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The Superhero we Need
You probably shouldn’t meditate.
The average human in 2022 consumes more information in a day than his counterpart did in a year in the 1800s. We’re bombarded with notifications and alerts that strip us of 2 beautiful gifts: the present moment and our breath.
We’ve never been more disconnected from our bodies in our lives. We’re a distracted society that’s lost our connection to our physical bodies, and we need to be saved.
The meditation Guru Maharaji claims the “only way to get your head on straight is through meditation” - I disagree. Meditation is too advanced for most people.
If you can’t separate from your Zoom meeting for 45 seconds to refill your water bottle, how could you separate yourself from your thoughts, sit on a cushion for 15+ minutes, and remain idle with your thoughts? (meditation)
Breathwork is the superhero that our digitally-native generations need.
80 days after committing to a daily practice, I’ve completed 91 sessions and logged over 10+ hours to my breath in-app. I stacked this habit with increasing my yoga practice (17 hours last month!), where I focus on the pranayama that our species has relied on for thousands of years.
My results so far speak for themselves. My HRV is at all time highs, and more importantly, I find myself returning to my breath throughout everyday moments.
Let me be clear: I’m in the trenches alongside you, protecting myself from the violent attacks of modern technology. I’ve rigorously experimented with my own mindfulness practices for the past 5 years, discovering what makes me the happiest, most loving and productive version of myself.
As US Army General Norman Norman Schwarzkopf put it:
“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.”
I’ve metaphorically sweat and have emerged with a secret that others don’t quite realize...
Breathwork is the superhero that we need.
Breathwork is more accessible and better designed for our distracted society than other touted mindfulness practices like meditation.
Do you wish you had a button you could press to relax or turn off your mind?
You do, it’s called the vagus nerve. And you can activate it through breathwork.
Getting out of fight or flight mode is an evolutionary imperative. This survival mechanism helped our ancestors quickly respond to life-threatening situations (buffalos speeding towards us), but in our modern world of work meetings, traffic jams, and arguments, it doesn’t serve us at all.
So how can you get started?
The first step is reflecting on what you need most. Do you need to signal to your body to be primed for action (upregulation) or signal to your body that you’re permitted to enter this deep state of rest and relaxation (downregulation)?
While several upregulation breathwork techniques out there (Wim Hof, Tummo Style) have gained mindshare and are beneficial, most people need more relaxation after the always on, digitally connected environment has beat us down.
What can you do to calm down your nervous system naturally? What you’re looking to do is tap into your parasympathetic nervous system.
Medical health experts agree that breathwork is a tool that can aid our stressed out population.
Breathwork has shown to increase parasympathetic activity, heart rate variability, physiological flexibility, and is one of the greatest tools I have in my medical toolbox to help individuals manage stress, and has become an epidemic in our society”
It’s almost like… improving something that we do 20,000 times daily causes serious, lasting health benefits. We’re literally powered by our breath. It’s our life force.
The science supports it too. Resonant breathing (6 breaths per minute) shows improvements in cardiovascular functions (1,2,3) and the bodies of research supporting it are increasing. Additionally, various yoga techniques based on slow breathing were also reported to improve cognitive functions.
My Journey with Othership
I set a daily breathwork practice goal in 2022 after my favorite yoga teacher, Naya mentioned that “our breath is our vehicle” in a class. I’d failed to implement a daily meditation protocol in the past, and wanted something I could commit to.
I’ve dialed in my breathwork practice with an app, Othership, that has curated breathwork content for waking up, honing in, winding down, and more.
I love Othership and here is my affiliate link if you want to try it out. They understand the omnipresent dance between breath and music, and consciously curate breathwork sessions to musical experiences that have peaks and valleys.
They leverage music’s healing properties that moves our brainwaves from the high - beta waves of normal waking consciousness down into the meditative ranges of alpha and theta.
Just Get Started
Have you tried to meditate in the past? Do you struggle to “turn your brain off” or get stuck in your head? Are you generally intrigued by breathwork now?
Like anything else, I encourage you to just get started. Learn a little bit first, then get out of your head and into your breath.
Breath by breath you’ll become less reactive to life’s unending stimulus and more responsive to life and living.
Soon enough, you’ll self-regulate better, manage stress better, exercise longer, and know how to start building your own lifelong practice. It takes time and experimentation to find the range of instructors you like, music you like, degree of spirituality or level of “woo woo” you like, but I promise it’ll come with time.
I know it’s a lot. You’re probably reading this on your phone, have received 10 notifications in the meantime. You don’t need to respond to them right away… all you need to do is breathe.