Hello my friends, today my guest is Dan Brule, author of Breathwork: A 3-Week Breathing Program to Gain Clarity, Calm, and Better Health.
Dan is somebody that I first learned about when I heard him on a podcast of a previous guest of mine. Mark Divine talked about, you guessed it, breathwork or breathing. Now I want to admit and I say this in my conversation with Dan here, that I’ve had such little appreciation for the power and the value of breath over the first 40-ish years of my life. It’s only something that recently I’ve come to understand more about. I really enjoyed Dan’s book. He has spent four decades traveling the world, learning what he can from anybody who knows about breathing techniques, that he didn’t know about. He’s putting them into this book.
Dan is a modern-day teacher, healer, and a world-renowned pioneer in this field of breathwork. Dan is awesome. I’m so grateful to him for coming on this show and I’m grateful to you for listening. So please enjoy this conversation with Dan Brule and may your life never be the same, in a good way.
00:02:35 – What’s life about?
00:12:45 – What is it like to teach Tony Robbins?
00:24:22 – Why would Just Breathe benefit someone?
00:47:38 – Knowing a person’s destiny from observing their breath.
01:15:27 – Feeling the intensity to breathe.
01:28:01 – The lightning round.
01:34:40 – Questions about the creative process.
Breathwork: A 3-Week Breathing Program to Gain Clarity, Calm, and Better Health
Dan Brule Instagram
Contact Dan Brule
Bryan: 00:02:25 Dan, welcome to The School For Good Living.
Dan: 00:02:29 Wonderful. That’s um, that’s kind of an ethical obligation, isn’t it? To live a good life?
Bryan: 00:02:35 I think so. I think if we are blessed with the privilege to be able to do so, to do it and to share it right, which is part of a good life, I think. So Dan, what’s life about?
Dan: 00:02:48 Well, it’s about being loving and expanding, I think it’s about, uh, leaving every place you touch a little better than you found it. It’s about a living long is humanly possible and living a higher quality life as possible. And uh, serving as many people as possible. We’re all connected. So the best thing I can do for myself is to serve as many people as possible. And the best thing I can do for other people is to become the best that I can be personally. So it’s a dance, isn’t it? It’s a great adventure. And, uh, and I think we’re meant to play a very creative part in this process we call life.
Bryan: 00:03:36 I think you’re right. Someone pointed out to me that if it’s true that we are, if it’s true in fact that we are made in the image of our creator, then by definition we must also be creators.
Dan: 00:03:47 Yeah, yeah. Hey. And every time we hold something in consciousness and we put energy into it, something is created, something has manifested. And for me that energy comes from the breath. So when we link breathing with, with heartfelt intention, we’re actually crystallizing and manifesting and bringing into being what it is we hold in consciousness. I think, you know, I think the, the mind gets his power from the breath. It’s creative power comes from the breath. And when we, when we merge breathing with thought, breathing with movement, breathing with visualization, we somehow awaken our creative powers.
Bryan: 00:04:31 Yeah. You know, this is something that I think I’m really just now waking up to and I think many people are looking for this, even if they don’t know that it’s what they’re looking for. And I’m a little bit embarrassed to say that it’s taken me about 40 years of being alive to really start to appreciate just how magnificent and important and powerful the breath is and.
Dan: 00:04:54 Oh, the simple things, the basic thing is always the most powerful. It’s like duh. And you know what, right under our nose was usually the last thing that we noticed because it’s so obvious. So hey, 40 years is pretty good. I have friends who are into their seventies and eighties and haven’t quite gotten to it yet. So way, way ahead.
Bryan: 00:05:16 I understand that this is something that you really came to understand. It’s important at an early age and in fact, in your book, which I’ll ask you about in, in, in just a short, uh, moment, Just Breathe. But you, you share a story in your book about being at school and hearing something from the Bible that talked about the importance of breathe that really lit something in you. Will you share with me a little bit about what that was and what it’s done for you?
Dan: 00:05:44 Yeah. Well. Um, you know, I was, uh, as was a prisoner of the Catholic Church until, uh, I graduated high school. So I got all of the Catholic, uh, programming and conditioning early in life. So I’m a recovering Cathollick uh, however, you know, everything has, has these moments and these points that you take from life that makes all the rest of the stuff moot. You know, you get so much benefit, so much value from one interaction, one moment, one insight that we kind of put up with all the rest of the stuff. And so I was fortunate, um, very early kindergarten actually when the pastor of our church came to the class every Friday he’d tour all the classrooms. And, uh, on this particular day it was really wild because the nun who we looked up to is God’s saints. Like, you know, a little four or five year old kid in these nuns in how they would dress with the big robes and giant rosaries and all those symbols. It’s like, you know, awesome to little kids. And that day when he came in and he had his red rob and his gold Trim Bible and the nun came in chat with us kids. It was like, whoa, wait a minute. Suddenly she’s one of us. So we could, you know, I was kind of mesmerized by this character who took, whose presence, you know, humbled even who we will looking at as children as like the big girl. And uh, so I guessed I was just wide eye open eared and just ready for a download. And uh, he talked about the book of Genesis and, uh, God took the dust of the earth and formed the body of man and breathed into the nostrils a man, the breadth of life. Oh my God. That was like the most exciting thing I had ever heard in my imagination. Just flew off and wow. Why isn’t everybody excited? It’s like, God is breathing in to us. Wow! And so sim, something was triggered, lit up, sparked I, um, and I don’t know how long it lasted, but wow. It just opened something up. I don’t know. And then basically, you know, I, I’d get the wind knocked out of me in school playing football or climbing over a fence or falling out of a tree. I can’t even count how many times I got the wind knocked out of me and then a couple of near drowning experiences. So it was like life just kept sticking my nose in the breath, just kept pointing me to the breath. And, uh, so I became much more conscious of it. You know, I was having, we were, I was organizing breath holding contest in the school yard, you know. And uh, when I was in the military, I was a deep sea diver. I was mixing gases for deep sea diving. We were practicing breath holds, hyperventilating on oxygen and challenging each other to breath holds and um, coral diving, long breath holds. And uh, and I resuscitated someone when I was 19 years old, I learned CPR and wow, you come upon somebody who’s clinically dead and their pupils are fixed and dilated and they have no pulse in their ash and gray in there. And you blow into them and they blink and wake up. Like, wow, who doesn’t want to do that every day of their life? You know, who’s send in the next one. It’s, um, it’s just miraculous. So I dunno, everything just kept becoming more miraculous around the breath. And, uh, and then so many life and death, high stakes situations where the breath got me through. Where focusing on my breath, disconnected me from my negative self talk, my performance degrading, uh, you know, attitudes. And so the breath became this guy that became a helper, became a coach, it became a healer. And so, you know, I’m just, uh, I’ve had this passion about the breath and an obsession you could say, and, and it evolved into a profession. So you find the thing that you love to do that fascinates you the most. And then somehow after giving it away and just dancing and playing with it for years, uh, suddenly people are pulling it out of you and, uh, and you don’t need a job. So life’s a hoot. I love it.
Bryan: 00:10:45 Okay. Well, I think there’s probably a lot of people who are listening to this that maybe recognize in themselves an area of curiosity or interest or passion that they are pursuing, but they haven’t maybe mastered it yet or they certainly haven’t had the experience where the world is beating a path to their door, you know? But one of the things that piqued my interest with you is the fact that Tony Robbins wrote the forward to your book. I love Tony in his work and there’s not very many people who get to say that they coach Tony Robbins. Right. But you have, will you just share a little bit about, I mean obviously if, if Tony’s working asking you to work with him, you are a top performer. What did you teach him and why is he so high on you and your work?
Dan: 00:11:34 Well, I mean he understands that, you know, somebody who spent 40 years just focused on one thing. That’s rare. I mean most people don’t have a lifestyle that allows them to do that. I travel to China, I travel to India, I’ve been to 65 countries sniffing out anybody who knew anything about breathing. Uh, if I heard or read that there was somebody teaching something about breathing that I already didn’t know or practice, I was kissing their feet or breathing down their neck until I got what I could get from them or until they kicked me out of the Osram or their whatever. And so he realizes, hey, you can save me a lot of time and a lot of trouble because I’ve been busy with a lot of other stuff. And, um, and actually I worked with his son Jerrick and, uh, Jarrick got turned on and I guess shared his experience with, uh, Tony. And Tony called me up one day out of the blue, which, you know, I thought one of my friends was just kinda like running the joke on me, hey, this is Tony Robbins. Hey, get the fuck outta here. Who is this? You know, like, come on. But, um, no, it’s an honor. It’s a blessing. And people like that who are making a big difference in the world. I mean, that’s the people we want to serve, you know, and he’s just such an avid student of life and, and he’s so generous. And, uh, and I’ll tell you the first time I sat with them, I mean I had a palpable experience of someone who has an ability to just open and be present and just, you can just download stuff into him, boom. And people who’ve done a lot of work on themselves like him, I find that just a little refinement, a little adjustment, a slight new angle on something, and they parlay that into a huge advantage. And I love them because as soon as he learned something, he literally has to pull somebody into the room and teach it to them. He can’t bear to take on something of value and not having an immediate urge to share it. And, and I can relate to that. And so, um, it’s, it’s just, it’s great. And, um, when we started, um, his issue was high blood pressure and, uh, he was able to lower his blood pressure by 15 points within a week. It has never gone back up. So, and, and that, that little breakthrough for him came in and becoming conscious of what we’re doing with subtle muscles while we breathe in. You know, because Tony is so passionate and he practices breathing, his conscious of breathing and of course the breathing exercises that he loves, match his style, you know, the ever ready bunny with no off button. And so it was like, you know, it’s powerful. It’s active, it’s dynamic, it’s so, it match is his choices for breathing, matches personality and his style. And so for me, he was just putting too much energy, effort, muscular activity into the breathing. So he’s getting a lot of air, but we’re missing the subtle energy, the prana of the chi, the key, the life force. And something as simple as tensing his jaw, which I caught just on a Skype session with him. Every time he inhaled with this passion, you know, as temples flared, as jaw tenses. And so he’s just putting so much passion into the process. Um, but it’s kind of like, you know, here I live in the desert and when it rains, the soil is hard pack, dry soil. And so when it rains, the water just washes along the surface. But if you loosen the soil, soften the soil, then when it rains, it drinks up the water. So if we can be relaxing our muscles and softening our system while we breathe, that breath, energy can penetrate us. And when it does, it heals something. It’s a, something changes, something shifts. So this combination of relaxing the jaw while you’re breathing in, relaxing the throat, relaxing the shoulders so you’re very consciously combined relaxation with breathing. And then you ramp up the breathing so you make it more and more powerful. But don’t lose the relaxation element. And that’s the secret sauce that you know that I’m working with Tony and with just about everybody. It’s like how do you manage very powerful, deep, fast, wild breathing. And yet have your muscles be soft, be in a clear, open space with no pushing, no force, no effort. So there’s ease in this flow. So those two things, profound relaxation and powerful breathing and, and practice. So you don’t give up one for the other and manage the skill of combining them and whatever needs to happen will happen. Whatever’s next in our healing journey, whatever’s next in our awakening, something in us opens. And it’s hard to talk about because it’s a feeling thing. It’s an energetic thing. It’s so subjective. Um, but one good analogy I think is in all of them, I think they call magic I, it’s a, it’s a photograph of these random geometric things. But if you focus in a weird way, in an unusual way, behind the picture in front of the picture, there’s 3D image pops up. Well, we do something with our theory, with our awareness, with the breath. We make some adjustments that in the beginning it just feels a little non-ordinary. But somehow something can emerge, something can arise. We get in touch with something inside of us. It’s there all the time, but we haven’t quite developed the focus or the sense to unlock it. And breathing helps us to unlock those higher abilities, latent abilities. And if you’ve already tapped them, the breath helps you to turbo charge that.
