How to Relax My Tongue in Meditation? Should I Have it Touch the Roof of the Mouth?

Question

When I try to stay in the silence, I find myself trying to figure out what to do with my tongue/ mouth to help my jaws relax. I have read the tongue should make contact with the roof of the mouth to complete an energetic connection. Just wanted to know your thoughts.

—Adam, United States

Answer

Dear Adam,

In normal meditation keep your tongue as relaxed as possible. If you feel tension in the tongue and jaw, before meditation, you might want to open your mouth wide (as wide as you can), and strongly stretch your tongue out and down for several breaths. Then relax completely. Repeat.

If you meditate using a mantra, make sure you are not moving the tongue. Swami Kriyananda explains for example for the Hing say technique: “While chanting Hong-Sau, be sure that you are chanting only mentally. Often, the mere thought of a word will produce an involuntary movement of the tongue or lips, or a slight tension in the jaw or throat. Be sure these parts of your body, too, are completely relaxed.”

You have read about an energetic connection when the tongue touches the roof of the mouth (hard palate). This is very true, and is an ancient yogi practice, called Jivha Bandha. It should be used, however, during pranayama (or during certain yoga postures), but not in regular meditation, in which you relax the body deeply, including the mouth.

Swami Kriyananda explains Jivha Bandha like this: “Turn the tip of the tongue back toward the uvula; pressing it hard against the soft palate, move it forward across the roof of the mouth until it rests firmly against the base of the front teeth. Press the entire tongue up into the roof of the mouth in such a way as to fill the entire roof with the tongue.”

This very strongly elevates your inner energy.

There is another powerful position of the tongue, called Kechari Mudra, during which the tongue enters the nasal cavity. It’s not easy to learn, but is considered the most important of all mudras. If you master it, your tongue stays relaxed, while it is turned backwards and upwards. It can therefore perfectly well be used during meditation, all the time.

But before accomplishing that special mudra, in meditation keep your tongue completely relaxed.

Joy to you, Jayadev