The Power of the Yawn

Yawning: every creature that has a spine yawns. It’s a built in repair circuit which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms everything down in your body.


Yawning is particularly useful when your body is stressed, injured, or ill. If you’ve got a head ache, try yawn “surfing”– where you literally try to yawn over and over–in most situations, your headache will ease up.


Yawning is very good when you’re scared or upset. Try for at least three minutes of non-stop yawns, including gentle stretching, making little noises, gently rubbing your face or eyes. If you’re doing it well, your eyes should be watering.


If you’re able to yawn for 10-15 minutes, your stomach may growl. By now, you’ve probably already yawned once?

images-4Twenty to forty minutes of non-stop yawning can also decommission stagefright. Do it until just before you walk out on stage, or in front of the camera.


Humans have been yawning since the beginning of time, often as a stress response, sort of like dogs. Have you ever noticed when your dog is stressed they stretch, yawn and shake it off? We’re the same. My mom used to work at a community mental health clinic and would no sooner get in the car to drive home….and her body would begin yawning….all the way home. She never understood it– until she learned about yawning as discharging stress from the body.

Babies and kids are masterful yawners.



Yawning is contagious. Try yawning at a meeting with others. Many others around you will involuntarily yawn. Like laughter and even tears, humans discharge built up tensions through these emotional releases. Discharging is a powerful. natural way back to feeling good again.

Even the Dali Llama yawns.


(I was yawn surfing the whole time I was trying to write this! So funny!)


15 thoughts on “The Power of the Yawn

  1. Wow I never new this. In fact the other day I experienced a very stressful car ride with some friends in which I was the passenger. We drove on the freeway at 85 mph and the driver would come up on the braking car in front of him and his wife would yell “brakes!” because he wasn’t paying attention. Later when we stopped for dinner I couldn’t stop yawning and felt I was being rude. I tried to suppress my yawns thinking they would feel I was bored or tired. Now I know my body was reacting to the stressful drive. Amazing.

  2. I just tried to post a comment and it wasn’t working, so hopefully you don’t get two! My dog yawns all the time when she’s annoyed. It’s the tell tale sign I know she wants something. that’s funny. I never knew this. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I start to yawn a lot.

  3. Great info about yawning! I attended a dance therapy course years ago in which the facilitator read us an article listing 30 (or more) benefits of yawning. I wish I’d asked her for a copy.
    I find it a pity that yawning is socially unacceptable. It’s so healthy.

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