Bryan: 00:18:00 Yeah. Yeah. Well then and I, that’s one of the things that I love the way you put language too in the book about breath awareness and conscious breathing. So even just understanding, you know, what is our breathing pattern in this moment? What are the emotional states that correlate with that? What is possible in that state or with that breath pattern? And then once we’re aware of that, if that serving us, great, stay there if we want something more or something different. Taking responsibility and choosing that.
Dan: 00:18:30 Yeah, and just the fact that we turn to the breath in certain moments means we’re doing something that we wouldn’t usually do by habit. And so creates a space of something possible, something new and the way or the breathing is a trick. Because if I put all my energy and all my attention into my breathing, let’s say in a moment of stress or someone’s insulting me or I’m having an orgasm or I’m listening to music, or I’m appreciating a sunset or, or I’m in, I’m in an uncomfortable situation, normally we react automatically or we default to certain patterns in those moments. And when we develop the wherewithal to channel our attention and our energy into the breath, in those moments, it takes energy away from what we’re usually doing. And it creates a space of a new awareness of a new level of comfort that didn’t exist. And so something can shift. Something can change. So it’s a matter of bringing our attention to the breath. As a ritual, as a meditation, let’s say in the morning for 10 1520 minutes, you don’t do anything except observe the breathing. Be present with the breath. Let the breath come and go by itself. Don’t do the breathing, don’t control it. Allow it to breathe you and assume this position of the witness. That’s meditation, that’s mindfulness, that’s coming into the present moment. And then from there, so that’s what we call breath awareness. And then from there we begin to do something with the breath. We control it, we give it a certain pattern, we breathe with a certain intention, we breathe a certain rhythm, we put some quality into the breath. Now we’re in that we’re participating. So there’s the level of being in the level of doing. There’s the passive aspect and the act of aspect and breath work is about this dance going back and forth between the two. The breath breathing, me and me breathing, the breath, the, you know, being and doing. And uh, those are like two wings, you know, breath awareness and conscious breathing. Wow. Between those two things, sometimes just bringing your attention to the breath and realizing that you’re holding your breath in a moment is enough to have a breakthrough in performance and creativity in an emotional situation. And then the ability to, to master you, control your breath, regulate your breath, get a handle on it means that we’re getting a handle on our awareness, our consciousness, which is essential and our life force, our energy. And when you’re got a handle on your consciousness and your energy, you’re the most creative state you can be in. So it’s well worth practicing.
Bryan: 00:21:22 Yeah. I’m experiencing this myself, you know, and as I mentioned just a few minutes ago, it’s not something I’ve been consciously aware of, you know, breathing or what, what I could do with it. Uh, or what I’m, you know, what I’m not doing with it. And you know, I suspect that of everybody listening to this there, not everybody, but some people are in this same inquiry like this is the perfect conversation for them at this moment in their life. For other people, I think it could occur like, oh, that’s just more, that’s just more mental chatter to try to juggle or sift through. I suppose from there I want to segue to the book because if people are listening to this, they’ve already listened for you know, 15 minutes or so. And again, I think they’re either having an experience like, man, this is awesome. Tell me more. Or they’re kind of on the fence. I want to explore why Just Breathe might benefit them and start by if you would, if you’d start by sharing the answer to this question, why did you write this book and what did you want it to do for people?
Dan: 00:22:22 Hmm. Well, the realization was that all those high states and these extraordinary abilities that we normally attach only to the great saints and the warriors in the mystics, in the masters in the gurus, those same high states, in those same extraordinary abilities, the average person can access them. They had a belly button just like us. They had a spirit of mind and a body. We got the same thing. And so anything, any human can accomplish, the potential is there for every human. And, and so when I realized that, that wow, the breath is the key to these states, and if you’re ready, then just tweaking the breath, playing with the breath is going to unlock this potential that we have. And I said, we need it at this point in an evolution. The world is, you know, man, it’s just, things are intensifying. Things are accelerating, things are going squarely. And we need more people to wake up and be able to find their center and be able to radiate a certain kind of energy that supports instead of, you know, interferes and downgrades and distracts and you know, a heartfelt intention powered by the breadth, unleashes this creative energy that really makes a difference in the world. And so I like people to just discover the power and the potential that we have inside and how we can use the breath to unlock this potential and maybe even just unlock our highest shelf. You know, what’s our maximum potential in this moment, in every interaction and the conscious intention to drive towards that maximum potential. The breath is fuel in its power for, for putting into action these intentions, these high aspirations. And it’s no coincidence, inspiration, exploration, aspiration to be inspired spirit. The root of that word is literally the breath. And um, and it’s not taught in schools and nobody, you know, now, thank God people are talking about it. 40 years ago I felt like a voice crying out in the desert. Breathing shmeating, you know, meditations, meditation is, but thank God science has caught up and it’s grown and there are so many teachers now, it’s almost hard to escape mindfulness practices, stress related, you know, strategies for coping. They’re popping up everywhere and the breath always shows up. And since it always shows up, let’s put some quality time into developing that aspect of it. So I’m just, you know, it’s my passion. It’s my profession, it’s my obsession. And frankly I don’t have much choice. I don’t know what else to do. If I wasn’t teaching, I’d be sitting on a couch, drinking beer and watching TV. I have to teach just to keep my own in a practice alive and to feel like I’m making a difference in the world and that, uh, that the people are able to, you know, improve or heal or grow or awaken or have some comfort because of a little thing that I learned that I can pass on. Wow. Send it in.
Bryan: 00:26:04 Yeah. That’s beautiful. What you’re saying resonates a lot with me as well. You know, some people have asked me why, why I, why do I do this? Why a podcast, why I coach, why I teach? And, and I say that same thing. I don’t know what else to do with my life. You know, I’ve tried alcohol, I’ve tried gambling, I’ve tried video games. It’s like this is it. So no, so something, something you say in Just Breathe really, really peaked my interest. You say the consciousness and relaxation while awake is so rare that when it does occur during a breathing session, people often describe, describe it as a peak religious experience. Yeah. You say more.
Dan: 00:26:47 Well, the average person’s reaction to relaxation is sleep. And I don’t know, there’s something about that that just shook me one day. I won’t wait a minute. So I relax, I relax more, I relax more, and then I’m unconscious. Why should relaxation lead to consciousness and when I, so the idea to try to stay awake as we relax, it’s the breathing. Conscious breathing keeps us awake while we react, while we relax. Without that conscious breathing, we’re just going to slip into unconsciousness along that path of relaxation. But if we maintain a conscious connection to the breath and we’re actively moving the breath as we are relaxing, we break through to a unique state. It’s almost as if nature makes us go unconscious so that the body can renew and reboot and rejuvenate. It’s our consciousness is so busy, so hectic, so that it almost has to shut off so the body can go, ah, finally some silence, some peace. Now we can get some, some defragging done. We can get some upgrades of the software done. We can clear away, we can detox. And so I realized we have to work on our consciousness and develop the kind of consciousness that doesn’t disturb our nature. And so that means getting rid of judgments and not resisting or reacting or attaching. Um, and so develop that kind of still quiet mind. Put that together with a very profoundly relaxed body and then bring in the power of the breath. And we become a Buddha. Like a, it’s an instant Buddha program. You know, we, we awakened to something really deep in us and it seems to me that we have a point beyond which we cannot relapse. And as we approached that point, it’s like we’re approaching a high security prison. The subconscious mind is threatening to be penetrated. And so it throws up distractions and flags and it takes away, it shifts our awareness. It distracts us. But if we can navigate through all that stuff and penetrate that deepest layer of our psyche, first of all, we unleash all these suppressed emotions, these unconscious fears, programs and conditioning that we took on as infants. And so we get through all that stuff and we find that underneath those layers is this pure source of energy. And it’s one of the things that I’m working with Tony on because most of high achievers are functioning on adrenalized energy. It’s so easy to ramp up that energy. Psych yourself up, ramp up that adrenaline and it’s so juicy and it’s so real that we can become addicted to our own adrenaline. And uh, and it’s not sustainable. You can get away with it for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years. I don’t know where the end, but it’s not sustainable ultimately. So we have to find a new source of energy. And that is through relaxation, through relaxation, deep, profound relaxation. In the presence of alert awareness, we unlock another source of energy. And that’s seems to be infinite and it seems to be, and it’s available to us. So when I run out of energy, when I run out of inspiration, when I don’t think I can take another step, I need to let go and relax and use my breath to drop into that place and tap that source of life force in me. And then I can go another mile or 20 miles if that’s what life calls me to do. Because when we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, life will give us the energy we need to do it. And so, um, and so those are the kinds of things that I’m really psyched about breaking that breaking the barrier between this deep place in us that has these layers of shocks and traumas and in family programming, social conditioning, religious programming, you know, educational stuff, all that stuff that we kind of swallowed, but it doesn’t really belong to us. It’s kind of mixing and it’s, and it’s almost creating a barrier between who we are and our real essential self. All these thoughts that we’ve taken on and these beliefs that we’ve taken on and habits and patterns that we’ve adopted, we’ve modeled from other people and to wash away all that stuff and clear away all that stuff and return to our pure essence. Wow. If that’s your mission, if that’s your journey, the breath is the key.
