Should you be breathing through your nose or your mouth?
There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of nose breathing but then you go to a Yoga class and they tell you to breathe through your mouth…
So first up let’s be clear, what I’m talking about today is the breathing you do on an everyday basis, more or less subconsciously.
The problem with mouth breathing over time is it generally forces your tongue to the bottom of your mouth (just try sticking your tongue to the top of your mouth and breathing through your mouth..it’s difficult).
This tongue position over time actually changes the structure of the jaw, dropping it down and backwards, which erodes the natural musculature of the jawline and leads to a slack jawed look (not very sexy).
Turns out the position of the jaw is actually really important for a lot of things (apart from just having a chiseled jawline), chief amongst them preventing sleep apnea. As the tongue drops and the jawline shifts backward apnea becomes more and more likely.
Why is apnea such a big deal?
Well it leads to intermittent hypoxia…this gets pretty complicated pretty quickly but this type of hypoxia leads to an abundance of Stabilised HIF-1 in the cells which in turn drives all sorts of changes we really don’t want, cancer, weight gain, inflammation – the usual suspects.
So in short, for your Yoga keep breathing like you’re being told, but for normal, subconscious breathing, nose breathing is the way to go.
If you are a mouth breather and want to start to fix this, an easy (if somewhat weird) way is mouth taping at night.
Just take a small bit of surgical tape and tape your mouth shut at night, the first night it’ll feel strange, you’ll barely sleep and your partner will think you’re a freak. Don’t stress, it’ll very quickly become normal and will train your body to breath through the nose naturally whilst also helping to clear Stabilised HIF-1 at night.