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Let's get nosey
I swear if we could all learn to breathe more through the nose we would live in a healthier, happier, and more peaceful world.
Nasal breathing is so much more than just a requirement for meditating. Although that little fact alone says something about how powerful it can. The truth is that our mouths are designed for eating, talking, and smiling :) Our noses are designed for breathing... Actually, our noses house such an incredible system for breathing that we would all be fools not to take full advantage of it. Supposedly most of us only breath to 10-20% of our capacity. That's some scary sh*t.
I'm not going to get super sciency about it (I swear that's a word), but I do want to share with you what resonates most with me. Our noses have an incredible filtering system to help us get the cleanest air possible. The nose also warms or cools the air before it hits our lungs. Breathing through the nose triggers the parasympathetic response from your lungs, keeping your central nervous system more at ease. The air we breathe through our noses actually goes way down into your lower lung, allowing a full breath. In addition, and something pretty awesome, our sinuses produce nitric oxide, which helps regulate blood pressure and boost our immune systems. Nitric oxide also helps kill bacteria that makes its way into your system and makes you sick. There are so many more powerful reasons to make nasal breathing a priority, but even with just these, I hope you can see how important it is.
So now let's talk about mouth breathing. Breathing through your mouth bypasses all of these wonderful functions and connections within your body... ALL of them. It's not even very good at getting oxygen to your lungs. Remember 10-20% efficient breathing. There's also evidence that mouth breathing increases appetite and dehydrates you. There is nothing systemically good about mouth breathing. It's lazy breathing and can keep you from optimal health.
I know what you're thinking - 'I could never breathe through my nose that much, my sinuses are a mess'... well, it's quite the catch 22 isn't it?
Just because it's not easy now, doesn't mean you stop trying. Nasal breathing gets easier with practice and can help keep sinuses less inflamed and less full. If you give your sinuses nothing to do, they will suffer and so will you.
We have a great cue at Track+Channel for nasal breathing - uneven breathing. Inhale 3 count through the nose and exhale 2 count through the mouth - even though exhaling through the nose is ideal, when you're working out you'll want to exhale with the mouth a bit to keep up with the delivery of CO2 out of your system. When you start getting really good at this, you can increase it to 4 in and 3 out.
Since our bodies are built completely asymmetrically, alternating the inhale/exhale between feet while running, will help keep side stitches at bay. Again, you want to fill the lower lungs each time (the uppers get air by default)... So even when you've stopped your interval and are totally gasping for air, get in as many nasal breaths as possible and you'll feel your recovery kick in better and faster because, well, all the stuff I mentioned at the the start.
So let's save the world together, let's breathe through our noses.😉