A class had just begun taught by a distinguished voice professional to a group of voice professionals. Point, he said to your upper #jaw. We all dutifully did so. There is no upper #jaw, he said, and we quickly removed our offending fingers. True. There is no upper #jaw, only jaw, an appendage of our skulls. This is useful information to those who might suffer from #temporomandibular joint syndrome.

Your #jaw is endowed with a certain wisdom of its own. It does not want to open straight down. To do so invites locking and creaking, the symptoms of TMJ syndrome. The #jaw wants to track slightly forward in order to open, inviting no effort in your mythical “upper jaw.” It is a letting forward to open—little more than a wish—imperceptible by others, not a pushing forward or forcing. Try it. It knows.

Notice your breathing, let it come and go, let it change and regroup. Then, lips closed, inhale through the nose and and gently let an exhalation begin as your lips part, exhaling through the mouth. As your exhalation continues let the jaw slowly track forward to open and somewhere on that gesture, whisper “ah,” prolonged, gentle, unptiched, without phonating. Let the lips close to inhale again through the nose and wait! Never follow one whispered “ah” with another without regrouping. They are too precious to waste.

This is the signature breath exercise of Alexander Technique, directly applicable to relieving the symptoms of TMJ syndrome. For more about it, google Alexander Technique + whispered ah. There is a ton of information “out there” on this very subject. Meanwhile, just LET the jaw track forward to open as you exhale. Again, it knows.