Optimize Breathing

Locked 101 Classes

Optimal Breathing 101

How to Optimize Your Breathing for Calm, Focused Energy

Breathing. It’s easy to take for granted but when you stop to think about it, it quickly becomes obvious just how powerful it is. Get this: You can live for weeks without food and days without water but, of course, only minutes without oxygen. Plus: Your brain uses 20% of the oxygen you consume while breathing is responsible for 70% (!) of your body’s detoxification. Yet… If you’re like most people, you’re probably doing this simple, should-be-easy fundamental wrong. In this class, we’ll look at why CO2 is (somewhat paradoxically!) actually the variable we want to be Optimizing if we want to get the O2 out of our hemoglobin and into our cells. Then we’ll look at the Three Rules for breathing perfectly as we Optimize your breathing for calm, focused energy.

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The Oxygen Advantage

Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques to Help You Become Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter

Patrick McKeown is one of the world’s leading teachers of the Buteyko Breathing Method which was created in the 1950s by a Russian doctor named Dr. Konstantin Buteyko. McKeown suffered from asthma for decades until he found the Buteyko Method. At which point, he reversed his asthma symptoms and then dedicated his life to helping others optimize their breathing. In this book, he extends the Buteyko Method into an approach he calls the Oxygen Advantage. Big Ideas we cover include the #1 obstacle to optimal breathing, Oxygen Delivery 101, the #1 breathing tip, and how to dial in your sleep.

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The New Science of a Lost Art

Breath. It’s the missing pillar in health. We’ve been talking about this for years and we’ve included breathing among our fundamentals since I first read Patrick McKeown’s The Oxygen Advantage. And, I just LOVE the way James captures the importance of breathing in this book. The first words on the inside flap of the book deliver the point with a sledgehammer: “No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or strong you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.” Big Ideas we explore include how to breathe optimally and why it's so important, the #1 tip, oral posture (how's yours?) and the perfect breath (think 5.5 + 5.5 for 5.5!).

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True to Form

How to Use Foundation Training for Sustained Pain Relief and Everyday Fitness

Eric Goodman is the creator of Foundation Training. If you’ve ever had back or neck or other physical pain, this book might be just what your doctor forgot to order. And, of course, if you’re just looking to take your energy to the next level, this is a gem. In the Note, we take a quick look at why gravity + sitting/bad posture = compression and why that’s so bad plus how to deal with it as we become fluent in a new movement language and have fun becoming perpetual motion machines.

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The Power of Your Breath

The Secret Key to Reshaping Your Looks, Body, Health and Weight

Anders Olsson is one of the world’s leading teachers on the science of optimal breathing. This book is packed (!) with Big Ideas and practical tips on how to Optimize our most fundamental fundie. In this Note, we explore the 5 principles of Conscious Breathing, how to Optimize your breathing posture, some tips on sleep and living your hero's journey one breath at a time.

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The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health

Breathing. It’s obviously important. And... I’m beginning to realize *just* how important it is. In fact, breathing properly is quickly becoming my #1 fundamental. Belisa Vranich is a clinical psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts on how to breathe right. In this Note, we take a quick peek at why breathing is so important, learn how to measure your Vital Lung Capacity, observe the difference between Clark Kent and Superman and get to work on training the most important and underappreciated muscle in your body (hint: your diaphragm).

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Perfect Breathing

Transform Your Life One Breath at a Time

Al Lee and Don Campbell are breathwork practitioners, researchers and lecturers. The underlying theme of the book is the fact that our breath is THE primary connection between our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Big Ideas we explore include the two key facets to perfect breathing: 1. Breath awareness + 2. Conscious breathing, how to breathe right (hint: nice and deep!), the fact that your breath is responsible for 70% (!) of your detoxing, the inverse relationship between attentional and emotional pathways in your brain and how to optimize the gap between your first and last breaths.

