Get ready for a fascinating show all about the hot topic of breathwork!
Robbie Bent, founder of the organization Inward Breathwork, is on the cutting edge all the way. Inward Breathwork is the world’s first on-demand breathwork platform, and their classes are great for managing stress, improving peak performance, and managing emotions, and even accessing altered states of consciousness through advanced techniques.
The Inward Breathwork mission is to make breathwork and other cutting edge health practices fun and accessible to more than just extreme biohackers. His mission is all about community, as he is building innovative centers to experience sauna, cold exposure and breathwork in a community setting — a fabulous alternative to hanging out in bars and clubs! Robbie’s programming integrates different attributes like acoustic sound instruments, guided visualizations and hypnosis along with breathing, hot and cold exposure.
Listen as Robbie describes the science of breathing in easy to understand terms and provides specific practical tips for how to implement some cool breathing strategies right away. Robbie also provides some personal details about his rise and fall story and risk taking personality that has helped him adopt an evolved perspective about material success and stay grounded in helping others as a leader. You will learn about his wild and exciting Inward Retreats, where he uses breathwork, cold exposure, and social connection to help people become more vulnerable, less stressed, and more connected.
Learning the proper way to breathe helps you to de-stress and perform better. [01:30]
Robbie tells of his journey from a success-driven finance guy into the progressive healthy scene. [05:58]
You can have a drive for success but your success comes from the heart and in helping others. [08:36]
The busiest people are able to meditate, breathe deeper. There are many apps, podcasts, books, and classes that can help. [14:25]
There is hyperventilation, which is really great for increasing alertness but can sometimes prevent oxygen from getting to the organs. With relaxed breathing, the oxygen gets into the organs. [16:14]
When we’re taking in excess oxygen through aggressive hyperventilation, what’s happening to the gas exchange in the body. Robbie describes breathing exercises to increase CO2 levels. [20:15]
When the diaphragm contracts as a beginner, could that be also described as when you feel like a pretty significant urge to breathe? [24:09]
Twenty seconds is a minimum baseline. [25:46]
Breathe through the nose slowly. The more you breathe into the lower lungs, the better gas exchange, [28:01]
The nose acts like a humidifier. It warms the air. It takes out the pathogens. [30:07]
When we are in a stressful situation, as we are in modern day life dealing with technology, we tend to breathe through the mouth. [35:16]
We don’t chew our food enough and that causes crooked teeth and jaws to be malformed and the nasal cavity doesn’t have as much room. [36:01]
Respiration rate goes up when you engage in poor health practice. [40:16]
Oxygen Advantage is based on the Buteyko breathing therapy.
It comes down to simple exercises, based in particular on reduced breathing through the nose. [41:42]
The higher your heart rate, variability, the tighter your nervous system, the better your body responds to stress. [44:25]
Busy people can find ways to practice breathing when doing other things like cooking or walking. [47:02]
What is resonant breathing? [48:13]
Getting into the parasympathetic system is good to use before eating or before going to sleep. Breath holds long, slow exhales will get you there. [52:10]
Where does cold exposure fit into this? [54:29]
Robbie hosts some inward retreats and breathing exercise apps with the goal of having fun. [59:05]
You can learn to deal with life’s stresses by filtering the use of modern technology and spending time in hot or cold environments. [01:04:36]
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- Brad’s shopping page
- Brad Kearns Cold Plunge video
- Wim Hof
- Oxygen Advantage
- inward breathwork.com
- Ethereum Ecosystem
- Bolt Test
- Conscious Breathing
- Heart Breath Mind
- Navy Seals Box Breath
- “Most people feel overwhelmed, and when you’re overwhelmed, you breathe through the mouth, because your body believes it’s in a stressful situation, and that it needs to be in Flight or Fight mode.”
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Brad (1m 30s): ey listeners, get ready for a fascinating show on the hot topic of breathwork and how it can help you. De-stress from our crazy hectic modern life. And we’re talking to a guy named Robbie Bent who has been there and done that. And he shares an interesting rise and fall story of how he was a corporate hot shot making money, and then lost everything and started to reevaluate his priorities and go deep into this world of alternative health practices. He’s a big proponent of cold exposure as well as breathwork as well as sauna uses acoustical therapy, visualizations, really cool cutting edge stuff. And he does a really nice job explaining the science behind breathing in easy to understand terms. Robbie (2m 16s): So I think you’re going to like that. You’re going to like the actionable tips and strategies that he gives, where you can start breathing properly right away. And what great timing, because this topic has captivated me recently, as I’m getting into the book, Oxygen Advantage, very popular book. There’s also other popular books out there. Of course, people are familiar with Wim Hof and the growing interest in his techniques and strategies, but I was a little bit resistant over time to really go deep and understand this modern fascination with a breathing practice, intentional breathing breath work. I didn’t really see a possible connection to improved athletic performance. Oh my goodness. But once you start uncovering, uncovering the truth, the ways of our ancestral past that we’ve forgotten, and now we’re heavy panting, high stress mouth breathers all the time. Robbie (3m 6s): And it comes to our great detriment for long-term health risk as well as short term peak performance and stress management. So Robbie is going to set us straight and there is a bit of science and here it moves pretty quickly at times. So I try to do some summary comments to keep you going along and you might have to listen to it twice, but you’ll get the basic idea here, especially when he describes four main ways that you can dabble into the practice of breathing for health benefit, with greatest emphasis on what he calls foundational breathing. That’s the basic way to breathe all the time. And I’ll give you a spoiler right now. It’s breathe as minimally as possible through your nose only all the time, except for when you’re talking. Robbie (3m 53s): Of course. And then as soon as you stop talking, like when I stopped doing this intro, I’m going to resume calm, minimal breathing through my nose. And he references the book Oxygen Advantage, which I would definitely go get and understand just that basic insight will be life-changing. And we talk about the Bolt test and ways that you can measure your progress. Ah, it’s really fun. You’re going to love this guy’s energy and what he’s doing at inward breathwork.com. It’s the world’s first resource for guided breathing classes on demand. You had a tough, stressful day need to settle down, go over there. There’s some free stuff too. Really great. And this show is free. Robbie (4m 33s): So please enjoy it. And if you wouldn’t mind spreading the word. Send your friends a little text. My cool podcast playing app overcast allows me to push a button and create a clip right there in the show. When I hear something cool, and then text the clip over to anyone in my address book and say, Hey, listen to this brief clip. Maybe you’ll enjoy the entire show. And if your app doesn’t do that, just take a screenshot with the timestamp until your friend, your loved one, your fellow hope BIO hacker to jump right to that time and get into this amazing insight that you just heard. And I appreciate you guys doing that to promote the B.rad Podcast. Robbie (5m 14s): All right, here we go with Robbie. Robbie Bent. I’m so glad you could join me and all of us listening to learn about Inward. Oh my gosh, the videos you shared with me and we’re going to get into, it sounds like you got some super cool stuff going. And if anyone’s watching on YouTube, you have the number one coolest background of any zoom conversation of all time. And you said, that’s your garage just really casual. So this guy’s garage people, you might have to even go look at the YouTube video. We got, we got everything there. We got the spirituality, the meditation. We got the cold plunge. We got the sauna. Take it away, man. Tell me what you’re up to and how you got into this amazing progressive health scene. Robbie (5m 59s): Yeah, it’s been quite a, quite a ride. I started my career in finance. I was really obsessed with like, you know, being successful, like making money, like having things, having people like me, like getting validation from others from, you know, grade one, grade two all the way through to university. And I didn’t think a lot about what I wanted to do. I just knew I want to be successful. I want to be respected. And I think he came from just a bit of a lack of self love. And you know, at the time I obviously didn’t