Throughout our yoga, meditation, and pranayama practices, there is a huge emphasis on the breath. But not so often do we focus on how we breathe day by day, moment to moment – and, in turn, how this affects our lifestyle.
Recently I completed an incredible course titled “Applied Anatomy and Physiology” with the inspiring yogi and physiotherapist Simon Borg-Olivier, through Yoga Synergy. Simon talked (and demonstrated) a lot about the breath, and invited along “Respiratory Physiologist, Behavior Modification & Breathing Therapist” Roger Price. Between the two, I learned many amazing facts about the breath, and how these facts can completely transform your life! Here are 11 of them:
1. Breathing has very little to do with oxygen. Air has 21% oxygen and the body only needs 5%. It’s all about Carbon Dioxide!
2. Breathing through the mouth can, over time, create a shrinking of the jaw – hence resulting in crooked teeth (or a relapse after having your braces removed).
3. Breathing through the mouth is the biggest cause for children developing a lisp when they talk.
4. Getting up during the night to urinate is most likely due to breathing with the mouth open. Breathing through the mouth causes the bladder to shrink, making one feel as though they need to head to the bathroom pronto!
5. The more you breathe (hyperventilation) the hungrier you will be and the more acidic the body will become.
6. You should only ever exercise to the intensity that you can keep your mouth closed.
7. We naturally change sides in our sleep approximately every 30 minutes, and this is mostly due to the balancing of the breath through each of the nostrils.
8. The nose has a 4 stage filtration system. By breathing into the mouth you go straight to stage 4. This easily results in sore throats, tonsillitis, and even ear infections.
9. Asthma is mostly misdiagnosed. It is often hereditary, and if you’re born with it, you will have it for life – however, through a breathing program and a change in external factors you can potentially be inhaler and steroid free for the remainder of your life!
10. Inhaling through the nose, and exhaling through the mouth messes with the balance of CO2 in the body. This results in a loss of CO2. Holding the breath can increase CO2, which will help to rebalance the PH level.
11. If the lungs were open flat they would cover the size of a tennis court!