Did you know that difficulties with enunciation can be caused by a lazy tongue? The tongue is a muscle and like any other muscles, it needs a regular workout which includes stretching and strengthening. A strong and flexible tongue also helps improve one’s ability to speak a second or third language clearly. For those of us that are interested in some simple tongue strengthening exercises for clean and clear speech, here are four easy ones to try out:

1) Clockwise: Run your tongue in a full circle around the cheek walls across the front of your top and bottom teeth. Repeat 3 times.
2) Counter-clockwise: Then change the direction of circling. Repeat 3 times.
2) Go left and right: Run the tongue as rapidly as you can left and right across the upper teeth. Repeat 10 times.
4) Stick it out: Stick the tongue out as far as you can, move it left and right, and then up and down. Repeat 3 times.

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Linh Taylor

Linh Taylor is a certified Yoga Tune Up® instructor and a certified Yoga instructor through Yoga Source, Los Gatos. A martial arts practitioner since age eight, Linh combines her foundation in Shaolin Kungfu with a new found love in healing the body and mind with purposeful and intelligent movements. Linh's yoga classes are non traditional, combine Vinyasa Flow with Yoga Tune Up® and Fascial manipulation. When Linh is off the mat, she likes to explore local hikes, go camping and rock climbing, and plan her next adventures around the world. She lives in Sunnyvale with her husband and two beautiful cats, Lyla and Beatrix.

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Linda Nasrllah

My 38 year old disabled client has a short tongue and has speech problems. Her last speech teacher gave her tongue strengthening exercises. Her present speech teacher says these exercises are not beneficial for her and does conversational speech. Her speech clarity is getting worse. Does tongue strengthening exercises help?

Linda Nasrallah

I have a disabled client. Her last speech teacher taught tongue strengthening exercises.
Her present speech teacher claims these exercises do not help her speech and does conversation speech. Her speech has deteriorated.
She is 38.

poirsha

OMG! What a great warm up before teaching classes! And something fun to do just to make you laugh also!

Suzanne O'Donnell

helpful for a yoga teacher and anyone who does public speaking!

nic matthews

love this Linh! I love doing simhasana, but now will definitely add these moves 😛

Alice Yuan

This is so fun! Thanks Linh! Can’t believe we overlook such an important muscle in our every day lives. The tongue needs to be strengthened for better communication and clearer speech! Adding to my daily to-dos! Excited for improvement!

Jacquie

I have never thought about this! It makes perfect sense. I am an elementary school teacher and these exercises could be of benefit to all students. It could be done in the morning to start the day, before phonics/phonetics instruction, before they perform a read aloud or presentation, before music class, and so much more! It would especially benefit the ELL students, who are learning English for the first time. And in addition, it would also provide a nice, mindful moment because you are focusing on one point, the tongue, for a few moments. Also, as teachers we talk all… Read more »

Trevor Gribble

Thank you for these exercises. I once took a vocal coach lesson at a yoga studio, and learned so much about the voice. Such an underrated part of our life. It’s a bit funny to offer these types of exercises in a yoga class, and I typically don’t because it just makes me feel awkward. But being able to describe the anatomy of how the tongue fits into the greater scheme of the body, I feel empowered to give it more of a go.

jaclyn

Wow – we all forget about the tongue- so interesting. Thank you!

Sebastien Noel

Merci, effectivement on oubli ce muscle.Je vais pratiquer les exercices.

Matt Halawnicki

I have so many great things to say about this article. Now I’ll be able to say it clearly. Thanks so much!

Mei Wong

Interesting pulsating sensation afterwards! I have never done a tongue exercise before- i think it feels great especially when i’m getting ready to enjoy a feast of food filled with delicious flavors. I will incorporate this as a step to mindful eating – food yoga! thank you.

Helen

I definitely agree!! We cannot ignore our tongue! As an actor, exercising the tongue in addition to the jaw, lips and neck is essential for good diction and clarity of speech. All of these exercises are great for strengthening, lengthening releasing tension from the area! A great help for vocal warm ups- I definitely recommend these- they are very helpful!!