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The Healing Power of the Breath

Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Enhance Concentration, and Balance Your Emotions

Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg are medical doctors, clinical psychiatrists and university professors. They also happen to be two of the world’s leading breath experts—integrating Western science and ancient breath techniques derived from yoga, qigong, Coherent Breathing, and Open-Focus meditation. Big Ideas we explore: Pill or 20 minutes?, Breath = portal to mind-body systems, Coherent Breathing, Resistance Breathing and turning off your worry centers via vagus nerves.

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Breathe In, Breathe Out

Inhale Energy and Exhale Stress by Guiding and Controlling Your Breathing

This is the fourth book of Jim Loehr’s we’ve featured so far. Written in 1986, it’s a bit old school (gotta love references to VHS tapes) and it’s currently out of print but I found it in our home library (Alexandra bought it over a decade ago) and I figured it would be perfect as part of my prep for Optimal Breathing 101. It didn’t disappoint. Big Ideas we explore include: how to breathe for maximum achievement, 7X-ing your oxygen, how to drop the impatience (+ a Johnson family practice), alternate nostril breathing and the key to peak performance.

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Unbeatable Mind

Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level

I'm convinced Mark Divine is a superhero. Seriously. And in Unbeatable Mind, the former Navy SEAL gives us the handbook on mental toughness. In the Note, we'll look at the keys to cultivating our confidence, the importance of cultivating our concentration, learning how to control our breathing and other goodness that will make you unbeatable.

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Anxiety Free

Stop Worrying and Quieten Your Mind - Featuring the Buteyko Breathing Method and Mindfulness

This is a quick-reading, simple, practical guide to, as the sub-title suggests, “Stop Worrying and Quieten Your Mind—Featuring the Buteyko Breathing Method and Mindfulness.” If you’re looking for a general introduction to the power of Oxygen, I’d recommend you go with Patrick’s more recent and more all-purpose Oxygen Advantage. If you suffer from anxiety and/or panic attacks, this might be a great place to start. Big Ideas we explore: The #1 rule of breathing, the 2 key benefits of putting your attention on your breath, why CO2 is your friend and how to play nice, avoiding rat poison and becoming a good mind gardener.

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The Willpower Instinct

How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

Willpower. It’s huge. The Willpower Instinct by award-winning Stanford Professor Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., is a GREAT book based on “The Science of Willpower” class Kelly teaches through Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program. It’s *packed* with super practical Big Ideas on the newest scientific insights about self-control to explain how we can “break old habits and create healthy habits, conquer procrastination, find our focus, and manage stress.” In this Note, we’ll check out the #1 way to build willpower (it’s not what you’d guess), how to give ourselves willpower boosts throughout the day and other stress-relief strategies that rock.

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#20 How to Stop Thinking

The #1 Tip on How to Master this Important Lost Art
Patrick McKeown is one of the world’s leading experts on optimal breathing. When I interviewed him recently, he made a very interesting
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#105 Resistance Breathing

How to Work Out the Most Underappreciated Muscle in Your Body
What do you think is the most important, underappreciated muscle in your body? Think about that for a moment. What’s your guess? I think
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#327 1-Minute WOOP

Inhale. Exhale. W O O P!
The other day I had a coaching call with an Optimizer. It’s always super fun to have a chat with someone who’s ALL IN. In addition to
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#483 Vagal Tone

The New Sexy (Meet Your 10th Cranial Nerve)
Your 10th cranial nerve starts at the base of your brain and then cruises down to your heart and thru your lungs and down into your gut. It
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#484 Your Optimal Breathing Rate

You Know It? Science Says…
In our last +1, we talked about the new sexy: vagal tone. It’s essentially a measure of the health of our parasympathetic nervous system
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#485 The Rules of Breathing

The Big 3: Nose + Belly + Exhale
In our last couple +1s, we’ve talked about your breathing. If you haven’t checked out the full Optimal Breathing 101 master class yet,
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#486 Want SuperWillpower NOW?

