If you’re looking for the next evolution in health and performance, the answer is right under your nose. Transformational breathing is having profound effects on those putting it to the test. And who better to tell us more, than “The Breath Guy” himself, Richie Bostock?
When Laura Fullerton, Fitty’s founder, experienced a session with Richie, she thought the floor she was laying on was vibrating, like it does on an aeroplane. But no, it was just the effect breathing was having on her body. Pretty intense stuff. So let’s hear it from the expert himself…
A: Funnily enough I wasn’t always teaching people how to breathe! Coming out of university in Australia, I first worked in one of the international consulting firms as a Management Consultant for nearly six years. After deciding that I needed a change, I took a step into the world of digital entrepreneurship and built an online business which I ran for nearly 3 years.
A: I became clued onto the power of the breath when researching ways to help my dad, who'd recently be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). During this research, I came across a podcast by a man called Wim Hof, a Dutch man often referred to as “The Iceman”. In this podcast, he talked about a method he developed through his own experiences which is fantastic for everyone’s physical and mental health, and he mentioned the method seemed to be really effective in helping people with autoimmune diseases, including MS.
The method has two main elements: cold exposure activities such as cold showers and ice baths, and breathing techniques. To cut a long story short, I travelled to Poland to attend a week-long training in Wim’s method and found the effects to be so profound, and on return I taught my dad the technique. Fast forward a few years, and my dad breathes and takes cold showers every morning and his MS has not progressed at all! After this I was obsessed with finding out what else people were doing using the breath, which has led me to travel across five continents witnessing the transformative effects of Breathwork.
A: Now that’s a great question and for most people, even just the word “Breathwork” is confusing. Why would I need to work on my breath? Doesn’t it just happen automatically?
There are many definitions of Breathwork so I will just give you mine. Put simply, Breathwork is when we consciously use our breathing to change our state of being. To me, any time we use a technique involving our breath to change our physical, mental or emotional state, that’s Breathwork.
A:Breathing is the only function in our body that both happens completely automatically and is 100% under our control. Now this is not an accident of nature, it is absolutely by design. The correlation between breathing and the state of our body and mind has been acknowledged for centuries. In the East, you can see it as breathing practices in Taoism, Yoga and in Ayurvedic medicine. Now, western science supports what ancient traditions have known for centuries: linking correct breathing with the mitigation of some of most insidious modern health problems.
So if you understand how to use your breath as the tool that nature has intended for you to use, you can reduce stress and anxiety, increase energy levels, improve sleep, improve creativity, induce flow states, increase athletic performance and cardiovascular health – these are just a few of the benefits that can result from Breathwork.
A: People ask me how I integrate “breathing sessions” into my life to which I answer, I AM ALWAYS IN SESSION! There isn’t a moment of the day when I am not aware of how I am breathing because it tells me so much about my state of being at that point. I will use small techniques throughout the day and do dedicated breathing sessions every morning to kick my day off in the right way!
A: Like learning any new skill it first takes some conscious practice before it can happen unconsciously. So I recommend dedicating time every day to practice breathing with these four basic elements. To summarise, they are:
Breathe low – down into the belly first, feeling your lower ribs and abdomen expand.
Breathe slow – between 9-12 breaths per minute.
Breathe through the nose – that’s what it’s there for!
Let go of your exhale – don’t blow out your exhale, just relax and let the air escape naturally.
This is how you should breathe day-to-day at rest. Now if you are exercising or using different techniques then we would of course breathe differently, but this should be your default.
A: Definitely cold exposure in anyway I can get it. There is no better way to start the day than with a cold shower!
A: Cold shower + Breathwork + Meditation + Foam Roll my body + Lemon water.
A: I do and in fact you can use Breathwork as a speed ramp to get into a meditative state, so that you get more bang for your buck during your meditation sessions.
A: If I am feeling or thinking something negative, then I believe it is part of me trying to tell me something or reveal itself. I treat all negative thoughts and feelings with curiosity and simply say “Welcome, you probably make sense. What you are you trying to draw my attention to?”
A: Breathwork can work at physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels depending on it’s structure and intention.
A: The Book Of Joy – Lasting Happiness In A Changing World by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.
A: I have been given/read so much amazing advice over the years so hard to pick the best one, but I’ll share some advice I was given a long time ago but has been very relevant recently.
“Life comes at us in waves of change that we can neither predict or control, but we can learn to surf.”
A: I have a couple of upcoming big events/retreats where we are pushing the boundaries of what the Breathwork experience can do and I am so excited for it! There's the Yoga and Breathwork event at the Ministry of Sound and the Om & Ah Retreat. Check them out!
Find out more about Richie @thebreathguy or on his website.
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