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Tongue Exercises and YouTube Bans: Why Face Yoga Expert Koko Hayashi Fights for Their Importance

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Jun. 28 2024, Published 1:43 a.m. ET

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Last December 2023, Koko Hayashi, a Los Angeles-based certified face yoga instructor and founder of Koko Face Yoga, who appeared on TV shows such as Shark Tank, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and America’s Got Talent, received devastating news: her YouTube account of more than a decade has been banned by YouTube due to its violation of community guidelines, mainly targeting her tongue exercise.

For Hayashi, who is passionate about helping and teaching others to gain a more beautiful and healthier physical appearance through facial exercises, the ban presented both a challenge and a question. How does the tongue become too sexual? In this unfortunate situation, she became more determined to spread awareness of the value of the tongue in human health and condition, proving that tongue exercises are as decent and acceptable as any other music videos people see on YouTube.

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The Unknown Power of the Tongue

The tongue is just a small part of the body, yet many people do not know that it plays a pivotal role in developing and maintaining a healthy and aesthetically pleasing facial structure. Hayashi explains that when the tongue rests properly against the roof of the mouth, it exerts a gentle yet influential pressure that helps to shape the upper palate and supports the development of a well-defined facial structure.

This correct tongue posture, often referred to as "mewing" after Dr. John Mew, who popularized the concept, promotes a balanced growth of the facial bones, potentially leading to a more harmonious and symmetrical appearance. The tongue's strength, capable of exerting significant force, is a major factor in the development of the jaws and alignment of the teeth, affecting the overall facial profile.

Hayashi also emphasizes how the tongue's resting position has implications for nasal breathing, which is associated with better oxygenation and can influence facial appearance. Proper tongue posture encourages the lips to close and the teeth to remain slightly apart, facilitating nasal breathing over mouth breathing. This habit supports the structural integrity of the face and contributes to improved health outcomes and even better sleep quality.

Hayashi mentions, “It is for these very reasons that I am passionate about teaching people the proper tongue posture. Its main purpose is to educate, and educating others is more effective when you actually see how it's done.”

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What’s Sexual Content, Anyway?

Hayashi acknowledges YouTube's commitment to preserving the platform's integrity and safety but argues that a more nuanced approach to evaluating video content needs to be assessed. She advocates for a reassessment of standards to accurately discern the intent behind each video, emphasizing the importance of distinguishing between genuinely inappropriate material and content that, though potentially misunderstood, offers significant health-related benefits.

"There should be a clear line separating truly objectionable content from videos or posts that, despite possible misinterpretations, provide valuable health insights," she asserts.

Hayashi is not alone in critiquing YouTube's content moderation policies. Dr. Mike Mew has also voiced concerns over YouTube's decision to ban certain content, expressing confusion over the platform's categorization of educational health videos as dangerous. This is particularly perplexing given the prevalence of overtly violent and sexual content on YouTube.

Hayashi maintains that the exercises showcased on her channel are entirely benign and focused on wellness, a stark contrast to the sexually explicit material often flagged by YouTube. The ban, she argues, fails to recognize the primary goal of face yoga, which is to offer a natural and non-invasive alternative to cosmetic surgery.

Hayashi’s Way Forward

Despite this setback, Hayashi remains passionate about promoting proper tongue posture and face yoga exercises through different platforms, such as her app, Koko | Facial Yoga Exercises on iOS and Koko Face Yoga on Google Play. She still focuses on teaching different methods of facial exercises, targeting other areas of the face, from simple to more complex ones, catering to the various needs of her market.

She mentions, “From aiming to get a better jawline to reducing wrinkles and smile lines to achieving a symmetrical face, all of these can be achieved and more with right teaching and application of face yoga techniques.”

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