The actress shares what she learned from yogi Michael Lear, and it involves yawning so much that you tear up

By Tim Nudd
Updated July 17, 2015 10:10 AM
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GWYNETH PALTROW
Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty

Don’t stifle that yawn. Yawn like you mean it!

That is Gwyneth Paltrow‘s advice to her Goop readers, based on what she learned recently from yogi Michael Lear.

The actress, 42, recently had dinner with Lear, and he noticed her trying to suppress a yawn. Bad idea! He explained to her that yawning is “the body’s primary way to release and stretch the jaw and neck muscles after a long day of work and conversation.”

And there’s a right way to do it. In fact, done properly, yawning should even cause you start tearing up. But you have to be committed. It takes a little time.

First, it involves tilting your head back “to a comfortable position and allow your mouth to hang open widely while you gently extend into it,” Paltrow writes in a set of instructions on Goop.com.

Contract the back of your throat “as if to perform Ujjayi breathing,” and then “breathe deeply through your mouth so you feel the air hit the back of your throat.” Then, inhale and exhale, and let your shoulders to relax as you exhale. Finally, when the yawn comes, “reach and extend into it, riding the yawn to stretch the jaw muscles.”

Got it? Okay, how do that eight to 10 times “until tearing starts. As your jaw muscles stretch and relax, and the yawn expands, the lacrimal glands around the eye are squeezed and tearing is induced.”

There’s also a second yawn you can do. Repeat the steps above, “and when the yawn comes, bring together only the lips,” Paltrow writes. “Keep the teeth slightly 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.”

Repeat this eight to 10 times as well, until you begin to tear.

Paltrow says you can do these yawning exercises through the day, and especially at bedtime, “to release accumulated energy and tension that may result from conversation and or the vicissitudes of the day.”

And you don’t need to induce tearing for it to be helpful.