really know that’s what was happening. But when went into finance did that for few years, hated it transitioned into startups, built my first startup, long story short. Robbie (6m 39s): We can get into any of this in more detail. But my startup failed and I, you know, had to fire a hundred employees. I lost $25 million. I was living in my parents’ basement, fully broke it, you know, 28 just, and I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I also, you know, for people listening, I struggled with drugs, drugs, and alcohol, primarily cocaine. And you know, that was something I’m happy to talk about now. And from that point of, of just like really being down and thinking like, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I got really into meditation and, and psychedelic medicines. And one kind of came first. I did have a Vipassana retreat which we can chat about and those two things really changed my life. Robbie (7m 24s): I had been sober for five and a half years now. And ever since those practices, things just improved day by day. So I met my fiance. I felt like in complete love. She taught me she’s a registered dietician. She’s amazing. She taught me about like hot and cold practices and breath work got me into Wim Hof and bath houses, which really provided the power for me to stay sober all this time and like feel normal and feel inspired and being community. And then, you know, together, we moved to San Francisco and I joined Ethereum early on and, you know, just through no real skill of my own, but a lot of luck that exploded and Ethereum ecosystem has grown. All of a sudden I had people working for me. Robbie (8m 5s): I was doing well financially and I had these powerful practices. I was sober. And so, you know, my life from rock bottom over a period of like two to four years really, really changed. And that change started to inspire me to help others do the same thing. I thought like, Hey, okay, if I’m meditating daily and I’m using the psychedelic medicines and it’s done this. How do I teach this to more people? And that sort of started my journey, you know, on the health path and into building the products that we’re going to talk about today. Brad (8m 36s): So you’ve proved something really important, man, which is you, you can be successful, handle financial abundance without having that. I would characterize it as the unhealthy drive to prove yourself, prove yourself. And you describe it as a lack of self love. That was the, you know, the causal factor of, you know, just going and pushing and driving. And so then you kind of stumbled into chapter two success with a much better mindset. That’s really cool. Robbie (9m 11s): Yeah. And chapter two is interesting because, you know, even the first startup was like, how do I make money fast? Then chapter two was like, okay, I feel really good about myself. I’m sober. I want to be around good people. They’re inspiring. And that was crypto. Like, people are great there. And I was in it before the prices were like crazy. And so it was mostly people who are like really solid researchers, very interested in the tech and people who are really ideologically bought into decentralization. And so I just was like, wow, these passion, like that was something I hadn’t followed before. And that turned out really well. And then about four years into that, I started on the, these products at inward. And these me personally, I’m not an engineer. And so I feel real connection to breathwork, ice baths, saunas meditation, because that’s my personal journey and what helped me. Robbie (9m 60s): And so when I can teach other people and see it in their face, now, it even went from like choosing to be around a good people, to being around a product that I feel connected to. It was tough to leave a theory on when everything was exploding. But like this year, you know, I had a woman call me who couldn’t leave her house during COVID. And after using our breath work styles for, you know, two months, she could open the door to accept a package. And now she’s like back in life. And I had a friend who has been sober for almost two years, be like, call me on Christmas. And like, Hey man, it’s because of you and what you guys are doing. And like, nobody had ever said that kind of stuff. So I followed and don’t get me wrong. I still have the, like, I want to build a big business. I want to be successful. Robbie (10m 40s): It’s still there. Like, that’s, that’s my work, but I try to lead now with the heart and try to have more of those feelings of, you know, I’m in the sauna, I’m playing a sound ball. I got a silly hat on I’m singing. You’re making people happy. So it’s, it’s been an interesting journey. Brad (10m 56s): Do you see a trend in that direction where there’s more figures such as yourself who are, you know, heart centered and, and high-minded rather than our classic representation of the, the success, the wealthy, where they’re, they’re just driven by money and consumption and excess. And a lot of people form a negative opinion about that when they’re, you know, living a normal, you know, hand to mouth style, but it seems like there’s some more awakening where people are being in service and then also able to be abundant. Robbie (11m 34s): That’s a great question. And I think that, yeah, there’s still a, you know, I think there’s still people have the desire to prove themselves and to be safe. And like, those are very difficult thing. Like we equate, like even, you know, the American dream is like, I’m, I’m wealthy. And that’s what I think, unfortunately, there’s still so much in your face on like social media, around what it means to be happy or what you perceive to be happy. And it’s not what actually makes you happy. And so what I’ve seen with my friends, not necessarily they’re willing to, you know, go and like lead from a heart-based space. I think that’s like really challenging. What I’m seeing though, is that they’re breaking down and the person between 30 to 40, you know, like average person now, 90% of people struggling financially overwhelmed with like notifications and newsletters and podcasts and like emails and no off time and then their phone and their family. Robbie (12m 34s): And you’re like, Hey, and then COVID, and you’re like, Hey, how you doing? And they’re like, I’m not feeling good. And so I would say there’s a lot of people who are now not feeling good and wanting to feel better. And that’s, what’s really exciting is okay, how do you help these people feel better? Brad (12m 52s): Yeah, well said it does seem, I mean, for a good slice of the population, the economy’s great, right? The stock market and the, the technology sector is going crazy. And it seems like there’s more fluence and cities and towns across America. But I also feel like there’s some, you know, some glitch here where there are also people who are, you know, maybe financially stable, even in your age group that you just referenced. They’re now able to search for something deeper because they’re not worried about their car. That’s breaking down on the side of the road and where they’re going to get the money to fix the car. Now they can kind of click on a link to a nice bath, a tutorial and pursued things that have, that might give their life some more meaning or balance. Robbie (13m 40s): Totally, totally agree. Which is, you know, a huge, huge privilege to one like half time, you know, and have the security even focus on, you know, it’s kind of like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And like the top is like, you know, kind of self self-improvement, let’s say for, I forget the exact term, but it’s just the ability to even focus on like meditation and exercise and eating healthy, like yeah. It’s unfortunately in society, these things require money and it’s sad, right? How do you make these things more accessible? Which, which is exciting too, is like, you know, some of the meditation apps that are out like Sam Harris, for example, it’s free. Robbie (14m 19s): Right. So I do, I, you know, I totally resonate with that, with that comment. Brad (14m 26s): Yeah. There’s a lot of valid excuses, right. And so we kind of have to back into this, you know, this quest for a more meaningful life, because we can get bogged down with too many messages, emails, financial pressures, things that inhibit us from going to the $8,000 personal growth retreat in the mountains. But then when you realize I love Dan Millman, the longtime new age author of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. And he says, if you don’t think you can meditate, just have someone throw some car keys at you and you catch them in midair. And you just meditated because all you were thinking about when that key was coming towards your face was reaching out and grabbing it. And so we have an opportunity to explore meditation in everyday life. Brad (15m 7s): Like you say, for free, whether you get the app or not, or go on the fancy retreat books that are still not expensive and neither are free videos and podcasts. So it’s all there for the taking. And it seems like you’ve really zeroed in on, I guess, breathing and cold exposure are two of your main ones, which are of great interest to me. And I think it would be great to get in deeper, especially with the breathing aspect, because personally, you know, I’ve been hit with this crazy wild Wim Hof stuff. And he dives under the frozen lake and just swims and, you know, climbs up Mount Everest with shorts and sneakers. Brad (15m 48s): And I think a large percentage of us kind of check out and just marvel at that as something amazing, but don’t make the connection to where maybe getting a little bit dabbling into the, the practice of intentional breathing can help our own daily lives. So yeah, let’s go from the basics here and talk about how it can be relevant to all of us trying to relieve stress and also improve athletic performance and things like that. Robbie (16m 14s): Totally. And if you think of breathing exercises slash breath work, which, you know, Wim Hof style is one type you can think of them like exercise. So within exercise, you have weightlifting, you have walking, you have running, you have high intensity training. And so you really need to think about reframe higher thinking about breathing and think of what type of benefits are you looking for. And so I’m just going to quickly go over some of the things you can expect with better breathing, and then we can like really dive into whatever you find most interesting. And so the first one that we see as sort of most powerful is this like hyper ventilation, super ventilation breathing in more than you’re exhaling. Robbie (16m 56s): And so this is, you know, Wim Hof style. This is holotropic breathing, which is three hours of breath that can lead to these psychedelic light experiences, transformational breathing. And this style of breathing can be very good. You can think of your nervous system with two sides. One is like the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight you may have heard of. And it’s like the gas pedal. And so, you know, you have a bit of fear. You’re stressed, you start breathing in your chest, you turn on the fight or flight. And this is really great for increasing alertness, sending blood flow to the brain and muscles. You’re you’re ready. Now, the problem with our society is we’re so overstimulated, we’re in fight or flight all the time, meaning we’re not getting enough blood flow to the organs, which can cause disease and a whole bunch of issues. Robbie (17m 41s): Now, the other side of the nervous system is the parasympathetic, the rest and digest. I’m relaxed, I’m producing serotonin and oxytocin. There’s blood flow to my organs. I’m salivating. My sex drive is increasing. I’m relaxed. And this is the state for human beings that we were in, you know, let’s say even 20 years ago, most of the time, and it’s become difficult now because we’re always on our phones and your brain doesn’t know the difference between real stress and perceived stress. So you, you know, you look down, you check a slack message. You’re late for a meeting, bam, you’re in fight or flight, you’re breathing from your chest and that impacts your breathing patterns. And so the first one is Wim Hof style is doing a couple of things. Robbie (18m 22s): Okay. And so, you know, you’re stimulating the fight or flight system, like I mentioned. And so we’d love doing that one in the morning for energy. So you can think of it as a coffee replacement or, you know, in, in the afternoon for the same thing. And we find people feel really energized after about 10 minutes of that style of breathing, because you’re turning on the fight or flight. Now, when you push that to the max, like in holotropic breathing, or, you know, maybe you’ve done Wim Hof for 30 minutes, what starts to happen? You’re breathing out so much carbon dioxide. The arteries actually constrict by up to 50% and the blood vessels hold on to oxygen. So they’re very, they’re much less likely to deliver that oxygen to the brain. Robbie (19m 4s): And we can get into that as something called CO2 tolerance. But so this Wim Hof or super ventilation style actually shuts down the oxygen flow to the brain. And so every minute you have a bottle of wine worth of blood flowing through the brain. And so using the style, you’re shutting down the thinking mind, the part of your mind, creating worry identity, stress. You’re sending signals to the limbic system also of distress. And some crazy things start to happen as a result of that shutdown due to lack of oxygen emotions, very strong emotions come up and are processed. And so we’ve seen people mostly get into breathing exercises, breath, work to boost energy, and then to deal with challenging emotions, be it like, you know, a breakup, a job loss, anxiety, financial security, even just like somebody says something to me, you know, at work that kind of pissed me off or like made me feel judged. Robbie (19m 54s): And so it’s a very, very strong way to deal with emotions. And so that’s kind of what we’re seeing as the hook for people when they try this 20 or 30 minute session with great music and they have this emotional experience, their mind for the first time is shut down. So that’s really powerful, initial benefit, happy to stop there for a moment. Brad (20m 16s): So that is through a deliberate and guided session where you have to have some expertise or some coast guidance to know what you’re doing. It’s not just something you do as a folly because you want to create this disparity between oxygen and CO2. Yeah. Let’s throw in a little science before you go to the, the other styles and trends. So when we’re, when we’re taking in excess oxygen through aggressive hyperventilation, what’s happening to the gas exchange in the body? Robbie (20m 49s): Definitely. And so there’s actually a misconception you might hear of like, oh, take in a big breath to relax, right? And the fact of the matter is the blood is always 95 to 99% saturated with oxygen. So think of a glass that’s already full when you’re taking a deep breath, unless you’re exercising, you’re just pouring water into a full glass. So what do we really want to do? We want to increase the amount of carbon dioxide we have in the body. And I’ll give a little metaphor to kind of explain this. But oxygen comes into the lungs into the bottom of the lungs, in the alvioli of the lungs. Think of these red blood cells, like little cruise ships, each red blood cell in the hemoglobin of the red blood cell is picking up the oxygen from the lungs. Robbie (21m 33s): And this cruise ship is now sailing through your body, delivering that oxygen. Now, if you have a lot of CO2 in the body, the cruise ship door opens super easily. So the oxygen that wants to get out and you know, the heart, the brain, every cell in the body, it happens super easily. Now, when you are breathing quickly, you’re breathing out too much carbon dioxide. And this can happen for a number of reasons, which we’ll go into in a minute. But if you don’t have enough carbon dioxide and you can, you can test this with a test called CO2 tolerance, your blood vessels, both constrict, and then also hold on to that oxygen. They don’t want to give it up. And so the reality is you actually don’t want to be breathing more. You want to be holding your breath and breathing less increase that CO2 tolerance. Robbie (22m 17s): And another really interesting fact on that your brain has think of it like a thermostat. It’s called a chemo receptor. It’s measuring your blood oxygen and CO2 levels. And so when your CO2 levels hit a certain amount, your body’s saying like, Hey, breathe, exhale, exhale. And so that thermostat changes over time. So one of the first things we’re telling people when they want to improve their foundational breathing is to test their CO2 tolerance and try to work through that. Brad (22m 44s): So this is like the Bolt test I’m familiar with. And I’ve been trying lately and it’s pretty mind blowing how poor your starting point is. And then with a little bit of practice, you can tolerate more CO2 is the recommended test, what I’m familiar with, where you exhale and then hold your breath? Well, it’s well, it’s exhale? Robbie (23m 5s): Exactly. So it’s, and it ranges depending on the time of day and what you’ve been doing. So it’s great to test in the morning. First thing, when you wake up one, inhale through the nose, one, exhale, hold on, empty. And then you’re not going to hold like as long as you can. It’s not a willpower and strength do you hold until the diaphragm contracts. So when your diaphragm contracts, that’s, that’s like an average score. And if you know, you’re 20 seconds or shorter, it’s indication that there’s a lot of potential for you to improve. And so if you’re struggling with sleep, struggling with anxiety, you may not be absorbing oxygen efficiently in the blood and organs. And so this is like the first thing we’ll have people do is do this Bolt test, which we from Patrick Keon, The Oxygen Advantage, amazing book that goes really in-depth into the science around life, performance and health. Robbie (23m 54s): So that one is great. And if, you know, if you’re at 40 seconds Bolt score, that’s fantastic. That’s really good. And surprisingly, a lot of times athletes actually have a really low Bolt scores because they’re, over-breathing through continuous exercise. Brad (24m 9s): So when you describe when the diaphragm contracts as a, as a beginner, could that be also described as when you feel like a pretty significant urge to breathe? Like we’re not trying to be macho Superman here and stared at the stopwatch until you pass out, but just notice that point of discomfort kicking in, I suppose? Robbie (24m 34s): Exactly. It’s just kind of like, Hey, I feel like I need