How to Breathe Better & Change Your Life

Harness the Power of Your Life Force | Issue 011

Dear Fellow Land Dweller, 

Hola! Greetings from the magical ancient Sacred Valley of Peru! 🇵🇪 

We’re here running our second Yoga Teacher Training event, enrolling the next cohort of beautiful yogis into the Breathe and Flow Yoga Academy. Our students have joined us from around the globe at Willka T’ika Retreat Centre in the Sacred Valley to begin this transformative journey and we are so pumped to be able to share our passion with the next generation of yoga teachers.

Nestled in the Andes 3,399 meters (11,000 feet) above sea level, we’re noticing how our bodies are responding to the altitude and we’ve had no choice but to think more about breath. The air here is less dense, so the body requires a larger amount to obtain the equivalent concentration of oxygen compared to sea level (basically, all exercise feels sooo much tougher, even walking up four flights of stairs has us huffin’ and puffin’)!

Today, we’ll share some super simple key takeaways of things you can do immediately to change the way you breathe forever; to reinvigorate and heal and also to enjoy deep relaxation, clarity, and inner peace. Let’s breathe better together!

Little shout out!

Big thank you 👋 to all of our wolves who have joined us on the new BNF Wolfpack Platform so we can continue to provide yoga around the globe. It’s a place to truly deepen your practice! Here we share exclusive programs and classes and meet every month for a catch up on a video chat ♥️ If you’re thinking about joining us but want a little sneak peak first, you can now enjoy some exclusive juicy content on the membership platform. (oh yeh!) simply scroll down to get access to your FREE bundle! Only available for newsletter subscribers.

Breath - why talk about it?

While you’re waiting for the coffee to brew today, consider this: each breath we take is not just a simple bodily function; it is the thread that connects our physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions. It’s our life force or, deriving from the traditional Yoga philosophy, our Prana. This universal energy flows in currents around our bodies (called Prana Vayus) and it’s a gateway to our well-being, a source of resilience, and the key to unlocking our full human potential. On a very basic level, breath is life and helps us survive. However, by breathing correctly, which 99% of humans do not do, we can thrive. Most of us think that because we are alive, it cannot be that bad and nothing is wrong with the way we breathe. But, evolved as we are, we need to move away from this survival thinking and truly allow ourselves to reach our fullest potential.

Inhale, exhale, repeat.

On average, a healthy adult at rest typically inhales and exhales around 12 to 20 times per minute. This translates to 20,000 breaths per day, which is way too many, but a symptom of the ‘new normal’ we are all living in; a stressed hyper-aroused state due to our lifestyle. The ancient yogis already knew that a good breathing rhythm is under 10 breaths per minute. Far from where we are today. Although breathing just appears to ‘happen,’ there is an art to it. We're talking about the conscious, mindful practice of pranayama to liberate our breath and ultimately breathe less.

How’s your breathing?

Do you breathe mostly through your nose or mouth? Do you struggle with snoring, sleep apnea, asthma, autoimmune disease, allergies? Ever get breathless during exercise or suffer from respiratory diseases? Getting better at breathing can help.

How does our modern lifestyle impact breathing?

We love the work of author and journalist James Nestor, in particular his book Breath. Nestor's research delves into the fascinating paradox of how our ancestors, living in less sanitized and more natural environments, breathed slower, with greater efficiency and ease. Over time, modern lifestyles marked by sedentary habits, processed diets, higher stress, less time spent in nature and disconnect from traditions have led to compromised breathing patterns.

What’s the best thing you can do today for better breathing?

Nose breathing is a superhero for our health, a game-changer. When we breathe through our nose, we filter, humidify, warm and move the air, preparing it for our body in the best way possible. This is only possible when we nose breathe. When we breathe through the mouth none of this is happening and makes it hard on our body. This natural air conditioning system also helps increase the oxygen uptake in our blood, promoting better overall health. Plus, nose breathing can improve sleep, reduce stress, and even boost our immune system. The mouth-taping movement might sound odd, but it’s a great way to tackle breathing issues at night which can cause sleep problems, therefore life problems! When it comes to breathing to improve your life, the core practice is to breathe less and slower.

