Most of my life, I didn't give much thought to my jaw.
Sometimes I noticed it was tight, moved it around a bit, and that was it.
But in learning the Alexander Technique, I have realized something startling: The jaw can be a source of enjoyment!
The first person to point this out was my mentor who has been an Alexander Technique teacher for 37 years. One day we were discussing the merits of listening more and speaking less during a conversation. He said, “At times, it’s nice just to enjoy the jaw rather than talking.”
I am starting to catch glimpses of what he meant. Of course, before experiencing enjoyment, I needed to become aware of the habits of holding I had. Maybe you, too, would like less tension, and even to be able to tell people "Hey, I can enjoy my jaw!"
It's very common to hold tension in our jaws. A tight jaw may feel uncomfortable or painful to some people while others may not notice any discomfort. But, when the jaw eases, it becomes obvious - to yourself and to others. Easing jaw tension can help you feel more energetic and less stressed.
Three steps to ease your jaw:
1. Notice when, where and why you are tightening your jaw.
2. Direct yourself - Tell yourself it’s unnecessary to tighten your jaw. Say, “ I wish my jaw to be free.”
3. Invite more breath - Invite yourself to breathe more fully. Tightening the jaw is often paired with shallow breathing or holding our breath. Notice whether you are doing this - if you are, tell yourself, “I don’t need to impair my breathing, I can breathe freely and continuously.” Easing one habit impacts others.
Special thanks to Bob Britton, my mentor to whom I refer.
Copyright © Jessica Santascoy, Habit Specialist
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