Yoga for the Jaw: Stretching and Relaxing Tips for TMJ and CMD

If you engage in any sort of regular exercise, you know how important it is to stretch your joints and muscles before you exercise. And if you’re more of a sports spectator than active participant, you still recognize that athletes must warm up before the start of every game. Failure to do so will only result in strains and injury.

yogaYour jaw is also a joint, and every time you eat or talk, you’re giving it an exercise. So are you properly stretching this joint, too?  If you’re not, now is the time to enroll in yoga for the jaw to assist with your TMJ pain!

What is yoga?

Yoga is a Hindu philosophy that advocates breathing exercises and assuming a series of postures to help the body achieve control, awareness and tranquility.  In the United States over 20.4 million Americans regularly practice yoga, citing its innumerable benefits that include more flexibility, stress relief and improvement in overall health.

Are you thinking people enroll in yoga classes and perform exotic movements that tone obscure musculature of the body? You may be surprised to learn that many people want help with their throat and jaw.  In fact, yoga instructors commonly check in at the start of class and ask participants what parts of their bodies are holding in stress and tension. Unsurprisingly, many students answer that their jaw and neck are chronic sources of trouble.

The good news is that to perform stretches of the jaw you don’t need to enroll in a private class and incur additional expenses. You can practice simple stretching exercises in the privacy of your home. And they only take a few minutes out of your busy schedule.

Try lions pose.

  • First, find a comfortable and quiet place to perform this exercise.  Optimally, you will need either a rug, carpeted space or a yoga mat.
  • Kneel on the floor and cross the right ankle over the back of the left ankle, and then sit back, placing your buttocks over your heels.
  • Place your palms on your thighs and spread out your fingers.
  • Breathe slowly. Inhale through the nose. Now slowly open your mouth and stick your tongue out. Curl the tongue downward toward the chin.  Next, slowly exhale through the mouth. As you exhale make a soft “ha” sound.
  • While you are doing this, your eyes should be focused either between the eyebrows or toward the tip of your nose.
  • Do this three times, and then cross your left ankle over your right, and repeat.

Passive stretching

You should also perform passive stretching exercises of the jaw six to eight times a day.  Simply open your mouth slowly, as wide as you can. Hold this position for three seconds. Then slowly close your mouth. Do this three times, and then stop.

You’ll discover stretching is a simple activity that will produce noted pain relief.

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