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Your breath, your breath, your breath.

By Sara Villamil

SAT APR 10, 2021

Hello dear friends & movement lovers,

Ah, what a week, what a time. I am going to avoid mentioning the obvious, but I will assume that all of us, in some way, wouldn’t mind a little information on calming the nervous system, staying focused, and present. I once heard that all moments of intensity must eventually come to end, and in my experience, it has yet to be wrong.

A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in the dentist chair (big outing) trying my best to breathe through my nose to endure the poking and prodding. My Hygienist started talking about the detrimental effects of mouth breathing on oral health over time. I thought, ok, another benefit to practicing nasal breathing on the mat - saving our gums! Breathing this way is hardly trendy, having a nose with nostrils is nothing new - but drawing our awareness to all the health benefits of this simple, free and potentially life changing skill is, well, trending!

Coincidentally, a few days after my dentist appointment one of my students emailed me saying she too had been at the dentist and used nasal breathing to get through it. She reminded me that in yoga we used to always cue pressing the tongue to the roof of our mouths. “Should we still do that?" she asked.

According to what I know, having your tongue resting gently on the roof of your mouth is recommended. For years in yoga, I solely practiced and taught a style of breathing called Ujjayi Pranayama. We would instruct a firm pressure of the tongue to roof of the mouth to create a deep and exaggerated, ocean-like noise. I still use this technique, but in a more isolated way. For most of my current physical practices, I try to breathe naturally through my nose.

Do you breathe through your nose? I encourage you to tune in and notice how you’re breathing when walking, cleaning, working, and even sleeping. Colds, chronic sinus issues, or the like, may be preventing you from nasal breathing, so start small, maybe just a few breaths at a time. If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend Breath by James Nestor. The book has been both celebrated for drawing attention to the subject and criticized for being heavily anecdotal and not scientific enough. I personally loved the stories in this book about the history of breathing, ancient practices and traditions, and why we are where we are today with breathing. Nestor’s book drives home the point that our mouths are for eating and our noses for breathing.

Here is a short video of me showing a traditional breathing technique, Nadi Shodhana Pranayama. This practice is said to calm the mind and clear the energy pathways in the body. I find it helpful for balancing the nostrils to later breathe equally through both sides.

If you can, join me in nasal breathing this week!

See you soon,
Sara x

Live Class Schedule
Sunday, April 11 - Sunday, April 18

Prenatal Yoga, 7-8pm

Yoga & Core, 12:05-12:55pm (*adding some optional work with weights this week)

Yoga & Meditation: Stretch, 7-8pm

Yoga Flow, 12:05-12:55pm

Yoga & Meditation: Strength, 10:30-11:30am

Yoga & Meditation: Strength, 9:30-10:30am
Gentle Yoga, 11:30-12:30pm

Please invite your friends to a complimentary live class or recording from my On Demand Library. Share this code: FRIENDCODE from now until Saturday, April 24.

Three NEW Recordings added to the On Demand Library. Did you know you can use your pass card to access them?


Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash