Why Do We Yawn When We Meditate? (Should I Be Concerned About Yawning?)

why do we yawn when we meditate- one guy yawning and one disapproving

Our magnificent bodies have an innate wisdom of their own. And we yawn when we meditate as a way of self-correcting. Yawning is definitely not something you need to be concerned about.

What do I mean by self-correcting? Our SELVES currently have an established equilibrium or balance. Over time, we have arrived at (evolved into) our current mental, emotional, and physical state of being.

With meditation, we are attempting to change this normal state into something different. And yawning can be considered one of the ways our intelligent bodies are helping us do this.

Why Do We Yawn When We Meditate?

The divine intelligence within us wants the best for us- and is always there for us. However, we are normally too busy DOING LIFE to allow this wisdom its voice. When we meditate, we still our busy bodies and minds, and our innate wisdom can begin to find its expression. Yawning is one method our bodies use to help us regain alignment with our authentic selves.


Should We Be Worried If We Yawn When We Meditate?

Even now, after 25-plus years of meditating, I sometimes find there are days when I will yawn deeply while settling into my meditation practice.

Some styles of meditation, which seek to control the body, will consider yawning to be ‘not good’ and something we need to control

While others. Like vipassana, allow and purposefully notice physical sensations. They teach that our bodies are unconsciously ‘cleansing’ themselves of unwanted energy.

I like the vipassana philosophy, and so for me, meditation is not about control over ourselves and our environment.

Rather, I meditate to learn about acceptance. There is a big difference between forcing our bodies to conform to our will (which we can do) and allowing our bodies their own intelligent expression.

Why would I allow my body to behave in the way it wants?

Scientists suggest that each of us has between 30 to 40 trillion cells in our bodies. They are busy doing their thing, replicating, and dying at all times. And within each cell, there are thousands of processes happening every second!

Are you in control of these processes? Do you even know what is going on within your own body? No??? Me neither!

When my body suddenly wants to yawn deeply when I am entering into meditation…. not just once, but on many occasions, I believe my body has a very good reason for it. And usually, it’s not because I am tired!

What Are Some Of The Reasons Why We May Yawn When Meditating?

A yawn is essentially a long deep breath that opens our mouths to their full limit. And at the same time, our eyes will close and maybe water a little. A yawn is something that we have only a little, or no control over.

When we begin our meditation, it is not something we consciously want to happen. Therefore, it is an unconscious action brought about by our bodies.

What possible reasons would our bodies want to yawn? The conventional answers include:

CD picture of Zen 12 product– Maybe our bodies need more oxygen because before meditating our breathing has been rather shallow. A big gulp of air oxygenates our blood which feeds our body and brain cells. The extra oxygen can help us relax and at the same time provide much-needed energy.

– Yawning is often associated with, but not limited to, being tired and needing to sleep. So maybe you are just tired? If this is the case, you would be better off having a sleep instead of trying to force yourself to remain awake and meditate.

– During our days, we gather tension and stress in our bodies and minds. A deep yawn helps to disperse this energy and can shift us into a more beneficial mental, emotional, and physical state of being.

I’m not sure how, but shortly after a series of deep yawns, I always feel deeply relaxed, calm, and centered with my practice. It’s as if I can go deeper and really connect with the intelligence within after a series of deep yawns.

– Some research indicates that yawning is an action that our body induces to regulate our brain’s temperature. They surmise that the increase in blood flow cools down our bodies and brains. (Maybe this is a beneficial result of yawning, but I’m doubtful it is the reason we yawn while settling into meditation!)

– Some people suggest we yawn because our meditating posture is ‘incorrect.’ Maybe we are slouching and our lungs are compressed by drooping shoulders and a rounded spine. If you think this may be true in your case, try meditating in different positions to see if it helps.

I believe lying down causes me to yawn less than when I am sitting in an upright position. However, when I sit upright my posture is such that I am never slouching…. So I think there is something else going on here, rather than yawning to get more oxygen through my lungs.

Is It Possible We Are Yawn When We Meditate For Other Reasons?

Yawns are a funny and little understood phenomenon.

– They can be contagious. Have you ever noticed someone else yawning and then found yourself also needing to yawn?

– Our pets love to wake up, stretch, and yawn deeply. (So, it’s not because they are tired!)

– Some people believe a yawn increased positive energy in our system while at the same time releasing negative energy (or even bad spirits.)

– Yawning can be thought of as our bodies’ unconscious way of changing our energy. Maybe we are opening up to allow ‘higher energies’ to enter our system?

What Can You Do To Help Prevent Yourself From Yawning During Meditation?

I’m with Deepak Chopra on this one. He suggests:

“You don’t need to try to stop it. It will eventually stop on its own, when the underlying issue that is causing it has been neutralized. It doesn’t have to be a distraction for you if you bear in mind that even with this yawning, you can meditate successfully.”

However, if you still want to try to stop yawning while meditating, you can try:

– Do some exercise before meditating so that your body and mind are already saturated with oxygen. Yoga is a great primer for your body, mind, and emotions.

– Breathing exercises (pranayama) are also a great way to ensure the body is oxygen saturated.

– Make sure you are getting enough sleep and are not entering into your meditation session when tired.

– Ensure your posture is comfortable, but not so comfortable that you want to fall asleep.

– Don’t overeat too soon before meditating. And don’t consume food and liquids that cause your bodies state to change, like caffeine and sugar.

Final Thoughts

Whatever is going on, it seems that yawning deeply facilitates a change in our mental, emotional, and physical energies. This can be brought about because we change our level of activity and/or our focus when we enter our meditation session.

The important thing to realize with yawning is that IT’S NOT IMPORTANT WHETHER WE YAWN OR NOT DURING MEDITATION.

Meditation is about being aware….. and if we yawn we can be aware of it, but not attached to the sensation. It is the same as if we burp, fart, cry, or itch.

Maybe these things are happening all day every day, but we are not aware of them because our bodies and minds are too busy…..

They are just sensations that are happening in our experience at this time. And as with all experiences, they will pass……

So, just relax and return to your practice again and again….. and as much as possible, leave your thinking mind out of the equation.

Know that your body and unconscious mind have an intelligence far beyond anything you can possibly imagine. So if you feel the need to yawn, just yawn and then get on with your meditation!

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