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Face Yoga: Can you squint, squeeze and sculpt your way to a younger face?

Face Yoga, an anti-aging practice that has gained popularity due to its promise of a more youthful looking mug, has beauty hopefuls across the nation making lots of funny faces, but it has left some yogis scratching their heads.

Sara Packard of Health Yoga Life in Boston shows off her "yohhh-ga" face. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO Sara Packard of Health Yoga Life in Boston shows off her "yohhh-ga" face. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Face Yoga, an anti-aging practice that has gained popularity due to its promise of a more youthful looking mug, has beauty hopefuls across the nation making lots of funny faces, but it has left some yogis scratching their heads.

The technique involves tightening and toning facial muscles by making certain facial "poses," which often involve pursing, puckering, squeezing, lifting and wrinkling the face.

It gained notoriety with the 2007 release of yoga instructor Annelise Hagen's book, "The Yoga Face: Eliminate Wrinkles with the Ultimate Natural Facelift."

Vyda Bielkus, a Boston yoga instructor and co-founder of Health Yoga Life, is familiar with facial yoga but skeptical that it has the same physical effect on the face that traditional yoga has on the body.

"It reminds me of when I was little, and my mom would say, 'You're face is going to stay that way.' Making these particular faces would actually increase wrinkles over time," said Bielkus, adding "It is not a true form of yoga practice. Just practicing regular yoga helps bring more vitality and blood flow through body, which has more-anti aging properties than just making funny faces."

Say ahhhh, Sara. PHOTO: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO Say ahhhh, Sara. PHOTO: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Boston University facial aesthetics professor Jeffrey H. Spiegel said that the idea of exercising facial muscles has been around for a while, and as tempting as it may be, it does not work.

Botox, however, does.

"(Face yoga) is almost certain to exacerbate and worsen facial wrinkles over time," Spiegel said. "Botox is an effective way of treating facial wrinkles and works by relaxing facial muscles. Tightening the face and holding the muscles in contracted positions does the opposite and as such, will surely deepen facial lines."

During a video interview with Howdini.com, Hagen demonstrates the unique practice, and defends its effectiveness, saying "I think the proof is in the pudding. I think if you actually document yourself doing these exercises with a camera you'll see that yes, it actually does work."

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Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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