Tight Jaws. Most every adult in modern life suffers from this to some extent. Some have it bad. 5 Causes. 1 is Hidden. READ ON
- Dental Trauma (Yes ,really. All that good , expensive dental care that keeps your teeth from rotting out of your head, has the side effect of creating physical trauma. The drugs mask it, but do not prevent it. Your nerves and muscles remember!)
2. Chew chew chew chew Chewing Gum. Repetitive Motion over exercises your jaw in a limiting way. Just like any other repetitive motion injury.
3. Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk : Repetitive Motion
4. Stuffing Anger and Stress. It is not always appropriate to let it all hang out. Gritting your teeth and bearing it, is definitely a better choice than killing the S.O.B. that has so frustrated or angered or hurt you. (while you are learning to master Mindfulness so that the offense rolls off you like water off a duck’s back)
5. Hidden Culprit is : COOL. Looking Cool. Fitting In. Culturally we are taught in a multitude of ways that cool, hip and powerful are equated with not showing your hand. Actually, not showing your face. Not giving away emotions, whether joyful or enraged or anything. In film, the steamy hot character is often only a shade above expressionless. The crux of it is this: WE ASSOCIATE A RELAXED JAW WITH LOW INTELLIGENCE, with Babies, Children and Individuals who are , what the DSM labels Intellectually Disabled. Common use phrases reflect this: to “smile like an idiot” or “to smile like a fool” is to show a lack of discernment or to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve. NOT COOL. Don’t believe me? EXPERIMENT! Walk around with your mouth hanging open in a wide grin at your next important meeting or date and see how that goes.
How to BE Cool for Real: Relaxed Tongue= Relaxed Jaw =COOL
The Practice: It is possible to have both a relaxed jaw and a closed mouth at the same time. You will not look any less “cool” and you will feel much more beautiful and at ease..in other words:Cool.
How To Do The Relaxed Tongue =Relaxed Jaw Practice : To cultivate a relaxed , loose, at ease jaw : Practice allowing your tongue to rest heavily to feel heavy in the floor of your mouth. Keep your lips closed , touching slightly without squeezing them closed. Just lightly closed. Think of your tongue as weighted and pulled down by gravity. Allow a slight space between your upper and lower teeth.
Make your tongue so heavy that if you were to talk you would sound like Dopey of The Seven Dwarves. Then allow your tongue to become even heavier. So heavy that, eventually, you would begin to drool. Cultivate the slight space between the upper and lower teeth while still keeping the lips only lightly closed.
AS YOU PRACTICE , OBSERVE the slight release of the jaw. You are on your way. IT TAKES TIME and PRACTICE to undo years of “COOL “(and trauma and repetitive motion). If your TMJ is extreme you may not feel this immediately. Keep practicing and ADD jaw massage.
As awkward as this may all seem at first, in a short while , resting your tongue on the floor of your mouth,with the jaw released, will be your new normal and feel like a huge relief.
There are many more jaw and facial release practices, including all kinds of massages and stretches but Relaxed Tongue practice can be done in public , anywhere , anytime. You will still look cool.
Your more relaxed jaw, relaxes your face which allows your life force, prana, to flow and your natural radiance to shine more fully. Shine !
This article is a companion piece to my article in Thrive Globalhttps://journal.thriveglobal.com/soften-your-face-soften-your-mood-
Disclaimer: This practice may not be relevant if you have a structural or other medical issue causing your tight jaw. This practice may not be sufficient , but it is essential to a relaxed, released jaw.
It is easier to learn Relaxed Tongue = Relaxed Jaw Practice from a visual demonstration that a written description. Dr.Hanna Chusid. Ed Lic Psychologist (CA #12001) Certified Yoga Teacher , Founder of Mindful SelfCare™ can provide On Line coaching and demo in jaw and facial relaxation .
Originally published at medium.com