Why it is not recommended to breathe through the mouth in a regular yoga setting? A short anatomical guide to your breath. (Part 1)
"If you can breathe, you can do yoga!"
-Shri Krishnamacharya, the Father of modern Yoga.
The opposite is also true: if there is no breath, there is no Yoga.
Lately I was inspired by many of my new students, as well as yoga teachers to talk a little about such a profound and highly important thing, as our CONSCIOUS BREATH.
It’s not a secret, there is lots and lots of ways to breathe in yoga in accordance with the effect we want to achieve.
And obviously, there are other physical practices, like pilates or martial arts and especially power lifting, where breath will be way different from that of a yoga setting. But to be short enough, I wanna just innumerate the why-s for the safety, comfort and health benefits of those who call their practice YOGA.
So, in our usual yoga setting, according to traditional yoga, we invite conscious breathing. This meanins: we slow down our inhalation though the nostrils and our exhalation through the nostrils, constricting the glottis.
Why slow down? Slowing down the breath, we bring the awareness to it easily; the mind slows down; and the whole body eventually is following. And we get the whole system relaxed as a result; including the nervous system, endocrine and immunity.
In traditional yoga practice, the exhale should be twice as long as inhale.
Why is that?
The longer EX, the longer IN. The longer IN, the more expanded the lungs are. The more we breathe into the lungs, the more we move our diaphragm.
So, extending our IN and EX, we come back to square 1: calming the whole system.
Why do we want to calm the system at all?
When the whole system is at ease, the body starts healing itself and being efficient.
Why we cannot possibly IN and EX through the mouth in the same pace as through the nostrils and glottis?
The slot is too big. Constricting the glottis at the back of your throat while breathing through the nostrils make it not possible to speed up.
More arguments not to breathe through the mouth:
- fast pace of EX brings up a sound HA and if you do it more than once - lightheadedness and this kind of breath creates disturbance at all levels. If there is still doubt, you should try it yourself.
It is actually easily visible and apparent, if the breathing techniques of a yoga student/teacher are calming or disturbing.
- the mouth breathing dries out the throat. Did you see those bottles of water at the edge of your students’ mats?
- there is much more awareness in a slow mindful concentrated nostril breath, than in a big-flow mouth one.
I believe, if you fully engage in the practice of mindful slow pace breathing, you will find even more benefits for yourself and will be able to compare from your experiential knowledge, not from what you were told or taught.
Don’t trust my words. Trust your body!
It is highly intelligent.