Relieve jaw and head tension with a Yoga Tune Up® Therapy ball on your temple.

Relieve jaw and head tension with a Yoga Tune Up® Therapy ball on your temple.

In my article on Wednesday, I described the temporalis muscle and how daily activities, such as talking and chewing can create tension for the jaw and temple. An easy way to discover if your temporalis is over worked and tender is to grab a block or a book and head to the floor. With the block on the floor, place a Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball in-between your temple and the block.  Maintain compression and check in with your breath. You can further explore temporalis tension by closing and opening your mouth.  Relieve tension in the area by gently nodding your head no, then yes and lastly move your head so the ball is orbiting around the area.  Feel free to pause anywhere that is extra sensitive to maintain pressure and take deep belly breaths as you do. This can also be done at the wall if the floor is too intense.

Make sure to treat both sides and take your time unwinding the area.  This is a great tool to use before a big meeting, after a stressful situation or before bed to soothe the temporalis. Besides getting to the root of any stress that might cause the temporalis to contract, it’s always a good thing to address the muscle tension before it becomes painful!

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Stephanie Leger

Stephanie Leger is a certified Yoga Tune Up® instructor and teaches therapeutic movement, yoga, breath work and meditation in a variety of settings - group classes, workshops and private sessions. She specializes in postpartum recovery as well as students working through injuries and chronic pain. Her sessions are thoughtfully designed to strengthen the body, promote healthy range of motion and improve flexibility. Stephanie's goal is to empower students to listen to their bodies so they are their own greatest advocate for health and well being. She is also the creator of a meditation series for kids, while also offering a host of recorded meditations for little ones and adults.

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Ariana Brandao

I agree with the exercise that’s being taught but am confused by the cue “An easy way to discover if your temporalis is overworked and tender is to grab a block or a book and head to the floor.” My understanding of ideal YTU therapy ball work is to offer a “check-in” for the range of motion. I’d expect an exercise that doesn’t require the therapy ball before going to do ball work. For example, one could assess temporalis tension by opening their jaw, and locating the muscle with their fingers and seeing if it feels sore or mindfully opening… Read more »

Stephanie Leger

Yes and no…this article is almost 8 years old so with age there is hopeful evolution. So yes, I love your additional viewpoint of assessing tension and range of motion prior AND also the therapy balls can be an extension of your fingers. Just as you mention someone could use their fingers and see if it feels sore, you can do the same assessment with the balls – same information/intention, correct? The beautiful and empowering part about this work is that you get to choose how you use the therapy balls. And if you are a teacher, you get to… Read more »

Pamela Cupak

I tried this and definitely need to keep it consistent. Thank you!

Stephanie Leger

You are very welcome! I hope it has helped!!


I have been having recurrent headaches due to mask wearing for covid19 and look forward to relieving the pressure with the techniques described here.

Stephanie Leger

I’m so sorry to hear Emily. That is tough. I hope you find relief, but something to consider, if you can, is to try to change up your mask. Either the tiny mask particles that you are breathing in are not working for you or you aren’t getting enough oxygen throughout your day. I’m not a Dr nor do I have any medical training, but when I read your post it threw up a big red flag to me. I know you aren’t alone with the headaches due to wearing masks all day, but hopefully it is something you can… Read more »

Julia Skinner

I commented on your previous post thatI experience headaches the day after teaching back to back classes which requires a lot of talking, I look forward to trying this after classes to see if it lessens the weekly headaches.

Michelle Mucci

i tried this today, felt sooo good .

Vivi Sørensen

I tend to tense up when I’m stressed and this is a good exercise to unwind, thanks!

Sara M

Great exercises for instant headache relief, and reminder to be proactive, getting to the tissue before the pain starts. Thank you

Polly swingle

I choose to read this article because at times I can feel my Temporalis muscle being agitated. Now that I have my tune up balls with me at all times, the rolling can begin.

Ellen S.

Yes, I love using the therapy balls on my face, and have found relief from headache and general tension by doing this! It’s amazing how much tension we hold in our facial muscles, and how easy it is for the same muscles to be over/underutilized. It’s also easy to simply forget that we have muscles on the face, and to focus on large massive ares of the body like the hips or quads. This is the new “facial!”

