Why should I breathe only through my nose? It is hard and it doesn’t feel natural when I am stressing my body in different poses.
There are many reasons to breathe on the mat, it helps you to be conscious of the energy of Source and concentrate it in specific areas of your body. It helps to clear the lungs and the blood by consciously bringing in new clean air to the body. If you don’t breathe, you will turn blue and pass out. 😬
There are many reasons to breathe, however, there is a specific goal in breathing only with your mouth closed and in cadence with the poses. Remember that the ultimate goal of yoga is to join the physical and the spiritual aspects of yourself as one and move away from a duality existence. One of the first steps in achieving that goal is to always be in the present. Not in the past thinking about how you could have done something different or in the future thinking or worrying about what is to come.
To achieve union you first must be fully present in the now. Nothing else exist. In this Earth plane, time seems to be linear, but that is only an illusion. For our purposes in understanding the reason for breathing, simply know and understand that there is no room for the past or the future on the mat. Being present and living in the moment is a magical gift that gives great joy and peace. There is no fear in the present and you are free to love yourself and all those around you fully and completely.
To stay in the present, you need to turn off the mind, the constant flow of chatter that fills the void of the quiet mind. Now here is the secret – the mind can only do 2 things at once. You don’t believe it is true? Stop and try it. Your mind can switch from one thing to another quickly, but it can only do 2 things at the same time. If you can keep the mind occupied with 2 different things, it is unable to worry about the past or the future or anything else. Keep the mind busy and focused on the task at hand and you will be in the present moment automatically.
Yoga asanas (the physical poses of yoga) make this very easy. Your first task is to listen to the instructor and make your body do the poses called for in the class. Constantly review the alignment of each pose, scan your body and hold the pose in the very best way you can. Second, breathe. Breathe with the pose, concentrate on your breath, match the movements of your body with your breath and keep your mouth shut. All of this forces you to breathe and move with intention and purpose. Do this and your mind is completely occupied, it can’t do anything else. It can’t worry about what happened in the past or enjoy a replay of that great event last night. It’s not able to anticipate what is going to happen in the future, it is fully occupied in the present moment, moving the body as you command and matching the breath to the movements. You are in the present moment and practicing yoga!
I great side effect of breathing through your nose is that it will challenge your cardiovascular system. You will want to open your mouth to get more air – don’t do it! It is a great workout for your lungs and heart. Your pulse and blood pressure will drop if you practice yoga and breathing regularly. Your yoga butt will be healthier on the inside as well as on the outside.
Blair is the co-owner of Yoga Daily in Mt. Pleasant, SC. He is a certified yoga instructor, recovering lawyer, and a spiritual student. The content of this blog is what Blair considers to be universal truths that span all dogma and religion and it is offered to you in Love and Light. Yoga is but one path to knowing that we are all one. Please take what resonates with you and leave the rest without judgment or offense.