Yawning — you’re doing it wrong. Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest entry on her lifestyle site, Goop, teaches you how to properly yawn. Yes, there’s a right way to yawn and apparently, there are two ways to do it — and it’s important.
“The other night at a dinner with Michael Lear, a wonderful yogi and important quarterback for mindfulness and meditation in this country, he caught, out of the corner of his very alert eye, the suppression of a yawn,” Paltrow writes. “‘Please yawn,’ he explained. ‘Really give into it, as it’s the body’s primary way to release and stretch the jaw and neck muscles after a long day of work and conversation.’”
Paltrow noted that while she’s well aware of the perception that it’s “rude” to yawn, she has come to understand that it’s “a very important mechanism for releasing stress. It feels good for a reason: Trust that your body knows how to calibrate itself.”
So, without further ado, here’s how Paltrow and Lear say you should yawn:
When exercising “Yawn #1,” you should “gently tilt your head back” and “allow your mouth to hang open widely” then “contract the back of the throat as if to perform Ujjayi breathing — a whispery breath — which is typically done through your nose with your mouth closed. Breathe deeply through your mouth so you feel the air hit the back of your throat.” After inhaling and exhaling — and once the “yawn comes” — “reach and extend into it, riding the yawn to stretch the jaw muscles.”
You’re then supposed to repeat this eight to 10 times until “tearing” starts. “As your jaw muscles stretch and relax, and the yawn expands, the lacrimal glands around the eye are squeezed and tearing is induced,” Paltrow explains of the semi-terrifying sounding “tearing” process.
As for “Yawn #2,” you repeat the above steps, BUT, when the yawn comes, “bring together only the lips” — this is important as it’s italicized — and “keep the teeth slightly separated.” By doing so, Paltrow writes, “creating this shape with your mouth as you yawn will take out more slack in the throat muscles to bring the lengthening and relaxation around the base of the tongue, and further stretch and relax the neck, jaw, and occipital regions.”
You are to repeat this eight to 10 times until you, again, “begin to tear.”
Paltrow and Lear recommend you “explore these exercises throughout the day, especially before bed, to release accumulated energy and tension that may result from conversation and or the vicissitudes of the day.”
And there’s good news, y’all: Paltrow notes that “tearing is not necessary for this exercise to be beneficial.”