Breathing is a direct reflection of the status of our health, and in today's crazy-busy world, a good breathing habit is ever so important.
It is quite interesting over the centuries how our breathing patterns have changed. Ancient human skulls had enormous forward-facing jaws with expansive sinus cavities and broad mouths which would have created wider airways, making it easier to breathe through the nose. I doubt these ancient people snored, had sinusitis, a lack of energy, poor concentration or sleep apnoea; they would have breathed easy.
As humans evolved, there was a change in diet and along with the growing brain, many facial features changed, all of which contributed to a shift in breathing - we became mouth breathers.
Looking at today's skulls chins have recessed behind foreheads, jaws have slumped back and sinuses shrunken. Humans are the only mammals on the planet to have misaligned jaws, overbites, underbites and crooked teeth.
Mouth breathing brings with it many problems such as a dry mouth, lack of energy, poor sleep quality, poor concentration, a change in facial structure, and many other stressors to the body.
On the other hand, breath inhaled through the nose keeps the body strong, focused and relaxed. So why not give nose-breathing ago. Mouth breathing is a tricky habit to break, but with practice, you can transition over to nose breathing finding yourself reaping the benefits that come with this form of breathing.
An excellent place to start is alternate nostril breathing. Using this breathing technique 10 minutes a day can help manage the stressors in your daily life and enhance your overall health and wellbeing by feeding air to the heart and lungs, not the mouth.
To Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing
Focus on keeping your breath slow, smooth, and continuous.
- Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed or on a chair
- Place your two middle fingers of your right hand in between your eyebrows
- Gently place your thumb on your right nostril and your ring finger on your left nostril
- Exhale completely and then use your right thumb to close your right nostril
- Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your ring finger
- Open the right nostril and exhale through this side
- Inhale through the right nostril and then close this nostril
- Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side
- You have now completed one cycle
- Continue for up to 5-10 minutes daily
Complete the practice by finishing with an exhale on the left side.
Don't practice alternate nostril breathing if you are sick or congested.
Try to get into the habit of regularly breathing through the nose - your breath is a powerful tool.