Bryan: 00:32:10 Well in what you’re sharing too, man, there’s so much that’s coming up for me because a big part of, of why I do this work is having watched my dad, you know, achieve extraordinary success as an entrepreneur, but paying a very high price and being fueled for many years in my estimation by what I would call disempowering emotions. You know, I think there was a lot of generosity and desire to serve and there was that for sure. Nobody’s ever all one anything but I think there was also a lot of desire to compete and win and stuff like this. And for a long time I thought, and this is what I learned from Tony, like, well, if we can learn to be fueled by empowering emotions as opposed to disempowering emotions, then that’s an upgrade. But what I’m getting from what you’re saying now is even if we are fueled by these empowering emotions that often has a similar cost and there’s a source of energy below even that, yeah. If we tap into that pure awareness.
Dan: 00:33:08 Yeah. Because what makes emotion so powerful is the energy in it, behind them. And that energy, we can tap directly. So energy takes the form of thoughts. Energy takes the form of emotions and energy takes the form of physical sensations. Energy takes the form of movements. And so what is this energy and how can we tap it directly before it takes the form of a thought before it takes the form of an emotion or a reaction or an action. If we can get under all that stuff and tap that energy in a pure way and then choose the form that we give it, have all the emotion at the energy. I mean, anger dammit, anger can really make a difference if it’s the same energy as determination and you know, and so, and some people may be like your father and others, we’ve learned to tap certain emotions because of the inherent energy in them. Once we discover that we can tap the inherent energy and eliminate the wear and tear on our system and eliminate the wear and tear on relationships the better. So, yeah, I was, you know, when I first read Lynn Yutang in Chinese philosophy and I got the notion, even a young teenager that very high positive, happy feelings were just as dangerous to the system as sadness and depression. That Chinese idea really startled me. I thought, Whoa, you mean we can be too high to happy? And that’s just as dangerous to our health as being too sad or too depressed. That shook something in me like what are we talking about? And what we’re talking about is the intensity of the energy. And what I’ve learned and what we teach is that when you learn how to channel emotional energy through the breath, it takes the stress off the system and the system can perform better. And, but that’s a skill we can, if an emotion comes up in me, I can yell and scream and shout, I can beat pillows or I can beat people. And sure enough, I vented all that emotional energy and maybe I won a battle. Maybe I built a house, maybe who knows? But wow, what an inefficient way a to accomplish that. You know? And what if I could just tap that energy without all of the drama and trauma? That’s a skill we have. That’s a skill we have and once we get it, our system goes, ah, yeah, right, right. I don’t have to go through this stuff I needed to go through. I’ll tell you your father, and it’s a classic thing in many people. When I first started rebirthing, the breathing that I do initially was called rebirthing, one of the core techniques, and that is conscious connected circular breathing where the inhale is active, the exhale is passionate and it’s continuous and connected, so that’s a core. One of the core breathing techniques I teach and it’s done usually guided one-on-one, but we do in groups. Anyway. What we discovered was that the birth pattern in the early days, we were all about birth trauma when I was doing this breathing, because what we discovered was that whatever pattern occurred during the birth, let’s say I struggled to get through the birth canal and I struggled and I am fought than I do, and I made it and I came out into this freedom from a little closed up world through this difficult struggling birth canal and I was rewarded with this tremendous freedom, deep in my psyche. I’m impressed with the idea that struggle means success. Struggle means achievements. And the more I struggle, the more I achieve. And many people can say it. Yeah, you want to accomplish something, work harder. You want to accomplish something really huge work really hard.
Bryan: 00:37:23 Yeah. And no pain, no gain we even say.
Dan: 00:37:27 And pain and then the religious people take it in me. They’re kind of manipulators, like pain leads to pleasure, right? So if I’m willing to suffer through some painful event, I’ll be rewarded with some pleasure. And the opposite is, hey, if I take too much pleasure and I enjoy myself too much, I’m going to be punished for it later. Pain follows pleasure, pleasure follows pain and we’re stuck in this sort of loop and we can get off that wheel, you know? And once we discover that, wow, you know, I have to struggle to communicate. I have to struggle to make money. I have to struggle to succeed in a relationship. I have to. And what, what does this struggle? Where does it come from? Deep in our psyche, this idea that struggle is linked to being alive. And unless I’m struggling with something deep in my psyche, I don’t know if I’m alive. So I have to be always struggling at something to satisfy that deep belief that struggle equals life. And that to me, that’s classic birth trauma, this impressed in us psyche and we need to clear it so we can have a different kind of motivation and a different source of energy.
Bryan: 00:38:42 That’s beautiful. And in that something that I’d wanted to ask you about. So I’m glad you brought it up, both about rebirthing and about an affirmation that you include near the end of the book that I’m really grateful for. In fact, I wrote it down and, and I’m reading it regularly, which is something I believed would be very difficult, complicated and take a long time can actually be quite simple and easy and can happen very quickly.
Dan: 00:39:06 Yeah. Because we already have the idea, don’t we? If we’re honest, if you want to achieve something really extraordinary, don’t we already think it’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be complicated. And let’s face it, it’s going to take a long time. Look at the war on cancer. What does that 60 years old now and where are we gotten? You know, so yeah. And things are accelerating and it’s not just a beautiful idea. Things are accelerating. There was a time in the world when there was just one Buddha walking the planet. One Jesus, one Mohammed, one Shiva, one Trishna one Moses one. And but now there are millions of awakened beings. I mean, you even have 1% of the world is awakened. That’s 80 million people. 1% of 8 billion. Yeah. 80 million enlightened beings on this planet. Even if it’s only 1% of 1% which is as about as concern as you can get as still the 8 million Buddha’s enlightened beings. So it’s much easier for us than it was a couple of thousand years ago. Yeah. And so if we’re ready, if that’s intention is already in a movement in that direction, we just need to let go of whatever limiting beliefs or negative thoughts or you know, narrow points of view. We have released that stuff, get into our hearts and just let go. And sure enough, we will be uplifted because there’s already a force happening and you know the tide lifts all boats, right? Yeah. And so if we can connect to that life force, let go of whatever we got that we’re holding on and holding on and resisting clear way that stuff, something very beautiful and natural is automatically, and it happens very quick and it’s very simple and it’s, sometimes it feels like cheating because we got some place that it seems like, wow, we had people sitting in caves for 40 years meditating and they still haven’t gotten it. And all I did was lay down and breathe for a couple of hours and it came to me. Is that fair? Yeah. Well, yeah.
Bryan: 00:41:27 Well this idea too of of letting go, you know, life not being about trying harder is one that I was first introduced to by Jack Canfield, you know, the author of Chicken Soup For the Soul where he talked about his term was release, the brakes, you know, and not more gas but less brake. And then later with, um, a mentor of mine, Marshall Goldsmith, you know, who points out that we don’t need as successful, especially successful executives. It’s not that they need more knowledge or even more skill. But what is often required to get to the next level is to let go of these limiting patterns that are impeding progress.
Dan: 00:42:05 Half the work is relaxation, literally. I mean, we’ve gotta be doing and wow, I just read an article, someone send me 15 minutes of just doing nothing. Mindful practice, you know, gives 50 year olds a 25 year old mind, you know, so, um, yeah, it’s, it’s the way it’s, and you can only push so far before you realize you need a plan B because you just can’t push hard enough and you’re running out of energy. So you gotta have another way to move forward and the letting go, taking off the brakes. Wow shooh, that can happen. And you know, we learned that we mastered on the level of breath because when you let go on the exhale, you can’t cheat. Somebody’s looking, somebody listening and you yourself paying attention. No. Are you letting it go? Are you holding some of it back? Are you letting it out slowly, which means you’re controlling? Or are you just snapping it loose. And once you, once you get this feeling of letting go just for a moment, but total in that moment, wow, we can get a rush of inspiration, we can release a ton of fatigue. Ah, and so that skill of total quit letting go like a reboot and in a practical way I was just talking to a mixed martial arts guys and you know, you’re in there and then you back off and you’ve got a moment to take a breath and shake everything off and then go back. In those moments when you get really good at taking a breath and venting the fatigue and the tension, wow. You know, it’s better than three minutes in between the round, you can just take a take a one breath and, and recharge and release. That’s a skill and we can muscle up that skill with practice so that we can get to the point where heck, with an hour of breathing you can get what most people get out of, you know, a week in the Bahamas in terms of relaxation and renewal. And it’s just a matter of practice.
Bryan: 00:44:15 Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s one of those things to me as, you know, as I listened now it, it almost sounds too good to be true. Like, oh, that’s too easy. That couldn’t possibly be, you know, possible.
Dan: 00:44:26 That’s why experience itself an on arguable experience and uh, you know, nothing, nothing works like a real experience. And that’s one of the reasons like Tony and other high performers, what’s the most precious thing that we have at some point it’s time, right? Money I can lose it and get it back, friends I can lose them and get them back my health, I can lose it and get it back, but time. So how can I, if I only have five minutes, if I only have 10 minutes, if I only have a minute, what’s the most and the best I can do to squeeze all the potential out of that short time I have. And boy, the breath gives us, gives us that ability to maximize, hey, if, if I only have five minutes to recover before I got to do another emergency surgery or I’ve only got 10 minutes before another ambulance call or 10 minutes before, whatever, another presentation and I need to find my center recharge, relax, clear. Wow. You know? Breathing is key to saving ourselves a lot of time.
Bryan: 00:45:31 You mean it’s not diet coke?
Dan: 00:45:35 Or Red Bull?
Bryan: 00:45:38 Yeah, totally. So couple of things I want to get your, your view about. So I heard Sadhguru say that it’s possible to know one’s entire destiny, their history and their future from observing their breath. I was like, that’s a pretty bold freaking claim. What’s, what’s your, I mean, I know he’s a mystic and there’s a lot that he says that I, I hold any kind of, uh, a place of possibility, with a dose of skepticism, but what’s your view? What’s your view on that?
