How good does the body feel after a deep and powerful yawn? Right?!
Often, we are surprised when a yawn comes out of nowhere, our jaws open wide, our lungs fill with oxygen, we may stretch our body and make an audible sound and as we exhale long and slow, we let it all go. Yes! The feeling is profound – rewarding, relaxing, and sometimes energising. Especially when two or three occur simultaneously! This is because it accesses the parasympathetic nervous system – or rest and digest – allowing for relaxation.
Imagine if yawning is to our energy body what showering is to our physical body. Replenishing, revitalising, re-energising!
But what do we do when we are in the presence of others, and we feel the impulse to yawn? We suppress it, hide it, disguise it!
We don’t control or initiate the yawn. It happens to us – the body initiates it. Conditioning from society teaches us that it is rude or even offensive to yawn in public, so we, humans, very often suppress it.
When we suppress, prohibit or incomplete yawns, they remain trapped inside us, aching to come out. When we surrender to the body as one does during a session of TRE® or Breathwork, the effect of the yawn can be experienced more intensely, and this reflects in the degree of relaxation afterwards.
Yawning brings us into a relaxed state but also increases cognitive awareness. It helps us to be more present with ourselves and in doing so we can be more present with others.
Did you know that yawning is a natural reflex in all mammals – not only in humans – to naturally release tension from their nervous system?
Yes, yawning is a natural reflex in all mammals, but humans are the only species that hide or suppress yawning. For those familiar with breathwork and the tremor mechanism in TRE®, you will know that yawning is an excellent way of releasing tension from the body.
Yawns experienced in TRE® and Breathwork are unlike the typical yawn one may experience day to day. It can feel like the jaws have never opened as wide as this before – because, during these releases, there is less element of human intervention prohibiting the release. We surrender, allowing the body to do what it needs to do to let go.
The yawn can release tension from the physical body to relax muscles, resulting in fewer aches and pains. It can release tension from the emotional body to let out trapped or suppressed emotions – even emotional trauma from the past – resulting in more spaciousness in the chest and diaphragm where emotions can get trapped.
As we yawn and open the jaw wide, it stretches and relaxes the masseter muscles in the face. These muscles are engaged when we feel threatened, or sense danger and the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight response) is activated. By stretching and relaxing these muscles during the yawning process, we engage our parasympathetic nervous system – the part of our nervous system responsible for rest and digest, thus can aid in relaxation.
Calm your nervous system by accessing the yawning reflex in 2 minutes!
Yawning is contagious. When one person yawns, it gives permission for others to yawn. When we don’t let ourselves and each other be human, we force ourselves and others to be fake.
Let us yawn together now! Unashamedly, uninhibitedly, without embarrassment or self-consciousness!
You can initiate the yawning reflex within a few minutes. I invite you to explore now using the following prompts:
- First, initiate some sighs to relax the mind and body. Take a long, deep inhale through the nose. On the exhale through the mouth, let everything go with a long, deep sigh. Repeat 5 or 6 times, continuing to take long sighs adding some vocal sounds as you sigh.
- If this does not already initiate a yawn, open your mouth wide as if you will yawn, stretching your jaw wide. Hold for about 5 seconds. Then close your mouth. Repeat this yawning pattern several times. This most likely will initiate a yawn! Go on, add some movement and vocal effects when you yawn. Let it all out!
- Reflect on how this feels in your body and mind. Notice if you feel more relaxed, calmer. Notice if you feel tired or exhausted. If so, permit yourself to take a break and rest. Notice if you don’t feel anything at all or were not able to initiate a yawn. If so, I encourage you to try this exercise again another time.
The Yawning Princess!
A few years ago, prior to burning out, I was nicknamed ‘The Yawning Princess’ as I would constantly yawn throughout the day. I knew I was yawning a lot, but what did I do about it? Being a single mother of two, with a full-time job and my own business, I could not rest more than I was, nor did I see any option for a change of lifestyle. So, I ignored it, hoping it would go away. Little did I know, this was my body’s way of trying to tell me to slow down and that Burnout was heading to my door.
By learning and applying self-care tools like TRE®, grounding techniques and Breathwork, I allow my body to discharge tension and stress daily, rather than let it accumulate, weigh me down and cause me to suffer.
If you would like to learn self-applied stress-relief techniques such as TRE®, Breathwork or Grounding Techniques, contact me at email@example.com
I invite you to inquire: How often do you yawn? Do you yawn excessively? Is your body telling you to slow down? How often do you notice yourself suppressing yawns? Can you give yourself permission to yawn more freely?
Allowing yourself to yawn more freely gives yourself and each other permission to be fully human.