Boost your health dramatically by ensuring you are breathing through your nose – at all times – whether directly doing breathing exercises, a yoga-asana practice, household or work duties throughout the day, or while sleeping. The benefits of nasal breathing compared to mouth breathing have been well researched, and are worth understanding so you can optimize your breathing habits and ensure they are functioning well.
The Anatomy of Nasal Breathing
For humans, nasal breathing is a product of, and a contributor to, our evolved neck and facial structure most clearly revealed in our ability to speak, a distinguishing feature that differs from other primates in clear anatomical ways. In contrast to our closest related non-human primate species:
- The human airway is elongated with a poorly supported oropharynx (area of the throat that includes the soft palate, side and back wall of the throat, tonsils, and back of the tongue.)
- Our foramen magnum (oval-shaped opening in the occipital bone) is more anteriorly positioned
- Our maxillo-mandibular complex (jaw area) is regressed to allow for adequate speech
- We have smaller mouths with an average of 32 teeth as opposed to up to 44 in a chimpanzee
- and, in response to these skeletal changes, we have a retreated tongue giving it an obstructive presence in the upper airway