Whether it is a new variant of a global pandemic circulating or just the common cold, empower yourself with the knowledge of how to use your breathing to protect and defend yourself from airborne contaminants. Here are the key things to know and do:
- NOSE BREATHING PROTECTS US, MOUTH BREATHING DOESN’T
The chances are you breathe through your mouth regularly throughout the day, whether it be during exercise, rest, sleep, or wearing a mask. Mouths were not created for breathing, noses were, and nasal breathing gives you essential protection that mouth breathing doesn’t:
– It cleans the air you breathe. The mucus and hairlining of the nasal passages are like an antiviral gauntlet through which air needs to pass before it reaches the sensitive lining of the lungs.
– It humidifies and regulates the temperature of your breath. Unlike mouth-breathing, nasal breathing doesn’t inflame the lungs and weaken your immune strength.
– It pressurises your inhalation through the turbinated structures of the nasal cavity. This directs air into the lower lungs where you have a richer blood supply for better oxygen saturation, which is essential for cellular immunity.
– It slows your breathing and encourages diaphragmatic breathing. Both help to keep your nervous system balanced (so you have less stress and more relaxation), your killer cells strong and your immunity robust.
– It increases your levels of nitric oxide (NO). NO opens your blood vessels for more of that healthy oxygen saturation, and has potent antimicrobial effects against viruses, bacteria and fungi.
TIP: As you breathe through your nose, lift your tongue to rest lightly against your upper palette. The tip of the tongue should not be pushing against the front teeth, but instead should be relaxing backwards and widening like a circle. This tongue position helps to open your nasal passages for easier nose breathing.
- YOU CAN SANITIZE YOUR AIRWAYS, NATURALLY!
Nitric oxide is like a natural sanitiser spray produced in your sinus cavities when you breathe through your nose. It disinfects your cells whilst opening your blood vessels for greater absorption and immune strength. It was used to treat SARS back in 2003, and there are ongoing studies on its preventative efficacy against Covid-19 and its variants. Increase your levels by:
- Humming. The simple act of humming increases NO levels by 15 times. Here is a simple humming practice:
– Breathe slowly in through your nose, feeling your belly gently expand forwards.
– Breathe slowly out through your nose, creating a buzzing or “hmmmmm” sound in the back of your throat, as your belly gently draws back inwards.
– Breathe in again as before, now feeling your mid-back also expand outwards as the bottom of your lungs inflate.
– And breathe out again as before, creating that sound but making it slower so it lasts longer.
– Continue like this for a few minutes.
TIP: The exhales have sound, the inhales are silent. As you exhale, imagine the sound creates a gas in your airways (which it does – nitric oxide) and as you inhale, imagine you are bringing that gas into your lungs to open and sanitize your blood vessels (which you are!).
- Ujjayi Breathing. This ancient yogic practice creates a vibrating noise in the throat and nasal passage, which again, has been proven to increase levels of NO. Do it like this:
– Breathing through your nose, draw air along the back of your throat – down as you breathe in, up as you breathe out – creating a soft vibrating sound.
– It should sound like white noise or a wave crashing in the distance, and be quiet and internal – you hear it but people around you don’t.
– Breathe like this for a few minutes or longer, focusing on the vibration of the sound spreading from your throat to your head and chest.
TIP: Because this breathing technique is silent, you can do it anywhere – public places, the office, out with friends – which makes it a very usual protective tool for when you are out and about.
Take it a few minutes each day to try these techniques – science supports their efficacy and you’ll feel better from having done them. Plus, whether it’s Covid, flu, the common cold or some other virus circulating, knowing that you have protective tools that you can apply anywhere and at anytime, will make you feel stronger and more empowered in your mind and body.
Enjoy life today, breathing well and living well.
For daily breathing practices that include the above steps plus techniques for sleep, relaxation, stress-management, mental focus and better energy, download The Breath Method app from AppStore and GooglePlay.