A large number of people I encounter in my healing practice have a jaw that is extremely tight. Take a minute now to notice yours… is it sore? Locked? Clenched? If you touch your jaw with your fingers is it tender to the touch? Noticing the tension in our jaw can be an amazing tracking device for our stress level.
Actually, full body tension begins to release by simply bringing focus on our jaw. I find that breath naturally increases, deepening into our belly when the jaw softens. The eyebrows (which is another place that can hold hidden tension) can drop down once the jaw unclenches, which again, allows breath to deepen, especially behind the eyes.
Your jaw – also called your temporo-mandibular joints are two of the most powerful and most delicate joints in your entire body. If there is clenching, this can be felt in the neck, the base of the skull, the face. A tight jaw can create headaches, teeth grinding, even add to your stress level. Our jaw is connected with our throat chakra. What we speak, and what we withhold from expressing, is broadcasted in our voice, our body language and our breath.
Relaxing the jaw can begin as simple as with your breath: soften your lips, soften your tongue, and allow your breath to come deep into your belly. You can massage your face and ears to warm the area if you like, yet just bringing your awareness to the area is the most powerful of tools. Notice, breath, allow. Notice the tension, breath deeply into your belly, allow your jaw to soften. Allow any feelings to come to the surface as your jaw unleashes its clench. Most often there is some emotion jammed into this joint. Notice if you have any emotions which arise..anger, grief, feeling overwhelmed? Breath into this emotion, let it get larger…having it lodged into your jaw is not really helping the situation now is it? Notice, breath, and allow.
We have within each one of us our own stressometor. By paying attention to our jaw, we can stay more connected to our breath, our expression, and remain in choice about how much stress we allow to take hold of us.