In the middle of a jungle ceremony a few years ago, a shaman told me,
“Sometimes you have to break down in order to break through.”
One of the essential truths on the ancestral healing path is that crisis and transformation often go hand in hand.
This crisis can come in a variety of shapes and forms – it may be a challenging life circumstance that brings a person to their existential edge, or a severe health condition that seemed almost impossible to overcome – until you did.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed a remarkable individual named Fumiko Takatsu who embodies this shamanic wisdom to a T.
When she was thirty-six years old, something “catastrophic” happened to her that might be considered a terrible misfortune, but it ended up changing her life dramatically and setting her on the power path she is now on.
It also gave birth to a self-created personal healing method that Fumiko calls “Face Yoga”.
In the video below, she shares the wisdom-rich details of her healing process and also teaches you a few of the core face yoga exercises she uses every day to keep her face healthy, relax her mind and step into her flow.
I hope you get as much out of this conversation as we did!
(The full transcript of our talk is included below this video as well.)
Ever since she cracked the healing code and restored her face (and her life), Fumiko has helped countless others to do the same.
In addition to the awesome talk above, Fumiko is offering her 6 Week Face Toning Bootcamp to our tribe – click here to check it out!
Founder, The Sacred Science
Nick Polizzi: Hi, this is Nick from The Sacred Science and I am here with a very special guest today, Fumiko Takatsu. We talk a lot in The Sacred Science about healing journeys, and often times someone’s own healing journey starts with what would probably be considered a crisis or a severe challenge that seemed almost impossible to overcome.
Well, Fumiko’s story is much like that and I’m excited to have her here today. She’s going to talk with you all about what happened to her when she was thirty-six years old and how that changed life dramatically and set her on the path that she is now on and helped her create something that has been changing the lives of many people, called Face Yoga.
Fumiko, it’s an honor to be here with you today, how are you?
Fumiko Takatsu: Good, thank you Nick for having me. I’m so excited to talk with you!
NP: Yeah, me too, me too! I’ve been following your work for some time and I look at all your exercises and I tried some of them, and my wife’s tried a couple of them, and I think that it’s something that anybody needs to check out. Men, women, you know, whether you have a perfect complexion, whether you are trying to work on something on your face, it’s something that is so … Not only is it amazingly healing but it’s also something that is really meditational. So, I just think it’s an amazing, amazing practice, and I’m honored to be here with you today.
FT: Thank you so much. Yes, and it’s not just the face. I’ve seen so many people interrupt me and saying that it changed their life! That’s what I say: Face Yoga Method, Change your face, change your life. Which I never thought at the beginning, but sure enough, that’s what it is. Yeah.
NP: So how did it start? I mean I know how it started, so I’m just kind of prompting you a little bit here because I can’t wait to hear you tell your story. It’s a pretty amazing story. So I’d love to hear how did it all start? What happened in your life that made you realize that this was a path that you wanted to be on?
FT: Yeah. Well, I was thirty six? I just turned thirty-six years old. I was in Japan, I’m from Japan originally, raised and educated, until I turned twenty-three. I moved to the United States. But anyway, I was teaching in Japan at the time, and my life was great. I lived in Tokyo, it was exciting, everything was so great, and I thought I’m going to be looking like that forever! But when I turned thirty-six I came back to the states, just to vacation for a couple weeks. And then I got hit by a car.
I was in a passenger seat when a car, yellow Mustang, came and just hit the side of my side. And I could not move. I was carried to the ER by ambulance right away, and I was told I was lucky to be alive because it was so bad that both cars were completely destroyed, and I could not breathe, I could not move. The funny thing was that I was so aware what’s going on. We spin three times, and it stopped. And everything was slow motion. And I was thinking, “Oh, who is gonna teach in Japan? Who is gonna take all my classes in Tokyo?”and blah, blah, blah. And when we stopped everything just came back.
And that’s when it happened, and I wasn’t panicking. But, when I got out of that painful, you know weeks, or couple weeks after the accident, I looked at myself and I was just so shocked. My body was completely out of alignment because I was hit from the side, and my shoulder was up, like this side was so up. And my head was tilted, and because of that, my face, one side was so up, and my face was so out of alignment. And I just couldn’t believe how sad and how bad I looked.