Here’s the Fastest Way to Get It
Continuing our Optimal Breathing theme, here’s a little gem from Kelly McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct. I’ll let her take over…

#487 Breath Control = Emotional Control

See: Navy SEALs, All Elite Performers, YOU!
Concluding this edition of our breathing series, let’s talk about the fact that BREATH CONTROL = SELF-CONTROL. You know how elite
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#691 Fear Is Excitement

Without the Breath
Continuing our exploration of how to Conquer Fear, how about a simple yet profound piece of wisdom from Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt
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#1144 Balloon Breathing

For Kids (and Their Parents)
In our last +1, we practiced some virtue mastery via our new (and always-evolving) Virtuegong practice. How about a super-quick practice
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#1145 Hero Breathing

For Kids (and Their Parents)
In our last +1, we blew up some belly balloons with our kids. We breathed in through our noses, down into our bellies (can you make that
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#1227 The Greatest Predictor of Longevity

Genetics? Diet? Exercise? Nope… Try: Lung Capacity!
I recently read a book called Breath by James Nestor. It’s all about “The New Science of a Lost Art.” (Thanks for the rec, Zac!) James
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#1228 The Perfect Breath

5.5 + 5.5 + 5.5
In our last +1, we spent some time breathing with James Nestor. His book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art is now tied for first as my
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#1229 Oral Posture ← How's Yours?

High Fiving the Magic Spot in Our Mouths
Continuing our brief foray through James Nestor’s brilliant brain and book, let’s take another moment to focus on the power of our
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#1230 The Magic Spot in Our Mouths

High Five It and Shine!
In our last +1, we Optimized our oral posture. Bet you didn’t think we’d be talking about that when you signed up for Optimize! (Hah.) I
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#1231 Breathe Less

To Breathe Right
By this stage, I hope we’ve established the fact that breathing is important. And, I hope I’ve sold you on the idea enough to get you to
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#1241 Breathing Together

Inspiring → Conspiring to Optimize
Last night I got to hang out with 23 Optimizers in their virtual Optimize Local Zoom hangout. It was amazing. (Thank you, Khaled and Asma,
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#1242 Breathing Together (Part II)

Inspiring → Conspiring to Optimize
In our last +1, we spent some time hanging out with a couple dozen amazing Optimize Coaches in their virtual Optimize Local Zoom meetup. We
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#1251 The Heart Rate Game

The Ultimate Family Fun
As you know, every morning I start my day with the usual routine. Of course, my morning started the night before when I shut-down
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#1252 Exhale Through Your Nose

Increase Pressure → Increase Oxygenation
In our last couple +1s, I invited you to play a couple fun games: The 100,000 Game and The Heart Rate Game. That last one was about
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#335 Meet Your Telomeres

Your New BFFs - Think: Aglets + Offensive Linemen
Elizabeth Blackburn won a Nobel Prize for her research on telomerase — the enzyme that nourishes our telomeres. She wrote a book called

#941 The 5 D’s of Meditation

Do It with Dignity, a Defined Anchor and Strong Determination Then Do It Again
Yesterday I led a session with our Coaches on our fifth Fundamental: Be Present. (Preceded by Eat + Move + Sleep + Breathe and to be
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#462 The Thread Thru Your Head

Pull It Up for Poise and Relaxed Power
On June 8th, 2001, I was on the back patio of my apartment a block from the beach in La Jolla, California reading Michael Gelb’s How to
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#660 How Clark Kent Becomes Superman in 11 Seconds

Flipping the (Superhero) Identity Switch (Then Reflipping/Ducktaping It So It Sticks All Day Every Day)
In our last +1, we talked about our inaugural Optimize Coach program (there’s still a little more time to sign up and join hundreds of
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#1133 Courage Tools

Here Are My Favorites—Yours?
In our last +1, we talked about the science of courage and did some quick napkin math on our Courage Quotients. Recall that Robert
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#1220 Peak Performance You

Flip the Switch—TODAY!
In our last +1, we got an inspiring (Hoosiers-inspired) pep talk from Admiral McRaven right before engaging in our next most important
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#916 Training Tranquility

Today for TONIGHT for Tomorrow
In our +1 on the Top 10 Sleep Kryptonites, we briefly discussed the fact that “Anxiety” is one of the top reasons people give for Why We