New research from America has found that there is a difference in response to fear and emotions depending on if we breathe in through our nose or mouth. They also found that we seem to be able to remember things better during the inhale compared with the exhale, if that is done through the nose.
There is more about what they found in this article. Anyone seeking to remember facts and figures should do that on the inhale – top tip for students!
Biologically it’s better to inhale through the nose as the fine hairs can filter out any foreign matter, nasal mucous can play its part in reducing infections and the air can be warmed slightly before it goes into the lungs.
In yoga the breath can be more easily controlled and manipulated through nasal breathing, and it leads to a slower deeper breath than mouth breathing, meaning it’s more likely to be diaphragmatic breath rather than chest breathing (and therefore has additional benefits), and less likely to lead to an imbalance in the oxygen/carbon dioxide ratio. Nasal breathing can also have an effect on many systems and hormones in the body because the breath which comes in through the nose stimulates the olfactory nerve which in turn connects with the hypothalamus in the brain, which is also connected to the pineal gland, and both of which are associated with regulating important bodily functions such as hunger, thirst, memory, anger, hormones, sleep patterns, etc. And yogicaly, it is believed to connect to the third eye, area of inner wisdom.