Yoga and the breath

Before vinyasa flows, yoga was centered around the art of breath control. The focus of the poses in modern yoga can sometimes distract from the roots of yoga, which remain firmly intertwined with the ancient wisdom of the breath. The word Pranayama comes from Sanskrit; prana meaning “vital life force,” and ayama meaning “freedom” or “expansion.” It is about liberating the breath and expanding one's potential.

We were lucky enough to train with incredible Iceman Wim Hof. Breathing is one of the 3 pillars of his Wim Hof Method (WHM). By increasing oxygen intake and promoting cold tolerance, the method aims to enhance physical and mental well-being and build resilience. Take a look at our previous issue about Cold Exposure too for more information on how it links to breathwork.

Pranayama plays a key role in our offerings and our own personal practice. Many techniques are super simple but instantly effective and we urge all yogis, whatever your experience to try some out! Using pranyama like Ujjayi during your practice allows your flow of energy to enter the mind-body system and helps the body overcome fatigue, stress, and negativity.

5 Simple Ways to Breathe Better Today

  1. 👁️ Become aware. Breathing better begins with awareness of your own breath. Align your rib basket over your pelvis so that the breath can flow into the belly, the sides, the lower back and then up and down. We want a 360° breath. Many focus way too much on belly breathing and neglect the other areas. Btw, your diaphragm is your main breathing muscle and you cannot breathe without it.

  2. 👃 Breathe through your nose! In the day, during exercise and you can even try taping your mouth at night. Honestly, trust us, it’s life changing. 🔥 The nose is the pathway for air in and out, not the mouth.

  3. 🧘‍♂️ Practice Mindful Breathing. Take a few minutes each day to focus on your breath. Be fully present in the moment, pay attention to each inhale and exhale. This simple act can reduce stress and improve your mental clarity.

  4. 🫁 Use breathwork techniques during your day; for bringing calm, energy, heating up and cooling down…there’s a breathing exercise for every intention and everyone!

  5. 🎶 Try humming. (It clears your sinuses) and is fun if you do it to the tune of your favorite tune. The Bhramari Pranayama technique which uses humming and it’s perfect for a 1 minute reset or destress! 

    P.S If you feel a little bunged up, you can use Jala Neti to clear and clean your nose effectively if you need to.

FlashPumpedEverything you need to know about climbing, training and staying injury free in a three-minute read.

To explore more, check out our FREE Breathe and Flow Pranayama Playlist where we guide you through the practices, allowing you to experience the benefits firsthand. You can also join us on our Wolfpack Platform where we share guided breathwork sessions as part of our complete yoga practice catalog of asana (movement), meditation and lifestyle videos. We also hold live monthly satasang gatherings for members, which are a great opportunity to ask questions and learn even more from us and fellow Wolfpackers!

As always, we are grateful for your presence in our community and for joining us to learn and grow. Let’s continue to deepen our understanding of the breath, unlock its transformative potential, and honor the life force that resides within each of us.

Remember that the practice begins when you close this newsletter because as we all understand: knowledge without taking action is useless.

With love, gratitude, and many deep breaths from the Andes,

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📚 Brain Food Recommendations 📚

"Illuminated Breath" by our good friend Dylan Werner is an enlightening exploration of the profound connection between breath and yoga. This book offers valuable insights into the transformative power of breath, making it an essential read for those looking to enrich their yoga practice and deepen their self-connection.

James Nestor's "Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art" is a fantastic dive into the world of breathing. This book is a classic and takes you on a journey through the science and history of something we often take for granted. "Breath" is your go-to guide for rediscovering the lost art of healthy breathing.

☀️ Something Beautiful to take into your day ☀️

“The air I inhale enters my body and becomes part of me. The air I exhale moves into someone else and becomes part of them. Just by looking at how the air moves, we realize we are all connected to one another, not just figuratively, but also literally.”

If you are here at the bottom, thank you for taking the time to read this far. We invite you for 1 minute to take a Breath of Joy with us. 🩵

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