And on top of that, you know women, I’m thirty-six, starting kind of like “Uh, I’m getting older a little bit, and the wrinkle, and the sun spots”, and I was getting aware that I would not look twenty forever, but the trauma of the accident really accelerated my aging process and I just, I just hated it. And I started going to lots of expensive treatments and I spent lots of money on creams and all the things people told to me.
You know, you have to go to the spa, you have to go to facials, and you have to get creams, and … I start feeling “Do I have to spend this much money the rest of my life?” And I got so scared. And I felt like I’d lost control of my life. And one day I was about to go to teach, I was teaching college like I said, and I looked at myself. Why not move my face muscles and train my face muscles just like I train my body? ‘Cause I was doing lots of exercising, including yoga, and I was into meditation.
But I never thought about training the face, you know from here up. And I started moving like, ooh, I can move this. And I just love the idea that I can be in control of my life again, my face. And I created lots of routines and people, my friends starting noticing at first, like “You look different, you look happier! You look nicer!” I go, “Oh, Okay!”
And, this is the face I started doing. See that? And at first, people were like “Uh, that’s so strange!” People loved it, but they thought I was doing some really strange thing. But the results were getting so obvious, and people wanting to know how I’m doing it, and I said “Okay, well I’m gonna teach.”
I started teaching kind of casually, and the word spread out. And one publisher wanted to publish a book. And I was still teaching at a college, so I didn’t want to put my name as a Face Yoga teacher, ’cause it wasn’t my field.
FT: But the book just sold, started selling really well, and was translated into different languages all over Asia. And I started doing TV shows and magazines, and I got sponsorships, and I got an agent. And I decided to quit my job at the university because I became so busy. And that’s how I started. And, that was, yeah, more than twelve years ago.
NP: And so wait, just so I’m clear on this. How old are you?
FT: I am forty-eight and I love it!
NP: Oh my, that’s insane to me. Going into this call, I thought you were forty-three. So I was blown away just by that. But now, forty-eight years old, you look like you’re in your late twenties. I think anyone watching this-
FT: Oh, thank you!
NP: I think anyone watching this is gonna, sort of, be shocked by that. You get that a lot? People shocked that, just the fact that you’re forty-eight years old?
FT: Yes! Yeah, people ask me “Are you in your early thirties?” Like “No, I’m forty-eight.”
But, I didn’t have confidence, and my skin wasn’t great when I was younger. I was putting lots of make-up and all those chemicals. And I feel more confident and comfortable. Yeah.
NP: So, the first exercise that you did. You’re standing there in front of the mirror. You’re looking at yourself, you’re like “Oh my gosh! This is not okay, what’s happened?” I think we’ve all had the experience where we look in the mirror as you get older, unless the person watching this is eighteen years old. If you’re, especially in your thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond-
FT: Uh huh?
NP: You have those times that you look in the mirror, and you’re like “Oh Wow, things are changing! This is interesting. I guess I need to …”
And I think part of it is definitely being okay with age. I think age is not something to be resisted, necessarily, but why not take care of yourself and learn new ways of doing it? So you’re standing in front of the mirror and you’re saying “Oh my gosh! This is not what I want.” And then how do you start, what goes on in your brain right there? How do you start making, creating those maneuvers? Those facial movements?
FT: Well, the first one was, I started seeing the eye bags and the lines. And I looked so tired, and even though I had lots of energy. So I thought “Okay, how about if I can move around the eye muscle, because I know that there is a muscle in the face.” So the first one was not easy because I could not move my face muscles like I’m doing right now. But the first one I showed you? I made an “O” shape because that’s a line many, many women especially, do not like to see the line here. Nasolabial fold lines, so I thought “Okay, I’m gonna stretch here.”
And then I thought “Hmmm, I don’t want to see my forehead wrinkles. I gotta go up and I gotta relax.” I would look at myself, and “Hmm, how about if I just lift this up?” So one day I was able to just lift … this muscle, these two, and that was the moment I knew I was onto something, like “Wow!”
FT: Right? This works!
