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Originally published June 12, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 26, 2007 at 2:26 PM

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Hey, yoga face!

Author says facial exercises can tone, lift and restore skin — though you might look like a lunatic doing them. Yoga instructor Annelise Hagen...

The Seattle Times

Yoga instructor Annelise Hagen noticed two very different pictures when she looked out among her students. Their poses were graceful, their bodies were toned. Their faces were, well, tortured.

"The young woman with the dancer's physique contorted her face into a scowl; the toned fellow across the room furrowed his brow in concentration. Another woman clenched her jaw and pursed her lips," she recalls.

So she asked herself, why don't we exercise above the neck? Couldn't the face benefit from some yoga toning? Wouldn't that be easy and considerably cheaper than nipping and tucking and Botox-injecting?

She came up with "yoga face" classes that she taught in a New York studio. The classes became so popular that she wrote a book, "The Yoga Face" (Avery/Penguin Group, $14.97). Due out this summer, it offers a series of facial exercises. Many of these moves will make you look deranged as you do them but with long-range benefit, she claims.

Hagen, a former actress, also asks the reader to assess whether she or he is a natural scowler, worrier, grinner. How your face looks as you age can tell tales about how you have lived, she says.

Hagen has blended poses some yogis call "restorative" with facial-toning exercises she learned during her vocal training days. "The Yoga Face" also features full-body exercises as well as breathing and meditation techniques that she says help naturally lift skin by increasing circulation.

But it's facial exercises like "Marilyn Monroe" and "Lionface" that are the attention-grabbers in her book.

Does it work?

Well, it looks like fun — but plastic surgeons probably don't have much to worry about in the near future.

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