Why should be all master the art of yawning?
If you’re surprised that my recommendation really is about yawning, that’s probably because yawning is associated with being bored or tired. We are taught from an early age that to yawn is a sign of disrespect. In our society, yawning is simply considered rude!
However, bear with me. Yawning is a more interesting and important subject than you initially think…
For a start, we detox 70% of the toxins in our entire body by using our lungs. This means that extending our awareness of breathing is highly relevant. And if you contemplate the idea that certain breathing methods can optimise your detox, then yawning becomes an art!
In fact, neurosciences* show that the act of yawning has some highly valuable functions:
- Yawning is energising. It actually brings more oxygen to your brain. In the context of the pandemic, this is something we badly need more than ever.
- Yawning is communicative. It’s linked with empathy as it’s highly contagious. If you doubt this, check the ‘empathy’ level of people you hang out with by demonstrating a long, deep yawn. How many are soon following your lead?
- Yawning literally releases tension from your jaw muscles. This is a useful and natural mechanism for letting go of stress in the day. For people who have a tendency to tense their jaws at night, it’s also a good idea to yawn a few times before going to bed.
How to master the art of yawning:
To yawn on purpose means undoing what we learned from our nursery days: that yawns should be hidden! However, reaping the benefits of this new approach is worth the practice.
- Take a long, deep breath through your nose. Feel the yawn come to you, open your mouth and do nothing to stop it. It might disappear, or give you only half a yawn, but it will come back.
- Learn from cats. Observe our feline friends because they are the ultimate example of the best yawners! The way they yawn doesn’t just affect their face, but also includes their whole body as they take a long, deep-deep stretch. Look at their wide mouth, their relaxed tongue – the curve of the spine as it releases, their extended claws, the length of their body as it becomes fully stretched. Their facial expression says it all: this feels good!
Now it’s your turn. Take it as a new experience; have fun being a cat!
First, can you connect with each part of your own body, with your face, your air pathways, then your spine, your whole-body head to toe?
In which part of your body did you feel the most stretch? What relief did you get? How do you feel, physically and mentally, after yawning once, thrice – or even a dozen times in a row? Try yawning at different times of the day? Do you get the same results?
Could embracing yawning actually fit in with your self-care ritual?