Michelle Corbeil

Clean and clear speech – now that is something to aspire to!!! I just did the exercises so hopefully my tongue less lazy and I have more capacity for right speech. Thanks for the fun exercises.

Rachel Peppler

Never ever thought about this! I did the exercise and held my chin so I could stick my tongue out and move it up and down. I’m particularly interested in how it helps you to learn a new languages, Are there particular exercises for the tongue to help with the language learning..or is the exercises you post pretty much all there is to it?

Oliver

Thanks for sharing. It’s my first time seeing about tongue exercise. I just tried the exercise and my tongue was already sour half way through the exercise. I am not a native English speaker and sometimes people cannot hear me clearly speaking in English. I hope this exercise help me to improve that.

Chrissy

Not only was this super fun to do but a great warm up before teaching. We forget that the tongue is a muscle and most of us talkers abuse it. I’ve also added in the Yoga Tune Up therapy balls to roll out my jaw masseter to balance out my overuse. Thanks for this article.

Andrew

Interesting topic and something that we rarely think about. I often find myself mispronouncing words when I teach multiple yoga classes in a day or after a few days of teaching a handful of classes. It usually happens later in the day, after I’ve taught 2 or 3 classes already. I’ll keep these tongue stretches in my back pocket for a day filled with teaching!

Jill D

Those were fun to try and actually quite tiring. A great quick way to awaken the tongue and inside of the mouth. After doing the exercises I also felt a little release and more lightness in my ears!

Lisa

Great information! As a lover of language I’m hoping to learn Italian next. I think these exercises will come in very handy! Going to keep them in my back pocket for when I’m teaching a class of students who may need a laugh and a smile after any chaenging pose/ sequence!

Anya

This is very helpful article. Not only it will help us to improve our speech and pronunciation , but enable us to project.
We tend to forget that the tongue needs a work out as well, just like other muscles of our body.

Abigail Stevenson

This is very interesting! I would never have thought about exercising the tongue. I just did it and my tongue really felt the burn…but really. I have been trying to learn French for years so maybe this is finally my opportunity.

Denise

# 3 AND 4 WERE SUPER TIRING. Thanks for this. I need to be really cognizant of my jaw when I do there. I would like to add one: tick your tongue out as far as it will go and “roll your tongue” into a burrito! for those of use so genetically gifted 🙂

Michelle Clemens

That is very interesting. I forget that the tongue is a muscle used for so many activities. I never think to strengthen my tongue but why not? Actually, when do we ever really bring attention to our tongue? Only to relax it in final resting pose or when we bite it! ouch! Thanks for posting this, it’s so important to connect with all the areas of our body!

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I like your post very much i had nice time while reading your post

Cailyn Edwards

I just tried this out in a coffee shop! Very fun and funny for the people around me! I can’t believe how tired my tongue feels already. I often catch myself mumbling, can’t wait to see if this helps!!

Kaitrin Doll

This is very interesting. I am going to try this and see if it makes a difference when I am speaking French.

Rob

Interesting and unorthodox exercise
Felt weird to get into, but I can feel it!

jackie leduc

I had fun actually trying this out! I will keep this cool tidbit of info and practical movements in my toolkit. I have no doubt that one day I will have a client that will appreciate the exercises.

Pete Shaw

Perform this workout in the privacy of your own home! 😉

I find this funny but it is also interesting. I definitely can see the applicability of this to speech and maybe even a good exercise routine for someone who has recently has a stroke and is trying to regain their speech.

Denise

I love this exercise, but I would add to it: curling the tongue if you are so genetically enclined, maybe with some seethali (sp?) breathing. However, I think I may need the jaw exercises after this tongue workout…

carol

Useful information for those of us who are attempting to learn a foreign language like French–I for one have trouble getting my mouth around the right pronunciations.

Ann

Fascinating! I’ve heard of “eye yoga,” but not “tongue yoga” — until now! In addition to the conditions you mention, I’d imagine these movements might also help maintain the contours of the face by working the supporting muscles. Oh, yoga — the fountain of youth!! 😉