The Yoga Face by Annelise Hagen Review

Photo of Louis ARMSTRONG
Louis Armstrong lends his name to a facial exercise in The Yoga Face. Redferns / Getty Images

With so many basic yoga books already jamming the bookstore shelves (real and virtual), publishers are looking to niche subjects that will allow them to take advantage of yoga's popularity. Hence we have yoga memoirs, yoga storybooks for kids, yoga mysteries,  yoga for athletes, and yoga for people who think they are starting to look old, also known as The Yoga Face.

What The Yoga Face Promises

In her book The Yoga Face: Eliminate Wrinkles with the Ultimate Natural Facelift, Annelise Hagen promises a lot. Hagen has come up with a series of facial exercises designed to counter the effects of aging, which she recommends be done in conjunction with a yoga asana practice.

The facial exercises, which have cute names like The Satchmo (cheeks puffed out) and The Marilyn (blowing a kiss), are supposed to strengthen the muscles of the face, counteracting the inevitable march of time. These are described in the book's second chapter. The next chapter is devoted to traditional yoga poses that may help your face. These include plenty of inversions and forward bends, as you would expect, as well as some standing pose and backbends. Hagen also recommends chanting, meditation, massage, breathing exercises, a skin care regimen, and changes to your diet all in the name of improving the look of your face. 

What It Delivers

There is some good advice in Hagen book – learning to relax your face is probably one of the best things you can do to prevent wrinkles from forming. Becoming conscious of how you hold your face, particularly if it’s been in a perpetual scowl, will undoubtedly make you look and feel better. And who can argue with Hagen prescription of sunscreen application and a healthy diet centered around whole foods and plants?

But if you are looking for the effects of a facelift, as the book’s subtitle suggests, I doubt if you will find them here. Celebrity yoga teacher Rodney Yee even expressed his skepticism in the New York Times, in March 2007, saying “Yoga will add radiance to your face and relax you, which will make you look younger, but to just focus on the face is too specific and sounds more like a marketing ploy.”

There are some yoga sequences in this book, which are always useful to have around if you practice at home. The book is pleasant reading, engaging, and full of personal anecdotes, but one is left with the feeling that Hagen has taken 200 pages to say something that could have been outlined in 10 to 20, tops. Still, Hagen's method may help, and it certainly won't hurt. Unlike, say, Botox.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher.