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The Nasal Maze

Dear friend,

Hope you are at peace and enjoying good health, taking in the good air, especially as the days are getting longer and the sun is getting brighter.

Here is something about me that I want to share with you - I love to breathe :-)

The breath is such a vital part of our life however we almost always ignore and take it for granted. Imagine an anecdotal scenario in which someone is holding your head under water. At that moment the most important thing on your mind would be your next incoming breath, in fact you would be willing to do whatever it takes, even go to extreme measures, just so you can take a breath. Every breath we take is sustaining life in our body, when something goes wrong with our breath our life becomes very difficult, and yet we seem to take it as casual as can be.

Breath can also be a very rewarding experience of interconnectedness, a concept which is at the heart of all teachings of Yoga. We are not much different from plants and trees, in a way the atmosphere is actually breathing us. Every time we breath in we take oxygen from the atmosphere into our lungs, and every time we breathe out the atmosphere takes back carbon dioxide from our lungs. It's a transaction in which both sides benefit each other and it is also a process that moves these air particles between all beings, animate or inanimate. We are all connected to each other through the atmosphere!

That's why this month I wanted to share with you one of the most important components of breathing well and maybe try and sell it to you. The only prerequisites for this are that you are presently alive and that you have a somewhat functional nose. I hope you can check mark both :)

If you come to my classes regularly you probably heard me often highly recommend breathing through your nose. I usually refer you to google for some research into the benefits of nasal breathing since there are too many for me to mention during a class. So, here is a list of some of these benefits with the hope that it will convince you to give it a go and try to get more comfortable with it.

All facts are based on mainstream evidence based studies.

  1. It keeps air in your lungs longer than mouth breathing which is a more efficient way of breathing (less effort for more value).

  2. It provides up to 20% more oxygen in your bloodstream at any given time. That leads to all sorts of good things.

  3. It warms the air by as much as 4 degrees before it gets to the lungs, this is especially important in cold weather.

  4. The nose is like a maze, if you split a human nose in half it would look much like a seashell which is built to keep out invaders. Similarly the nose is built to filter out pathogens. The majority of bacteria and germs are filtered out of incoming air by your nose before the air is passed onto the lungs. .

  5. The sinuses release a huge boost of nitric oxide, a molecule that plays an essential role in increasing circulation and delivering oxygen into cells.

  6. It decreases dental cavities. A dry mouth caused by mouth breathing increases acidification and prevents saliva from protecting your teeth and gums 

  7. It improves sleep which means more energy for physical exercise, yoga, and daily life.

When you take air through the mouth you are not filtering that air, not humidifying it, you are not removing any of the particles but rather delivering it directly to the lungs. Taking in this unfiltered air will cause a lot of unnecessary wear and tear to the body. When you exhale there is no pressure, since there is very little resistance on the way out, which over time weakens the muscles of breathing.

Breathing well makes us feel good on all levels, it gives us more energy and vitality, better mood and mental clarity, and overall improved health and wellbeing. Breathing like connoisseurs, taking delight in every breath, can upgrade our life in every which way, at least from my experience. 

On a practical level it could be very useful if you remind yourself from time to time to pay attention to how you breathe, maybe set a reminder on your phone or use a designated app. If you notice that you are breathing through the mouth just shift the breath gently to the nose for a moment or two and see how it feels. If you keep on paying attention to your breath everyday, at least 3-5 times a day, you will start noticing a change in your breathing habits in no time.

And one more thing: you can use this short breathing practice audio that will introduce basic patterns of a complete breath as well as develop your ability to be comfortable with nasal breathing and will only take 5 minutes of your time. You can do it while taking the train or waiting for something somewhere, you can also do it first thing in the morning to start off a day full of breathing.

If you find yourself curious about these kinds of topics - join a workshop, a retreat, or any other event on offer.

Looking forward to sharing space, breath and being present with you in May.

With love and gratitude


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