Many people have opposing opinions about how yawning can relate to and influence an individual’s vocalization.
I’ll scientifically and unilaterally explain this.
I have 22 categories that influence breathing and vocalization. Let’s try to figure out who is right.(15)
Part 15 is “Yawning”
Yawning is an involuntary contagious reflex, which the scientific community has been analyzing for centuries and the subject is still yet to arrive at a consensus. There are and will continue to be a number of different theories for explaining the possible reasons behind yawning,
You usually yawn when you are tired or bored. When we feel sleepy or tired, our breathing slows down, which hinders the supply of blood to the brain. Yawning allows us to inhale a lot of air, which improves blood circulation to the brain and reduces brain temperature. As the brain’s temperature reduces, we can think more clearly and thus, yawning can help us stay alert.
Yawning is not bad for your health. In fact it is a normal action, which is widely seen in humans and animals alike. So how does yawning relate to vocalization?
I’ll describe the most common theories, which I have heard so far. Listing the positive opinions first.
●Yawning is a stretch that can improve vocalization and singing. Because the act of yawning involves the stretching of several overused muscles of the body, such as the muscles used for breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Some people believe that a yawn helps stabilize the pressure on either side of the eardrums. When we yawn, our mouth opens wide and the eardrums also stretch.
●You can feel more relaxed if you yawn when you are nervous.
●Shaping of the throat. Which, when vocalizing is necessary to produce a good voice. Please remember, shaping your mouth and throat when yawning is similar to shaping your mouth and throat when you sing or let out a high-pitched sound.
Meanwhile, there are negative opinions as well. They are as follows:
●When you let out a high-pitch sound during yawning, it contracts the muscles and decreases the movement of cricothyroid articulation.
●Just like when vocalizing, the action of yawning can cause the tongue to drop too low and become strained.
I even do not know so many things surrounding the yawn, but I can validate having observed the following theories and phenomenons:
Yawing is when the thyroid cartilage descends vertically, narrowing the space of the pharyngeal cavity, which affects resonance.
If you speak during yawning, you will notice that your voice sounds muffled. Therefore, even if you find it easier to let out a high-pitch sound when recreating the yawning shape, it has been know to have negative effects on the voice.
Furthermore, you could also lose complete control singing, because the suspended muscles are extended maximally.
I’ve witnessed some phenomenon before, surrounded by yawning. A singer tried to make the yawing shape forcibly during vocal training exercises, which caused their tongue to stiffen. Ultimately resulting in, not being able to speak normally due to torn muscles around larynx.
Yawning does have relaxing effects, but please note that if you yawn forcefully, it may hurt your throat and result in strained vocalization. The oral cavity and tongue muscle may also become strained by forcibly yawning. It is best to yawn naturally, not forced.
If you are vocal coach and want to recommend your students to yawn for vocalization exercises or examples, please explain properly:
(1)The mechanics of yawning (Relevant to vocalization).
(2)The good and bad things surrounding yawning and vocalization.
(3) Knowledge, informing of the risks about yawning too much.
The above three are very important to let them know before starting a vocal lesson, if that lesson will involve yawning.
There is no problem with yawning naturally daily. Yawning is very commonly contagious, possibly infectious. You don’t need to actually see a person yawn to involuntarily yawn yourself; hearing someone yawn or even reading about yawning can cause the same reaction. Chances are you have already yawned or will yawn at least once while reading this. Recent studies show that the phenomenon is also related to our predisposition toward empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and connect with others’ emotional states. It sounds strange, but whether or not you’re susceptible to contagious yawning may actually be related to how much empathy you feel for others. Just be mindful, yawning may cause consequential problems with vocalization if you yawn forcefully or excessively.
These are some of the pros and cons that connect yawning with vocalization.
Note:I was asked the question, “Doesn’t yawning make the voice better because it increases the space of oral cavity?”
The answer is, No. This is because, the oral cavity mostly relates to forming and shaping words not the actual production of the sound.