Breath of Life!
In previous weeks we’ve spoken about different angles of how to integrate healthy habits into our self-care routines. NOGA Wellness Solutions® focuses on 8 areas. In the next few installments, I’ll be sharing more ideas on Stress Management and Self-Regulation. Last time we spoke about “BASIC BREATHING FOR BEGINNERS” as well as my BREATHING CONTEST, which is an expansion on the ideas in Basic Breathing for Beginners.
According to most schools of Conscious Breathing or Intentional Breathing, it is recommended that one inhale through the nose. Whether we exhale through our mouth or nose is less important than the significance of nasal inhalation. There are many health and scientific benefits to breathing in through the nose. First, it allows the temperature of the inhaled air to acclimate to the body’s temperature. If it’s cold outside, and air is breathed in through the mouth, the cold air hits the throat and lungs quickly without a temperature adjustment. When inhaling through the nose, it warms the air before it enters the throat and lungs (or cools if breathing on a hot day or in a hot places). Another benefit to nasal breathing is that there is a filtering that occurs in the cilia-type hairs in the nose. So, if dust, allergens, or particles are in the air, the fine hairs filter it out, protecting our system from inhaling excess contaminants. Additionally, nasal breathing tends to bring the air further down into the lungs, improving oxygenation of the whole body due to the absorption occurring in the larger part of the lungs. Inhaling through the nose and slowing it down (as in the BASIC BREATHING FOR BEGINNERS) calms and relaxes the body and mind. It helps immunity by boosting nitric oxide in the body. Another fascinating thing is that breathing through the mouth causes structural problems in the face and jaw. There are literally dozens of benefits to nasal breathing, especially when the exhale is slowed down.
I find it fascinating that we have a Biblical precedent that actually reminds us to do this! Our pull-quote reinforces the idea. “Vayipach b’apav, nishmas chayim – And He breathed into his nostrils, the breath (the soul) of life!” (Genesis 2:7) It appears from this verse, that G-d intends our inbreath to be through the nostrils. Another fascinating Biblical reference about the importance of slowing down our breath is in the verse from Exodus: “But when Moses told this to the Israelites, they would not listen to Moses, their spirits crushed (literally, shortness of breath) and by cruel bondage.” The Jewish people were stressed out, anguished, and “short of breath.” Rashi shares his stress physiology and neuroscientific explanation as to why the Jewish people could not hear the good news that Moses was sharing. Basically, because they activated their stress response. In the words of Rashi: “Their spirits were crushed (literally, shortness of breath) — If one is in anguish his breath comes in short gasps and he cannot draw long breaths.”
The bottom line. Our breath is literally a path to life and wellbeing. Conscious and intentional breathing is one of the very few things we can do to change our own autonomic nervous system, calming ourselves down. Especially now, in COVID times, I can’t think of anything more practical that each of us can do for a couple minutes a day that can literally give us an immune boost. In addition to the BASIC BREATHING FOR BEGINNERS and THE BREATHING CONTEST, enjoy our Feel free to visit NOGA SOUND SOLUTIONS® VOLUME 1 for my FREE “INSTRUCTIONS FOR BREATHING TECHNIQUES” to develop better conscious breathing habits. Next time, we will delve further into the benefits of conscious breathing and share more tips and tools. Here are your quick links.
That’s all! Feel free to visit NOGA Sound Solutions® volume 1 for my FREE “Instructions for Breathing Techniques” to develop better conscious breathing habits. Next time, we will delve further into the benefits of conscious breathing and share more tips and tools.