A few weeks ago I received a very interesting question from a face yoga practitioner in Japan, a question regarding something I haven’t thought of in a while.
She wanted to know the number one teaching lesson I’ve learned after so many years of certifying face yoga teachers.
The reason why I paused at this question for a second is because in general people never ask me about the act of “teaching”, they just want to learn more face exercises, and understandably so.

To best answer this question I decided to give you some background information to help put events in context.

One way or another teaching has always been a part of my life. Before creating the face yoga method as you know it today, I already had 7 years of experience in teaching high-school and college classes in Tokyo, the U.S. and Canada. As you may know, after my car accident I began creating face exercises strictly for myself, I wanted to make my face more symmetrical and was convinced exercising the muscles in my face was the solution. A couple of months had passed and the results were increasingly more visible, it wasn’t just that my face looked better, but I was feeling the change on the inside, I had more confidence in myself and it showed.5-face-yoga-before-after-fumiko

It seemed as if everything happened overnight; TV shows, interviews, events, workshops, book deals. And let me tell you right now… it gets EXHAUSTING. I loved every second of it but realized later on that spending 5 days a week in hotels was not the kind of life I could keep up if I wanted to start a family. So I did what I felt in my heart was the right decision and retired from the limelight.
Fast forward to 2010, here I am, living in the US with my husband Henry and daughter Nina, when I started receiving multiple messages from a face yoga enthusiast who wanted to get certified so that he would be able teach face yoga on his own.

Right off the bat I said no. I was already settled down in the US with no intentions of going back to Japan to continue teaching face yoga.

0316_5What you need to understand is that teaching face yoga is one thing, but certifying people so that they can teach others face yoga, is a completely different scenario. These people would be teaching in my name, I had to make sure everything was done right, otherwise I wouldn’t take the risk. 
After thinking about it extensively and after having received messages from 3 other people interested in getting certified I decided to hold the certification classes during a 2 week vacation to Japan.
This was the first time I ever certified face yoga teachers and I very well thought it would be my last.
(As a side-note, I couldn’t have been more wrong, I now have over 200 certified teachers in Japan alone, but that’s a story for a another time.)
One of the first 4 teachers I certified during that trip was Yoshiko.
I talk about Yoshiko’s story in detail in today’s video

I didn’t know it then, but getting certified in Face Yoga ended up being a major tipping point for Yoshiko.
Because of her experience with practicing and teaching Tango, being consistent with face yoga came very naturally for her, and, over time, friends and family started seeing changes in her face. One thing led to another and Yoshiko started teaching her tango students face exercises. She already had the studio available, what harm could it do? At the very least she would get to share this new practice with her students. 
Seeing her students gain confidence motivated Yoshiko even more, and that’s when I asked her if she was willing to take on some of my current projects. Even though I was living in the U.S. I was constantly receiving offers to hold events, give classes, make appearances on TV shows and write articles for magazines in Japan.
Yoshiko gladly took up my offer and needless to say, she truly blossomed. In just a few years she has published 10 books and sold half a million copies. She holds events all over Japan, truly making a change in people’s lives. 
I asked Yoshiko what was the best part about becoming a certified teacher and here’s what she said: “You’re helping others change their face, their lives and on top of that you’re getting paid. It’s an amazing job! When you see your students faces and lives starting to change it motivates you to keep going. It’s the best job ever”10653595_775572842537925_7513249730925741406_n
The reason why I wanted to share Yoshiko’s story is because of how it all began.
Remember when she first came to my teacher certification course?
Her goal wasn’t even to teach, she didn’t start out with the clear purpose of making a living out of face yoga, she was merely looking to tone her face and improve her skin condition. Over time, she managed to put one foot in front of the other and get to where she is today. I’m amazed at how far she’s come, her dedication, her willingness to make a change and how she took ownership of the practice. Yes, it is the Face Yoga Method as I taught her, but she was never afraid to make it her own, she now designs the classes the way she sees fit, she has adapted to her students and their needs. Watching her evolve has been one of my proudest moments as a teacher.
So… can you guess what’s the number one thing I’ve learned from so many years of teaching face yoga?
I realized that you don’t really know your craft until you are able to teach others in such a way that they’re able to become teachers in their own right and pass on your knowledge.
That was my very first experience certifying face yoga teachers, 6 years have passed since then and I’ve certified approximately 200 other teachers. All of whom are part of a very supportive community. They participate in events, create their own, and make a living doing what they love. It is truly mind boggling when I start thinking about it. To be honest, sometimes I even think about taking on new students because I’ve learned so much as a teacher, one day, when the time is right, I will.
If you’re interested in becoming a face yoga teacher join my waitlist here.