GTPulse: Restore a Youthful Glow with Face Yoga

Every time I got into trouble as a youth my dad would do this thing where he would close his eyes, and rub the forehead spot in between them as if trying to pinch away the “I’m barely passing math” or “I accidentally flooded the basement” he had just heard. As an adult, I find myself rubbing the area in between my jaw and cheekbones in an effort to relieve tension from unintentionally clenching all day (I blame this on a multitude of things, but in short: 2020). The point is, we hold a lot of stress in our face. It’s easy to be aware of tight shoulders or a sore low back, but oftentimes we go through our days clenching, furrowing, and expressing our facial muscles without realizing it and although genetics, sun exposure, and environmental pollutants are what largely dictate our aging speed, there are small and simple lifestyle habits that can combat some of sagging and wrinkles we get from day to day living.

Face yoga is not new. It’s a centuries-old branch of yoga that focuses on strengthening the facial muscles to promote youthfulness. I imagine it as one of those ancient beauty rituals that Cleopatra or some other regal femme would spend time on in a glittering gold vanity as a part of a detailed and luxurious beauty routine.

“It’s similar to resistance training for your body”

Kat Palms is a young woman living out her dream of living and teaching yoga in Leelanau county. Raised in Grosse Pointe Woods and inspired by childhood summers spent at The Homestead in Glen Arbor, she always wanted to make a life for herself in Northern Michigan and she has done just that. Teaching yoga has been fulfilling for her, but she wanted to bring something new to the area.

“I realized that I was seeing a lot of benefit in practicing face yoga, like plumper lips and less puffy eyes. In Leelanau county, I hadn’t really found my niche that I could offer to the community but I started thinking about how anyone any age can do face yoga.”

Quarantine was a perfect time for her to be more intentional in her practice and add on some new yoga techniques. She got certified in teaching it and she will start a Face Yoga series that kicks off next month.

“It was kind of an intensive program. We talked about the skin in terms of the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis. We learned about the differences in types of aging and dynamic wrinkles and static wrinkles and the difference in between those. It was all fascinating and really helpful for a woman learning about her skin.”

I wrote about the benefits of gua sha a few weeks ago and wondered if face yoga was similar, and the answer is, not really. Where gua sha releases facial tension, face yoga strengthens the muscles that we use every day and with consistency, face yoga has proven antiaging results. A study conducted by Northwestern University concluded that the practice does work when practiced around 30 minutes a day for eight weeks, and maintained with an every other day 30-minute practice after that.

Forever young? See for yourself. The classes will be held virtually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning starting the first week of September and will run throughout the winter until spring, with potential to switch to in-person classes in the spring. Kat will guide and teach participants through working different sections of the upper, lower, and bottom face and why certain movements lift and tighten those areas. She’ll also be teaching breathing exercises to help support relaxation and posture.

You can sign up for the series at www.yoga4.net. For those who won’t be able to commit to classes, Kat has created a 4-week guide that can be purchased for $15 where readers can practice the technique with different facial exercises through photos and written descriptions. Email her at 

 for more information.

Since quarantine Kat hasn’t taught any indoor, in-person classes, including her free classes she does yearly to support the Leelanau Conservancy. She missed the human connection of teaching classes, however, she’s strengthened her online instruction skills and her own practice while spending time in solitude. 

“I really slowed down and created space for me to get into a more natural routine. I didn’t have any other distractions, so now I wake up in the morning and focus on my personal practice. Before I’d maybe jump on my phone and check in with friends and make plans for my day first thing.”

With an uncertain winter ahead of us, she hopes that the face yoga course can be a way for people to do something kind for themselves safely and comfortably. 

“Who knows what we’ll be able to do in the winter. This is something you can do in your bedroom.”

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Categories: GTPulse