Facial Yoga – Cheek Exercises

Full, rosy cheeks or the sleek contours of high cheekbones – whichever shows up when you do your best Mary Tyler Moore impression and “turn the world on with a smile,” the passage of time may have deflated the full effect.

Whatever your personal cheek style, a toned cheekbone area can give your face a youthful appearance. Think how we start out – with plump baby cheeks that nobody can resist. Over time the cheekbone muscles can lose their oomph, which can show as a loss of definition.

Starting in our mid-40s, weakening facial muscles begin to become apparent with a little sagging here and there. Facial and neck muscles are a lovely, overlapping support system that can benefit from focused strength training, just like the rest of the body. Think of the muscles around your face and neck as a basket that needs a little maintenance over time to stay tightly woven to support skin and bones. In many cases, cheek exercises will provide you with better results than costly cosmetic surgery. And the results are definitely more natural looking!

Cheek exercises strengthen muscles and add the definition that smooths your skin and adds the contours from younger days. Working a specific area also increases circulation so you’ll also notice a youthful glow in the mirror.

For each of these exercises you can be standing or sitting with good posture and a relaxed neck and shoulders. At first you might notice your shoulders creeping up toward your ears as you try to master each exercise. Relax! Standing or sitting in from of a mirror will help you notice when you’ve tensed up as well as locating the areas we’ll work.

Exercise 1

Place the middle three fingers of each hand along your cheekbones between nose and ears like this. Gently push the skin upward and move it in a clockwise motion over your cheekbones. Now reverse and move in a counter-clockwise motion. Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 2

A mouth muscle that overlaps with your lower cheek muscles will also get a workout in this exercise. Cover your top teeth with your upper lip and form an O like this. With your index fingers, press on the top of your cheekbones and smile – it’s a little tricky with your upper lip in place, but worth the effort. As you smile, gently push against the cheek muscles in an upward motion, like this. Hold for a count of five. Relax and repeat 10 times.

Exercise 3

Time for cheek push-ups! When done correctly, you’ll feel it – just like if you were doing bicep curls or shoulder raises – that good feeling of a muscle being worked. This is a marathon exercise – try for 10 to 25 reps, but if you can comfortably continue, go for more!  First, form a pout and then smile widely. This next part is the “push-up” and it’s a subtle move. [See note below]. Hold for a count of 5 and repeat at least 10 times.

Note from Tracie: I had a bit of trouble visualizing the step below. You can’t really suck your cheeks in while smiling. I think they mean more of a move with the corners of you mouth, but I’m not sure.

  • With your mouth closed form a pout with your lips
  • Next smile widely
  • Follow this by sucking your cheeks into your jaw whilst still smiling
  • Hold for a count of 5
  • Repeat 10 – 25 times

If you can perform this cheek workout once a day, you’ll start noticing a natural facelift very quickly. A fresher, more youthful appearance is possible without surgery or costly products. Give it a try!

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