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Yawning and sadness

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Gigalos, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    I sometimes experience sadness while meditating. I feel like crying and try to let it happen, but instead I start to yawn intensively and afterwards the moment of sadness seems to have moved out of reach. It is like my brain wants to prevent me from experiencing the sadness, so it does that by making me yawn.

    The thing is, I would like to be able to overcome this protective yawning behavior and stay with the sadness. I feel it is there and needs my attention; I want to acknowledge and give it space, but my brain won't let me.

    Does anyone recognize this? If so, how do you deal with it?
    Click#7 likes this.
  2. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    just go with it ....
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Gigalos, I haven't experienced this particular syndrome, but isn't yawning a method for the body to take in a bunch of oxygen? Try re-focusing your attention on your breathing, and take deeper, slower breaths. I think that deep breathing can enhance an emotion while being calming at the same time - perhaps something can break through if you calm your brain down.
  4. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    You have a point there. When I am at the brink of crying, I tend to not breathe properly. Thanks, I'll give it a try and report back.
  5. Fshalan

    Fshalan Newcomer


    I think I know what this is.

    I write poetry and often it is not only sad but heart wrenching. Then what I do is set the words to music and the final result is, at least to me, quite dramatic.

    When reviewing my own work, as well as others, I often feel the urge to cry. However before I ever manage a single tear out of my eye, I start to yawn! Then it is like the tears want to come but not before the yawns have had their day.

    If my melancholic feelings are strong enough I’ll gradually get over the yawning and finally tears will come. Hurray!

    So I agree with you, partially, in that it seems it’s like an inbuilt bio system. I don’t think it’s protective. In fact I think tears, as a cry for help, are probably a defensive mechanism.

    So to conclude (or not) my experience is that several yawns have to come before the tears are allowed to flow.

    My two cent’s worth :)

    Gigalos and JanAtheCPA like this.
  6. Rainstorm B

    Rainstorm B Peer Supporter

    This is so interesting. In the type of yoga I practise (yin and restorative mainly), yawning is recognised as one of the signs that the body’s parasympathetic response is kicking in. That is, the body is moving from flight or fight (sympathetic nervous system) mode into rest and digest mode. Put simply, the yoga practice is allowing the mindbody to relax and let go.
    Yawning happens to me all the time as I practise my yoga and feel my body begin to unknot. Other signs can include a desire to sigh or exhale deeply. Strong emotions can surface as part of this process too. For me, this is a big part of the path of yoga and hugely helpful in TMS healing.

    I have dogs and I notice that when they become stressed or conflicted about something, they often yawn too. eg “You’re asking me to sit and wait patiently for that chew - my animal instinct wants to jump up and snatch but my conditioning (by humans) tells me I must suppress that instinct....*conflict*...YAWN!” I’ve read the dog yawn (along with shaking) is a mechanism for releasing tension in such situations of internal conflict.

    So (speaking to the OP) with the yawning before crying, it is perhaps a sign of your nervous system letting go as you consciously acknowledge a strong emotion previously unconsciously held in (internal conflict). Maybe the yawn is part of the release because you have felt and acknowledged the sadness enough, rather than a protective mechanism...?Sometimes a moment of acknowledgement is all it takes and further tears aren’t always needed.
    I’ve just noticed the original post was a while ago - did you get any more insight with it @Gigalos ?
    plum, Gigalos and JanAtheCPA like this.
  7. MrSurvivor

    MrSurvivor New Member

    This is really interesting. I noticed when I start to feel at my worst - fatigue, anxiety, stress, I sometimes start to yawn uncontrollably. It is like a weird defense mechanism, like the dogs mentioned above. Sometimes it is the first sign before I start to have other symptoms. It is like a weird signal.
    Gigalos likes this.
  8. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for the (late) replies and all your insight, guys.
    Yes, I am occasionally experiencing this yawning reflex still. It happens more often when it gets colder, which in retrospect is backed by scientific findings. Humans tend to yawn more often during cold weather.

    (lets out a big yawn, lol)

    I feel the yawn is still a little understood mechanism. You can go several ways with why we yawn in certain situations. Explaining it as a way to release tension has a lot going for it however. I can't add a lot to this discussion other than that I am happy to see that it is not uncommon in people who feel tensed for whatever reason.

    (I feel the big yawn was a sign of me feeling unable to connect all the dots of why we yawn but still wanting to write down something beneficial to the discussion... ergo, internal conflict!)
    Rainstorm B and plum like this.
  9. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yawning is a release, a letting go. I’ve been practicing EFT or Tapping since the start of the year and yawning as a response to tapping (ie. emotional release) is a surprisingly common experience. I’ve lost count of how often newbies ask whether yawning is a good thing. It most decidedly is. And it feels nice.

    I totally agree with @Rainstorm B, it’s a parasympathetic thing. ❤️
    Gigalos and Rainstorm B like this.
  10. JamieG

    JamieG Newcomer

    So I got on Google tonight cuz I've been experiencing the same exact thing and I couldn't find anything about it until I found your post. It's the weirdest thing isn't it, feeling sad and wanting to cry and then it just like the sadness escapes and you can't just put yourself back in that place even though you want to experience it. I don't know what the yawn has to do with it but it comes right when the tears start. It doesn't make sense because it's not like they're it's some huge trauma that I blocked out. Hmmf
    Gigalos likes this.
  11. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Hi Gigalos

    I have this exact thing. It was strange because it only started in the last few years along with my other chronic pain issues. I feel the need to cry, and just as I am about to I yawn. It's very strange, and I don't understand it anymore than you, but I find it interesting a few of us here on the TMS forum have the same thing
    Gigalos likes this.

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