling the burn. 

Annelise:Ah me too.

Jennifer: Alright so is that the whole series?


Jennifer: And so if I do that it will sculpt my cheeks?

Annelise:Absolutely, sculpts and lifts. There one other one you can do which is, I call it the Smiling Fish Face. Now this one is a little odd so bear with me. Not that the other ones have not been, but you're going to make a fish face and smile simutaneously. 

Jennifer: I'm sorry--

Annelise:I told you. 

Jennifer: Yeah it feels a little odd, but I'll try it if it's going to help my cheeks.

Annelise:The hard part is not the puckering, but the lifting up at the same time right? That's what really toning the cheeks here. 

Jennifer: If you say so I will give it a try. Thank you so much. 

Annelise: Okay!

Jennifer: I'm Jennifer Morris for 

meet theexpert
  • Annelise Hagen

    Annelise Hagen Yoga Expert Annelise Hagen is a yoga expert and instructor for top-tier fitness clubs and studios, including Equinox, New York Health and Racquet Club, Reebok/Sports Club LA, Crunch, and David Barton. Hagen is an expert in turning back the clock and creating beautiful, younger-looking skin. In her book, The Yoga Face, Hagen provides a natural approach to reshaping and redefining skin without harmful chemicals or painful surgery. more about this expert »

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