The nose is for breathing while the mouth is for eating.
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
Below are some thoughts on breath, in general.We can only be without it for approximately three minutes, unless we are Navy Seals or Olympic swimmers, which ‘might’ add another minute-ish, but for most of the population it’s three minutes and then we die, we cease to exist. Pretty powerful, eh? Breath.
Recently while teaching a beginning Yogi, I was asked why he had to breathe through his mouth, what the difference was and that it felt like “fake” breathing to him. “Fake breathing?”, what could that possibly mean? I realized then that lots of people did not really know the importance of breathing correctly; maybe this little blurb will help.
Below are some thoughts on breath, in general. We can only be without it for approximately three minutes, unless we are Navy Seals or Olympic swimmers, which ‘might’ add another minute-ish, but for most of the population it’s three minutes and then we die, we cease to exist. Pretty powerful, eh? Breath. So what is the difference?
Nasal breathing is healthier than mouth breathing for several reasons. Your lungs take oxygen from the air, and absorption of oxygen happens mostly on exhalation. Exhaling through the nose, which is smaller than the mouth, creates greater air pressure and therefore a slower exhalation. This gives the lungs extra time to extract a greater amount of oxygen. Nose breathing immediately begins to calm the nervous system and provides you with powerful nutrients and energy; it recharges you and rejuvenates your skin.
We all know a mouth-breather, think, Napolean Dynamite, their faces are slack, longish,they sort of appear tired, and they probably are tired because it takes more energy to sustain yourself when your pulling air in through your throat. (Side note, if your child is a mouth-breather, pay attention, it can change the shape of their face forever and the fatigue and chronic sleep deprivation mouth-breathing causes leaves one feeling sluggish and longing for more rest so they will not perform as well in school).
Mouth breathing is common in individuals whose nasal passages are blocked or restricted. For example, a deviated septum or small nostril size can lead a person to breathe primarily through the mouth instead of the nose. Breathing through the mouth is inefficient, your blood actually isn’t getting all the oxygen it needs to function properly and leads to hyperventilation, fatigue, mind fog, depression and may cause inflammation to your entire system. This, in turn, causes or worsens symptoms of asthma, heart disease and high blood pressure. You may seek the advice of your doctor if you have real concerns but while you read this, takes some big deep belly-breaths and keep reading!
Proper breathing isn’t entirely determined to the face. How you force air in and out of your lungs can affect how well you take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
To make the most of your breathing, make sure you avoid the nasty habit of chest breathing in favor of what’s called diaphragmatic breathing.
Chest breathing is a weak form of breathing. It’s too shallow to bring in maximal oxygen and doesn’t fully expel your lungs when you exhale. Instead, your breathing should be diaphragmatic, meaning the action of inhaling and exhaling extends down into your stomach. Watch a baby for pointers. As you breathe, your stomach should expand and contract as your diaphragm forces air into and out of your lungs. Your chest, meanwhile, should remain mostly still, but you’ll take in more oxygen with every breath.
Take a few moments and sit with your breath, get connected to your essence, embrace the strength and vitality breath gives you – it’s always there and will only make you stronger once you spend some time with it!