• Breathing through the nose is a common practice in yoga, thanks to its many benefits.
• Physicians also recommend breathing through the nose, as it provides a natural filter.
• Breathing through the mouth can lead to poor oral health and bad breath.
"Nasal obstruction, chronic sinusitis, or chronic allergies really affect one's quality of life," Blair said. "If you have a poor outlook on life because you're always suffering from allergies or sinusitis, it's going to affect the rest of your general health. So if you can get your breathing and your nose in tip-top shape, you're going to feel better and you'll want to do more things, and you're going to overall improve your quality of health."
According to the U.K.-based Heather Yoga, yoga is an ancient practice whose adherents have studied the role of breathing in wellness for centuries. Many practices prefer breathing through the nose, as opposed to the mouth.
KTM Yoga reports that, although most people should focus on breathing through their noses more frequently, as many as 60% of adults often breathe through their mouths. Hair and mucus within the nose serve as filters for bacteria and dust, and nasal breathing works to increase oxygen intake and boost brain activity. Nasal breathing also helps to slow the airflow, which widens blood vessels and slows the heart rate, increasing feelings of calm. According to McCarl Dental Group, those who suffer from allergies or chronic sinus problems are more likely to breathe through their mouths, although mouth breathing can lead to oral health issues.
Oral breathing dries saliva, which allows bacteria and plaque to build up on the teeth, possibly leading to cavities, gum disease, and chronic bad breath. Regular mouth breathing over time can also lead to strained jaw joints, snoring, sleep apnea, enlarged tonsils, and a higher risk for airway disorders, such as asthma.
For more information about the symptoms of allergies and chronic sinusitis, take this Sinus Self-Assessment Quiz.