Can you force yourself to yawn or does it take an image like this one to create the reflexive response? It turns out that yawning is a simple way to support well being. I’ve suggested some weird practices over the years of writing this blog, but trust me on this one. Come on… why resist?
No need to wait until you feel like it, open your jaw and stretch wide. Make a big yawn. Draw a deep breath into the lower part of your belly and with the exhale, make the sound, “Aaaaah!”
Do it again, and once again. In less than a minute, your body will respond. You’ll continue to yawn naturally. This simple practice changes your body in just a few minutes. Notice a change in your breathing rhythm and a natural release of tension in your diaphragm. A good yawn will contract and expand muscles from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
Yawning brings fresh oxygen in and moves carbon dioxide out of your cells, including those of your eyes and brain.
Yawning relaxes the muscles in the neck and shoulders where we accumulate stress.
It releases tension in the eyes and stimulates the production of tears that refresh and moisten strained eyes.
Yawning relaxes the abdomen and solar plexus. It releases tightness in the diaphragm, where we hold emotional tension.
Yawning dissipates funky emotional states.
Everyone’s amazed by the impact of yawning — including me! Doctors are surprised by the effect yawning has and report that yawning changes the pH of the blood, making it more alkaline and reducing the toxicity of the whole body. Chinese medicine advocates yawning as a way to help cleanse the liver and balance the energy in the liver meridian. According to Ayurveda, the ancient practice of medicine in India, the benefits of yawning surpass the benefits of meditating.
The key is to yawn consciously — to not wait until the body does it on its own — and to yawn generously with maximum stretch and sound. The recommendation is to do this for about five minutes, three or four times a day. The promise is that our bodies will feel relaxed and will become attuned to its rhythms and needs. I’ve been yawning since I began writing this, and I must admit to feeling pretty relaxed. I know, I know — I didn’t believe it either until I tried it.
What is there to lose? There are many upsides to this practice, with only one downside — people assuming you’re not getting enough sleep.
Here’s some help to get us started.
Sources: Arjuna Ardagh, Peanuts