Change Your Breath, Change Your Life | James Nestor on Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson

Check out the Modern Wisdom episode page and show notes

Key Takeaways

  • Basic Breathing Recommendations:
    • Stop mouth breathing; focus on habitual nasal breathing
    • Breathe slow and low
    • Use nasal tape and dilators to acclimate nasal breathing
    • Use incline bed therapy
    • Avoid sleeping on your back
    • Efficiency is more important than quantity of breath
  • “The further away we get from a natural environment, the more patches we rely on to keep our body sustaining” -James Nestor
    • The lungs are an organ you can control unlike our kidneys, liver, heart, etc. The control of the lungs can directly control many vitals and overall health of the body.
  • The need to breathe is dictated by tolerance for CO2, not oxygen
    • The more acclimated you become to holding more CO2 in your body, the more oxygen your body can deliver
  • Breathing is not a one stop solution but can help rebalance the body
    • Dysfunctional breathing can directly accelerate chronic health problems like diabetes

Intro

Intro to Breath

  • We get most of our energy from our breath
    • Everyone is looking for an external solution (pharmaceuticals) for their energy levels and health problems rather than an internal solution like breath
  • “The further away we get from a natural environment, the more patches we rely on to keep our body sustaining” – James Nestor
    • We need to reacquaint ourselves with the benefits from the most fundamental human funcitons like breath and movement
    • The lungs are an organ you can control unlike our kidneys, liver, heart. The control of the lungs can directly control many vitals in your system even after a couple minutes.
  • We are breathing in ways that are extremely dysfunctional
    • Apnea – unnoticed shallowed or shortened breathing while in front of a computer screen and completing stress-inducing tasks
    • Our threshold for fear is so low that we get stressed by a bad email that elicits the same response as our ancestors would have when encountering a predator

James Nestor’s Influences

  • It took Jim him years to finally build enough evidence from scientific studies to finally share his research that has been ignored for so long
  • Tummo – breathing exercise used to gain the control of body temperature
    • Monks in the Himalayas in a scientific study were able to increase their body temperature by 17 degrees and melt the snow they were sitting around
    • Ability to reduce their metabolism by 60%, which is below a state of being in a coma
    • Wim Hof has been very influential in bringing Tummo breathing practices to modern culture
  • Swami Rama has the ability to increase the temperature on one palm while decreasing the temperature on the other
  • Still unproven scientific truth on how these breathing practitioners have the ability to test such extremes
    • “The freak (monk) views the normal person as someone who isn’t achieving their full potential. Maybe we are the freaks” – James Nestor
    • Many culturally valuable practices are misunderstood by the outside world

How to Breathe

  • Efficiency is more important than the amount of breath
    • The misconception carries over with food. More food doesn’t necessarily equate to more energy
  • When you over-breathe, your outflow of carbon dioxide is too high resulting in decreased circulation which makes it harder to get oxygen
    • Breathe slow and low and through your nose
    • You’re pressurizing the air and allowing the air to spend more time in your lungs
    • More oxygen with less work
    • Try it! Feel the tingling in your extremities and analyze your blood oxygen levels
  • Don’t be obsessive about tracking your vitals. Simply make it a habit to be conscious about your breath
    • Take it slow and get acclimated to it as a natural function
  • Recommendations:
    • Stop mouth breathing, focus on habitual nasal breathing
    • Nasal tape and dilators can condition your breathing through the day as well as benefit your unconscious breathing during sleep
    • Incline bed therapy – raising the bed stand (throw a book under it) by roughly 6 inches can improve breathing while sleeping
    • Avoid sleeping on your back to decrease snoring – taping a ping pong ball to your back can make it uncomfortable to sleep on your back

Chronic Health Examples

  • Breathing is not the one-stop solution but can help rebalance the body
  • Case Study #1: Asthma:
    • Patients tend to breathe too much, through their mouth, and have low levels of CO2
    • Over-breathing constricts blood vessels and creates a snow-ball effect to more over breathing
    • Simple slowing of the breath in a study showed asthma attack reduction and elimination
  • Case Study #2: Diabetes:
    • Improper breath can induce hypertension
    • Sleep apnea has a high connection to diabetes
    • If you’re stressing yourself out even while sleeping, your body is going to feel the effects from the constant state of hypertension
  • Sleep Apnea fact: the mouth has gotten smaller over time causing issues with airflow and causing respiratory problems
    • Snoring is not a natural bodily function; it represents a struggle to get energy and induces stress

Athletic Performance

  • We have 11 pounds of muscles in our respiratory system and have overlooked the active training of this muscle group
  • Nasal breathing during exercise will decrease performance initially
    • Afterwards, your breath will then align with your metabolic needs and increase performance
    • Recovery also becomes more efficient
  • The need to breathe is dictated by tolerance for CO2, not oxygen
    • The more acclimated you become to holding more CO2 in your body, the more oxygen you can deliver
    • Interval breath holding during exercise can help build this acclimation
      • Start small while not exercising to get introduced!

Modern Wisdom : , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

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