to take a breath and like, sure. Maybe you could push it to like complete discomfort, 10 extra seconds. That’s not the point. You’re just competing with yourself and like testing your own score. And it’s just an indication of, can you improve or not? So you don’t need to like, be this macho guy, just like, Hey, do you feel like you need to breathe? Okay. That’s that’s the end. Brad (24m 53s): Right? And you’re not doing anything crazy pro you’re taking a regular breath, in a regular breath out. You’re not doing super ventilation or anything for this particular. Cause when you Robbie (25m 5s): Exactly. Cause when you’re breathing quickly, as I mentioned, you’re actually expelling a lot of CO2. And so that a sensor in the brain is measuring and your CO2 levels are so low. It takes a while to come back. So what you’ll find is the more super ventilation you do, the faster breathing, the longer you can hold your breath because your CO2 levels are so depleted. And so you, you want to measure just completely normal right out of bed. Brad (25m 27s): And a decent score or something to strive for is 20 seconds. Tell me about what a really extreme practitioner can get to comfortably. And then also I believe like someone on their death bed is not going to make it five seconds without having to breathe. So we’re going to look in that range here. Robbie (25m 46s): Yeah. Sorry. I’d say 20 seconds is like, you need, that’s the minimum baseline. Like if you’re under 20 seconds, you there’s work you can do. It’s just an indication that like I might be feeling poorly because my breathing habits are off. And so most people know, okay, I should eat healthy. They know I should move and exercise. They know I should sleep well, but people don’t check their breathing. And it could be that because of overstimulation, poor breathing patterns, mouth breathing, that your breathing is actually completely off. And as a result, that’s why you don’t have energy. That’s why you’re not sleeping well. So I think it’s just a good sign of like, it’s like a, it’s like a guidepost saying, okay, I should focus here and do breathing exercises. And so if you’re under 20 seconds, that’s the baseline. Robbie (26m 28s): I’d say, if you’re over 40, like you’re, you’re good. You’re breathing while you’re like kind of elite. And so 40 is like the goal for everyone to actually get up to over time. And then that indicates like, you don’t really need to worry about your breathing patterns for foundational breathing. Brad (26m 42s): And again, this is 40 seconds people from regular inhale, regular exhale, and then pinch your nostrils. So you don’t inadvertently take, take little breaths and hold that comfortably for 40 seconds. That’s pretty bad-ass man. That’s it, it feels daunting as a new practitioner where I was, I’ve improved a lot in a very short time, but I was below 20 seconds to where I, I felt the urge to breathe pretty strongly. And I, I can see that it’s gonna take some work, but I like how the, the work is described in the Oxygen Advantage. So simple for everyone. Brad (27m 23s): And the suggestion is just to breathe as minimally as possible through your nose at all times. It’s like, that’s it? Robbie (27m 29s): Yeah, that’s it. Brad (27m 30s): Instead of these, like you described the, the misconception that taking a deep breath is going to be the way to relaxation, but I know there’s some, some advanced practices that involved different types of breathing and patterns. And, but I want to get that, that basic established. So just starting from the time we’re listening to this podcast and moving on with our lives, our first takeaway is going to be breathing through the nose in a very relaxed manner at all times, Robbie (28m 2s): A hundred percent like, so let’s, let’s go back to the benefits and we’ll just start, you know, we were talking a bit about the Wim Hof and, and the idea of increasing energy and also processing emotions. But most importantly is how you’re breathing all the time. So that’s slow through the nose, that lower lungs, that’s where the nerves that turn on the parasympathetic system. All right. So the more you breathe into the lower lungs, the better gas exchange, more efficient, and the more you’re telling your body, Hey, I should be relaxed. Right? And so, even as you said, simple breathing through the nose, slow, couple of breath holds during the day. So the oxygen advantage technique is to hold your breath, go for a walk, hold your breath and count your steps while you’re holding your breath and see how many you can do. Robbie (28m 46s): And you should hold until you can simply breathe back in. If you’re gasping, it’s not a good sign. You want to breathe comfortably through the nose again. And so, you know, you do that three, four times a day, that’s all you need. And so with that style plus mouth taping, plus the other thing I’ll show you. This is from Andrews Olson, who was a partner of James Nester and his recent book, Breathe for people. I read it, amazing book around a lot of the science behind breathing also, and like really good stories. But this tool is a plastic there. You can put it in your mouth while you’re working. And so what happens generally, something called email apnea and that’s like, it’s yeah, it’s a serious, it’s your real thing. People you’re in a National Institutes of Health has done studies on this. Robbie (29m 28s): It’s a, it’s a pretty big problem. What happens? You’re at your desk all day, seven hours a day, looking at emails, focusing you stop breathing, or you start breathing through your chest very quickly. And so having a simple plastic tool like this for an hour a day, for me, it’s very similar to meditation. It’s nice. It just makes sure when I’m breathing out, there’s some resistance there. And so the first thing, you know, from a foundational health standpoint, if that’s what you’re interested in, testing your Bolt score, using breath holds and slow nose breathing, and then mouth tape at night, and then some type of like relax later. And so, you know, it stops there, but we could also get into like, why are people mouth breathing and like what changes have happened in society? If you’d find that interesting Brad (30m 8s): For sure. Yeah. Next step for now, just to clarify. So the mouth taping is to physically tape your mouth shut with special tape so that you facilitate nose breathing at night when you’re not aware. And then I have a, a backup question, which is we’re, we’re told to breathe through the nose to emphasize accessing the lower lobes of the lungs where all the oxygen is while the blood is to, to make a better exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide. But is it, is there, could you describe the mechanism? Why nose breathing stimulates parasympathetic? In other words, could we breathe poorly through our nose somehow? Brad (30m 49s): And could we actually breathe through our mouth to the extent that we’re achieving the goal of using the diaphragm and the lower lungs? Robbie (30m 57s): Yeah. So there’s a lot there. So the, the nose itself Brad (31m 0s): That’s efficiency, man, if we’re shooting stars in every direction. Robbie (31m 6s): Yeah. So the nose, firstly like why it’s so powerful, it’s not it’s it’s it adds resistance to your breath. You can think of it like a, like so one you’re breathing less, right? We always want to breathe as little as possible because we want to be increasing our CO2 tolerance. And so the nose adds resistance. So when you’re breathing through the mouth, think of the nose, like a little keyhole in the mouth, like a giant driveway, like you’re taking in excess of what you need. Now, the nose also acts as a humidifier. So it warms the air. It’s it takes out any like pathogens, bacteria. So it reduces your chance of sickness. It’s like amazing your film. Think of it like a Brita filter. Robbie (31m 47s): The air is going through to get into your lungs. It also holds nitric oxide. So they’ve done tests when you breathe in through the nose, you increase the nitric oxide in the blood by six times. And so nitric oxide is a vassal dilator. It’s like boost the immune system. It allows, improves your circulation because of the vessel dilation. So it helps with like sex drive. It’s just like an amazing molecule. So when you’re breathing through your nose, you’re accessing the nitric oxide, the humidifier be resistance, less oxygen directly into the lungs. So when you’re breathing through your mouth, you’re missing out on all of that. And they’ve done some pretty interesting studies on cross country skiers and cross country skiers because it’s cold when they’re going. Robbie (32m 35s): They can damage the lungs and like find massive inflammation, their lung. Cause they’re breathing through mouth because when you’re exercising at that pace, it’s very difficult to breathe through your nose. And so they found massive inflammation. So you’re just thinking, you know, when you’re breathing through the mouth, there’s no filtration there. The temperature of the air is off. You’re not breathing deep into the lungs for the most part, usually breathing into the chest. So for, for all those reasons, nasal breathing amazing. Now, if I go and get my Breathe Right Strip, which I was want to use at night frequently, is that going to compromise anything? Or is that an allowable tool to kind of open the nostrils a little more and make nose breathing easier? Robbie (33m 21s): So that one I’m going to have to defer. I don’t have as much experience. Like usually I like to just give advice and stuff I’ve personally tried. And so I’ve tried like every kind of mouth tape and, but the Breathe Right Strips. I haven’t tried. I have my fiance’s dad is using them and quite likes them, but I don’t know the, the research. My gut would say, it’s, it’s completely fine. You’re opening the nose, improving your ability, you know, to, to breathe through the nasal passage. Brad (33m 50s): It’s still being filtered. It’s still got the nitric oxide going, going through the passageway. And it seems like as we, as we get through all the checkpoints that the mouth has really for eating and that’s it right. Or extreme need for oxygen such as in very high intensity athletic output, like the cross country skiers going for the finish line or what have you. ` Robbie (34m 15s): Yeah, exactly. And then one other thing, if you’re worried about like how much oxygen I’m taking through the nose, like from the nose to the lungs, there’s basically 1500 miles of really a lot of breathing pathways, which is like New York to Florida. So, you know, the, the, and these are quotes from James Nestor’s book, which again, amazing, but taking a billiard ball and putting it into the nasal cavity, that’s about the size of your entire nasal cavity. So there’s, there’s a, there’s a huge system there. So it wouldn’t be too worried about like if the nasal passageways are stretched so slightly. Brad (34m 49s): So somehow we’ve landed here in modern life with a propensity to breathe shallowly through the mouth, activate the sympathetic or, or have the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system dominate rather than the desirable state of being in parasympathetic dominance with nose breathing. And you were going to talk about the why’s and the negative aspects and how we can turn this thing around. Robbie (35m 16s): Yeah. And again, this is why the Bolt score is such a good guidepost because what we’re finding in our community and through reading a lot of these books and, you know, listening to the podcast is many, many people are struggling. Asthma’s up four times and there’s a few things that have changed. So one is just excess stimulation. And so cell phones didn’t exist 20 years ago. And as a result, most people, as I mentioned, feel overwhelmed. They’re checking their phone. And when you’re overwhelmed, you breathe through the mouth because your body believes it’s in a stressful situation that it needs to be in fight or flight. So that’s, that’s one. And this personally affects me. You know, I’m looking at Twitter, I’m looking at which is like a bad habit, but I was trying to get news about vaccines for our physical space. Robbie (36m 1s): And then, you know, I can’t go see friends. So I’m online looking at things. And I just noticed it’s like tension building up. So that’s one, one major change. And same as if you’re staring at a computer all day or just continuously stimulated. And if you think of how humans evolved, like, you know, 200 years ago, we’re bored. Most of the time we’re relaxing, you know, or working or doing, there’s not this continuous stimulation. So that’s one, two is the types of food have changed significantly. Super interesting prior to the introduction of like, let’s call westernized food. So like white rice and, and things like that. There were no examples of crooked teeth. Robbie (36m 41s): So you’d go back hundreds of years. And the jaws now in only four generations have become so malformed, they’re not growing because of two reasons. One we’re not chewing enough. And it’s, you know, before the food we would eat, we would be chewing so much to digest that it causes the jaw to grow. In the jaw, the maxilla it’s like a plastic membrane type style bone can actually grow into your, your seventies. So it’s not too late, but because people aren’t chewing and eating these acidic forming foods, their jaws are becoming malformed. And as a result of nasal cavity, doesn’t have enough room. And so people tend to then breathe through their mouth because their noses are plugged, which is insane that in only that many generations due to food, there’s that big of a change in like our jaw structure that like people have crooked teeth. Robbie (37m 29s): And so James went to, you know, a number of cultures and they showed old skulls and like all of them perfect teeth crazy. So that that’s, that’s one, that’s just like wild. The next is acidic forming foods. So you’re eating, you know, anything that is, is a set of forming, which is processed sugars, fast food, trans fats, vegetable oils that are causing inflammation. All of these things, you have a pH level in your body. All of these things are forming acidic food or bringing your pH level, making it more acidic. And so your body to adapt starts to blow out more carbon dioxide to restore the level, to make it more alkaline. Robbie (38m 10s): And so, as a result of doing that over and over that chemo receptor, I mentioned in your brain changes the amount of carbon dioxide should be in your bottle. You know, we’re breathing through our mouth now because we’re not doing enough, we’re eating bad food. And we’re overstimulated as a result, completely changes our breathing patterns. And as we said, when the breathing patterns change, we’re not getting enough oxygen into the organs, into the brain. Brad (38m 37s): So are we, are we both taking in too much oxygen with these wide open mouth, excess breathing and expelling too much carbon dioxide? Robbie (38m 47s): And so the body itself, when you, you can think of it always has excess oxygen. So even when you’re breathing normal, a lot of the oxygen stays in your lungs. So you’re generally on a single breath, only absorbing like 25 to 50% of that oxygen anyways. So it doesn’t, it’s okay that you’re like breathing in too much. The problem is we’re breathing out too much carbon dioxide. Brad (39m 8s): And so to work on that aspect of the, of the goal, if we minimize our breathing, for example, by using the nose, we’re not going to have these giant exhales, I think a sigh is a classic example of exhaling too much carbon dioxide due to sympathetic of being in kind of a fight or flight situation? Robbie (39m 29s): Okay. Yeah, for sure. And you know sighs, yawns. I would say that stuff, if you’re just listening and you want to improve this, like just focus on Hazel, breathing most of the time, using some type of tool in front of your computer, taping your mouth at night and doing some type of breath holds whether it’s like during a walk or you want to use some kind of guided, you can do a guided app. There’s a, there’s a bunch, but that is, is kind of, if you, if you hit those things, your breathing will improve relatively rapidly. One other thing I’ve noted just personally is the stuff I eat the Uber eats late at night, you know, like a pizza order, 10:00 PM, like Bam! Respiration rate, I’m like, or aura ring, like just tanks. Robbie (40m 10s): And it’s because I’m eating these styles of acidic foods late at night. And so I think that’s an important one. Brad (40m 16s): Also respiration rate goes down when you engage in a poor health practice, how does that work? Robbie (40m 24s): It goes up and then I’m breathing faster. Brad (40m 26s): It goes up? Robbie (40m 28s): Yeah. And so you want to, if you’re using like an aura ring, you can check your respiration rate. And so, you know, 14 really, really, this is genetics also, but like 14 really solid, like 18 plus not great. Brad (40m 40s): You’re saying breathes per minute. Robbie (40m 42s): Yeah. Yes. And so, you know, the standard recommended while you’re awake is like the perfect is six breaths per minute. It’s called coherent breathing, which we can get into, but you know, you check your aura ring and it’s probably around like 12, 14, and that’s really good when it’s 18, it’s high. And I noticed myself, you know, I’ve noticed one with my fiance drinks, respiration rate goes up, but if I’m eating poor foods, I’m mouth breathing because I’m setting the alkalinity, like the pH level of my body breathing out too much CO2. So that’s one that can have an impact as well. Brad (41m 16s): Oh, so tanks means your score gets worse. Robbie (41m 19s): Yeah. Brad (41m 20s): Because your breathing rate is increasing. Yeah. Yeah. You, you, you suck basically. Robbie (41m 24s): Yeah. That’s yeah. Brad (41m 25s): The tank is associated with sucking a breathing. Okay. Yeah. Too much breathing. Okay. So you mentioned, I think you were going to go and do a few different general practices and you mentioned the super ventilation as the first one, and then you’re going to throw in some other stuff. Robbie (41m 40s): Yeah. So I think, you know, you have that foundational breathing and improving that, and that’s a really good thing to try Brad (41m 46s): foundational breathing and that breathing through your nose breathing lightly. Okay. Robbie (41m 51s): Exactly. And that’s based on the Buteyko method, if people are interested, The Oxygen Advantage is sort of the best in class resource around that stuff. And there’s Olson is amazing. He wrote something called Conscious Breathing, which is amazing as well. And then you kind of move into a few of the other reasons you may use breath work. And so the super ventilation and the Wim Hof, as we mentioned, it’s to boost energy. And