This weekend's practice was full of yawns. I have to admit it was on Saturday night in my mostly dark basement. To give a perspective of how many yawns occurred, I lost track counting at 10! Was I not interested in practicing, was I bored with the DVD I was trying for the first time (Yoga for Beginners II by Patricia Walden), or was I just down right tired???
I can recall that Judy spoke about yawning in yoga class and if memory serves, it relates to listening to the bodies cues for oxygen? She welcomed yawns in her class with a chuckle and a smile! I had to explore more...
In most of my yoga inquiries, Yoga Journal always pops up and with good reason. It seems they cover all the topics I am curious about. And without fail, the first site that came up with my search was from the Yoga Journal website. The author I know well (not personally though) as I've read his book and perused his website. Timothy McCall writes about yawning during yoga. He states:
"...the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), associated with the "fight or flight" response, is more activated [during the day] than the parasympathetic nervous system, the branch of the ANS associated with rest and relaxation...Yogic breathing or practices that lengthen the exhalation relative to the inhalation can pretty quickly lead to parasympathetic dominance, and that's probably why the yawning occurs."
I couldn't have wrote it any better. That totally makes physiological sense!
Other commentary on yawning during yoga includes the need for oxygen, stretching the mouth in a yawn is just like stretching the body during asanas, and that if a yawn occurs during yoga it is due to lack of sleep!
It all seems reasonable for explanations. Later on the weekend I chalked up the yawning to needing more sleep. My Sunday nap just fit the bill.
To many more ZZZs and a few less yawns,
Side note: Interestingly, I found a book called Yawning Yoga. I'm on a hunt to find a copy for a what sounds to be a good night read!
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.