10/Aug/2023

Breathing is a fundamental physiological process that sustains life, and while we often take it for granted, the way we breathe can significantly impact our overall well-being. Have you ever considered the role of your tongue in this essential act? The tongue’s position within the mouth plays a crucial role in optimizing respiratory functioning and can have a profound effect on the way we breathe. In this blog, we’ll delve into the intriguing relationship between tongue posture and breathing, exploring how the two are interconnected and the potential benefits of proper tongue positioning for our health.

 

The Tongue’s Resting Position

 

The tongue isn’t merely an organ responsible for tasting and speaking; it also has a pivotal role in maintaining proper posture and function of the respiratory system. One might wonder where the tongue should ideally rest within the mouth to facilitate optimal breathing. The answer lies in the roof of the mouth, more specifically against the palate. This posture, known as “palatal tongue posture” or “tongue-to-palate posture,” involves the tongue gently pressing against the upper palate, just behind the front teeth.

 

The Link Between Tongue Posture and Breathing

 

Proper tongue posture isn’t just about aesthetics; it has a direct impact on the way we breathe. When the tongue rests against the palate, it helps create a separation between the oral and nasal cavities. This separation is essential for nasal breathing, which is the preferred and more efficient method of breathing.

 

Nasal breathing holds numerous advantages over mouth breathing. The nasal passages are equipped with specialized structures that filter, humidify, and warm incoming air, making it more suitable for the respiratory system. Additionally, nasal breathing promotes a slower and deeper breath, stimulating the diaphragm’s optimal function and enhancing the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs.

 

Effects of Incorrect Tongue Positioning

 

When the tongue does not rest against the palate, it can lead to a range of issues that affect respiratory functioning and overall health. Mouth breathing becomes more prevalent in this scenario, and while mouth breathing is necessary in certain situations, chronic mouth breathing can lead to problems such as:

 

Reduced Air Quality: Breathing through the mouth bypasses the nasal filtration system, potentially allowing allergens and pollutants to enter the respiratory system more easily.

 

Dry Mouth and Bad Breath: Mouth breathing can lead to decreased saliva production, causing dry mouth and contributing to bad breath.

Correct resting position of the tongue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Correct resting position of the tongue, required for nasal breathing – the tongue should sit in the roof of the mouth when not talking and eating.

 

Orthodontic and Facial Development Issues: Improper tongue posture during childhood can impact the growth and development of the face and jaw, potentially leading to dental and orthodontic problems.

 

Sleep Disruptions: Mouth breathing is often associated with sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea, which can have negative effects on overall health and well-being.

 

Benefits of Optimal Tongue Posture

 

Consciously adopting the habit of palatal tongue posture can yield several benefits for respiratory functioning and general health:

 

Improved Breathing: Correct tongue posture encourages nasal breathing, leading to better oxygenation and carbon dioxide exchange in the body.

 

Enhanced Dental Health: Maintaining proper tongue posture against the palate can contribute to proper alignment of teeth and a well-developed jaw.

 

Better Sleep Quality: Nasal breathing is linked to better sleep quality and reduced sleep disruptions.

 

Reduced Risk of Respiratory Issues: Proper tongue posture can help prevent the development of respiratory problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

 

The position of the tongue within the mouth might seem inconsequential, but as we’ve explored in this blog, it holds a significant impact on our respiratory functioning and overall health. By consciously adopting the habit of proper tongue posture against the palate, we can encourage efficient nasal breathing, optimize oxygen exchange, and reduce the risk of various health issues. So, the next time you catch yourself with your tongue resting against the bottom of your mouth, remember the hidden connection it holds with your breath and well-being.


20/Aug/2018

What is presence? A characteristic of great performers or athletes is being present and poised, their whole self in the zone, in flow, fully alive awake and aware.

Presence is a muscle we develop by engaging the conscious mind, the body, along with all our senses – an expanded awareness – a unified field of awareness – where the conditions are such that we feel whole, complete, we can give and receive, there is nothing to be added, nothing to fix or change, nothing to take away, perfect the way it is, perfect the way it isn’t. These are the qualities you see in young children- fully alive, present and in the moment, very much like nature, not forced or rushed, an easy effortless, flow.

We often look a great performances and marvel at the effortless, flow, ease, poise, beauty and presence; but often a great deal of  practise, persistence, passion, pain and patience will go into making the activity look so flawless, graceful and easy.

The culture we live today makes it challenging to feel and experience a sense of unity, connection to the self, others and nature. The unconditioned self is naturally all of these qualities, unity is what we are, and separation is what we add.

I love to remind the huge variety of people I work with that I am not teaching them anything they don’t already know or have; this wisdom of the mind/body is truly innate, and remarkable and we all possess the natural capacity to want to grow and expand.

We live mostly in result-oriented world, a technological culture, most of the time we are moving through life with little awareness, a feeling of being disconnected from our bodies, we spend so much time stuck in our heads, our attention being sucked into computer screens and all the other challenges we are dealing with.

If you think of traditional cultures, they embody a natural sense of lightness and poise, you often see this quality in their expressions, they look light, easy, lit up by themselves, a bright smile, a twinkle in the eyes, their bodies much more nimble, agile, subtle and strong.

The Alexander Technique is a remarkable method which, teaches skills to reawaken these innate natural qualities of poise, presence, ease and grace.

The Alexander technique is taught in many of the world’s most prestigious performing arts schools and it underpins, and contributes to a performer’s performance being extraordinary.  The Alexander Technique provides the skills, tools and knowledge to be effective in all we do, learning to tune(into) our own instrument and connect with our authentic selves and others at deeper level to better understand the inner working of the extraordinary human body.

This neglected skill is relatively simple to develop, however it takes practice, just like a performer practices and develops their craft. One of the biggest challenges and obstacles to being present is most of our daily activities are habitual and require very little awareness because we have performed them so many times, they lack a freshness, aliveness, they have become automated and not animated and alive. My invitation to you is to see what daily activity you can bring more awareness into.

This will help you develop an embodied mindfulness, an expanded awareness of what you are doing and the way you are doing whatever you do.

Many of the world’s wisdom/spiritual traditions speak to us of the benefits and qualities of being in the present moment.

“Life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and the now.”

Thich Nhat Hanh.

The only reality is in the present, as the future and past only exist in our mind, so the present is a wonderful, place to be and quality to develop. Presence is one of the most precious gifts we can develop; to be truly be here and now, and from that space is the possibility to create.

Simple ways to develop presences and awareness are activities such as walking, speaking, sitting, noticing your breathing, your reactions to stressful situations.

Think of an activity you can do where you begin to develop presence; Thich Nhat Hanh says, he brings as much presence into washing up as he would bring to washing the baby Jesus or the Buddha.

Being present can be transformative, you will experience feeling connected with yourself, others, the world around you and the ability to feel fully alive.

I feel so blessed to have discovered this remarkable work, which has transformed my own life, and in this process, I have helped countless people do the same, which gives me a great sense of joy and satisfaction.

 

If you are curious to find out more about the Alexander technique of finding a teacher please visit my website http://cjr.d18.myftpupload.com/


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