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For this exercise we’re gonna massage the inner ear, the outer ear, and the jaw.

  1.  Sit on the floor or in a chair, or stand with your feet planted on the ground.
  2. Notice where your body is making contact with the ground, where you can feel yourself being supported by the earth.
  3. Now just take a second to intentionally pause and be here now, wherever you are. You might be coming into this practice feeling low, with uncomfortable sensations, emotions, or thoughts, or maybe you’re not feeling much at all in this moment. I'm here to remind you that this is okay. This is a nervous system response - and we can maybe even thank our nervous system for trying to protect us, and just spend the next few minutes being curious about trying something new. 
  4. Ear Massage:  
    • Make a pincer shape with your thumb and pointer finger, and start to gently pull and uncurl your ears, starting from the tops of the ears, and slowly making your way all the way down to the ear lobes. 
    • Repeat this 2-3 more times.
  5. Inner Ear Massage:  
    • Massage the ears again, this time using the thumb to focus in on the cymba conchae region of the ear, which is that little pocket that sits right between the two bits of cartilage at the middle of the ear.
    • Next, massage down into the cavum conchae, which is the flat bit of cartilage that sits in the centre of the ear.
    • Take time to gently press and massage in those folds of the ear with your thumbs, and then continuing down into this point in the centre of the ear.
    • Repeat this 2-3 times.
    • You might notice that you yawn, swallow or sigh. This can be a sign that the green zone of your nervous system is starting to come online.
  6. Jaw Massage:  
    • Place all four fingertips along the top of the jaw and slowly press and massage the jaw in circles.
    • Then use the thumbs and pointer fingers to hook around the sides of the jaw and massage the tender muscle at the side of the jaw.
    • Notice if there are other movements that would feel okay to do right now. Maybe opening and stretching out the jaw, as though you are yawning.
  7. Once you’ve finished, notice if anything is different from just a few moments ago. Are there any shifts, however tiny or subtle, in how your body feels? Remember that whatever comes up is okay, and if you can, just check in with yourself and see if there’s anything else you need in this moment.

( i )      Massaging the ears increases blood flow to the brain, improves our cognition and thinking skills, and can boost our concentration at times when our mind might feel foggy or distracted. The cymba and cavum regions of the ear are connected to the auricular branch of the vagus nerve, so massaging these points can help to stimulate those nerves and bring our ventral vagal activation online.  

Massaging the jaw  helps us to release tension that often gets stored in those muscles. It also promotes yawning - which acts as a nervous system release, gets more oxygen flowing to the brain, and can boost alertness and concentration.