The Right Way to Breathe during a Pandemic (and at all times!)

The yogis have known for thousands of years – shut your mouth and breathe by your nose. There are 2 big reasons (especially in times of pandemic) why you should be nose breathing. Read on to learn more …

Nose breathing gives you MORE energy.

It’s often assumed that mouth breathing will give you more energy. In fact the opposite is true.
If you are leaving your Bikram Yoga class exhausted and need to go home for a sleep it tells us you are either holding your breath or mouth breathing in class. Teachers are always reminding us to nose breathe and here’s why..

  • Your nasal cavities produce nitric oxide (NO) which increases blood flow to the lungs and boosts oxygen levels on the blood.
  • Higher oxygen saturation of the blood helps feel more refreshed and provide greater endurance.
  • Another vital role of NO is to prevent blood clots in normal arteries.
  • NO also relaxes smooth muscle in the airways – trachea and bronchioles – making it easier to breathe.
  • When it’s easier to breathe you are instigating your parasympathetic nervous system. This calms you.

 

Nose Breathing is our body’s natural respiratory defence.

Our nasal cavity acts as a filter and so nose breathing is our first line of defence against any unwanted particles. When you nose breathe the vast majority of potentially harmful bacteria, micro-organisms and pollutants will get trapped in the nasal mucous.
When you mouth breathe, the air is not being cleaned and anything inhaled directly into the lungs can potentially stay in there for up to 4 months.

Remember when you are mouth-breathing, you are bypassing your natural respiratory defence.
Mouth breathers also typically inhale a much larger volume of air so this will increase their risk of infection. Mouth breathers typically inhale between 10 to 15 litres of air per minute and a nose breather would inhale four to six litres per minute.^

So by inhaling through the nose, you are delivering nitric oxide directly into your lungs, where it increases both airflow and blood flow and keeps micro-organisms and virus particles in check.

Keep it simple. Nose for breathing. Mouth for hot chips.
If you need any more reasons to practice your nose breathing… come talk to us!

*Prof Louis J. Ignarro, winner of The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1998: “for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system.”
^McKeown P (2015) The Oxygen Advantage Harper Collins, New York
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