Almost all yoga breathing is practiced inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Often I’m asked why?
Below is my very short response. For a more thorough answer, please see the related articles I’ve included at the end of this entry.
On a basic level, as you inhale through the nose, it purifies the air upon entry into the body – filtering pollutants such as dust, pollen and bacteria. When the breath exits through the nose, we tend to exhale a bit slower than letting it exit through the mouth. This is important because when the breath slows down (especially the exhale), the nervous system relaxes which in turn leads to reducing stress.
From a yogic perspective, the nose plays a critical role in funneling energy throughout the body. Yogic texts describe the nadis, a network of energy channels residing at the base of the spine, as flowing up through the body and out of the nose. The three key nadis commonly described are: ida, pingala and sushumna. Ida flows to the left nostril and is considered passive energy. Pingala flows to the right nostril and is active energy. Connecting the two, and bringing balance into the body, is sushumna. Sushumna is said to send this balanced energy up to the third eye to quiet the mind and in turn relax the body.
I tried to keep this short, but this isn’t an easy question to answer as the nose is a complex body part -who knew!?!?!?! The nose performs more than 30 functions which I think is pretty amazing. The best thing to remember is the nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating.
This answer is simply based on a few things I’ve learned over the last couple of years. If you have more details, please add them here.