We all hold a lot of tension in our bodies. The shoulders and the jaw are body parts that are impacted by this quite often.
Poor alignment of the neck or spine as well as stress, anxiety or pain can lead to a popping, clicking or locking of the jaw. Also some forms of arthritis can cause jaw clenching or tension.
TMJ, which is short for the temporomandibular joint, connects the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorder is pain and tenderness in this area when the joint moves out of place or the discs between the bones erode. This leads to locking and clicking in the jaw.
Here are a few of my favorite Ayurveda and yoga tips for jaw tension and TMJ.
Ayurveda tips to release jaw tension
- Stress Management: Try meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, yoga nidra or whatever helps you to relax
- Jaw exercises and massages: stretch your mouths throughout the day or try these exercises to release jaw pain. I also included a nice massage in the yoga video below.
- Oil pulling: put a small amount of oil (e.g. coconut oil) into your mouth and squish it around for 2 to 20 minutes. It’s good for your teeth, your gums and trains the jaw
- Sleep hygiene: a lot of people grind their teeth at night and can’t release jaw tension. To improve that, have a glass of warm milk with nutmeg before going to bed and make sure to turn off lights one to two hours before going to bed.
- Mantras: chant mantras to stimulate the vocal chords and release tension in the neck and shoulder area.
- Avoid certain foods: avoid foods that require a lot of chewing like raw kale, lettuce, apple, beef jerky or chewing gum. Also caffeine can increase muscle tension.
Yoga for Jaw Tension & TMJ
New on YouTube: Yoga & Face Massage for TMJ and Jaw Tension
Click here to practice with me
Yoga Poses for TMJ and Jaw Tension
The jaw is related to the Throat Chakra. That’s why a lot of yoga poses that are great for the 5th chakra are also good to release jaw tension. That means, that all poses that focus on the shoulder and the neck are great.
Did you know that in polarity therapy the hip and the jaw are connected? That is why hip opening poses can also help to relax the jaw.
A few great poses for TMJ and Jaw Tension are:
- Chin Tuck
- Neck Rolls
- Eagle Arms
- Upward Facing Dog or Cobra
- Fish Pose
- Locust Pose
- Cat & Cow
- Downward Facing Dog
- Shoulder Stand
- Legs Up The Wall
- Pigeon Pose
- Cow Face Pose
The most important thing is, that your yoga practice should be relaxing. Don’t do poses that create additional tension.