Facial Gymnastics

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Do you have irritating friends or acquaintances who persist in violently wiggling parts of their face at you? Do members of your family have party tricks that involve doing obscene things with their ears?

If this is the case, how would you like to amaze your friends with your own rubber-faced antics?

How to do an Eyebrow Mexican Wave

This particular trick involves an advanced level of control of one's eyebrows. All individual eyebrow movement is achieved by wrinkling your brow, as everyone can do, so that both eyebrows move upwards, but doing it with only half your forehead. That is to say, to wiggle the left eyebrow, think about moving the skin on your left temple only.

To do the 'mexican wave', start by raising one eyebrow Roger Moore style, then think about raising the 'inside' of the brow (the part that is closest to where the brows meet in the middle) and then doing the same with the 'inside' of the other brow, and finishing with raising the other brow in its entirety. This should leave you in a totally 'raised' position - that is, both brows should be lifted, the forehead furrowed in an expression resembling surprise.

The difficult bit is trying to co-ordinate this 'lifting' part of the cycle with lowering the parts of the brow line that have already been raised in sequence. A good practice to develop is trying to ensure that you only have one part of your brow raised at any one point.

The 'Shuttle'

For extremely advanced practitioners, performing the highly complex 'shuttle' manoeuvre is the ultimate goal. This is where the raised point of the eyebrows, or the 'wave' if you like, travels from one end of the brow ridge and then returns going the other way, like the red scanner on the front of Knight Rider's KITT.

Practice Methods

Whilst most people might assume that this example of facial athleticism requires many sleepless nights in front of a mirror, it merely requires a well-developed degree of facial control and a little fine-tuning. It is best to practise without involving a mirror at first, as it can only confuse the practitioner's left from their right, and so should only be used to fine-tune one's technique once the basics have been mastered.

How to Cross Your Eyes

The foolproof method for crossing one's eyes is to concentrate on the end of you nose, then keep your eyes at that 'angle' and hey presto! you have a thoroughly convergent gaze. If you are unable to see the end of your nose for any reason, hold out your arm, index finger pointing upwards; focus on the finger, then simply move the finger slowly closer to your face and voila! same result.

How to Move One Eye Independently of the Other

Okay, you can't actually focus on separate things with your eyes chameleon-style, but it is possible to fool an onlooker into thinking you can move your eyes individually.

The starting position is with your eyes crossed, with the line of your gaze roughly horizontal (ie looking straight ahead, just a bit crooked), and then shift your focus from your nose to the extreme left periphery of your vision back to your nose then to the extreme right. If you can get this smoothly enough, then it appears as if only one of your eyes is moving at any one time! It is a good idea to keep your focal point extremely close to your face and to avoid focussing on anything further away than your own face, as this will immediately spoil the illusion.

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