Many would associate yawning with lack of concentration or a general lack of interest, but it’s actually common to yawn during meditation.
But it’s actually beneficial. One of the core purposes of meditation is letting the mind have a break, and one of the benefits that come with that is increased focus and memory.
Meditations are generally supposed to consist of taking deep breaths, which is supposed to calm the mind down and let it unwind.
If you find yourself yawning during meditation, take it as a good sign, you’re moving in the right direction and achieving the benefits that meditation is meant to give you.
Not everyone starts seeing the benefits of meditation quickly, which is what prompts them to give up. The problem with giving up too early, is not giving meditation enough time to change your life.
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Should You Yawn When You Meditate?
I’m not saying you have to yawn to know you’re on track with meditation, but it’s a clear indication, since the whole idea of meditation is for your mind to be present and thus, allowing yourself to break free from the past or present.
In our mind, we either tend to anticipate what will happen, due to our nature of wanting things to be in control, or worry about things that can’t be changed, such as the past.
But some interpret yawning during meditation as the meditation being boring, thus thinking it’s not for them and giving up, when it should be the opposite. Yawning on its own has benefits, but it’s not something we produce at command.
However, meditating can be a great way to induce a yawn, because yawning is a way to replenish the mind and boost our focus. We tend to yawn as a way to fuel the brain, especially, when we’re in for a session that requires a high amount of focus. It’s kind of like the gasoline we need to not run out of energy and keep up with what we’re doing. It’s a way of cooling down.
Depending on the meditation we’re doing, it can take a lot of focus to feel like we are “doing it right”. But by yawning, you release chemicals, such as serotonin, which is intended to improve our well being and happiness.
If you ask any long-term meditator whether they feel happier ever since they started the practice, most of them will confirm. So in a way, you could say that yawning can improve your general well being. And more so when it’s done in conjunction with meditation.
Yawning vs. Meditation
Yawning and meditation can perfectly go hand in hand, the comparison is to outline their similarities: when it comes to yawning, it’s a way for the mind to make a soft restart, whereas in meditation, this restart is for a longer period.
Something both yawning and meditation have in common, aside from boosting our performance and focus, is the deep breath we take with both. There’s a good reason for that.
Deep breaths can reduce stress significantly, hence why people are advised to take a deep breath under tension or a stressful situation. It clears the mind, something meditation has as one of the core objectives. But yawning is in no way a substitute for meditation.
Yawning is a five second act we don’t actively choose to do, whereas meditation can be done anytime and anywhere.
What Does The Brain Release When We Yawn?
There are a number of chemicals released when we yawn, which is why yawning on its own can be so beneficial. All done in the span of just a few seconds. Of course, the chemicals listed below aren’t all the chemicals released when yawning but these two are some that are worth mentioning.
The chemical can help you bond with others in an emotional way, as well as lowering stress you may be feeling during situations where you otherwise would feel stress. It also has the power to increase our empathy, something meditation on its own has an aim to achieve. The more you feel this chemical the more of a potential for this feel-good chemical to increase.
Often called the reward chemical. The chemical on its own can increase your motivation and focus, but it primarily influences your mood.
It’s important to stay high on dopamine, since being low on dopamine can reduce your awareness of things, in the sense that you aren’t as alert and making it harder to concentrate. Earlier I talked about Oxytocin, but Dopamine on its own can increase Oxytocin.
Focusing On What You Can Control
How much you yawn isn’t exactly something you can control, but it can come naturally as a result of meditation. Hence why it’s a good idea to meditate often, to experience the benefits you many would experience while yawning, without necessarily yawning to begin with. If you yawn while meditating, that’s even better.
For instance, you can increase your dopamine alone just by meditating. But in reality, we don’t actually do meditation. Meditation is not about doing, it’s a state of being.
There’s a common perception that meditation has to be done a certain way to be correct, but in reality, as long as you’re keeping your focus in the present moment, while feeling at peace, you are technically in a meditative state.
Meditation isn’t about sitting with your legs crossed while you say a combination of words, meditation can be as simple as taking a walk, and noticing your every step, or noticing what’s happening around you, or simply taking deep breaths without letting your mind fade away into a state where you’re not in control, such as the past or future.
By meditating for the long hall, you’re more prone to experience the same chemicals produced by yawning, and its benefits automatically, starting your day feeling good, even when present circumstances would incentivize against it.
Meditating is like experiencing a more intense session of yawning for a prolonged period, in the sense that it can bring virtually the same benefits and more, especially considering that it has the power to restructure the brain.