You know how to yawn, right? Nope! You don't know the first thing about yawning. But don't worry! Gwyneth Paltrow is here to help.
That's right! There are steps. Also, there are two different kinds of yawning!
According to Paltrow, she learned this steps from Michael Lear, who she says is "a wonderful yogi and important quarterback for mindfulness and meditation in this country."
Lear says that yawning in an "important mechanism for releasing stress" and so you have to be very specific with how you participate in this involuntarily reflex of the autonomic nervous system.
The first step is to "gently tilt your head back to a comfortable position and allow your mouth to hang open widely while you gently extend into it." So, the first step is to yawn, basically. But we're not done yet! The remaining steps include "Ujjayi breathing," allowing your shoulders to get in on the action, and "riding the yawn to stretch the jaw muscles."
Apparently, the last step is to "repeat 8-10 times until tearing starts." Tearing as in tears, not as in tearing open your jaw muscles. That's a tricky word when you're reading it.
The second type of yawn is mostly the same as the first time, but instead of opening your mouth, you keep your lips closed tightly while keeping your teeth separated.
"Creating this shape with your mouth as you yawn will take out more slack in the throat muscles to bring the lengthening and relaxation around the base of the tongue, and further stretch and relax the neck, jaw, and occipital regions."
Then "repeat 8-10 times until you begin to tear."
Just take a second to imagine what that would look like if someone you were sitting with suddenly pursed their lips while trying to stretch their jaw and then began flexing the muscles in their neck over and over. It seems like that would be terrifying and confusing.
While a lot of these steps don't sound anything like what most people would consider yawning, it's hard to argue with someone who can put "quarterback for mindfulness and meditation" on a job resume. So it looks like we have a lot of yawning exercises to try and perfect.