Ask any athlete what it physically takes to become healthy and strong, and they’ll most likely tell you a balance of two things: nutrition and training. The condition of our bodies greatly benefits from regular exercise in any way, shape, or form as long as it’s consistent, and we need a harmony of micro and macronutrients as well as liquids to provide us with enough energy for both physical and mental health and longevity––though there’s one other element that’s conveniently overlooked and arguably more important than nutrition and training combined: air. Mahatma Gandhi famously survived twenty-one days of complete starvation, albeit he wasn’t lifting weights. Water’s an even greater necessity. Most people need it after only three days, granted some have survived up to ten. But air? Try a single minute without it—I’ll be generous and give you thirty seconds—and see how far you can go.
Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born, the last thing we do before we perish, and in between that time, we take about half a billion breaths. We have half a billion opportunities to make each and every breath count and give them the attention they deserve, but the majority of us breathe as mindlessly as we blink––except for when we’re on yoga mats or told to “take a deep breath.” For the rare times when we do breathe mindfully, however, most of us tend to follow the old adage: in through the nose and out through the mouth. I would like to extend an alternative and mouth off about the benefits of nose breathing: in and out through the nose instead.