This is a practice from my book Leap Before You Look.
At any time of the day,
Evening or night,
Make yawning into a conscious practice.
No need to wait until you feel like it:
Open your jaw wide and stretch it.
Make it a big yawn.
Take a deep breath,
Into the lower part of the belly.
With the exhale, make a sound: “Aaaaah!”
Do it again.
In less than a minute, the body will respond:
You will continue to yawn naturally.
Notice a change in your breathing rhythm,
And a natural release of the diaphragm.
Do this for about five minutes, three or four time a day.
This simple practice will change everything in just a few minutes. The key is to yawn consciously—not to wait until the body yawns on its own—and to yawn totally, generously, with maximum stretch and sound. If you can, take a short nap after using this practice; if your body needs rest in that moment, it will naturally take what it needs after some conscious yawning.
The benefits of conscious yawning are too many to list here. You will discover just how much this supports presence very quickly on your own. So, here is just a short summary.
Yawning brings fresh oxygen into the body cells, including the eyes and the brain. A really good yawn will contract and expand muscles from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, including the muscles in the neck and shoulders (the trapezii) where we accumulate a great deal of day-to-day tension. It releases tension in the eyes (orbicularis oculi), stimulating the production of refreshing tears that moisten strained eyes. Yawning releases tension in the abdominal and solar plexus area, bringing release to the diaphragm, where we hold much of our habitual emotional tension. It should be no surprise, then, that yawning can easily dissipate funky emotional states. Doctors tell us that yawning changes the pH of the blood, making it more alkaline and reducing the toxicity of the whole system. Chinese medicine advocates yawning as a way to help cleanse the liver and balance the energy in the liver meridian.
If you do this practice regularly for a few weeks, several times a day, you may notice not only that the body feels more relaxed and flowing, but also that you become more attuned to your body’s rhythms and needs.
You can discover 72 practices like this in Leap Before You Look.