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How your tongue is positioned in your mouth can dictate how you feel, how your body responds and how you navigate life, all of which correspond with your anatomical nervous system. When your tongue rests at the base of your mouth, your body goes into ‘Survival Mode.’ When it rests on the roof of your mouth, you are in ‘Rest and Recovery mode.’ A simple way to do this is to smile; your tongue automatically moves to the roof of the mouth.

When doing your Calmbirth breathing techniques, you should know how your tongue is positioned. The simple soft shape on the roof of your mouth makes it easy for your tongue to sit whilst breathing. Correcting how your tongue is positioned allows for optimal breathing patterns.

The roof of your mouth has several cranial nerves stimulated when the tongue rests against the roof of your mouth, one of which is the vagus nerve that sends impulses throughout your body to your organs for calm. Observing where your tongue rests can place you in a meditative state throughout the day. Combine your Calmbirth breathing techniques and the position of your tongue, and you will benefit from relaxing your nervous system.

As the tongue rests on the base of the mouth, it falls into where the air is carried through, which can alter the flow and inhibit breathing, causing shallow breaths and placing the body into the ‘Flight and Fight’ mode, triggering shorter breaths and a lack of oxygen, which can leave you feeling light-headed and short of breath. Altering your tongue posture aids with strengthening the muscles within the back of the throat and neck, which can change how you breathe and alleviate any snoring or mild breathing issues. This can help with sleeping issues, lack of energy, brain fog, and anxiety. Remember that practice makes permanent!

A simple exercise for you to follow to lead you into correcting your tongue posture for better health is:

– Place your tongue gently resting on the roof of your mouth, slightly back from your front teeth.

– Gently place your tongue against the roof of your mouth so it sits flat.

– Close your mouth and keep your lips closed.

– And observe this posture for a few minutes, and you will feel the jawline relax as you do. Knowing a soft jaw leads to a softer pelvic floor for birth.

– Breathe slowly through your nose as when practising your calmbirth breathing techniques.

Written by Melinda Webb, Dr Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncturist, herbalist, Buteyko Breath Instructor and Birth Doula. Melinda founded Beattie Sreet Health Studio in Balmain, Sydney, where she teaches Calmbirth classes and works in women’s health, pregnancy and postnatal care and paediatric health.

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