Dan: 00:46:12 Oh, definitely. I think breathing patterns are like fingerprints. Everyone’s breathing pattern is unique and it’s expressing and it’s reflecting what’s actual and real in us in the present moment. I mean I can smile even though I don’t really feel like this smiling, you know, uh, I can, I can look tough even though I’m scared shitless. Uh, you know, so we can, we can do things with our posture, with our tone of voice, with our facial expressions to kind of express and reflect who we are, uh, how we are in the moment. But we also learn how to disguise those things. I mean, we put on a social mask just to get along. We hold back how we really feel because we want to hurt someone else’s feelings or we don’t want them to kill us. And so we can’t trust posture. You can’t trust facial expressions. You can’t trust tone of voice and you can’t trust people when they say, how are you? Fine. Really? So, but the breath is so pure and there are so few breathing masters on the planet that the breathing is giving away who we are and how we are or whether we try to hide it or not. Our relationship to our breath is an expression in a reflection of our relationship to our body, to our mind, to our to life, to people, to nature. And so if we observe the breathing, we start to see, get very pure information and, and our, every psychological state has a corresponding breathing quality. And so if we learn to study the breath and begin to look for details in the breathing where we unlock all this information. So yeah. Um, I agree with him. I can’t say that I’ve gotten to the point where I can see clearly everyone’s past and future, but I got a sense of the kind of life they’ve lived in, the kind of traumas and successes they’ve had. And I can easily imagine if they continue the way they are, the kind of future they’ll create. And so it’s easy to introduce a shift in breathing, which causes a shift in thinking change in habits, change in behavior, change in emotional reactions, which creates an entirely new future. So, uh, yeah, I think I’m on board with him in general with that.
Bryan: 00:48:43 Yeah, I can see that. When I want to go back to something you said just a few minutes ago because it’s one of my favorite conversations with friends like on a road trip or just over coffee is this idea of what does it mean to be awakened? What does it mean to be enlightened? What’s your view?
Dan: 00:49:02 A familiar, the most conscious people I’ve ever met have been the most spiritual, the most spiritual people I’ve ever met have been the most conscious. Um, as for maybe there’s no difference between being conscious and being spiritual. I think being awakened is having mind intelligence, heart intelligence and body intelligence all alive and contributing to our experience of each moment. If we’re trying to make it through life just with our head, we’re missing a whole range in the spectrum of awareness and consciousness. And so intuition might be a good word. When the heart intelligence and bodily intelligence supports thinking we unleash intuitive kind of power. I think it’s basically when our heart chakra becomes the new root chakra. When our default is not down into of power and control and survival and sensations, but our baseline default is somewhere in the heart center. I think we can call that being awakened and the ability, I mean you know, we get hijacked by emotions, by chemicals, you know, something triggers us real chemicals are activated in our system and so if we identify with our body mind system, then we become that disturbance, that upset. But when we are conscious and aware and we can observe our mind, body system, we are in what you might call an awakened state, that stuff is happening. We’re not suppressing it, we’re human. Those feelings are happening, but they don’t push and pull us. We’re able to choose who to be and how to be regardless of what’s happening inside of us, regardless of what’s happening around us. I think that’s awakening. I think that’s enlightenment and it’s remembering. It’s more about the ability to return to who we are because everything is momentary. You know, I spent the first 30, 40 years of my life in search of enlightenment and I finally got it. But here’s the joke of the universe. How long does it last? That long, so imagine spending 30 years of your life seeking something that lasts for a moment, but you can never go back. You can never erase it. You can never forget it. And so then the games on, now I know it’s there and now maybe it’s possible to live from that place, which means identifying all of the things that have the power to pull me out of it. Everyone has had, we’ve all had these moments of this beautiful connection to nature, to everyone where we feel our borders dissolve, where there’s no questions where everything is clear. We’ve had these moments of awakening, but they are just moments and we stumble over them by accident, coincidence by grace. But I think being awake is accepting a responsibility for coming from that place of enlightenment and, and learning how to return to it quickly when we get pulled out. Um, and I think that’s an awaken, I think that is a conscious life. Um, and as something about the ego is no longer our primary reference points. I mean, you have pain in you and I feel it like to me, I can’t pretend that’s not true anymore. I can block that feeling. But when I’m open in this awakened state, I’m feeling everything. And so now what do I do? I can understand how when we’re young we need to like turn off some of our antenna because it’s overwhelming. If I’m feeling everything that the people around me are feeling, it’s very difficult to stay in my own center. It’s very difficult to function. So I almost have to turn off my antenna so I can kind of protect myself from being overwhelmed by everyone’s thoughts and feelings in their energy. But once we grow to a certain point of strength and power, we can turn those antenna back on and we can learn how to navigate that stuff. So we can have one foot in each world. And so for me, I think that’s an awakened state, fully human. And as much as we can be fully divine, you know, uh, there’s one being being mean. You in this universe. And, uh, and can I identify with that greater energy equally with my sense of self as a separate being? I think if I can manage that, then in the right moments I’m going to lean the right way. If I need to make a personal egoic contribution to the moment, then that’s what will happen. Like a wave forms on the ocean. It says what it says, it does what it does and then it disappears back into the ocean. Now trying to keep that wave alive and awake and, and through time, that’s ego. And so we could use the ego and all that ocean energy comes up, we express something, we make a real tangible difference in the world. And then that ego dissolves and we melt back into the ocean. And I think we, I think being awakened is getting comfortable with that, you know, get comfortable with that one foot in each world.
Bryan: 00:54:45 Yeah, that’s it. That’s beautiful. Beautiful description. Thank you for sharing that. So, okay, so I have just a few more questions before I transition us to the enlightening lightning round. How are you doing? I’m just checking in with you.
Dan: 00:54:59 Oh, excellent.
Bryan: 00:55:00 Okay, good. So one of my teachers is Yogananda.
Dan: 00:55:08 Yogananda autobiography For the Yogi.
Bryan: 00:55:10 Yes. And one of the things I read in his lessons since he left this earth before I was born is he has this statement, breathlessness is deathlessness. And I’m really, I’m really curious to get your view about that because one of the things I learned somewhere along the way is that what, what’s happening when we age is that our cells are actually oxidizing, that we’re rusting. And that’s the process of this, of breath and the oxygenation and the carbon, you know, the CO2 that leaves in all this is part of the oxidation process. And this statement, breathlessness is deathlessness is interesting to me because it would seem accurate if you stopped at breathlessness is death. But the statement breathlessness is deathlessness make sense to me if I apply that scientific view of well we would stop rusting if we would stop breathing, but how could we stop breathing without dying? And by the way, the last part of this for me, that’s when I say it took me 40 years. I didn’t realize literally until the last six months that when we exhale, our system slows down and it’s when we inhale that our, our blood pressure and all that actually increases. But what’s your view of breathlessness as deathlessness and moving closer to that without actually dying?
Dan: 00:56:34 There’s a, there’s a natural pause at the end of the exhale and uh, so a natural breathing pattern, inhale, exhale, pause, and that pause for us. And in everyday life needs to be a comfort zone. The system has a chance to stabilize itself. Uh, we just made a cosmic journey, inhale, exhale. And then we come home and we want to stay at home a little while before we make another journey. So many people, what they do is they abort the exhale. They don’t complete the exhale. And if I can exaggerate at something like so… so I’m cutting my actual short and rushing into the next inhale. And that can be, that leads to a phrenic kind of lifestyle where I know I can, I don’t recover completely and I’m into something else. I don’t complete my exhale and I’m into something else. So my breath is just chaotic and a step. And I think that kind of breathlessness is what he’s talking about. And when you come into the still space at the end of the exhale and this pause and you relax everything and you churn up your awareness to the details of the feelings and sensations in your body and you get in touch with these feelings of aliveness in the absence of the air huffing and puffing and bowing and moving, we come into contact with something very subtle. I mean we do this when we want to, when we want to listen to a sound in the distance, we hold our breath and we’ve become very still because we’re reaching out with our hearing. And so when we’re reaching in to something deep in us, that breathlessness helps us, that that pause, that stillness helps us to penetrate a certain silence and distance deep within. And so when I, I think there is breathing happening, but it’s not the breathing that we’re huffing and puffing kind of thing. It’s pure energy breathing. There’s a pulse, there’s a natural pulse of life. It’s not the heartbeat, it’s not the spinal fluids. It’s an, it’s a another pulse. And in that stillness, in that breathless state, we get in touch with this pulse of life. And it’s not just the life for our body, it’s the life of the universe. And so we, if we can embody that, if we can connect with that, hey, our body is just like everything else in the physical world. My friend Linden Orr said, if humans are so smart, how come dirt lasts longer than most humans? We’re supposed to be so smart, you know, or turtles, you know, live three under years or trees that live 2000 years and we’re supposed to be the highest species on this planet. What are we doing wrong? It’s because we’re not connected to that deathless part of us, that immortal source essence in us. And I think that’s what he’s talking about getting in touch with that infinite eternal essence that fills and surrounds everything. That’s that deathlessness. Um, and for most people we have to clear a lot of stuff out of our system to, to get to that real pause. Because if I have thoughts, if I have feelings, emotions, tensions, activity in my body, I can’t stay in that breathless state. The demand and metabolic demand is too great. So I have to do a lot of work on my mind, body system to get to that point that he’s talking about. But wow, what a great goal, Huh?
Bryan: 01:00:34 Yeah, it’s beautiful. It reminds me of something I read in Nisargadatta, I Am That, where a question or asks him a question or says, in order to be an engineer, one must learn engineering in order to be a God what must one learn? His response, one must unlearn everything. I was like, Whoa, that’s perspective shift.
Dan: 01:01:00 Hey unlearning everybody who comes to my training these days, and it’s pretty obvious. We all have certain things, habits, patterns, behaviors, strategies, whatever. Methods that have outlived their usefulness. They’ve helped us to survive. They’ve helped us to achieve, but they’ve, we’ve, they’ve, that’s as far as we can go but we haven’t dropped it. We can try to double down on it. And so something that has served us is now in the way, and I think everybody gets to a point in their life and hopefully many points in their life where they see that certain ways of thinking, certain ways of being don’t, won’t help us go the next step. We have to actually let go. And that’s scary because we have so much proof that it works. We have so much proof that our life is were alive because of it. We’re successful because of it. And it’s so hard to let it go.
Bryan: 01:02:01 Yeah. And so much uncertainty that something else would work better in the future.
Dan: 01:02:06 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Bryan: 01:02:07 Sure. Yeah. Okay. So the other thing, so we touch, we talked briefly about Yogananda and as you know, one of his teachers, Babajhe, I heard you say you met this immortal being and I want to ask you about that because again, I am open to the possibility that Babajhe exists, that you met him and at the same time I’m like, well there could be another explanation, but you tell me about your encounter with, well first of all, for anybody listening who doesn’t know who he is, let me give a little background on who he is and then what your experience meeting him was like.
