Why Yawning is so important for us…
and why it actually is so much more interesting than it sounds.
As part of my training as a breathwork facilitator, I am currently learning the most fascinating things. Among other things, I recently learned more about yawning – a natural reflex that in our society is mostly associated with fatigue and boredom. But really, there is so much more hidden behind yawning! In this blog article I share with you, among other things, what yawning is, why it is so important for our body that we yawn regularly and how it helps us to connect with other people.
Why are we yawning?
Most people in our society probably think (much like I did until recently) that yawning is simply a sign of tiredness or boredom. Yawning (loudly) in class, in a conversation with someone around you, or during a presentation from your boss is usually considered inappropriate and impolite.
As a result, we often try to suppress our natural yawn reflex when we are with others.
This is not only unnecessary because yawning doesn’t only stand for tiredness and boredom, but it’s also really unhealthy physically!
Yawning is a natural reflex that is incredibly important to our health and wellbeing. It is a natural way of moving and integrating energy within our body.
As part of the parasympathetic response of the nervous system, yawning helps us relax and relieve stress and tension. This is particularly important, for example, after the sympathetic nervous system has been active and we went into „Fight or Flight“ mode. In order to reduce stress hormones and the accumulated energy in the body, the parasympathetic nervous system helps – for example by trembling or yawning – to release this energy – given that we actually allow this to happen!
At the same time, yawning also ensures that our energy level rises and we can become more mindful and alert. It helps us improve our mood – and yes, it also helps us fall asleep easier, precisely because it relaxes our bodies.
Yawning also helps us connect with our body AND our emotions. By yawning, we pay attention to our body and can become aware of how we (and our body) are doing and what we really need.
However, if we suppress our reflex to yawn or prevent yawning (which is very common in company with other people), we prevent these positive effects on our body! Instead, the energy is stuck in our body, which can lead to internal blockages.
What does Yawning have to do with our self-confidence?
I find this aspect particularly interesting: Suppressing our yawn reflex can be seen as a sign of low self-esteem. Why? A reason many people may not yawn in front of others is because it draws the attention of others to themselves and they suddenly become the focus.
By suppressing our yawns, we hide and disguise our naturalness so as not to attract (negative) attention by others.
This may not sound too worrying at first, but ask yourself the following: If you cannot allow yourself to give your body what it needs by yawning without holding back or trying to hide the yawn … in what other areas of your life do you not allow yourself to be naturally and completely yourself?
If you worry about what people might think of you if you yawned (loudly), are there other areas of life where you worry about what others think, say, and how they might react if you were yourself as well?
Ultimately, yawning doesn’t seem like a “big deal” – but it can have a big impact on both our personalities and health.
I would like to invite you to become more aware of your yawning behavior in the future. Can you let go of the old social images and start to yawn wholeheartedly and with your whole body – for yourself, your body and your self-confidence?
So what I want to say with this article: ALLOW YOURSELF TO YAWN – and yes, also in front of other people!
If you’ve always tried to hide your yawning, this can be very uncomfortable, especially at the beginning.
Since I know how important yawning is for my health AND my self-confidence, I pay more attention to my yawning behavior and no longer try to suppress it. I also made it my mission to educate people about the actual function of yawning (hence this blog article). Every time someone yawns or suppresses a yawn in my presence, I tell them about the positive effects of yawning on our lives and give him or her permission not to hold back future yawns anymore. Afterwards I also yawn more freely and openly, which usually leads to mutual laughter … 😉
Incidentally, the process of yawning is similar to that of an orgasm: we can consciously trigger or suppress the yawn – just as we can consciously trigger or suppress an orgasm. But once the yawn (or orgasm) happens, it is no longer possible to stop it (at most, we can try to hide or reduce it somehow)!
Comming back to the influence that holding back the reflex to yawn has on our self-confidence and our personality, we can also draw a connection to our ability to live out our sexual needs and to be able to let go completely during sex.
I’d like to invite you to compare your own yawning behavior with your sexuality. As you yawn, can you completely let go of worries about what others are thinking and surrender to the yawn? And how about sex (alone or with a partner)? Can you let go here completely and surrender yourself completely?
If you notice a similar behavior in both areas, try to can change or adapt your yawning behavior in the coming weeks and see what effects this has on your sexuality… 😊
I know I am repeating myself, but I find this whole topic super fascinating!
Why is Yawning contagious?
You probably noticed before that sometime you suddenly had to yawn if another person had yawned shortly beforehand (maybe you had to yawn a few times while reading this article too…) – even though you were neither tired nor bored!
Yes, yawning is contagious.
The explanation for this lies in our brain: When we yawn, the same area is activated in our brain that is also related to our creativity, our empathy and our ability to connect with others.
Our need to yawn when someone else is yawning in front of us is a natural (unconscious) way of our body to connect us with the other person. We create closeness and connection by yawning together!
The other way around, however, it can also apply that we do not (want to) yawn if we do not (want to) feel connected to a person. I recently held a seminar on yawning for my training course. A participant reported that she once noticed that she doesn’t feel the urge to yawn with people she doesn’t get along well with – on the contrary, with some people she just doesn’t want to yawn, even though they had yawned beforehand.
Finally, here is a little FUN FACT for you: It was discovered that sociopaths do NOT share the tendency to yawn when others do – the assumption is that this is because they are not empathic enough… 😉
I hope this article helped you to understand that yawning is a lot more than just a sign of tiredness. Feel free to leave me your thoughts on this article here: What have you thought about yawning until now? And what do you think now after getting all this new information? I look forward to hearing from you!
Source: The information I am sharing with you in this article come from the following book:
Dan Brulé: „Just Breathe“ (* Affiliate Link)
* Affiliate Link: If you order a book via one of the links on this website, I will get a small commission for my recommendation – the purchase price for you won’t change!
(1) Kelly Sikkema (Unsplash: t53nC7J6Y0E)
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As a Life & Breathing Coach, I am supporting people to reconnect with themselves and create a more fulfilling life aligned to their flow and according to their own needs. In my work, Breathwork is one of my main go-to tools. I’ve got to know Breathwork in Brighton at the beginning of 2018 and since then have experienced life-changing sessions myself, through which I was able to heal painful situations from my past, resolve blockages and experience and strengthen feelings of my own inner safety and freedom.
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If you’ve got questions or want to learn more about my work, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .