If praying is the supreme act of many spiritual practices why do many people yawn while praying? What does it mean to yawn when praying?
Few things are as common as yawning. Humans and other vertebrates engage in the act even while still in the womb.
Yawning can be perceived as an act of rudeness and crude behavior because it shows that the person is bored and uninterested, but many people would be surprised to know that from a spiritual perspective, yawning during prayer is a gesture that could have several meanings.
Read on to learn more about the various beliefs and interpretations of yawning during prayer.
Spirit Meaning Of Yawning During Prayer
In the spiritual context, yawning could be directly associated with the energies that surround us. These positive or negative energies may be trying to enter our body, inside our body, or just close enough to influence our spirituality.
1. Inviting positive energy and spiritual guidance
As you open your mouth to inhale and exhale during yawning, you are also opening up your body to receive positive energy and spiritual guidance. It also creates a sense of well-being.
These can help you focus on your prayers and guide you on your spiritual journey. Yawning during prayer can also help pave the way for a more mindful existence.
2. Tiredness and Stress
Physiologically speaking, people yawn when tired, sleepy, hungry, or exposed to stressors. When praying under these circumstances, yawning can be a mechanism that will provide relief from stress and tension.
As you take deep breaths during yawns, your mouth opens wide and the entry of higher quantities of oxygen can also help clean the lungs while releasing carbon dioxide and negative vibes as you exhale. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in a state of wakefulness so you can focus more on praying and meditation.
Also, you may have noticed that when you’re concentrating hard while praying or meditating, you tend to yawn more often as your brain requires more energy fuel to focus.
The Hebrew word for spirit is “Nishama” which is also the word for “breath”. The Hebrews believed that yawning during prayer relaxes the spirit.
3. Uncertainty Or Discomfort
The spiritual meaning of yawning during prayer is a common practice that many people believe shows anxiety, discomfort, and less self-confidence. Constantly yawning during prayer can indicate a person’s spiritual state, which may be full of worry and uncertainty.
It can mean that the spiritual state of the yawner may be filled with doubt or uncertainty. When you feel this way, try spending more time with nature and breathe in the positive vibes and energies.
4. Receiving Divine Energy
Yawning during prayer can also mean receiving divine energy. As you close your eyes and bow your head in prayer, yawning manifests the energy from God or the Spiritual Being that you pray to.
This signifies the strong connection between you and your Deity and the answer to your petitions and prayers. Yawning during prayer could be a sign that your prayers are being answered.
If the yawns go away after you pray, this can confirm that the negative vibes and evil energies were eliminated with prayer.
5. Release Of Negative Energy
Sometimes, yawning during prayer can mean releasing negative energy as you exhale.
Although prayer is a powerful tool for spiritual enlightenment and personal development, the mind can wander during prayer. With yawning, you release the negativity and stay attuned to your divine task so you can move forward without any baggage from the past pulling you down.
When you feel that you are being weighed down by negativity in and around you, the recommended practice is to yawn to release all the negative energy and you’ll find yourself feeling lighter and calmer.
6. Sign Of Positive Receptivity
Another spiritual meaning of yawning during prayer may be your willingness and passion to something new, including new ideas and experiences. It can show your openness and willingness to try something that you haven’t tried to do before.
Humility is a virtue that is practiced with prayer. Some people believe that yawning during prayer symbolizes humility before God. In fact, it has been reported that people who yawn during prayer are more likely to have higher levels of spirituality compared to those that don’t yawn as much.
Yawning can indicate a person’s state of anxiety. It can also mean boredom or a lack of interest in what is happening.
If you keep on yawning while you’re with your partner even though you’re not sleepy or tired, it may be that you feel bored because your relationship is not as exciting as it once was.
Yawning may be your spirit’s way of sending signals that you no longer feel satisfied and complete with the relationship. Listening to this spiritual awakening can help you view the situation from a different perspective and be able to take appropriate measures to address the situation.
9. Let Go And Let God
In the spiritual community, yawning is believed to symbolize letting go and turning over the reigns to God who can give you divine rest and relief.
Yawning during prayer can mean putting your absolute trust in God when you find yourself in situations that are too difficult and complicated to solve.
Letting go and entrusting your problems and concerns to the Good God can be liberating and can give you peace of mind.
10. Negative Energy
If you yawn more than necessary in front of the same person — a family member, friend, co-worker, etc–, it may mean that the person is stealing away some of your energy.
Yawning dozens of times could also mean that the person may have negative energies that are strong enough to affect you and influence your spirituality. Keeping your distance from the person or carrying out a ritual for spiritual purification may help stop the negative energies and the constant yawning.
11. Lack of Oxygen
Johan de Gorter (1755) described yawning as accelerating blood flow for cerebral oxygenation. This is supposed to improve the oxygenation of the brain, in response to cerebral anemia. However, modern science has established the inaccuracy of this hypothesis. There was no inhibition in the breathing rates of the subjects of the study.
One of the theories formulated by Hippocrates (1595) indicated that “wind is the cause of all diseases” because he noted that “the continual yawning of apoplectic proves that air is the cause of apoplexies”.
12. Impending Danger
Some people yawn when their instincts tell them that they’re in a dangerous situation. This is also true when you’re under a lot of stress.
When you listen to this spiritual cue, you’d be able to take a rational approach to the potential danger or stressful situation you may be facing so you will be properly prepared.
13. Stress During Prayer
Instead of being a time for communing with God, some people may view prayer as an obligation rather than a necessity. Thus, saying long prayers and reading the Psalms, and concentrating on what is being said can be mentally stressful for them.
When you’re not as receptive to what you are doing, it can be doubly taxing and will require more effort to concentrate. The brain responds by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine which can help increase motivation and focus. It can also stimulate the release of oxytocin which can help reduce anxiety.
While praying or meditating, a person is usually in a relaxed state. During this time, the body and spirit are vulnerable to being tempted by evil spirits. As the person starts to repeatedly yawn, there is a distraction from prayer and worship. Being aware of what’s happening can further cause anxiety and fear of possession thus triggering more yawns.
In Arab countries, Islam sees yawning as a sign of Satan entering the body, and sneezing as a sign of his leaving the body. This was the result of a study made by Pierre Saintyves in 1921.
15. Battle Of Energies
When praying, you’re trying to focus your energy and consciousness on God. But working against this upward flow is the energy being drawn downward in your body and consciousness. This constant tug-of-war can be physically and mentally draining and may cause you to feel sleepy and yawn.
Taking a deep breath as you yawn can help keep the nervous system balanced and calm, so you become more centered and focused while praying or meditating. It can also increase your attention and mental clarity.
16. Religious Beliefs
During the time of Pope Gregory (around 590 AD), a bubonic plague epidemic was raging in Europe and people developed the habit of making the sign of a cross in front of their mouths while yawning because they believed that yawning was fatal. It was said that when men suddenly die from a bubo that developed in their groins, their souls left their bodies as they sneeze or yawn.
In Austria, an older person makes the sign of the cross on a yawning baby to prevent illness and bad luck from entering through the mouth.
Moroccans place a hand over their gaping mouth for fear of Satan entering and possessing the body. They also believed that Satan would urinate into their wide-open mouths.
In India, it’s believed that spirits (referred to as “bhuts”) enter the body through the person’s mouth, thus making yawning dangerous. Also, Indian cultures believed that the soul might escape during yawning, thus it’s a common practice to put a hand in front of the mouth and say “Narayan!” which means “Good God!).
In Ancient Mayan civilization, it was believed that yawning reflects a person’s subconscious sexual desires. W. Seuntjens created a maxim that the semantic and etymologic meaning of the “stretch-yawn syndrome” is “desire and “longing for”.
Indeed, yawning is not just a physiological function of the body. The habit can also have a spiritual significance and can be anchored on numerous superstitions as well as various cultural beliefs and practices.
To help determine the spiritual meaning of your yawn, think about what you’re going through in your life right now. What is occupying your mind and spirit– your relationships, job, spiritual development, etc.?
Analyzing what triggers your yawns can help provide answers to what is affecting your spirituality at this very moment in your life.