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A lot of people are looking for this silver-bullet, this magic pill, this supplement that's going to enhance their mental, physical, and spiritual health.
What if I told you the greatest pharmacy in the world is completely free. The greatest pharmacy is already in your brain. It's already there, you just have to access it and the best way is through your breath.
When it comes to breathwork it's something that we all have access to every moment of every day. It doesn't matter your financial status. Doesn't matter where you are in the world. It's free and yet most people were never taught how to properly breathe.
Your Health Is In Your Hands
Our day-to-day breathing mechanics are one of the most fundamental aspects to our health. You might be thinking I know how to breathe, I don't even have to think about.
"The reality is most people have improper breathing mechanics," says Functional Medicine Practitioner Ryan Kennedy. Kennedy is a certified nutritionist, bestselling author, podcaster, and YouTuber who's dedicated his life to helping people around the world take a holistic approach to their health.
"This leads to poor oxygenation of our bodies, which as a result puts us in this chronic state of physiological stress. This can lead to a cascade of poor health consequences and be susceptible to illnesses."
According to a study published in The New York Academy of Sciences, we actually have nervous system receptors in our nostrils that help drop our bodies into this parasympathetic rest and digest state. These receptors help with oxygenation of our tissues, cells and organs for better function.
"During your day-to-day, close your mouth and breathe through your nose. If you're not having a conversation or you're not doing exercise, focus on nasal breathing," says Kennedy. "At night a lot people breathe through their mouth, creating problems with snoring or sleep apnea, and this destroys your sleep quality. So use a piece of mouth tape and trigger your brain to breathe through your nose."
This breathwork is the foundation of bettering your health but this is just step one. From here we can dive into all sorts of modalities, such as transformational breath work.
"Transformational breathwork is a variation of holotropic breathing," says Kennedy, "It's long-form deep breathwork that puts you into an altered state where you quiet the ego, and it allows for this deep emotional release, this complete dissolution of past trauma and all these limiting beliefs that we carry around with us."
So many of us are dragging around our past experiences and dead weight and it's really weighing us down from tapping into our true potential and most of us don't have the tools and knowledge to let that stuff go. The people who have wronged you in the past, the mistakes you've made, we've all experienced these hardships. Most people don't know how to release it.
"Transformational breathwork is a catalyst for deep healing that is so profound. So I'm really pasionate about sharing that practice with others," says Kennedy.
Kennedy leads online transformational breathwork classes every month. While hundreds of students come to Kennedy to unlock their full potential he's deciding to change things up.
Lifting Each Other Up
"In honor of my mother, I am partnering with the the Lustgarten Foundation and Tao Group Cares to host a donation-based Transformational Breathwork class on May 3rd to raise money for pancreatic cancer research. Please register for this class and consider a donation. Your generosity will help change patients’ lives, and 100 percent of your donation funds research."
All of the proceeds will go to the Lustgarten Foundation, the world’s largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research, relentlessly focused on improving outcomes and finding a cure. "I saw first-hand how much illness can lead to suffering, and I am determined to do everything I can to prevent it," says Kennedy.
In 2008, his mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it changed his life forever. He watched her go through the conventional treatment model; chemo therapy, radiation surgery, essentially the standard of care that modern medicine provides.
"They would recommend these ice-cream based milkshakes. All this garbage that with what I know now was fuel for the fire. Horrific advice. Telling her these extreme pharmaceutical drugs are your only option, none of these natural therapies are going to help you."
She unfortunately passed away two years laters when Kennedy was 16. Kennedy says, "In large part due to the misinformation she received, not just about the treatment options, but also the misinformation she received decades leading up to that point. Like eating margarine instead of butter, going by the food pyramid, and all of this nonsense that people are waking up to today."
This spun Kennedy onto his own health journey. He says he had a lot of fatigue and brain fog and started his mission in the fitness space. "I studied kinesiology, worked in physical therapy clinics, ran a private training studio."
Kennedy realized real quick that the physical stuff is great and he loves it, much of which he still teaches people to this day, but it will only take you so far if you're not dialing in the other components.
"The nutrition, the sleep, the environment, the stress management, the mindfulness practices, I mean there's so many other components at play beside physical exercise," says Kennedy "so I went back to school, I studied naturopathic medicine, functional medicine, and clinical nutrition, and that brought me to where. I am today."
Kennedy says in his mom's honor he made it his life's mission to educate and empower others to avoid chronic illness, to feel their best, to live a healthy lifestyle, and to understand your health is in your hands.
"There's great great stuff in modern medicine, I've been in some bad accidents and I love that there's surgeons there to stitch me up. I love the advancements and acute trauma care, but modern medicine has really failed our public in learning how to be healthy. To not need modern medicine. To not need doctors. To actually be in control of your own health, and be optimally vital, so that you don't get sick. You don't feel ill, you feel great. That's really my approach and really coming at it from a stand point of your day-to-day lifestyle choices, and how those compound and really impact your short and long term quality of life."
A lot of people think they have to go down to the jungle and do ayahuasca and these intense psychedelics or plant medicines to have a clearer life. There is a time and place for those things and they can be very healing and therapeutic, but you don't have to.
You should rather focus on a natural remedy, exercising and mastering your breath. The more you work on your breath, the further you'll dial all the lifestyle factors that all are cumulative in how we feel day to day. How we perform, our health status, depression, anxiety, trauma, heartbreak.
These things run rampant but you have the power to control it through your breath.
For more information about Kennedy's work click here or watch an interview with Founder of the Gr@titude Movement Daniel Hack below!
Make it a great day!