Take a deep breath...unlocking your potential through breathingOct 19, 2021
What do snoring, braces, asthma and allergies all have in common?
They are all tied back to your capacity for breathing. Recently, I ripped through James Nestor’s book ”Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art” It was so profoundly eye-opening that I listened to it at 1.0 speed. (I KNOW!)
The book takes a pretty scientific dive into a lot of the afflictions that plague our society today. Blood pressure, hormonal issues, sleep apnea, allergies, anxiety, just to name a few. The common link for all of these is that they are tied back to your breath. Now I can’t do this book justice in just this blog post, but I will attempt to hit some highlights and link to some resources that may intrigue you.
Breathing is probably not something you spend much time thinking about. It is like walking. “Yeah, I’ve been doing this all my life, big whoop.” Just like walking, if you’ve never progressed past your first few wobbly steps, your breathing probably sucks (literally.)
The most eye-popping part of the book for me was not how important it is to breath out of your nose, but how downright dangerous it is to constantly breathe out of your mouth. In one experiment, the author and another subject spent ten days with their noses completely plugged. Their health markers plummeted. Hard. Like, all of them. Their sleep was garbage, their snoring increased by over 1000%, the resting heart rate increased, their blood pressure increased, their faces actually started changing shape. This was just ten days!
They followed that with ten days when they essentially taped their mouths shut and had to nasal breathe. The results were staggering in how quickly all of those issues went away and how long term issues that had plagued the author for decades started resolving.
There is a mild resurgence of some of this breathing information that started picking up steam a few years ago when a middle-aged Dutch man named Wim Hof start pulling off superhuman feats of endurance. It was flabergasting to the public and to scientists alike, but he was really doing nothing new that hadn’t been discovered, lost, rediscovered, and rebranded for that last couple millennia.
This book dives deep into why your breathing unlocks your ability to thermogenesis when you are cold, why your ancestors’ choices of eating soft food diets led to your embarrassing middle school braces, and how a few moments a day of a breathing practice can drastically change your health.
If you are looking for some answers to questions that have been plaguing your health for years or you are just looking for a boost in athletic performance, it might be in this book. Obviously breathing can’t solve everything, serious problems require urgent medical attention.
So what can you do now?
Shut your mouth- Your body was not designed to breath unfiltered air through your mouth. Snoring, apnea, Heart rate variability drops, and hypertension are all an affect of this.
Breath through your nose- Blood pressure, snoring, nasal infections and chronic allergies can al improve with nasal breathing. You can also see up to 10% improvements in sport function.
Exhale- Get all of the air out of your body so you can get more in. Emphysema is exactly that problem. Drowning in your own air, because you can’t push the air out of your lungs. Full exhalations are seldom used. Do more work and get less. Instead, breath air out in order to get new fresh air in. Example from the book- an engine doesn’t have to be in tip top condition to perform, but it performs a lot better if it is.
Chew Your Food- Looking back a skulls thousands of years old, one feature striking sticks out. Straight Teeth. Humans have the worst teeth in animal kingdom. Why? Because we went from hours of chewing a day, to sucking down processed food, smoothies and other soft foods. You ancestors doing the same, changed the shape of your mouth into one that is too small for all of your teeth and tongue. The thing is the bones in your face don’t stop growing at the end of adolescence. Which means we can influence the shape of our mouths and nasal cavities. Chew hard foods.
Breathe More on occasion- Practice some breathing mechanics. Box Breathing is a simple technique of 4 second inhales, 4 second holds, 4 second exhales and 4 second holds. Go through 10 cycles or so and stress your body on purpose to snap your body out of it “path of least resistance” breathing mechanics.
I am personally listening to the book a second time (at my usual 1.7x speed), but trying to apply more of this information and exercise with my mouth CLOSED.
If you want to try this out with, let me know. We’ll keep track of our progress.
Highly Recommend 5/5 Flexing Emojis 💪💪💪💪💪
Teri Gross- Non cussing and not 2 hours long
Joe Rogan- Mucho cussing and 2 hours long