NP: That’s incredible.
FT: Yeah. And I trained my ears, I can move my ears now.
NP: You never, you couldn’t do that before? I mean, I can’t. I can’t move anything, I mean, I can’t even move my beard.
FT: Yes you can! Yeah that’s what people say like “Ah, I can’t move-”
No, no, when you train your facial muscles, you train not only the face muscles, but the brain too. Because you have to understand, okay “This is where I’m putting effort, this is where I’m gonna move.” And that intention really helps, a lot. You know you’re gonna move it. Yeah.
NP: So, what is the psychology behind it? You’re standing there, you’re looking at yourself in the mirror, before you do these, either then or even now when you do it. Do you have to put your brain in a particular state of being to do this? Or after a while it’s muscle memory, you can just kind of do it whenever you want to do it.
FT: Muscle memory, it’s really muscle memory. And that’s why I tell lots of my followers, too. Once you get to the point, it’s almost excitement. You feel excitement, like “Ooh, I can move here, I can move this.” Like riding a bicycle, you never lose that. But, when you are stressed out … One of my students in Japan told me after all the tsunami and earthquake, she could not smile for one month, and she had to retrain the face because she forgot how to smile. Because it was so shocking, it was scary.
And the first time she did after the earthquake, she said that her face almost made a strange sound, as if like something is just moving really dramatically. And that’s how our emotion really shows on our face, and by taking care of our face and emotion at the same time, your life’s gonna be different.
NP: Is there a way, I’ve seen this with other energy healing techniques. Is there a way to rewire your emotions through your facial expressions? You know, the same way they talk about sometimes just smiling will put you in a better mood, even if you’re not in a good mood. Do you experience a lot of that reverse wiring when you maneuver certain parts of your face?
FT: I do. I definitely do. And when I look at people, because so many people send me a photo like “Oh, I’m gonna get rid of this, and that.” One thing I notice that I tell lots of people is that the level line here? This is something very connected to emotion, and your brain cannot tell the difference. You are frowning because you are not happy, or because you are frowning, you are not happy. So-
NP: Yeah. Yeah, what comes first?
FT: Yeah! So, which comes first, you know, chicken or egg? So I tell people, “Okay, so if you want to get rid of this, let’s hug. Let’s love yourself.” And then I do this shoulder rotation exercise that I teach them. They love it! Especially the people who never really had yoga experience. This is everybody’s favorite, because it’s not hard. Should we do it?
NP: Yeah, let’s do it. I’d love to do it.
FT: Yeah. So, let’s hug yourself really tight. Okay? Really tight, and feel somebody is hugging you. And push on your shoulder blades. By doing this, you open your heart, open your chest. And when you open your chest you open your heart at the same time. And then using your elbows draw a figure eight sideways, very slowly. And you feel the movement of your shoulder blades. And by the way, this is good for toning your torso, the tummy area, and that’s another benefit I tell people.
Okay, and then stop. And then go in the other direction.
Are you feeling it?
Okay, and then switch the arm position, and now feel the difference. Do you feel a little different? Almost like it’s somebody’s hugging you. So-
FT: Yeah! It’s different right?
NP: Yeah, it’s totally different.
FT: Yeah. So breathe in, and breath out, and push in your shoulder blades, and feel the love! Remember to love yourself first before you give love to other people. And then, rotate. Figure eight bigger, figure eight is better.
And the other direction.
Come out, close your eyes, and feel the love you just gave yourself. In and out from your mouth. And let’s tap your forehead. Love your mind. Center of your forehead, love your mind.
And come out from the pose. Make fists, using both hands and use the knuckles, your index and middle finger, and place them on your eyebrow. And then slide them. Slide away. Relax. Slide away, center to the side, and close your eyes. Feel the changes and the difference and the sensation on your face and the body, and come out.
How do you feel?
NP: Ahh, so good!
FT: Yeah, so right here, if you are tight, if you’re stressed out. Many times, people have level lines.
NP: Yeah, it’s always like a reminder to me that we have these tools that we just- There’s not like you need, or don’t even need an herb or anything external to you. You’re built with these hands and you have the ability to take care of yourself in a way that is always with you. You don’t have to look for anything. You know the right practices, you can do that yourself.
