The way we breathe effects not only how we feel emotionally, but also how cold or warm we physically feel. Breathing through the nose allows air to be warmed up by the blood vessels and tiny hairs that line the inside of the nose, meaning the air we breathe in is a little warmer when it reaches the body. Certain breathing techniques can also be utilised in order to warm up, such as Ujjayi breath, often used in Ashtanga Yoga.
To practice Ujjayi breath, place your palm in front of your face and ‘huff’ out the breath, as though you were trying to fog up a mirror. Then try the same way of breathing, but with the mouth closed. When you’ve got the hang of this, try breathing in with the same technique (a little like trying to yawn with your mouth closed). Breathing like this constricts the back of the throat slightly, narrowing air passages, and warming the air up as it travels through the body. Adding this breathing technique to a Yoga practice such as Surya Namaskar or ‘sun salutations’ is another wonderful way to warm up in the mornings and greet the day.