Hello Flow friends,
For millennia the ancient yogis, prophets and sages recommended pranayama (breath control) to be used to harness the life giving power of breath (prana)
In this conversation today we deep dive into the intersection between traditional breathwork practices, and the modern science behind the benefits of nasal breathing.
Our nose is one of our primary lines of defence.
Our bodies are such elegant structures, in particular the anatomy for breathing is miraculous. Our nasal passage is shaped like a conch shell, and filters the debris and bacteria from the air, by utilising a complex structure of tiny little hairs and mucus membrane. The air we breathe through the nose then gets heated or cooled, to exactly the right temperature and also moisturised so as not dry out the lungs.
The mind is the king of the senses, but the breath is the king of the mind.
The emphasis on using the breath to unlock the fluctuations of the mind are plentiful as we read through the ancient yoga scriptures. Nasal breathing in particular is used to calm the nervous system and anchor the mind, so that we are able to be more present live more fully. When we breathe through our nose our sinus's create a gas (nitric oxide) that also helps to dilate the bronchi (air sacks) in our lungs.
Interestingly throughout time, chanting and humming has been prescribed by the ancients to help deepen the breath, give more energy to the physical body and gain mental clarity. Modern western science completely backs this ages old prescription, by using of the vibrations caused through chanting, the nitric oxide production is massively increased by up to 15x!!
"Humming is used therapeutically for the treatment of chronic sinusitis”
Read a little more about Nitric Oxide Science here.
How can I utilise this ancient science to improve my lung function, circulation and mental clarity?
We can all benefit from these meditative practices, and no need to even roll out the yoga mat, just come into a comfortable seated position, starting with as little as 10 full deep breaths are enough help lower our stress levels, while soaking our body with rich oxygenated blood.
In yoga we talk a lot about the benefits of 3 part breathing. Start by placing one hand on your belly, one hand on your heart.
Lets breathe into the belly, the ribs and the upper chest, then releasing in reverse, upper chest ribs and belly last. Ideally the breath is even, in for 5 counts out for 5 counts, increasing as you feel ready. Set a timer and use this breath for 5 minutes.
Here we utilise the ancient practice of Bhamari Pranayama to really up the nitric oxide production.
Start by placing your thumbs in your ears (adding to the internal effect of the vibration) and we cover the eyes with the finger tips (added to the sense withdrawal)
We breathe in through the nose and hum on the exhale, making sure our teeth are apart other wise the teeth vibrate too.
Aim to do this 10 times.
My hope is that these practices become apart of your life, and you can benefit from the calmness that breathing in this way creates, while also knowing science supports what the yogis have always known intuitively.
Wishing you every happiness, until next we meet.