Dan: 01:02:41 Yeah, he’s, talked about and Yogananda talks about him is his Gurus, Gurus, Guru, right? So He’s, he’s known as like the immortal Yogi Christ of India. He’s a phenomenon. It’s not a person, not a personality is more of a phenomenon. Hard to wrap your mind around it. But for me it’s like the possible human, here’s an example of the ultimate possibility of being human. And that is being what we refer to as divine and not subject to the laws of physics and the, and the all the laws and dynamics that control everything in nature. There’s an aspect of ourselves that is not subject to those laws and dynamics as everything else in the phenomenal world. It’s free of that. And so that means a part of us is also free of that, an essence in us as free of that. And so we are in essence immortal. We are in essence infinite. We are in essence eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. These are qualities that deepen our source and our essence, our hours to develop and realize. And a, it helps to have examples and models. And so for me, Babajhe was one of these models or examples. And um, I first encountered him as a child hearing about this idea, notion of a guardian angel that in, as a Catholic child, I was taught that we all have our personal guardian angel. We had an individual angel assigned to us.
Bryan: 01:04:31 It’s a nice thought.
Dan: 01:04:32 Isn’t it, and just assigned to us to just be with us. And you know, as a five year old kid, while this was real, so I’d be sitting on my, in my chair and my desk and there’d be a little space on the side of me for my guardian angel. I go to lunch in the cafeteria is a little space on the side of me from my guardian angel. I mean, you know, as a little kid, this is the real stuff. There’s no difference between what we imagine and what we’re experiencing. And so I was in that for quite awhile as a child. And when I met Babaji in 1980 it was just extraordinary because like, you know, getting to India, bus, planes, trains and a bus and then a car and then hiking for three hours to the Ashram and finally getting to the Ashram and there’s a hundred steps, 108 steps up to the Ashram, with your backpack. And finally I’d found a place look very comfortable to sit. I sat down, ah, I was like coming home and Babajhe came out of his room. He came running up, he sat on the side of me and he went [inaudible] and it was a boom. It was, he was my guardian angel from kindergarten in the flesh. And I, uh, I never recovered from that. And I never, I’ve never been the same. And, um, and being around someone who’s so miraculous, you just can’t hold onto certain limiting ideas. You may not be able to do those miracles, but a part of you, sees that they, it’s real. So you don’t have the luxury of doubt. So he instilled in me a real deep knowing that some of these things I was taught that are only true about God are actually potentials we have. And if, and we can go there, we can awaken that stuff. We don’t have to, uh, we, we don’t have to settle for less. We don’t have to buy into a lot of the limitations that we, uh, that we’ve swallowed. You know, though, it’s just an inspiration, you know, it’s just something that gives us juice to go that next step.
Bryan: 01:06:53 How, I mean, how do you know it was him? Like other people say it or something. Right. I mean like how, how, how are you so certain?
Dan: 01:07:02 Well, I mean, I, I tell my finger to bend and it bends. I’d tell my finger to straighten it straightens. How do I know my eyes are closed? How do I know that my finger bending and straightening according to what I just know? I just know and I know where my hand is right now and I can’t prove that I know but I know where it is and wherever I’ve put it, I know where it is. I don’t know how to explain how I know, but I know that I know it’s all, I don’t know.
Bryan: 01:07:33 Okay. Fair enough. All right, well thank you for that. And then the last, the last thing in this part of the interview I want to ask you about is this his breathing practice that I know has a name, probably some Sanskrit or Hindi other kind of a name, but it’s the one that today many people know is the Wim Hof Breath Practice. Right, and I’ve been practicing this a little bit. When I do, I sometimes feel like I’m gonna die. I’m like literally feel like I’m gonna die. And I wonder if you will share with me and people listening a little bit about what this practice is and whether or not it’s safe and what the potential benefits of it are.
Dan: 01:08:12 Yeah. Well, um, yes, it’s safe and I role and habits might not be safe. So people who push themselves too much, you can’t say that what they’re doing is the problem. It’s how much they’re pushing themselves as the problem. Straining, forcing, being unnatural. That can be damaging or dangerous. But the practice itself, modulated and regulated is perfectly safe. It might not be the best place to start. For some people it’s very narrow, you know? So if you’re afraid person, you want to adjust that so that you’re not straining yourself, let’s say. Um, and that just reminds me quick about the idea of stress. Hans Saily who turn or coined the term stress later in his life he confessed that he said, wow, English wasn’t my first language. And he used the word stress, which was an engineering term. But what he meant was strain. And so the word stress kinda got locked in there and he had to go, whoa. That was never what I meant in this specific definition of things. The proper term would be strange. Stress is helpful. It’s necessary as part of life, but strain, that’s us damaging ourselves, right? And that we don’t need to do so Wim Hof Method, you know, if you’re just going to take 30 breaths, you can knock yourself out of balance for awhile and recover pretty much no matter what level of health your at, um, but you know, I would, I would recommend whims method for people who don’t have any serious health issues. Start with something general, more gentle and work up to that if, if you really have fragile health concerns, uh, but otherwise it’s, it’s safe to just adjust it. But the technique itself is a no brainer because it’s basically hyperventilation breath holding, hyperventilation breath holding. Now Wim doesn’t like to use the word hyperventilation anymore. It’s got a bad rap hyperventilation. It’s got a medical connotation that’s not good. And so on. What is hyperventilation, let’s be honest. And in this and it’s not so bad and it’s actually quite beneficial and useful because when you hyperventilate, you activate a whole package of internal feelings and sensations and emotions and reactions and thoughts like, I’m going to die. The, it brings up this stuff. And so if you can relax and tolerate and breathe, you heal something, all those thoughts, those reactions, they dissolve, they resolve, they come into harmony, you clear something, you release something, you balance something. So those symptoms of hyperventilation are very useful. It gives us something to actually accept and surrender to and allow and feel safe with. And then when you hold your breath, you bring up totally different package of feelings and sensations and emotions and fears and thoughts and reactions. And so if you can tolerate them, if you can comfortably integrate them, you heal something, you grow in capacity. So it’s a no brainer to practice hyperventilation and breath holding. And um, and you’re right, it’s not new. It’s an ancient yoga approach. Beautiful Yoga approach and, and you know, he’s kicking butt and taking names on the planet right now. He’s turning a lot of people onto the breath and a lot of people on to this ideas. He says, you got to believe you can do this shit. You know, that positive psychology and this determination to just through sheer will just accomplish something. You know, we’re capable of a heck of a lot more than we realize. And every time we notch up and we go, wow. Yeah, what’s the next possibility? What’s the next possibility? Let’s keep going. So I love the guy, I love Whim. I love his method. And for me it’s like if you’re an artist and you have your color palette and you have one color on your palate, the Wim Hof method, well that’s beautiful. There’s an infinite number of shades to that color. But what am I meant you had 50 other colors on your palette, what could you create? And so the Wim Hof method is one of thousands, literally thousands of, you know, unique approaches to a universal practice. And each of us, maybe we need to find our own, you know, you need to have the Bryan method, need to have the ban that we all need to find our own way and we borrow and beg and steal from each other and putting together our own our own way. So God bless women. Let’s have a million more like I’m.
Bryan: 01:13:27 For sure. And one thing I loved in Just Breathe that I wasn’t, I’d never even thought of before, it never occurred to me was these different stages of, I don’t know if you call them this term breath hunger, right? So when we get to a point where we want, but then, and I don’t remember the exact term, but it’s like there’s different points at which we feel the intensity to breathe, that we can relax past without doing damage and cultivate a greater awareness and ability and either heal or open up possibilities. Will you just touch on that a little bit as well? The subtle shifts of when we might want to feel that urge to breathe.
Dan: 01:14:06 That urge to breathe is the most powerful biological urge we have. And so when you can relax into that urge, relaxing into everything else as a piece of cake. So we have to be gentle, we have to be persistent. I can, I can force myself to override that temporarily, but it’s not going to create any permanent change in my system. But if I gradually, let’s say I breathe in, I breathe out and I can pause comfortably for 20 seconds, and then I stop to feel this urge to breathe and I relax into that urge and I let myself breathe and then I breathe normally for a couple minutes and then I take another breath, I let it out and I go into another pause. And when I feel that urge to breathe, I try to relax in the presence of that powerful urge just for another moment or two. And then every day I might practice that three or four or five times for a few minutes each day. And I find that every day or two my pause is one second longer, just every two days, one second longer of a comfortable pause. And then after three, four, five, six weeks, I’m up to a 60 second comfortable pause and in that comfortable pause, now I’m able to stay in that pause long enough in a relaxed state that something can open to me. If I’m, if I’m fighting it, if I’m using my will to keep holding my breath in spite of all those feelings, Eh, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna get under those feelings. Right? So relaxing into intensity, getting comfortable with just comfort. It’s not rocket science, it’s very direct practice. But like my friend yours, Mark Devine says, you don’t have to push yourself through these limits, but you have to lean into them. If you push yourself through them, you might have a breakthrough. But as soon as you let go, your system is going to fall back to its old default and you will live, achieved a very temporary high moment. But then your system has been grounded itself and then new level. But if you gradually lean into your limits, okay, I really need to breathe that here and to be okay. Just relax for a moment. One more second. Now breathe. And I just keep doing that, not pushing but very persistent, a very gentle and slow and make it a six eight week, 10 week practice. By then I’m up to a minute breath holds. Now I can stay relaxed and alert for whole minute and that allows certain things to pirke up, percolate up. They couldn’t percolate up if I could only be relaxed for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 40 seconds. So we are making ourselves more available to something that can awaken in us. So we practice.
Bryan: 01:17:07 It’s beautiful. And what I about this, you know, for myself, and I hope people listening hear this as an invitation, you know, whether it’s to work more with you [email protected] or anywhere, you know, any, because I think a lot of this is where if, if people had learned this, it might’ve been inside some kind of religious tradition or perhaps some kind of yoga, yoga class or some other community, but a lot of people who are hearing this maybe don’t have those kinds of communities currently and don’t want them the way they conceive of them. But what I’m present to is this idea of the last 20 years where positive psychology has come in and we’re looking for happiness. Like we’re truly looking for happiness, but so much of it is intellectual and what this makes available is the the embodied aspect of life and this idea of life or divinity or whatever attempting to work and move through us. I love these kinds of practices that actually give us the experience of that and so I’m really excited for people who are hearing this as they’re doing whatever they’re doing as they’re doing laundry, as they’re making dinner, is there going to work as they’re falling asleep, that they’re integrating this into their day and in not only enhancing their experience of life but contributing to others and inviting others too. It’s just really exciting to me.
