Yawning is an involuntary reflex that has different nuances. I yawn a few times a day without being aware of it. It usually happens when I’m tired or bored. Other reasons for spontaneous yawning are for breath balancing or equalizing ear pressure.
Yawning stretches my lungs and may improve my blood-gas balance. Hence, when I feel like yawning, I avoid suppressing it and try to do it entirely, including vocalizing my exhaling.
Similar to smiling and laughing, yawning is contagious. When I see others yawn, social mirroring often occurs. Also, when reading about yawning, I may start doing it spontaneously. So, don’t be surprised if you start yawning as you read these lines.
In the below exercise, I fake a yawn. The exercise simulates my breathing muscles in the same way that spontaneous yawning does.
How I exercise ‘yawn breathing’:
- I stand up with a straight back and close my eyes
- Reset my breathing if needed.
- Breathe with nose inhales and mouth
- Inhale, in 3 parts, through my nose.
- Open my mouth wide enough to distance my jaws.
- Release a vocalized sigh through my mouth.
- Repeat for a few rounds.
When I exercise yawning, I stretch out my arms to the side, replicating the movements I make when I yawn naturally. The way I yawn is exclusive to me and forms a part of my breathing identity.