From yoga for a better body to yogic exercises for better looks too. The trend is catching up in the US
"Take a deep breath," their instructor intones, "then say BLAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH."
Grab your forehead, stick your tongue out and roll your eyes back into his head.
Well, now you are on course in the yogic fight against aging. At least that is what some Americans have begun to believe.
The Happy Face Yoga was created by Gary Sikorski, a man of 50 who looks a lot less and who says he just got "tired of looking gray and old."
Tongues and eyes apart, eyelids flutter in his brand of exercises, mouths open and shut in silent screams or gummed in mock "Grandma without her teeth in" motions, necks are self-throttled, noses are pushed up and back and cheeks are prodded and probed, reports CNN.
And throughout these facial maneuverings, Sikorski barks encouragement: "BREATHE," "RELAX," "LIFT AND RELEASE" "FEEL THE BURN!"
Sikorski claims, " My exercises strengthen and tone all 57 muscles of the face, neck and scalp. When you start to tone the muscles," he explained, "it starts to move them back to their regular position. As you strengthen them, you start to see things like the muscles of your cheeks being lifted, your nose lifting up, your eyes becoming wider, your mouth corners turning up, fine lines become smooth."
The idea behind the facial toning movement in general and Happy Face Yoga in particular is that much as working out tones muscles in your body, the same applies to the muscles of your face.
His program includes more than 30 exercises and is available on DVD to be done in the privacy of your home. The idea is that individuals will want to tailor the facial workouts to target the areas that need improvement, "just like a gym routine," Sikorski said. "You want to design your own personal facial routine and do maybe eight to 10 exercises daily that you see fit your needs."
Sikorski touts his program as an alternative for those who "don't want to undergo the dangers of surgery or can't afford the cost of an operation."
Plastic surgeon Heidi Regenass is not too very excited.
Because no scientific studies have been conducted on these programs, it's hard to know with certainty what they can and can't do, she said.
Inside the cosmetic surgery community there are "two different schools of thought," she said, about the best way to minimize lines.
"One side is very big on stimulation for toning and smoothing out lines," she said. "That is why lasers work."
The other side, she said, "believes keeping those muscles relaxed is the way to go, for example with injectables that relax the muscles like Botox."
The right treatment also depends on just what kind of wrinkle it is, how it was formed and where exactly it sits on our faces, she said.
So there is no easy answer when it comes to the line issue.
"I don't think it is going to do any damage," she said of facial toning. "And it could well do some good like for tightening jowls and chins." Just be careful not to overwork the delicate skin around the eyes and the forehead, she said.