so two to three rounds of super ventilation, breadth of fire Wim Hof. And for those listening that don’t know what that is. Wim Hof is generally let’s call it 30 full breaths in and out, and then a breath hold and doing that like three or four times. And what you’re doing is, is dropping the blood oxygen level pretty significantly dropping the CO2 pretty significantly. Robbie (42m 35s): And as a result, you’re creating a fight or flight response, which just like, boom, boost your energy. Brad (42m 41s): Right? And we talk about fight or flight in, in negative contexts so frequently. But what we’re really talking about is the prolonged overstimulation or the, or the pre domination of fight or flight, which is designed to be a very brief life or death response by the body against a challenge such as lining up in the starting blocks for the a hundred meter dash or going in the cold plug in the cold plunge for a few minutes or doing a few rounds of Wim Hof breathing. So in those examples, this is a desirable, brief stimulation of the fight or flight response to get all these wonderful adaptive hormones, mood elevating hormones, but then because you stop and return to normal breathing or get out of the ice tub, or you finished with your, a hard set during your, your CrossFit workout or whatever, you’re getting all the benefits without breaking yourself down. Brad (43m 33s): So that’s kind of why we’re not going to be hyperventilating all day because this, this breathing practice is so cool. Robbie (43m 41s): Yeah, exactly. And then they’ve also seen it as a, you know, I mentioned the longer practice being able to process emotions. And so there’s this thing called the somatic completion theory, which is the idea that we hold a lot of trauma and stress in the body. And for people who have PTSD, they actually struggled to regulate their nervous systems. And so for small stresses, they really go into fight or flight. Sometimes they’re like really in the parasympathetic. And so what they’ve found for auto immune disease using this style of like Wim, Hoff breath work holotropic breath, where people are able to reset their nervous system response, which is super, super powerful and pretty, pretty mind blowing. So, you know, you’re kind of using acute stress in a short period of time to reset the nervous system response, which is like, yeah, it’s amazing. Brad (44m 25s): Love it. Okay. So we have the guided distinct practice of hyperventilatory super ventral atory breathing to achieve a health outcome. We have the foundation well-described as the foundational way to breathe as a human. And what else would we mentioned in this context? Robbie (44m 47s): Yeah, I think there’s two other main ones. So we we’ve mentioned the ways to like sort of, you know, breathe properly and then the ways to ramp up now, there’s also, how do I ramp down? And so this is where we get really, really interesting, right? There’s something called the perfect breath. And so it’s, there’s a few terms, resonance breathing, coherent, breathing, breathing in tune between your rate of breath and your heart rate. And so this actually has been shown with a lot of research to improve your heart rate variability. So it’s the gap in between your heartbeats and the higher your heart rate, variability, the tighter, your nervous system, the better your body responds to stress. Robbie (45m 28s): And this is something that can actually be trained through breath work. And so if you are using, you know, an aura ring and you’re like, why is my HRV always shit? I’m so healthy. You know, with 20 minutes of coherent or resonant breathing per day, you can significantly increase your, your heart rate variability and what you’re doing. There’s something called your Barrow reflex. And so it’s your body’s ability. It’s like your, your blood pressure. And so in the arterial lining and in your hearts, and when you breathe, it’s like, think of it as like the break it’s like when your fight or flight starting your body’s ability to quickly break. And so that barrel reflex can be strengthened through coherent breathing. So the more coherent breathing you do, the stronger your body’s parasympathetic break gets, the more time you can spend in parasympathetic mode. Robbie (46m 15s): And so that is like, you know, if you really want mental wellbeing, feelings of gratitude, improved heart rate, variability, better ability to deal with stress, this style of coherent breathing is fantastic. And it, it varies per person. So you can use the polar app and polar chest strap, any heart rate, variability monitor, and like the elite HRV app and actually test, there’s a bunch of stuff on YouTube about how to do this, but you can find your personal resonance breathing. And for some people it’s five breaths, a minutes I’m at seven. And when you’re breathing at that pace, this is how HeartMath works as well, which is a pretty cool product. And so finding that, and then what we’d like to do, I just put on music that I like while I’m cooking. Robbie (47m 2s): And I have heart, I have in the background breathing at my resident pace. So there’s sounds like, so I’m just cooking to like jazzy music or maybe going for a walk. I’m doing something. Cause it’s, it’s hard for people to find 20 minutes, you know, to sit down and focus on breathing. So I’ve found it’s really helpful to have the proper cadence playing in the background where you can sort of do other things. So that that’s a pretty powerful one also. Brad (47m 26s): So you discover your personal cadence, that’s somehow related to your heart rate, but it’s not, you’re not breathing 60 beats a minute when your heart’s beating at 60. So what is that association between heart rate and the, the resonant breath? Robbie (47m 42s): Resonant breath is the length of breadth that optimizes the heart rate variability. And so they just call it breathing in coherence and what it means, breathing in coherence, you’re strengthening that Baroreflex, this braking mechanism basically. And so when you’re breathing in coherence, your heart, the signals it’s sending through the vagus nerve to the brain are much tighter, much less scrambled. So that’s why you want to have like a high heart rate variability. Brad (48m 13s): And is that a certain count that you’re using or how do you learn to be in resonant breathing or enter that when you need it? Robbie (48m 23s): So on average you can start with just like the average one is six and six out. or five in five out. So five and five out of six breaths of minutes. And this is why in James Nestor’s book, they often talk about chance and traditional meditations and prayers were at that frequency. And so it sort of something people discovered intuitively. Now we can actually measure. So you can use a elite HRV app and a heart rate monitor, and what they’ll do, you’ll do a test. And so you’ll spend two minutes breathing in five out five, then you’ll stop. You spend two minutes in six out six. You’ll stop. You’ll spend two minutes in seven out seven, and you’ll see which one works better. Robbie (49m 6s): And then for some people there’s even like, you know, in four out six, so maybe exhaling slightly longer works even better. Brad (49m 14s): Are you talking about seconds? Robbie (49m 16s): Yep Brad (49m 17s): In five seconds out five seconds, seconds. And so then when you become skilled through, you know, regular practice, you kind of know what it’s like to do your six and six pattern when you’re sitting there relaxing. And so you just, you just kick into it. And you’re probably doing a pretty good job going in six out six, even without being strapped up to your device. Robbie (49m 38s): Totally. And even the device, I think like once you find your specific resonant pattern, just like practicing it 10, 15 times, then you know what it feels like. Cause there was like this kind of feeling in your body, in your heart of like, I dunno, I want, you know, let’s call it like gratitude, happiness. Like you, you just feel better. And so you can kind of, you can kind of intuitively feel it after you’ve done it many times. So I wouldn’t worry too much about having to have the tech and be like locked up all the time. It’s just another one of these things that over time it’s, it’s pretty easy. Brad (50m 10s): So if you’re somewhat close in rhythm to your inhale and your exhale, are you kind of staying aligned with the, the levels that you might achieve through regular foundational breathing? In other words, are you altering your carbon dioxide to oxygen ratio when you’re doing this? Or is it just kind of extending out or, you know, minimizing your breaths per minute, I guess. Robbie (50m 35s): Yeah. I think in this one, it’s specifically trying to breathe at that heart rate, the one that matches and they’ve found in studies that breathing slowly actually didn’t have the same effect as like breathing at your particular resonant frequency, which was really interesting because I thought, well, you know, if it’s five and five out, why not three and three out and the less breath the better, but yeah, exactly. But breathing is better. Sorry, and this isn’t, you don’t need to breathe this way all the time. Like you can do one, two sessions a day at this pace and it’s very similar to exercise. So think of it like, you know, I did my exercise for today. I’m kind of good. And so this is just something you can use if you’re like, I want to