Let's face it, we all get pretty stressed out sometimes. But have you ever stopped to notice what is happening to your jaw? It's probably clenched. I've experienced so many of these moments over the years that I find the natural state of my jaw is often clenched, even when I'm not having a stressful encounter.
I could not help but question if this is was a permanent shift to the structure of my face. I've taken plenty of yoga classes that aim at opening up my Throat Chakra, and performed various exercises to help loosen my jaw. I've seen Chinese Medicine doctors and even tried different massage techniques. And though sometimes the tightness is alleviated, there didn't seem to be any longterm relief in sight.
The constant clenching of my jaw was so uncomfortable that I barely feel like speaking. What's worse is I found it even more difficult to mean what I really said. I always want the words that come out of my mouth to be loving, kind and considerate. But I also know that holding back my words created a fear and habit of not speaking up at all.
When we choose not to speak up, the energy created from these unspoken messages can start to get locked in the jaw.
Through much trial and effort however, I finally discovered a simple, beautiful trick that has helped to loosen my jaw and unblock all this stagnant energy. I call it the "Air Swish Breath" — kind of like a basketball move.
I've been using this technique for a few years and now prescribe it to my students and clients to help release constant tightness in their jaw area, too.
You can use the Air Swish Breath whenever you find yourself in a stressful and tense situation. Whether you're doing some heavy lifting, disagreeing with a coworker, holding difficult yoga poses or even before a procedure at the doctor's office. Any situation where you find you might be clenching your jaw and tightening your neck muscles.
I discovered this method after I found myself doing it as a natural body reaction to help loosen my jaw. I have yet to find it elsewhere in medical or holistic literature, but I assure you it really works!
I guess it is a lot like playing basketball in your mouth, if you think about releasing your breath into the hoop. You can do this simple technique anywhere because you have access to it at all times! You can do it in the car, on the couch, or your the desk at work before you ask your boss for that big raise.
This beautiful breathing exercise connects you to a calm and relaxed place so you can be free to express your words the way you want.
The Air Swish Breath
1. Inhale and puff out your cheeks with air.
2. Swish the air in your mouth side to side, up and down, swirling in your mouth — like when you swish water in your mouth after brushing teeth.
3. Purse your lips and blow all the air out on your exhale.
4. Repeat 3-4 times in a row.
I've found that doing this breathing exercise daily has really helped my jaw release into a more comfortable, relaxed state. You'll feel more space between the top and bottom of your jaw as you invite in the fresh air, swish and release the stagnant energy.