You’re not alone if you finding yourself yawning during yoga class. I remember one time during yoga class where I was yawning so much I was worried my yoga teacher would think I was bored!
It’s can be slightly embarrassing when you can’t stop yawning, but it’s actually fairly common. So why does yoga make you yawn?
WHY DOES YOGA MAKE YOU YAWN?
To figure out why yoga makes you yawn, we need to look at what causes us to yawn in the first place.
We all yawn. And you’d think that scientists would know the reason why, considering yawning is something we all do. But the truth is, while there are some widely accepted theories, there’s no single answer as to why we yawn.
Why yoga makes you yawn is actually a fascinating subject – most of all because of the various scientific theories behind yawning.
You’ve probably heard the theory that we yawn due to a lack of oxygen. It makes sense (in theory) but it’s actually been debunked.
As it turns out, there are two widely accepted scientific theories behind why we yawn.
TO REGULATE BRAIN TEMPERATURE
The most commonly accepted theory seems to be that we yawn to regulate brain temperature. Our brain temperature is very susceptible to heat and can raise to higher levels than normal during exercise.
When we yawn, we inhale cool air deeply into our lungs. The theory is that this cool air reduces the temperature of the blood that flows to your brain.
In addition, the act of yawning provides a deep stretch to the jaw, forcing the blood that’s currently in the brain to move away from the brain and be replaced by fresh blood.
As yoga is a form of physical exercise, it makes sense that your body – and brain – temperature would rise as you exert yourself during your practice.
This is particularly true if you’re doing hot yoga, as the extreme temperature in the room combined with physical exertion can cause your body temperature to spike.
If you find yourself getting overheated during class, make sure you stay well hydrated (this is why a bottle of water is one of the recommendation things to take to yoga class.) In addition, don’t hesitate to step out of class if the heat becomes unbearable or if you feel like you need a break. Always listen to your body.
AS A FORM OF COMMUNICATION
The other common theory as to why we yawn is that yawning is a form of communication.
It’s a scientific fact that yawning is contagious – when you see someone else yawn there’s a good chance that you’ll start yawning, too.
Of course, the most obvious reason why multiple people might start yawning at the same time is because they’re all exposed to the same environment (i.e. the same yoga class.)
But that’s not always the case.
Yawning when you see someone else yawn can also be a sign of empathy and bonding. It’s a form of a unspoken communication – you’re essentially saying to the person who’s yawning “yep, I feel ya… This yoga class is definitely intense!”
So that answers the question of “why does yoga make you yawn?”
Now let’s look at how you can stop yawning during yoga.
HOW TO STOP YAWNING DURING YOGA
It’s important to remember that yawning is completely normal and there’s no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed if you yawn during yoga.
However, if your yawning is excessive to the point that it’s starting to bother you, there are a number of things you can do help alleviate your constant yawning.
Drinking cool water helps keep you hydrated and helps to reduce your body temperature. As yawning is thought to be caused by increased brain temperature, drinking cool water can help you stop yawning.
This insulated stainless steel water bottle keeps water cool for 24 hours. It comes with 2 different lids, including a sports lid with a straw – perfect for taking a quick sip of water and getting straight back into your asana.
MOVE INTO CHILD’S POSE
As you move through your yoga asanas, your body temperature will start to rise. If you feel that you’re getting too hot and yawning excessively, try moving into child’s pose and taking a few deep breaths in and out. Child’s pose is an excellent yoga pose to regulate your body temperature.
Take a big, deep breathe of air in through your nose and out through your lungs. This can help to cool the temperature of the blood the flows to your brain and may help you stop yawning so much.
If all else fails, quietly exit class and take a step outside. If the temperature is cool outside, take a few deep breaths and wait until your body temperature cools down, then re-enter the class.
If you’re doing a hot yoga class, this is extra important as the chances of overheating are much higher. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but always remember to listen to your body.
So Why Does Yoga Make You Yawn?
As you can see, there are a number of reasons why yoga can make you yawn. However, the most likely reason is that your body and brain temperature has risen and yawning is simply your body’s way of attempting to restore things back to normal.
Remember to stay hydrated, take a break when needed and don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about stepping out of class momentarily if you feel the need.