feel more feelings of gratitude. Robbie (51m 15s): I want to feel better resilience to stress. I want to improve my heart rate variability. If those things are like important, this is a good style to kind of practice for awhile. Amazing book on this one is a Heart Breath Mind by Leah Lagos’. Brad (51m 30s): Hmm. Right on. So we’re, we’re, we’re cruising through the show. We haven’t even talked about I’m, I’m staring at the ice tub on your screen and we got it. We got to go there. But right now we have the foundational breathing that we engage in throughout the day for the rest of our lives. Right. From listening to show, we’re going to turn the corner. And then we have the hyperventilatetory practice to boost energy at the snap of the fingers. And then we have the variously described, resonant breathing, perfect breathing to try to sync and improve that heart rate variability. And then you were going to mention one more, I believe. SYeah. The final one is just, you know, which, which coherent is sort of part of it, but it’s, it’s your ability to get into the parasympathetic system to turn it on. Brad (52m 11s): So you could use this before eating, like when you eat, you’re sending blood flow to the organs, you’re telling your body you’re safe. You can use it before sleep. Robbie (52m 19s): You can use it to increase concentration, blood flow to the brain. And so some of the, you know, popular technique is the Navy seals box breath you may have heard. Is it just any type of breathing where you’re extending the exhale longer than the inhale to slow breathing through the nose? Let’s say inhale four seconds, exhale, six seconds. And so that slow, extended exhale is bringing the oxygen from, you know, that, that breath out you’re, you’re turning on the parasympathetic system on the exhale. And so just, you know, what we’d love to do before bed for people is just walk them through like five, seven minutes of box breathing into a meditation and sleep, or, you know, five minutes of four, seven, eight breathing popularized by Andrew Weil. Robbie (53m 6s): And just the ideas that you’re breathing, you’re exhaling more longer than you’re inhaling. And so the key to calm when you need it is breath holds long, slow exhale. That’s kind of how you turn your, you know, off the fight or flight. And so pre-meal, you’re just having a bad day and you’re stressed you, some emotional thing has happened or prior to bed that solid. Breathing’s fantastic. Brad (53m 32s): So you have the component of holding it, like the familiar Dr. Weils, but promoting the four, seven, eight for a long time, that’s a count of four or seconds if you have a stopwatch, but you’re, you’re inhaling to a count of four holding for a count of seven and exhaling to a count of eight. And what is that doing from the, the gas exchange perspective? Robbie (53m 52s): Yeah, same thing. So you’re, you’re now, you know, in that method, you’re slowing the inhale ride. You’re slowing your breathing and you’re holding, which is increasing the amount of carbon dioxide. And then you’re slowly exhaling. So it’s really just any time you’re adding a hold into the scenario, your body’s always giving off carbon dioxide as each cell creates energy by utilizing oxygen that’s happening every second. So when you’re holding, the CO2 is building. So any, you know, style of increasing the exhale versus the inhale is going to be relaxing, move you into the parasympathetic state. And the holds are just going to help with that. Brad (54m 29s): Wow. That’s a lot. I hope everybody followed. It’s a little, it’s a little technical, but you’ve done a great job explaining it. I appreciate it and even if you’re not step-by-step with every chemistry insight, you can at least engage in the practices. Cause we gave you some practical tips too. So where does cold exposure and enter into the picture here and including the, the pairing of breathing and cold exposure. And we’ll start out by saying don’t pair these together literally cause you’ll drown, but I know that people do breathing exercises and then step into the cold, I guess, in preparation or to prepare optimally. Robbie (55m 11s): Yeah. Some people will do that’s been popular, but I don’t actually think they’re required. So I think one interesting thing, you know, for us, what we’re trying to build is a space that replaces bars and an alcohol built around saunas, ice baths, tea room, kind of a new way for people interested in, you know, health, wellness, psychedelic medicines, meditation, biohacking, entrepreneurship, like where do those people hang out? That’s not having five beers or a bottle of wine. And we found the ice bath in the sun. I really increase your ability to be vulnerable. You come out of the ice bath, you feel alive and what’s happening. Robbie (55m 51s): Your brain is producing this, this neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. And so all you have to remember about that. It’s like, Hey, this could be dangerous. Be aware. And my brain produces this and it’s responsible for mood, attention vigilance. So I’m like, I’m on, I feel alive. I feel amazing. And when I come out, it’s kind of that similar feeling to alcohol, where I’m not worried about what people think of me. I feel great. I want to connect with them. They just did this like thing that was scary and we feel alert. We want to connect. And so, you know, then you go into the sauna and there’s no phones. Then you just start chatting. You feel like super nice. So we found these things as a social experience or just like very, very powerful. Now how breathwork connects. Robbie (56m 31s): I think in the Wim Hof method, they use it to like, you know, that style to kind of boost your energy, to kind of pump you up before you go in. But we’ve actually found that inside the ice, what you want to do is slow the exhale, as I mentioned, right? So like really your body is going to want to hyperventilate naturally and breathe through the chest. Cause it’s a stressor. And so you’re teaching yourself ham in this stressful situation, I’m going to slow my exhale and I’m going to breathe. And as a result of that, you learn when they’re stress. If I slow my breathing, I can relax. And so it’s just like training. It’s emotional training every single day. And then you feel great after. Brad (57m 8s): What’s amazing to me, I’m a long time cold exposure practitioner, but I never really paired any deliberate breathing exercise with it. I still haven’t really. I like to just jump in there and have that, that aspect of overcoming my psychology, that to, to delay procrastinate and just be a tough guy and build that resilience and that focus that I’m just jumping in the tub. I don’t need to do chest pounding, breathing sequence first, but when I’m in there, I just focus on taking 20 breath cycles. And when I’m focused on my breathing, I’m able to withstand the cold quite nicely. But then on several occasions where I’ve tested this, where someone shows up in my backyard, right when I’m in there, that that five minute period, and they start talking to me or a couple of times I’ve taken my phone out there to listen to a podcast while I’m sitting in the tub and I get cold almost instantaneously. Brad (58m 3s): The water is very cold and boy, the, just the intentional breathing, whether or not you’re doing any specific pattern or not, and I’m just taking a deep inhales long exhales, just a nice, you know, strong pattern of breathing is really the key to withstanding this extreme, immediate stressor of cold water. Robbie (58m 25s): Yeah. I couldn’t couldn’t agree more and you know, depending it’s really interesting how you mentioned like, yeah, I totally agree. We don’t really prepare too much in advance. It’s all about what’s happening once you’ve hit that stressor, right? And you can do different things. You can, you can submerge and increase the intensity. And so the more of your body that’s covered the greater the epinephrine response. And so your vagus nerve connects your brain to your organs and it’s exposed at the neck. So when your neck is covered and when just below your eyelids is covered, it really increases the intensity. So if you want, you can take a more of a chill day or you can, you can dunk another thing you can do in there is breathe really quickly as we had mentioned, and you can increase the intensity. Robbie (59m 6s): So, you know, we kind of, again, it’s, we don’t recommend any like Wim Hof style breathing or breath holds or going under anything like that. It’s dangerous as you, as you said, but you can control kind of what, you know, what experience you want to have in the ice and you can make them different. And so I’m going to send you after this actually have bunch of guided ice bath meditations that are just free on SoundCloud and I’ll send them to a test. Brad (59m 28s): Oh, sure. We’ll put those in the notes too. And oh, I had, I had a couple more questions before we go, but I want to know what you do at these retreats where we have the video clips, but take us through one of your, one of your fabulous inward retreats. Robbie (59m 45s): Yeah. So we were looking for a way to do a couple of things. One is like we have a employees that the physical space and you know, the next physical space we’re building now, that’s going to launch in October, it’s a 40 person sauna and, you know, with a crazy sound system in it for classes and you’ll have breathwork