The fact that I just hugged myself, and then when I switched my arms over it felt like there was somebody else hugging me?
NP: That was incredibly powerful.
FT: I know. And that you have to make your brain kind of confused by switching the arm position. Yes! It’s like “Wow!” You have lots of love to give to others. Many times, especially mothers, they are so busy taking care of other people in their family, but not enough love to themselves. And if you’re not happy, you’re not giving love to yourself. It just shows on your body, like that tightness in the shoulder, on the forehead. And that energy, your family will pick up, the people around you pick up. Or even go grocery store, people see that or feel that energy.
FT: And I tell people “If you don’t trust me, if you don’t believe the Face Yoga Method, just frown and go outside and spend half a day, and see how people react to you. And see how that changes your life, because if you just had enough and are like, “that’s it!” then you’re not gonna feel good, and people react to you based on the feeling you’re having. Versus, you have been so relaxed and smiling almost, and then go outside and people treat you so much better.
NP: Incredible. So, for anyone who’s watching, is there one more thing that you could tell people who might be looking right now for something that would help them feel and look better? To try now in the moment? Is there something you would give them to just start off right now? What we just did was one, and we jumped into that. You surprised me with that one. That one was amazing, with the hug! And this exercise, too, just completely opened up some kind of of energy field right up here for me.
NP: Is there one more you could share that would help somebody?
FT: Yeah! Let’s do the forehead one. You know, this is the third eye, by the way. So much energy right here. I call it the “Eye Opening Bonicular Pose.” Make a “C” shape with your fingers, and this creates a smooth forehead. And many times, people just open the eyes without realizing they are wrinkling their forehead.
FT: Yeah. And as we get older everything of course goes down, so the eyelids get droopier, and then your eyes get smaller. So these exercises help to not to wrinkle your forehead, and also make your eyes bigger.
Okay, right? So “C” shape with the fingers, and place the side of your index on your forehead hairline. Okay, and open your chest, open your heart. Push down your shoulder blades. Very important. And breathe in, and breathe out, and slide your fingers down. Okay? And your forehead should be very smooth. And now, move them sideways so that there are no lines, no wrinkles, no horizontal lines on your forehead. And thumbs right next to your nostril.
Push on your shoulder blades so you looking in the binoculars. Okay, now without moving your fingers, try to resist and open your eyes as wide as possible. Open, open, open. You might feel a strange sensation on the back of your head, that’s fine. Don’t hold back. Open, open up! Bigger, eyes. And open, and close. Now relax. Open your eyes! As wide as possible, and push on your fingers. Push down so that you’re not wrinkling, you’re not moving your forehead. You feel the resistance, okay?
Open, open, open, and close. And come out.
And open your eyes. You open your eyes?
And if this is harder, there is an easy one. Just put your arms, one, two. Same thing. Open your eyes, and push on your hands, so that you are not wrinkling your forehead. And open, open, and open your chest. Push on your shoulder blades. Open. When you open your chest, you open your heart. And don’t hold your breath. Push on your shoulder blades, don’t hold your breath. Very important. And open, and … close your eyes, and come out. And just shake it off. Ooh!
NP: Feels amazing.
FT: You awake?
NP: Yeah! So, it’s interesting, I just realized doing this exercise – the kind of musculature that’s up here.
NP: I’ve never thought about what’s happening up here when I’m opening my eyes, pretty much, wide open. This is a serious amount of tendons and muscles probably, up here that are pushing that, on that entire system to help it happen.
FT: Yeah. It opens your eyes and you get more energy. Almost like when you open your eyes, and put some effort to try to open them. Sometimes people have a hard time not to move the forehead, because they are so used to doing this. And this is the one spot people want to get Botox.
FT: They want to get rid of it. But very easily, when you are aware what you are doing in your facial expressions, and throughout the day, you can prevent, really reduce forehead lines dramatically. Yeah.
NP: Well, thank you for this. This has been quite educational for me, as kind of a rugged man, who doesn’t really tend to do this kind of stuff. It was pretty eye-opening, no pun intended. And I feel incredible right now, after having done it.
