Walking around on our arms rather than our legs wouldn’t make sense would it? Unfortunately, many of us do something (unwittingly), even more detrimental to our health, hundreds if not thousands of times each day. How? By ‘mouth’ breathing, rather than breathing the way we were designed to – through our ‘noses’.
What’s it matter you might ask? The following comparative table illustrates the enormous differences between the two styles.
BREATHING – Nose vs Mouth Comparison:
- Elicits your body’s short-term ‘emergency/stress response’ – Sympathetic Nervous System (stress hormones – adrenaline, cortisol etc).
- Stimulates higher metabolism in your cells – promoting a shift towards carbohydrate metabolism (short-term fuel – quicker fatigue etc) & linked to greater free radical production ( increased breakdown of tissues, muscle soreness etc).
- Air is of larger volume – it’s cold, dry and unfiltered (all the ‘rubbish’ in the air comes into your throat/lungs) – creating a big stress to your body.\
- Oxygen – and more importantly ‘prana’ (the ‘life-force’ that enlivens your mind & body), bypasses your brain (reducing mind/body co-ordination).
- Encourages rapid, shallow, high-chest breathing, resulting in oxygen going largely to the blood-poor region of your lungs, thus requiring increased heart-rate and breath rates/breath depth.
Mouth breathing is associated with:
- Aggravation/Cause of Asthma / Other Breathing Problems
- Anxiety and Stress
- Lack of Mental Focus/Clarity
- Increased Colds/Flu’s/Upper Respiratory Infections
- Poor Moods
- Promotes activation of the ‘parasympathetic N.S (relaxes & calms your physiology.
- Smaller volume of air – filtered, warmed & humidified (improved oxygen exchange & less stress to your body).
- Oxygen (prana) goes directly to your brain (greater mind/body co-ordination, clearer thinking etc).
- Promotes slower, deeper, abdominal (diaphragmatic) breathing – oxygen gets to the blood rich regions of your lungs – ‘peak efficiency‘).
- Reduces heart-rate/breath rate and stimulates a greater proportion of fat metabolism (better endurance, less fatigue etc).
- (When done properly), it massages all your vital internal organs – liver, spleen, kidneys etc for optimal health.
- Helps maintain/improve flexibility/health of your ribcage & spine etc.
* It just feels much much nicer!!!
As often as possible, have the awareness of your breathing and practice breathing slowly, deeply & comfortably through your nose. Practice breathing as if you are breathing right down into your navel. A slight pause (breath hold) is fine following inhalation, and then slightly contracting your abdominal muscles, extend the exhalation in a nice smooth, comfortable manner. Never strain. Remember that breathing is a completely natural & spontaneous process. Just having your attention on it more and more, will be enough over time, to gradually re-condition yourself to breathe this way all the time…even in somewhat stressful situations.
Right now – Sit back in your chair , close your eyes & spend 1 minute breathing this way with your full undivided attention. Doesn’t it feel great. In a future blog, we’ll look at some additional steps to help re-conditioning yourself to breathe this way permanently & also how to apply it to exercise & sports performance. But for now, the more often you can do it the better. * And remember, you can’t ‘smell the flowers’, breathing through your mouth. Enjoy.
NOTE: Re-training yourself/others to breathe correctly can have remarkable effects on things like asthma, snoring, energy levels etc. If you or someone you know…or used to sleep with – i.e. before you went to another room in the case of ‘snoring’ – get them to incorporate ‘natural breathing’ (and the additional breathing tips when they come), into their daily routine and there is an excellent chance you/they will get fantastic improvements. *** You never know, in the snoring case, you could save a marriage… in the asthma case, you could theoretically save a life.
* IMPORTANT: the information in this tip (as in all tips) is STRICTLY COPYRIGHT. Please do not use, copy or reproduce any of this material without prior consent. Thank-you.
Speaking of Noses – Nose Humour:
How does Michael Jackson pick his nose?……………………….from a catalogue.