Stephanie Leger

Totally a new facial 😉 I love your comment that we forget that we have muscles on the face – so true!!

Stephanie Schwartz

This is exactly what I was looking for when I commented on your other post! Thank you for this! Facial roll outs have been some of my favorite discoveries from Yoga Tune Up – so helpful for those of us who carry our tension in our jaws!


Massaging the m. temporalis I’ve learned last week during the YTU tt. What a relieve it was…
This morning I stood up and I had a headache, not in my head but at/on my head. I took my ytu balls and gave myself a massage like you demonstrated. The pain is not gone completely but for sure it was a relieve, same as a massage on the masseter. I will tell some clients who I know suffering the same thing.


The moment I saw the picture of you demonstrating this, knew I had to try it – wow! Thank you for providing the detailed instruction along with the visual.


Thanks for the great tips. I think that I will give them a try! I love how you used the ball and block.


Whoa. This is intense!!! This definitely can alleviate the aches and pains of functional movements of the jaw, like chewing and talking. But it is also great therapy during times of stress, as many of us will grip the jaw, grind the teeth, purse the lips, and many other conscious and unconscious behaviors that create an unpleasant environment for the neck and face. I will definitely use this technique on myself and share it with my students.

Cathy Mook

I like this and will bring it to my dental office to share with my dental patients. Doing this for the masster muscle is a wonderful release too! Awesome!

Stephanie Leger

This comment is so old – I’m sorry! How did it go with your patients?? I am so curious to know… I LOVE that you brought it in with your patients. Makes me smile.


We had rolling today in Level 1. Several of the attendees did head/jaw rolling, so by the time we were all done about 3 rolling treatments of 5 minutes each had taken place! It was awesome and highly recommended to relieve tension in the overall face.

Vanessa I

After our yoga tune up weekend, I have been working out my shoulders. The class showed me that they are definitely so tight that they needed to be looked after. So after reading this, I thought I been taking care of these shoulders and making them feel more comfortable. No way that this tension would exist there. I was wrong, it would never cross my mind on my own that I would have tension in my temporalis muscle. Now to think of it, I always rub them when I am stressed. One more thing to know about my body and… Read more »

Jared Cohen

In a world in which rolling out is often executed as “don’t make a pain face,” it is nice to see soft tissue work of this caliber.

Stephanie Leger

Jared?! I never saw this comment from SEVEN years ago. I totally agree. I hope you are well!

Aaron Goodnow

I just laid down on the floor and rolled out my Temporalis. Im hooked. What a fantastic addition to my book of knowledge on YTU.


Whenever I do this, I get so relaxed and sleepy. Love having the instructions accessible in this post!

Jason Campbell

I have just been rolling the temporalis with Therapy Ball in hand, i’ll have to give the block version a try. More pressure through this method will be nice. great article as always fellow YTU backrow-er. 🙂

Stephanie Leger

I’m just seeing comments from SEVEN years ago. I miss you fellow YTU backrow-er. I hope you are fabulous – thank goodness for social media so I can still see your face and enjoy your humor.


I love this! I think temple massages are one of the most heavenly things we can do for ourselves, and it’s wonderful to see that noted here in your article as well. Is it okay to roll out this muscle even if we have veins that run right on top of it? Thanks!

Stephanie Leger

I think so, but I would check with your Dr prior… Sorry about the delayed response.


Tried it 2 days ago and slept really well! It is unbelievable how much tension we accumulate in the jaw just from eating and chewing . I found it also very relaxing to the nervous system. Thank you!

Ela Garcia

This article is great! I actually had the chance to try this exercise in some capacity during our YTU training at Pure Yoga. One of the exercises we tried was the use of the tune up ball on the jaw and temple. It was particularly enjoyable for me even though at some points there were more sensitive parts because I knew the muscles were getting worked out. I have TMJ so this is a really great way to address the tightness that forms through out the day. I have to constantly be aware of my facial state so that I… Read more »