FT: Good! Yeah!
NP: Where, so where can our people find you if they want to dive deeper with the methods that you practice?
FT: Well, you can go to my website at FaceYogaMethod.com, and if you want to know what you are doing wrong, for example, that everyday habit – bad habits. I really want to tell people “Stop that” because that helps them to prevent lots of things – a double chin for example. I see lots of people texting, or talking like this. It’s bad, because it’s creating a double chin. So, they can go to the Aging Habits Quiz, they can take the quiz and find out what they need to do. And that’s a really good place to start, but also, the website has lots of other information. So they can look, and also I have lots of recipes for homemade remedies. You can make at home for your skin.
NP: Oh man! We’ve got to do another talk just on that. That’s incredible. I’m sure that they’ll love it, and I’m excited to hear about it too!
FT: Okay, Yeah!
NP: Homemade remedies for your skin? That’s amazing.
FT: For skin, and my husband even uses it, and my daughter uses it for her lips. You can eat the lip balm I make, because beeswax and all the oils from the kitchen – it’s safe, and environmentally friendly, and works great.
NP: So, we’ll put a link below this video for anyone watching to check out more of your stuff. It’s been amazing. This has been an awesome fifteen, twenty minute talk, Fumiko.
FT: Thank you!
NP: More to come soon!
This was WONDERFUL!!
Thank you Nick for having Fumiko share what she has learned. I, too, had a serious car accident being hit from the side at 60 mph so I really “perked up” (lol) when she mentioned that happening to her. I will dig deeper into all Fumiko has shared. It really wet my appetitie to learn more.
Wow! I’m struck by how beautiful Fumiko is – her lovingness, happyness & energy is so palpable! If it’s all because of her Face Yoga … well, I’m starting it right now!😃
Thanks for sharing. Love & gratitude to both of you ❣️
Amazing!!! I love how Fumiko tapped into her inner intelligence to her “fountain of youth” and healed herself, and made herself much younger in the process! Will be doing these facial exercises daily. I’m glad my Uncle taught me how to move my ears when I was little. I know its helped keep my jawline smooth! Once you learn how to wake muscles up, they don’t forget…..
Thanks for this interview! Have practiced yoga for 15 years and recently noticed my 60 year old face is starting to look less expressive. Following Thich Nhat Hanh’s wisdom which says that “Sometimes happiness is the source of your smile, and sometimes your smile is the source of your happiness”, I have consciously started smiling as I walk to my office. Fumiko method gives me lots more to play with. Simple, easy, and inspiring! Her work is in alignment with what I have learned from Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy and world expert on facial expressions, Dr. Paul Ekman.
Fumiko you are truly divine! I cried so hard when I gave myself a hug. People say love yourself but they never show how. Abused children that grow into adults need you! So true about the forehead and the shoulders and how people treat you in public! I’ve been asking for guidance on this for years! Thank you for your guidance and wisdom! Thank you Nick for this insightful information. As always it was exactly what I needed to help me.
I like it, I will like to try this face yoga.
For what it’s worth, Marshall McLuhan said the same thing!
How do I buy this book?
Loved this Nick, thank you for sharing it. Will enjoy trying trying it out!!
I have Meige Syndrome and Blepharospasm which affects the left side of my face. Botox is the only suggested remedy which I have avoided. No one has suggested facial exercises. I am hoping that this will be my answer to a more relaxed face and strengthened jaw muscle. Maybe I can eliminate my frown lines and lift my drooping eyelids as well. Thank you so much for presenting this information.
This post was truly enlightening…just watching the video was very calming. Be well
That was so helpful. I have had Bells Palsy for 2 years on the right side of my face and have been doing face yoga but this version is really helpful. No Doctor will advise you that this yoga will help you have to find it for yourself. When I was 19yrs I went through my car windscreen (before seat belts) and did alot of upper face damage which made my face expressionless. I spent many months in front of a mirror doing anything to improve my face movements. I do not look too bad today but with this new
help from Fumiko who knows what will happen. Brilliant thank you so much.
I have malesma in Skin about 6year so can you please help me.
How to remove double chin- what is the exercise regimen for double chin reduction or removal if possible?