Dan: 01:18:26 Well, and that’s been a big part of my life in my own work is to extract the breathing stuff that really works and separated from the rituals in the dogmas and that somehow very often these practices are couched or packaged and you have to buy into a whole philosophy or religious thing or something. And, and you know, we’re not ready for that. But if you can extract the scientific energetic stuff that works. Yeah. Um, and, and skip all of the unnecessary ritual dogmas and stuff and makes it accessible to all of us. Yeah. So I know [inaudible] said, you know, if you watch, watch a child play, they don’t get joy out of what they do. They put joy into what they do. And so this breathing practice, what we get out of it depends on what we put into it. And we don’t have to put a lot of philosophy and beliefs into it. We can just put awareness into it, put passion into it, put enthusiasm into it, and the breath is gonna reward us. It’s gonna reveal its secrets. And we won’t need an expert or a master or Yogi. Well, we can make use of them. They can become friends that walk our path with us, but we find an internal source which guides us. And, um, so yeah, putting consciousness, passion, enthusiasm, great detailed awareness into the breath, meditative awareness and then ramping it up and putting more and more passionate energy into the breath. Until we reach a level where we realize, oh, we’re struggling to tolerate, we’re struggling to integrate, we’re struggling to process. So we’re at the cutting edge of our growth and that’s when the skills come in. That’s when you’ve had a little bit of coaching and a little bit of practice. You know, how to adjust your breathing at that point. You know how to relax and release certain things and then you can go further. Not with effort, but it’s more like a breakthrough. Yeah. So my basic mantra for people in those moments when we’re at the very edge and we’re either going to fall back or breakthrough, we need to open and expand. That’s an inhale and we need to relax and let go. That’s an exhale. And doing that in the moment is going to open us to the possibility and letting go of the exhale is gonna allow us to move into that possibility. So we practice opening and expanding, relaxing and letting go. And when we get stuck, we come back to that skill and the best we can manage the opening and expanding the relaxing and letting go and we’re going to get through that block, that obstacle, that limitation, whatever it is. And a, so we practice the basics. You practice breathing high in your chest, practice breathing low in your belly, practice breathing through your nose, practice breathing through your mouth, practice breathing fast, practice breathing slow. And if you practice all that stuff then in those moments your breath will be able to do what it needs to do to help you get through. But if you haven’t trained it and freed it up and worked with it, it’s, it’s self is stuck and can’t help us. So I used to call this breath therapy and breath therapy. There are two ideas to breath therapy. One is that our breathing mechanism has been injured, is inhibited. It’s not functioning at its full free potential. So when we need to heal our breathing mechanism, bring it back to its original powerful state of function. And when we do that, the breath becomes a therapeutic tool. So first we heal the breathing mechanism. We make it full and free and flexible, and we give it a big range. Now it’s alive and it can work with us. Now the breath becomes a therapeutic tool and we can use the breath to heal our body, heal our mind, heal our emotions, heal each other. So call it breath therapy, call it what you like. I keep trying to invent new names for it. Uh, but it’s the same practice.
Bryan: 01:22:52 It’s beautiful. And, and we’ve, we’ve all heard this saying, how you do anything is how you do everything. But when I’ve thought of that, I’ve never thought how I breathe is how I live life, you know?
Dan: 01:23:03 But it needs to be a love affair. It needs to be when you approach the breath, you need to be approaching it with this attitude of like, you know, romantic, sacred, uh, you know, that kind of, because breathing is sacred, it is so important, so vital. And we need to like approach it with detailed awareness, with a real open heart, with an open mind. So that the breath can begin to guide and teach us and it’s like a, it’s like we’ve had this helper and the breath is alive and it’s intelligent and it comes in when we need it and it helps us when we have no energy and it helps us calm down when we have too much frenetic energy. Yeah, it helps us become warmer if we need that. It helps us become cooler. It’s like, wow, it’s a Swiss Army Knife of life. You can use it in so many ways and each of us needs to find that way. You develop a more intimate relationship with our breath. We play with it. We train in the direction of comfort because nature wouldn’t screw with us. If you will find a particular breathing exercise or a technique that you find particularly enjoyable or interesting or beneficial and can double down on it, practice it, master it, but we can only train in the direction of comfort. We need to train in the direction of challenge. We stay in our comfort zone we never grow, but if you get too far out of your comfort zone, your system will shut down, will sabotage you. And so we have to get into discomfort a little bit. I call it the working zone. So we have a comfort zone, just comfort zone. And in between we have a working zone, so we won’t, we have to be out on the edge of our comfort if we want to know that we’re growing and expanding, uh, and evolving. But it doesn’t have to be way outside of comfort that that actually works against us at some point. No. So, um, yeah, it’s, it’s in a work, this is all about doing our inner work and you can call it what you want. You can follow some spiritual path. You can walk the path of some teacher that you resonate with. But in the end, we need to make our own path. We need to find our own path. We need to create our own path. And so we take from as many teachers and helpers as we can. We put together our own unique practice and then we, what’s the highest potential? Let’s go for it.
Bryan: 01:25:44 Yeah, I love that. So the next portion of the interview is designed for me to ask you a few short questions. You can answer as long as you want, but I’m going to work to not go to deep or take us on a too much of a tangent and let you just move through this.
Dan: 01:26:01 Okay, good. Let’s go.
Bryan: 01:26:03 Okay, so in the enlightening lightning round question number one, please complete the following sentence with something other than a box of chocolates. Life is like a?
Dan: 01:26:12 A great adventure.
Bryan: 01:26:17 Okay. Number two, what something at which you wish you were better?
Dan: 01:26:21 Attracting huge amounts of money.
Bryan: 01:26:31 Okay. Number three, if you required everyday for the rest of your life to wear a tee shirt with a slogan on it or a phrase or a saying or a quote or equip, what would the shirt say?
Dan: 01:26:44 We’re all in this together.
Bryan: 01:26:47 Number four. What book other than your own, have you gifted or recommended most often?
Dan: 01:26:58 Licensed Teachings of The Masters of The Far East, five volume set by Baird Spalding written at the turn of the century.
Bryan: 01:27:07 Okay. Thank you. I first heard of that from Wayne Dyer, by the way. Um, okay. Question number five. So you travel a ton. What’s one travel hack, meaning something you do or something you take with you when you travel to make your travel less painful or more enjoyable?
Dan: 01:27:31 Do recovery loops. Getting really good at dropping down very fast, recharging and relaxing very quickly. Um, you know, having that ability.
Bryan: 01:27:46 Now, this might be a silly question, but how do you do that? How do you go about it? Yeah.
Dan: 01:27:53 When I breathe in, I invite energy to rise up from within me. Not so much taking energy in from around me, but inviting energy to rise up from within me, of course, to the surface, anything that’s in the way and release it like a fountain on the exhale and then drop down into my center. So I open and expand. I invite energy to rise up from within me and then all over flow. Without holding anything back, without controlling, just radiating and do that a few times until I feel like I’m reconnected with a source of strength in myself and I feel like I’m connected to everything and everyone around me. And now I’m drawing energy, like Tesla, I’m drawing energy from the air and from the atmosphere. My system knows how to do that.
Bryan: 01:28:56 That’s beautiful. Okay, well thank you for sharing that. Okay. Number six. What’s one thing you’ve started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
Dan: 01:29:07 Worrying, stressing, um, boredom, fear, anger. I love that quote fromJonathan Livingston Seagull who said, Jonathan discovered that boredom and fear and anger were the reasons that a goals life are so short and with these gone from his mind, he lived a long fine life indeed. So I don’t do boredom, fear, anger, resentment anymore. Uh, I don’t do guilt as the mafia of the mind. I trust that my nature is good and then I can get off track once in a while and say things that I didn’t mean to say or do things that I might regret, but fewer and fewer times and shorter and shorter periods till I wake up and remember who I am and why I’m here. Compassion, practice more compassion, self compassion patients. Beautiful. Yeah.
Bryan: 01:30:11 Number seven. What’s one thing you wish every American knew?
Dan: 01:30:16 For the first few years of our lives, we were given programs that limit who we are. And by the time we started to think for ourselves, we’re already thinking with stuff that other people had put in us and limit who we are and who could we be and how could we be if we could eliminate those early conditions, conditioning and programming, restore ourselves to an original state and start from there. Clear away, all that stuff that was laid onto us and breathe fully and freely without it all.
Bryan: 01:31:05 I wish every American knew that as well and I’m looking forward to the day that they do. Yeah. Okay. Number eight. What’s the most important relationship advice you’ve ever received and successfully applied?
Dan: 01:31:20 Wow. Nobody has ever done anything that I haven’t already done. And so who am I to like complain or judge them? I am, everybody is my mirror and I’m, everybody’s my teacher. Um, and we’re, we’re not separate. You know where I am. You, you are me. And the more I can feel it, the more I can remember it, the easier it goes for everybody. Yeah.
Bryan: 01:31:58 Beautiful. Number nine, setting aside compound interest, what have you learned about money or what something you do or don’t do with it that served you well?
Dan: 01:32:14 Well, you have to give it to get it and um, it represents the energy, the flow of energy in our life. It’s a game we got to remember. It’s just the game. But why not play to win? You don’t take it too serious, but hey, let’s uh, let’s play it the best we can.
Bryan: 01:32:40 Okay. Right on. Okay. And then I want, so I do have a few more questions about the creative process and about your writing. Um, in the last portion of the interview here, just our last few minutes before we turn to that, I just want to say this here to make sure we get it in, which is if people want to learn more from you or they want to connect with you, of course they can go to amazon.com or hopefully their local bookseller or a book seller near them and by Just Breathe, but if they want to learn more from you or connect with you, what would you have them do?
