It seems that the concept of Facial Fitness may be catching on quicker in some parts of the world than others. One place where this appears to be true is the United Kingdom.

A quick internet search comes back with a Google page full of London-based coaches in the field, though they may call themselves something different. One notable person on this list is Danielle Collins, the world’s leading Facial Yoga specialist. The potent benefits of Yoga for the body are well documented, so no need to rehash them in detail here.

But as we always say, if you’d undertake any practice in the hope of achieving a healthier, more vibrant body, why would you neglect the most attention garnering part of you? Of course we’re talking about the face.

YogaDanielle is a case-study of the truth behind the science, so we reached out to her. She was kind enough to share with us some of her experiences and most interesting findings which transformed her into the Face Wellness guru that she is today. She didn’t start that way, as you can gather from the gist of her story below:

Starting a world away, Danielle began her young-adult life as a bookish literature major, engrossed by the likes of William Styron (Sophie’s Choice) and Roddy Doyle (The Barrytown Trilogy). The plan was a career teaching English and she graduated from Bath Spa University with first-class BA honors. Everything was on track until it wasn’t.

Shortly after graduating, Danielle was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or also known as M.E. or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a debilitating illness that affects the nervous and immune systems.

“I was pretty much house bound for 18 months and doctors knew of no cure for the illness, saying I may have to live with it forever. I used to be someone who was quite unhealthy and stressed and this time being ill prompted me to change my lifestyle and mindset.”

It took some time, but she started implementing yoga, holistic nutrition, relaxation, acupressure and positive thinking into her life.

“Yoga helped me in so many ways. It is like an amazing tool which can be used to help you feel better in every way. It helped my mind to feel positive, content and calm. It transformed my body, helping it feel stronger, look more toned and be more relaxed.”

In less than two years–completely contrary to the doctor’s expectations–she was better. “What I had learnt had changed my life so dramatically…I felt so passionate about helping others in the same way, whether it be to overcome an illness or just feel healthier and happier.”

She continued studying and teaching. Her students responded exuberantly. Some began asking her to take her learning and teachings further.

“My clients were saying to me how much Yoga was toning and relaxing their body and calming their mind but they wanted something which was just as effective and just as natural for their faces.”

One aspect Danielle found in her research that she found to be particularly interesting was how quickly our faces begin to lose their elasticity. That’s because our collagen, the plumping agent in the skin, begins to drop off by about one percent each year. That starts around ages 19-20.

However, we can soldier up and combat this, she says. “We can produce more collagen through what we eat, what we apply to the skin but the most effective way, in my experience, is through face massage…” (Remember that exercise and massage are supposed to go together.)

Many of the techniques Danielle tested have been used for thousands of years in Eastern cultures, like acupressure, for example. But she looked at more modern approaches that utilized holistic wellness, too. Her goal, all the while, was to develop something that could be utilized by busy people.

“I made each of the sections just 10 minutes long, each working a different aspect of the face.” At Facial Flex, we advocate just a few minutes a day with our facial exercise device because we also cater to busy people.

Danielle was humbled by how fast her teachings caught on. But she wasn’t entirely surprised. The philosophy behind it is pretty much common sense, she says.

“We all know the benefits of exercise, massage and relaxation for the body, so why wouldn’t we apply these same techniques above the neck? People also love the natural results–how safe it is and how cost effective it is…”

For many wellness-centric people, “Face Yoga and Facial Exercise is almost like the ‘missing link’. It completes that holistic lifestyle…Although it may have been the first time someone has heard about it, when you explain to them that the muscles in the face need to be relaxed and strengthened–just like those is the body–there is often a ‘light bulb’ moment where they understand the reason behind it.”

The main obstacle, she says, is motivating people to find their own way of incorporating these methods into their busy lifestyles. “But I always say that anything is better than nothing. Even a couple of minutes each day makes a difference. Just like exercise for the body, the key is to keep it up regularly to see great results.”

Looking back on everything, Danielle feels lucky to be in a position to share the knowledge she’s cultivated over the past 13 years on a global scale. She’s still teaching. Just not what she originally planned.

You can learn more about Danielle’s methods here: You can also follow her on Social Media: Facebook: The Face Yoga Expert; Twitter, @FaceYogaExpert; and Instagram, faceyogaexpert.