in the sauna. And then for ice baths with coaches, and the whole thing is meant to be a giant social, like super fun hang session. And then there’s an indoor fire pit for chatting. So the idea is like, instead of, you know, as we said, going to bars, there’s like this cool option that makes you feel good and inspired. So that’s, that’s like our mission is to build like a bunch of these. And then they combine with the breathwork app we’ve built that has tons of exercises for guiding all the things we talked to. Robbie (1h 0m 27s): But for, for our breathwork style, we, we try to make it really fun. And so instead of having traditional, like meditation, spirituality associated with it, we have like burning man, Brad (1h 0m 36s): electronic music, like really cool vibes just to make like mindfulness fun for people. Who’ve, who’ve struggled. So that was the goal. And now we’re, you know, as we’re building, we wanted to train the staff and like also have them like really embody, like, okay, we want to help people. We want to get them into their bodies. We want to help them with being overstimulated. We want to get them to feel like connected to their emotions. That’s what’s really important is like getting people to feel something. And so we’ve designed these retreats where we’ll go out and train them and then it became, okay, it’s not just going to be the employees. It’ll be like, you know, the customers want to come once every three months and meet other customers and go deep. Robbie (1h 1m 12s): And so we’re looking at how to design the ultimate like three day experience. But the idea is you provide people with a place to be vulnerable and heard. So you make them feel very safe and they feel like, okay, I can share my fears and you’re getting people to share struggles, but then also to share things they’re like grateful for. So there’s a few pillars that we’ve, we’ve designed. So like vulnerability gratitude, the other’s accountability. So it’s like, you know, you want to feel like someone’s watching you, like they care about you. So if you set your goals, like that’s kind of what we do together. It’s like how, when we come out of here, what are we going to, you know, achieve? Or what is the point of this thing? Robbie (1h 1m 53s): And so all the exercises are around like kind of breaking down boundaries to help people be vulnerable, share gratitude about their life and be accountable. And so in a tree retreat might include like insane using a chainsaw, cutting open, like a, over a lake, a piece of ice. And then at night, like one by one, going into the ice on your own, like finding your courage, walking up there, listening, hearing the ice, moving and, and like feeling that connection to nature. It might be a group like eight person breathwork session where we do a journaling session before we share like, again, what we’re struggling with, what we want to bring in. And then the breath works combined with like a guided visualization and then a live sound bath. Robbie (1h 2m 37s): It might be a sauna, like why don’t we have called desert storm where it was three back-to-back saunas getting hotter and hotter. The final sauna is in the complete darkness with the drum where people share like, okay, what are you afraid of? Imagined sweating it out of your body. And then we’ll be like doing some singing together. So it’s using these elements, the breath, the cold, the hot, and like group sharing and those, you know, those, those pillars I mentioned before, not to make people feel like connected, like they’re and inspired to be healthy. Brad (1h 3m 8s): Wow. Would this guy is he’s the ultimate promoter, people. I am so excited. You have so much enthusiasm to share this. And the, the, the, the indoor setting as an alternative to the bar scene, I think is, is a huge winner here because especially for the singles crowd, you’re so unlikely to meet a dork in, in an inward facility, because who’s going to be interested in this stuff, but open-minded, free-thinking people who are okay being vulnerable and sharing and connecting, oh my gosh, it has so much potential. I feel like it’s, it would be an amazing step forward for society to get past the ridiculousness of where we’re, you know, obligated to, to meet people or describe as a social experience, this loud, noisy thing where people are taking in, you know, mind-altering substances and a lot of no goodness happening. Robbie (1h 3m 58s): A hundred percent. And it comes from, you know, just my struggles with those things and the things that have helped me. And so it’s now, how do we, you know, when I, when I looked at this stuff, it was kinda weird and people are like, ah, I don’t know. And you know, there, and so it’s like, how do you take all these practices and make them cool and fun and approachable for the mainstream? And the question you got to ask, you know, your listener, I care about sleep. I care about exercise. What do I do for my mental state? What do I do to feel good? You know? And a lot of people don’t, don’t even know how they feel. And so we’re trying to do is like, get people into their body, help them like, feel, feel good. So, yeah. I appreciate being able to tell my story. Brad (1h 4m 36s): Well, your story is interesting at another level. I want to ask you, I mean, you, you relate this kind of a rise and fall. That was pretty dramatic going from a $25 million startup with a hundred employees. Now you’re in your parents’ basement. And then you’re on to this, you know, amazing journey getting in at the, you know, at the high performing level of these emerging business models like cryptocurrency. And I’m curious, like, do you think like this is a, a personality attribute that you’re prone to whatever it is, extreme risk-taking or, you know, PR goal pursuits. Brad (1h 5m 16s): And that also puts you at risk of spinning out more so than the person who had a bad day, you know, typing away at the computer, but they’re not going to get into the throws of addiction or, you know, losing a fortune and, and things like that, that we hear pretty commonly from, you know, the extreme performance that also rise to great heights and do great things for the world. Robbie (1h 5m 38s): So there’s absolutely no question that I’m an extreme person. And like that was, you know, drug use, extreme sports, like stimulation drives me in the way my brain works. It processes dopamine really quickly. And so as a result, I love all of this kind of stuff. And so, yeah, I’m, I’m a risk taker. The interesting thing though, about these practices is I would say they’re not specifically risky. So the idea of using, you know, sauna and ice bath for one, it’s one of the best longevity practices outside of intermittent fasting, if not the second best in terms of what it does for your body. So there’s the health aspect, right? And then two, there’s not really any way from breathing hot and cold to injure yourself. Robbie (1h 6m 19s): And so these practices are going to make you feel good. There’s all the scientific benefits you mentioned before, and they’re going to help you just feel better. And so, you know, it doesn’t mean you have to take risks. Like if I would pause it that for the average person who maybe isn’t going to go out and do drugs, if you don’t have a practice at home, you might still be struggling just to deal with like modern stress and modern stress is like the cell phone, the always on, you know, the, the living in a city, the not eating healthy diet, like a lot of that stuff didn’t exist 20, 30 years ago. And so we need new practices to deal with like modern stress. Brad (1h 6m 58s): Just layering them on top. And then at some point we’re going to be really good at filtering our use of mobile technology and putting more time in hot and cold environments. I love it. It’s a beautiful path. Robbie Bent bringing the, bringing the heat, bringing the cold, bring in the hot air. Fantastic. I love your command of all the, all the topics. I think we learned so much here and tell us how we can further connect with what you’re doing inward. Robbie (1h 7m 24s): Yes. If you’re in Toronto, unfortunately that’s the only space where we’re live yet, but you know, you can find us a go underscore in word and that’s the physical space closed because of COVID, but we’ll be open soon, hopefully. And then if you’re interested in breath work, this is available to anybody www dot inward breath, work.com. We have some amazing free trials. We also have a policy where if you can’t afford it, we’ll give you a free membership. Same similar to Sam Harris. So would invite you to come. And like, if anything resonated in terms of improving sleep, improving energy, dealing with challenging emotions, improving your foundational breathing. I think we have the largest library of breathwork content in the world right now. So we’d love for you to test it out and give me some feedback. Brad (1h 8m 8s): Robbie Bent taking it inward people. Thank you for listening. That’s a wrap.. Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support. Please. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback, suggestions, and questions for the Q and A shows.. Subscribe to our email list of Brad kearns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bi- monthly newsletter edition with informative articles and practical tips for all aspects of healthy living. 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