New Speaker: 01:33:17 Well, go to breathmastery.com. Um, scroll down and subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Look through the archives. I published an article on breathing every month since June of 1976. So in my members area, there’s archives of breathing reports and articles going back 40 years. Um, my Instagram page as a good way to keep up Dan Brule official. I post little tidbits coming in and goings in, quotes here and there and updates and so on. So my Instagram is a good place to go to keep up and my Facebook page, Dan Brule or The Breath Mastery Facebook page, we’re always, we’re always posting what’s happening, what’s the latest, where we are, what’s going on, new insights, new little tweaks and techniques. And um, I do Skype consults if we can’t get in the same place at the same time. But a lot of this work is about transmitting energy in some way. It’s a, you know, I was able to accomplish stuff when I was in the presence of my teachers and I’d never been able to accomplish since. And I know their presence has something to do with it. And so we catch things from each other. And um, you know, a good hands on breathing session while can clear away a lifetime of stuff and can map out work for the next few years of your development and process. So my best thought, just, just do it, find a way to begin to practice. The book will give you stuff. I have a lot of recordings free on the website. Um, and just get into the practice because if somebody already has a practice, I feel like I can make the best use of my time and energy. Um, and so, you know, an object in motion, it’s easier to direct it than to try to get it going. So I rely on people being self motivated and not requiring a lot of structure. Um, but, and that means having some kind of a daily practice or having a really a real powerful intention and determination to work with your breath, play with your breath, experiment with it. And then finally, look at my schedules. Show up at any seminar or any training anywhere in the world, email me. Um, and I, it’s hard for me, impossible for me to say no to people who are genuinely feeling the call to awaken the power and the potential of what’s right under their nose. That’s what I live for. So, and I’m not hard to find.
Bryan: 01:36:12 Yeah. Well, and I know that’s true, Dan, and you’ve been so generous with your time and your wisdom and sharing your experience with me and everybody who is listening here today. And one of the ways that I’ve endeavored to express my gratitude to you is I’ve gone on kiva.org the micro lending site and I’ve made a hundred dollar micro loan to a woman in India, a 37 year old name Rema who will use this money to help purchase a cow and expand her dairy business. Cool. Yeah. So thank you. Wow. Yeah. Amazing what the Internet makes possible. We already knew we were connected. Okay, cool. So coming down the stretch last few questions here. I just want to dive into your creative process and how you went about getting Just Breathe done and out into the world. As you just said, you’ve been writing for many, many years. You’ve been teaching and doing this work for a long time. Let, this book which was published by Simon and Schuster was just published a year ago.
Dan: 01:37:21 Well, two years now.
Bryan: 01:37:22 Two years ago. So in 2016, 17, 2017 and two years ago. Yep. Thank you. So, so I’m curious about this, the fact that you’ve been doing this work for so long, but only recently wrote the book. Why did it take you so long?
Dan: 01:37:37 Yeah. Well, um, I self published quite a few books, but um, I was basically approached by Simon Schuster, so on in one big way. My author’s story is the opposite of many authors who they write their epic book, they send it to a hundred publishers and they get a hundred dear John Letters back, you know, thank you but no thank you. Mine was the opposite story. They, they came to me and gave me an advance and kind of made me write the book. Um, but I’ll tell you, the big lesson for me is editors. Wow. Man, don’t underestimate the value of a really good editors, how they can take someone’s work and just, just little things and just tweaks and fixes it. Just take it to a whole nother level. And I’m very, very grateful for the team at Simon and Schuster. I mean, they literally, they had, I had a copy editor, I had a line editor. I had a story editor at a supervising editor and then there’s, and they assigned to me, uh, Emily Hahn. Emily Hahn is a rock star in the editing world. She was on the team of The Secret, the book The Secret. She edited a Mulatto’s book on The Water. She’s a big gun, heavy hitter and I guess they were desperate because I was floundering. Um, one of the things I learned about publishing books as it’s all about word counts, word count is everything. I had no idea it was in my contract. They wanted between 60 and 75,000 words. I saw that there, but I thought, okay, whatever. And so I sent them 35 chapters in 120,000 words and a, and my editor sent them back to me and she said, you know, we can’t even look at this. I said, why not? It says, because you’ve got to get it down to under 75,000 words before we can edit it as well. That’s when everything as far as like you had to fit down if that’s what I thought you guys were going to do. They said, no, no, no, no, we’ll do it. But you got to get it into that under 70 so I went into paralysis for three months. Every time I sat down and tried to edit it, it got bigger. And so they finally felt sorry for me and they put Emily Hon on my case. She took my 35 chapters in my 120,000 words and she carved out 40,000 of what she thought was words of the most important. And she said, go ahead, add in another 20,000 of what I left out. And she gave the book this very simple structure, which really works and.
Bryan: 01:40:26 It’s very elegant.
Dan: 01:40:27 Yeah, that’s a professional editing. Something I could never do. So I, that’s my left the publishing world. And also, you know, big publishers like the Queen Mary, they don’t make shock turns. They don’t start and stop fast. And so when I wanted to make a change, depending on where we were in the process, it had to go all the way back to the first department and go through all those departments. And so the closer we got to launching the book, the more impossible it was to make changes. And um, because you upset the word count and the page count and all the references and all that. And um, so yeah, I had a little difficult moment, just a moment because I realized we were ready to publish and I, there was no chapter about the question of breathing through the nose or the mouth. And I’ve never done a seminar where at least one person didn’t have that question. So I said, oh my God, we can’t publish this book without a chapter answering that question. And so the chapter is called The Nose Knows, but they said, wow, if we do this, it’s going to put publication off six months, we’re going to have to go back. We’re going to have to read page and redundant. And so I only wanted to put in 55 words. So we had a chapter on detoxing and it was bigger than I thought we needed, but the publisher really thought the detoxing was a topic that we really wanted to put out, so I added a lot of stuff that was kind of fluffy for me, and so I was able to go into that section, take out exactly 55 words and put it in this chapter of The Nose Knows of 55 words, and nothing was upset. It was like this beautiful resolution to what was getting to be a really serious thing. So tremendous respect for editors and an appreciation for how, what a very big process writing a book is when you do it at that level of professional publishers, you know?
Bryan: 01:42:26 Yeah. No, it’s, it’s, it’s serious work and doing it well. You know, when it’s done well, it looks easy, but if it were easy, everyone would do it, you know? For sure. Yup. With the 120,000 word manuscript that you had as a matter of process, how did you go about getting that created? Do you write every day? Do you set an amount of time? Do you speak it and have it transcribed? Do you have a writing partner? Like how did you go about getting that created?
Dan: 01:42:58 Um, this I a lot good advices. You know, just sit down every day and just write something. I wasn’t very good at that discipline. I mean, I wake up at midnight and 15 hours later, um, I’m done, you know, bunch of stuff came out. Then I go through and I try to make sense and organize it a little bit. So for me it came in these like waves where like nothing was coming for days and days and days and then all of a sudden, wow. You know, I’m just trying to keep up with it so I, I wish it was a matter of discipline, sit up my typewriter and my computer every day at nine and do 10 pages that that didn’t work for me and I can’t imagine it working for me. Other people is probably just what need, I just have to suffer through those dry periods and just be ready to catch stuff when it just seems to be just coming through. That’s the only way I could deal with it. Yeah.
Bryan: 01:44:04 Yeah. Different, different strokes for different folks for sure. When you were writing, how aware were you of your reader and did you have a specific reader in mind? Did it change? Like how did that whole thing unfold?
Dan: 01:44:21 I mean, I often felt like I was at a seminar. I would, um, a lot of big parts of the book were actually transcriptions of seminars that I went through and I extracted points and I tried to speak about it in a more orderly fashion. You know, when I listen to myself speak, I hate it. I don’t finish sentences. Like I go off on tangents. I’m using body language and so if I’m just listening or just reading, it doesn’t make sense. So I had to, I started with things I found myself saying recordings and transcripts and identifying little pieces. And then I tried to put some discipline into really trying to talk about it and in concise terms without going off on tangents too much. So that, that kind of, but I was, I was feeding off stuff that was just coming through at seminars.
Bryan: 01:45:24 Hmm. You know, that, that’s something I remember reading in Wayne Dyer’s, a memoir, um, that he talked about as well, that he recorded his lectures for many years, and then there came a point where it felt right to have those transcribed to start shaping them into material that he would later publish. So I see, you know, and of course you and he are not the only ones to do that, but I just call that out for anybody who’s listening, who’s moving into this space of thought leadership to be thinking about that. Now that there’s no workshop, there’s no, you know, speech, there’s no class or program you’re doing that’s not worth recording. You don’t need to use it. But if you don’t record it, you’ll miss that opportunity forever.
Dan: 01:46:09 Oh yeah. Something so many times I’m just, you know, I’m just winging it and something comes out and I go, wow, that was good. I wish I had thought of that and maybe I should write it down, but it’s too late. So, yeah. And recourse. So recording, hey, the technology makes it easy. And you know, I send off the recording to somebody at Fiverr and you know, for 10 bucks, um 20 bucks or whatever while you get a transcribed within a day or two, and then maybe I’ll only find one or two things in there that I think are really worth putting or so, yeah, I think that’s a good way. And he was, he was very prolific writer for sure. Yeah. So only good to take some of his advice.
Bryan: 01:46:53 Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Who has been influential for you as a writer? Like who have you learned from and what did you learn from them?
Dan: 01:47:06 Mm, I had, uh, an English business writing professor at University, Massachusetts. His name is Bob Waxler. And um, he kept pointing me to the classics. He was doing a literature course in prisons and I thought, what a weird audience to like take Shakespeare and, you know, classical literature, but it just makes people think in different ways. It gives them, uh, uh, kind of threads that they can follow. So classic, you know, the don’t underestimate the classics. There was something really beautiful that we awakes in our own brain and listening to rhythmic patterns in, in some of the great classic writers, you know, um, modern, modern writers, modern people. No, actually one of my favorites just as a communicator is Oren Klaff. Oren Klaff book Pitching Mastery, Pitch Anything. I mean, he’s a venture capitalist. He raises money for living, is a private banker. Uh, and he, he’s got a great formula for presentations. You know, he’s got, he’s got 20 minutes in a room and he’s going to walk out with a check that 50 million bucks. He’s got a great way of, of, of compellingly presenting things. And he works with people’s he calls crocodile brain. And he, he, uh, he has an order to, the way he presents things, just, just a brilliant communicator, both in how he speaks and how he writes because it’s just so suited to how our Western mind processes information and, and how we are as humans. And, um, so I love listening to him. I love reading him. Uh, just, it’s just brilliant thinker. Brilliant writer. Um, so yeah, for some reason I even, I hadn’t thought about it, but I love reading whatever he writes. So I guess be somebody that I’m trying to absorb some of his communication skills
Bryan: 01:49:23 Right on. Well, I don’t, I don’t know his work, but I looking at your work, I think you’ve, you’ve probably, some of his work has rubbed off. Oh yeah. Yeah. That’s great. That’s cool. When it comes to technology helping you get this book done and you’re writing the writing that you’re still doing, um, what piece of technology is you, do you find blessing and what’s your biggest bane?
