3 Yoga Exercises for your Face and Mouth
Whether it’s a cranky tooth, jaw soreness or one of those behind-the-eye headaches, most of us have experienced the way face pain translates into full-body stress. Taking care of your lips, cheeks and mouth is a great way to begin relieving overall tension.
As a yoga teacher, I find myself repeating the cues, “relax your jaw” and “release your lips” multiple times per class, because the mouth is often the first thing to tighten up when students are focused on a difficult task. And because muscles in the neck and head connect directly to the chest and upper back, releasing the mouth immediately trickles down into releasing the torso.
In addition to reminding yourself to relax your mouth sometimes (it’s as simple as letting it fall slightly open), here are three additional stretches that can relieve face tension.
For each of these, sit or stand up nice and tall. Make sure you aren’t lifting up your chin and tensing the back of your neck; just let your head balance easily on top of your spine (think bobblehead doll).
- Inhale deeply through the nose.
- All at once, open your mouth wide, open your eyes wide, stretch your tongue out as far as you can (with the tip of your tongue curling down toward your chin), and exhale with a big, “Haaahh” sound. You should be able to feel your breath traveling out over the back of your throat.
- Repeat three times.
Smiling Fish Face
- Keeping your lips together, open your jaw, squeeze your cheeks in towards each other (make “fish lips”) and inhale.
- Keeping your lips where they are, try to smile while you exhale through your nose.
- Stay in the pose and take three breaths.
- Close your eyes and inhale deeply through the nose.
- Keeping your eyes closed, exhale slowly and make a humming or buzzing sound in the back of your throat.
- Notice the slight vibration of your lips as you exhale.
- Repeat three times, extending your exhale slightly longer each time.
You can check out more yoga for your face at elephantjournal.com.