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Thread: Mouth-breather Question

  1. #1

    Mouth-breather Question

    In sitting zazen today I had trouble breathing through my nose. I have had sinus problems as far as I can remember which can make nose breathing challenging at times. It is acceptable to breathe through the mouth while sitting? I am wondering if anybody here in the Sangha has this same kind of problem and if they may have found a solution or two has helped.

    I am also curious if just by gaining more experience on the cushion will my body begin to naturally relax and make my breathing less labor intensive.

    Thank you all

    Josh

  2. #2
    Senior Member JeffreyB's Avatar
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    Don't sweat the technicalities. of course it is perfectly fine to breathe through your mouth whilst sitting. There is of course a reason for all of our traditions in sitting but the most important thing is sitting, no matter how you have to do it. Good luck.

    Gassho, Jeffrey
    "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
    Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    I've had sinus/allergy/postnasal drip problems in the past. Visiting a specialist and getting the right medication really, really improved my life, on and off the cushion. So if you can do so, that's what I'd recommend.

    Gassho

    Jen
    The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice. --Shunryu Suzuki

  4. #4
    Gassho Jeffery and thank you for taking the time to answer my question - silly as it was. Learning to relax is a never-ending challenge that I'm still working at .



    Josh

  5. #5
    Thank you Jen for your advise and encouragement. I am definitely overdue for a doctor's visit so I will have to make that happen. OTC allergy pills usually work pretty well for me, when I remember to take them .

    Gassho,

    Josh

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bunny's Avatar
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    Whatever you do-keep breathing. Not breathing is a poor option.
    Seriously though...wishing you healing and peace.
    Gassho
    Bunny

  7. #7
    Thank you Bunny. Some of the best advice I could ever receive .

    And my sincerest thanks for everybody's kind words and advise. I am lucky to be around such a warm and inviting community.

    Gassho,

    Josh

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlewis View Post

    And my sincerest thanks for everybody's kind words and advise. I am lucky to be around such a warm and inviting community.

    Gassho,

    Josh
    I'm finding the community to be very warm and supporting as well. Feeling very fortunate that we live in a time where we are able to be so connected to our "all over the world" sangha. I'm also finding that everyone is feeling less and less far away the longer I'm here.

    Gassho

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    A little off topic, but have you tried using a netti pot? My wife uses one occasionally and she claims it gives her some temporary relief. Just tossing it out there.

    Good luck, and don't forget to breathe!
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  10. #10
    As anyone who as ever sat next to me in a Zendo may quickly learn, I have some sinus issues and allergies. I take medicine for the allergies, but on some spring days ...

    So, ideally, one seeks to breathe through the nose in a nice, naturally slow and deep way. This is not always possible. So, if needed, it is fine to breathe through the mouth, lips slightly open.

    And remember ... when wheezing, just be One with the wheeze. When dripping, such is Buddha dripping!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-11-2013 at 01:04 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Josh, have you tried Breathe Right strips? http://www.breatheright.com/ They were a lifesaver for my son when he couldn't sleep because of a stuffy nose.

    Just a thought,

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ZenHarmony View Post
    Josh, have you tried Breathe Right strips? http://www.breatheright.com/ They were a lifesaver for my son when he couldn't sleep because of a stuffy nose.

    Just a thought,

    Gassho,

    Lisa
    They are very useful ... I have used them when I have a cold so I can get much needed zzzz.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  13. #13
    Everybody has been so amazing and I can't begin to thank you all for your advise and support. I am indeed very fortunate to be apart of this sangha.

    Gassho to one and all,

    Josh

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk now Free

  14. #14
    I too struggle with this, as I have a deviated septom, allergies, and am just about always at least somewhat congested. I think part of the problem too is that because I'm so used to breathing mainly through my mouth, that when I try to just breathe through my nose it gives me anxiety because I don't feel like I'm getting as much air as I'm used to. I can last a few minutes with just nose-breathing but usually I instinctually take a deep breath from my mouth because I feel I need it. The problem I find though is that when I sit zazen and just breathe through my mouth, I find my mouth and tongue constantly active. For instance my lips will get dry so I'll lick them, my tongue will move around, I'll slightly open and close my mouth, etc. It's hard to remain physically still. Maybe I'm focusing on it too much? I've been trying different things, like putting my tongue against my bottom teeth and trying to maintain my mouth slightly open. It's tough though. I'm still very new though so I assume this will work itself out.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by atropis88 View Post
    I too struggle with this, as I have a deviated septom, allergies, and am just about always at least somewhat congested. I think part of the problem too is that because I'm so used to breathing mainly through my mouth, that when I try to just breathe through my nose it gives me anxiety because I don't feel like I'm getting as much air as I'm used to. I can last a few minutes with just nose-breathing but usually I instinctually take a deep breath from my mouth because I feel I need it. The problem I find though is that when I sit zazen and just breathe through my mouth, I find my mouth and tongue constantly active. For instance my lips will get dry so I'll lick them, my tongue will move around, I'll slightly open and close my mouth, etc. It's hard to remain physically still. Maybe I'm focusing on it too much? I've been trying different things, like putting my tongue against my bottom teeth and trying to maintain my mouth slightly open. It's tough though. I'm still very new though so I assume this will work itself out.
    HI Sean,

    I believe you are being bothered mostly because your mind is telling you "I am being bothered". You are focusing on this as if something is wrong and ... as a result ... feel that something is wrong. Pay the situation "no nevermind" ... don't obsess about it ...don't focus on your mouth ... and it will be no bother.

    As I said, some of us with allergies and such need to breathe out of the mouth sometimes. We may have to swallow more and such. So what? Swallow, lick your lips. Keep sitting. We sit as what is, without aversion.

    If you make a problem, there is a problem. If you drop the problem ... No Problem!

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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