Dan: 01:49:48 An external hard drive and remembering to backup your writing. Wow. I mean, I went through a couple of moments where, I mean, I literally lost everything and thought, oh my God, I’ve been writing for 20 hours. Where did it go? What happened? So, you know, automatic backup is like a lifesaver for technology. Um, and you know, just the fact that I can just close my Mac and then I’ll open it up again and it’s right where I left off. Oh Wow. What a cool thing, you know.
Bryan: 01:50:31 So nice.
Dan: 01:50:33 Air conditioning helps. Yeah. There’s a couple of times when I was sitting in my truck here in the desert in Baja with the engine running and the air conditioning on and just typing away because uh, uh, it was just coming through and I have to catch it. It’s a little things we take advantage of. You know, just I order a hot chocolate and it shows up in two minutes or you know, just taking advantage of the fact that the universe supports us and in so many ways and just leaning into that support and appreciating it. Um, and I thought you were going to go towards, you were talking about writing. I thought you’re going to go back to his breathing in technology because I’m really psyched about that intersection right now. The technology, wearables, breathing monitors, EEG monitors, heart rate variability, skin monitors, pressure monitors, and combining that with, with conscious breathing to get real time feedback about what we’re actually, what’s happening in our system so we can get really quick. I mean because of the technology we can learn things in a few minutes. That would take us as a Yogi, you know, months or years of practicing to confirm or validate and now we can get instant feedback through technology. That’s an accelerator.
Bryan: 01:51:59 Yeah, no, I know this is a rapidly expanding area of development. Um, is there any specific app or piece of, you know, hardware or software that you found in this area that you really like?
Dan: 01:52:14 Ah, little pieces that really come together but nothing that pulls it all together. And that’s why I’m actually involved in a project right now where we want to create a wearable jacket that monitors the para neat muscles in the perineum. A hood that muscles, monitors muscles in the forehead and temples in the jaw, the neck and the shoulders. Because just certain breathing patterns isn’t enough. What muscular coordination is happening? What’s the, you know, so bringing together the heart math people have a nice thing and there’s a few that basically just measuring HRV. That’s a, as a single monitor thing, HRV is a good thing to get a handle on and improve and increase. Um, but the wearable technologies that monitor heart rate breathing, um, very, very useful. I use the one that HeartMap puts out. Uh, but there’s a lot of competition, similar technologies.
Bryan: 01:53:22 Yeah, I use that. I use that one too. And for just a moment, anybody that doesn’t know HRV, this heart, this idea of Heart Rate Variability, will you just just talk briefly about what it is and why it’s so important?
Dan: 01:53:34 Yeah. When we inhale, the heart speeds up. When we exhale, the heart slows down. That’s so respiratory sinus arrhythmia that gives the medical term heart rate variability, HRV. And basically the principle or the fact is that when we’re in the zone, when that when we’re relaxed, when we’re in a really resourceful state, uh, heart rate variability is very high. It speeds up and slows down a lot. So if you measure the heart rate in terms of milliseconds, no, there’s no two spaces are the same between each heartbeat is constantly varying. And the more it varies, the better, it means that our heart is alive. It’s adjusting moment to moment two emotions and energy and metabolic demand. And so on. And so the last thing we want is a steady heartbeat. That’s like a machine. We’re not a machine or alive and the heart needs to be speeding up and slowing down to adjust in real time to everything that’s happening. So that was discovered 25 one of the years ago. The polyvagal theory is connected to the vagus nerve and how through the vagus nerve we can hack into this parasympathetic nervous branch of the nervous system. And we can, we can lean into, we at rest and recovery, rejuvenate, or we can lean into activate and energized just by controlling our breath. So any monitors or technology like an HRV monitor, we can start to see how we need to breathe to put ourselves into different states. Very, really useful. Um, so yeah, HRV is unarguable, uh, pretty unarguable science now. The studies are just thousands of studies tell us not anything we have to guess about. It’s, it’s unarguable so well worth tuning into and knowing and sensing when you’re in that really flow state, really useful.
Bryan: 01:55:42 And as I’ve read, it’s one of the greatest predictors of our longevity.
Dan: 01:55:46 Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And you know there’s the Framingham heart study, which also one of the, so many variables in the Framingham heart study went on for 50 years. I think a few guys are still alive of the original one, but they track these guys who, like 5,000 men or whatever it was, and they came up with lifestyle factors for heart disease. A lot of drugs were develop out of this and so on. But the one across the board take away from the Framingham heart study is the relationship between respiratory capacity and longevity that we reached peak respiratory capacity between the age of 25, 27 years old. The average person up till then is developing respiratory capacity. So we reach our peak respiratory capacity somewhere in there, 25, 27 years old. And then for every decade of life we lose between 10% and 20% of our respiratory capacity. So if you look at the life expectancy curve and you look at the respiratory capacity curve, they’re parallel. And so the lesson is if you can maintain your peak respiratory capacity, you lift up that life expectancy curve. And the studies are coming through to kind of show, it’s one of the unarguable things. Some people smoke and they don’t have any heart disease. Some people eat meat, they never have heart disease. And yet people who don’t, the people who maintain good respiratory capacity, it seems to trump everything else.
Bryan: 01:57:26 And, and, and by the way, just to jump in there that not only does it contribute or maybe even determine the length of our life, but the quality, right. I mean along the way.
Dan: 01:57:39 That’s everything, right? So, yeah. Yeah.
Bryan: 01:57:43 Okay. So last, last two questions. I think there’s only two more if you’re okay with that. Yeah. Okay. So one is when it came time for you to engage in a writing session for this book or any of the editing that came back, you know, as part of the process. Were there any specific breathing processes that you made sure to do before you began that editing of that writing?
Dan: 01:58:11 Yeah, no, I’m constantly, I’m constantly using my breath to open and expand and relax and let go and drop down. So whenever I got stuck, I would just look at the stars or look at the breeze in the trees, taking the scent, just enjoy the process of breathing for a few moments until the inspiration return. And then I just go back to writing. So I practice what I preach, I mean that’s nothing disturbs me more then breathing teachers who don’t breathe. So, um, you know, I’m a fanatic and I’m practicing what I preach. If my, if I get even a little stuck, I don’t even think about any time, any more. My breath, I’ve trained so much. If my bliss gets dented, the breath comes in by itself and lifts me up and I feel it. So then I doubled down on it. And if I start to get tense or tension builds up in my system, my breath is triggered automatically because I’ve deliberately practice. And so even if I’m not aware that I’m becoming tense, my breath notices and this breath comes out of nowhere and relieves me. So then I take another breath on top of that, kind of like shaking hands with my nature. That just helped me and reminded me and I call the doubling down on nature. And um, so a lot of it is happening unconsciously now. And when I’m aware that it happened by itself, I do it again consciously just to embrace that intelligence that’s living through me, for me.
Bryan: 01:59:52 Yeah. That’s beautiful. What a wonderful way to condition your nervous system in the and the organism that you are instead of what so many of us do. You know, the fear responses are there, the reactionary or self defeating patterns. Yeah, that’s great.
Dan: 02:00:06 We have to learn that we can’t get through all the difficult moments using our fight or flight reflex anymore. That’s just not, it’s not, it’s not sustainable and, uh, and reaches a certain point of diminishing returns. And so we’ve gotta have another plan and that is tapping genuine energy through awareness, relaxation, and breathing that formula. And it can be instant or you know, it can be prolonged and cumulative.
Bryan: 02:00:41 Yeah. Are there any quotes or sayings or proverbs related to the breath that you like that just really kind of bring a smile to your face or you feel like they can be a truth really powerfully?
Dan: 02:00:55 Every breath is a blessing. Every breath is a blessing to realize that, to acknowledge it, to feel it, because it’s true. Every single breath is a blessing. And the more we remember that and experience it, the more blessed we feel. And every breath is a prayer because whatever you’re thinking about while you breathe, you are giving life to it. So be careful what you think about when you breathe. And uh, because every breath is a prayer and every breath is a blessing and we just have to make it conscious and so it is.
Bryan: 02:01:38 Beautiful. Okay. So the question I want to end with is, what advice or encouragement would you give to someone who’s listening to this, who’s engaged in their own creative process? Maybe it’s their first book. Maybe it’s not their first book, but they, they’re kind of in the belly of the snake. They’re in the, they’re in the tunnel and maybe they don’t even see daylight. What do you say to the person who’s in this situation?
Dan: 02:02:09 You need to open and expand and I like whatever you can open and play with. Like I do ah, ah, ah, ah. So I’m opening my mouth. I’m opening my throat. As I’m breathing in and breathing out, I’m feeling my chest open. I’m feeling my belly open. I’m inviting my whole system to open and soften. I’m inviting energy to flow, so I feel like this wave ripples up through my body. The breath goes down into my para Niamh. My belly fills, my heart fills, my head fills for moment I’m just getting into this sense of everything opening and expanding and loosening and softening and flowing. And then it’s like, it just brings us back to something. Use your breath. Use your breath. Use your breath to drop into your creative center, to the something deep inside of you arrived. Exhale into this place of infinite energy and intelligence. It’s waiting at the bottom of the exhale. Use a big inhale to trigger it and then let go, drop down, leave the surface, forget everything. It’ll be waiting for you when you come but for a moment, take a break. Einstein, when he got stuck on a math, math problem, he would take a nap. You would play his violin, he would go sailing. In other words, he get out of his head. Well, I think if you would have known about breathing techniques, he would have used that instead of sailing or violin or naps. He really would have because he was intelligent enough once he played with it to see that that’s what is. It’s a way of taking a break from ourselves. So who we really are can come through.
Bryan: 02:04:32 That’s beautiful. Well, Dan, thank you again for making to, to share with me and everybody listening. You know, your wisdom, your experience, that practical tools, uh, that we can use to improve the quality of our life and the length of our life. Um, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. I suspect people listening have as well. And um, I don’t know when or where our paths will cross again, but I’m sure they will. And I will look forward to that day. Thank you. Thank you so much.
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