Tuesday, December 1, 2009


As a conservatory student working for my RMT credential, my major was piano and my minor was voice. The single thing I most remember from the voice lessons is how wonderful an aid yawning can be to opening and relaxing the throat. The teacher would often bring me back to basics by having me yawn, and over the years helping others with their voice I've done the same. Just feeling how open and relaxed the throat can be is a terrific antidote to the extra tension we can bring to singing.

Turns out yawning is helpful in other ways as well. Here are two quotes:

>>> brain-scan studies have shown that yawning evokes a unique neural activity in the areas of the brain that are directly involved in generating social awareness and creating feelings of empathy. One of those areas is the precuneus, a tiny structure hidden within the folds of the parietal lobe. According to researchers at the Institute of Neurology in London, the precuneus appears to play a central role in consciousness, self-reflection, and memory retrieval. The precuneus is also stimulated by yogic breathing, which helps explain why different forms of meditation contribute to an increased sense of self-awareness. It is also one of the areas hardest hit by age-related diseases and attention deficit problems, so it’s possible that deliberate yawning may actually strengthen this important part of the brain. . . .

. . .  the precuneus has recently been associated with the mirror-neuron system in the brain (which allows us to resonate to the feelings and behaviors of others), yawning may even help us to enhance social awareness, compassion, and effective communication with others. . . . 

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