What Is A Yawn? Just A Purge Of Energy.

I was in yoga class this evening, sweating quite a bit before we'd even finished the first set of Pranayama (breathing exercise) when I felt a great big yawn take over my mouth. It happens all of the time during Pranayama. And I see it in other students too.

I used to think a yawn was your brain's way of saying it wasn't getting enough oxygen. But when you yawn, you're actually mostly blowing air out of your mouth (small inhale, large exhale) - at least towards the end. So I don't believe that theory.

No... I developed a different theory as I saw in my rocking chair in the ceremonial hut in the Amazon jungle back in January.

The ayahuasca elixir we drank, combined with the energy work of singing medicine songs (Icaros) and drumming by the Shamans, were meant to help us purge the energy we don't need and start to open our minds. For quite a few people, this meant a little bit of vomiting. For others it meant needing to go the bathroom. For some it was hysterical laughing. Or outbursts of tears. For one guy, it meant feeling like he had burst into a star, and ended up laying face down on the floor from physically bursting out of his rocking chair. (Epicness.)

For me, though, my "purging" took the form of great big yawns. Yawns so big that I felt my jaw was going to snap from stretching it so far.

"This is you purging latent energy inside you, every day. Throughout the day."

My mind said that to me. Or, rather, my inner self said that to me. And it makes sense. Especially when I thought about it in the context of my yoga practice and Pranayama.

One of the goals of Pranayama is to set your breathing pace for the duration of class. Additionally, we are taking in nice, long breaths of warm air to start heating our lungs bodies up from the inside.

"In through the nose, out through the mouth. Long, slow, deep breaths."

We're teaching our bodies to find a nice rhythm of breath to carry and energize us appropriately through class. I used this technique while taking the ayahuasca in that ceremonial hut.  I didn't do the "arm synchronization" we do with Pranayama... But I did the breath work.

I would swallow the few ounces of ayahuasca tea the Shaman gave me, then I would go back to my rocking chair and take long, slow, deep breaths into my body.

"Breathe the aya in more to the body," my mind said. While others vomited, I would feel the urge to breathe deeper the lingering essence I could taste.  

As the Icaro symphony from the Shamans would begin, I would feel my energy expand beyond my physical body in the room. And then I would sense more energy needing to come out, and my yawns would stretch me further and expel what I can only describe as "lovely and beautiful Sunset colors" into the space.

My eyes would stay closed. Because if I opened them, I would see the room in it's physical form, rather than feel it. And the yawns kept coming every few minutes... And each time those colors would push out of me.

I've been told I am (mostly) good about not holding on to negative feelings to energy. It took a long time in my life to develop that habit. That compassion despite having the same failures, upsets, and dramas that are quite common in every day for each of us.

I attribute a lot of that to my yoga practice. Every class is one big, sweaty purge. Some days are awesome purges with just a few yawns. Other days (like today) are tough, sweaty, wanting to vomit purges.

My next trip to the jungle (in a few weeks) could be completely different than my last visit. I am prepared for any kind of purging to happen. And I will be grateful for every second of it.

And I am grateful for every yawn that disrupts my Pranayama breathing in class.

It may be negative energy from the day coming out... But I always follow it with positive, grateful, compassionate energy as well. Because I have a lot of that in me too.