Yawn On! Self-induced yawning is one of the best practices we can do to stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system as well as balance our brain. Research has shown yawning releases a cocktail of mood-elevating neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. In fact, it’s hard to find another activity that instantly positively influences so many functions of our brain and nervous system.
According to researchers at the Institute of Neurology in London, the precuneus, a tiny structure hidden within the folds of the parietal lobe, plays a central role in our ability to experience self-reflection, empathy, social awareness, and consciousness. Functional MRI studies have even shown that yawning stimulates unique neural activity in this area of our brain, evoking the feeling of connection not only within ourselves but also with others. This is why yawning feels so good and is contagious. We naturally want to entrain with those around us, so yawn on!
Not only does self-induced yawning help to balance our brain, but it also supports us in self-stimulating a relaxation response in our autonomic nervous system. Each time we yawn, we self- regulate our vagal tone and entrain with the moment through the sensory stream of our innate Body Current® intelligence.
Practice: Try self-induced yawning today. It only takes 10-30 seconds to stimulate this amazing practice for your brain and body. Simply begin by opening your mouth wide to simulate a natural yawn. After a few times opening your jaw as wide as you can, your natural yawn will come through lighting up your precuneus and releasing a wealth of healthy neurotransmitters and hormones into your body.
If you have been under extra stress or managing fears, you may even notice it takes as long as 60-90 seconds before a long steady stream of natural yawning begins, especially if you haven’t yawned for awhile or if you hold a lot of tension and stress in your jaw.
Notice how you feel and what you are experiencing before and after yawning. I would love to hear if you wish to share with me.
So next time you are feeling sad or disconnected, yawn on to bring your inner game on!
P.S. Please visit the blog page on my website for more powerful practices to empower your wellbeing. Send me an email at Shanti@EnergizeShanti.com to keep in touch or to schedule a private session with me via ZOOM.