Yawning is a complex event that depends largely on the autonomic nervous system. Microneurographic techniques were used to study the mechanism involved in yawning. A series of spontaneous yawns displayed by a healthy 39-year-old male offered us the opportunity to study the muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) during this phenomenon. It was found that 2 s of yawning inhibited the MSNA recorded at the right peroneal nerve in the lateral knee area, while 3 s of slow expiration succeeding a yawn provoked an MSNA discharge. Blood pressure decreased with each slow expiration by 5-6 mmHg, and increased again with the renewed MSNA discharge. We conclude that yawning is associated with a sympathetic suppression that favours a parasympathetic dominance, as indicated by the MSNA and the decrease in blood pressure. The slow expiration following a yawn is associated with a sympathetic activation marked by an MSNA discharge and an increase in blood pressure.