Did you ever hold your breath when driving through a tunnel as a kid? Do you now deliberately slow down your breathing to de-stress? The less you need to breathe, the longer you live and the better your health. So says Niraj Naik, a SOMA Breath instructor, who today gives us an overview of how breathing impacts our entire body, and how mindful breathing can help heal all of our systems.
He explains what happens in the body and brain over the long-haul with a committed breathwork practice. He goes over an easy exercise to assess where we are, as a starting point, and he also offers tips for how to begin breath training for all of the benefits it holds.
Visit Niraj’s website: somabreath.com
Check out our WAPF resources in Spanish: WAPF en español
Listen to the podcast here
Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda
Do you ever play around with your breath, try to hold it when you are driving through a tunnel, for example, or deliberately slow it down to relieve stress? Learning to train our bodies to breathe differently can enhance mental and physical health and may even serve to extend our lives. This is Episode 367. Our guest is Niraj Naik, a holistic wellness expert, author, Founder of The Renegade Pharmacist blog, and SOMA Breath instructor.
In this episode, Niraj gives us an overview of how breathing impacts our entire body and how mindful breathing can help heal all of our systems. He explains what happens in the body and the brain over the long-term with a committed breathwork practice. He goes over an easy exercise to assess where we are as a starting point. He also offers tips for how to begin breath training for all of the benefits it holds.Before we jump into the conversation, I want to let you know here at the foundation. Did you know that WAPF has all kinds of resources in Spanish? Go to WestonAPrice.org and find the WAPF in Español Section. Click on the green button on the right-hand side of the screen, and you can find brochures, articles, videos, and more, all in Spanish.
Also, note that we are on Instagram, @WestonAPrice_ Espanol, and on Facebook too. Plus, our Spanish podcast, Tradiciones Sabias, just launched its second season. Find it wherever you get your podcasts. Feel free to share these resources with friends who speak Spanish or use them to polish your own language skills. Gracias, amigo.—Redmond Real Salt, have you heard about the salt that has 60 plus healthy trace minerals that are naturally found in a one-of-a-kind salt deposit in Utah? This salt has a delicious, subtly sweet taste. Thanks to its mineral content, that also gives it a unique health benefits as well. Redmond Real Salt comes from an ancient underground salt deposit, which makes it an ancient sea salt.
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Welcome to the show, Niraj.It’s my absolute pleasure to be here, Hilda. This is fantastic.
I can’t wait to learn some stories of how breath can transform our health. Can you tell us one here at the top?
We get one of these at least every day. There’s one of our instructors because we trained SOMA Breath instructors to use these techniques not just for themselves but for other people as well. One amazing lady posted, Claire Williamson, says, “I wanted to say a massive thank you to you, Niraj Naik. I am a SOMA Breath instructor. I only discovered SOMA in the last quarter of 2021. It’s changed everything for me. I am a recovered survivor.”
There must be a popular #RecoveredSurvivor because it’s about chronic anxiety. She says, “I battled chronic anxiety for years, so finding my freedom to breathe has been amazing.” She has doubled her business income and impact. At the time, she has been consciously breathing with us too. That’s fantastic. I love getting results from that.
It’s not a unique testimonial, and you get dozens if not thousands, I imagine.
We have had countless amounts. It’s hard to go through them all. We saved them all. It’s like prayers. It has been astonishing.
How can breath be so transformative? What is the role of intentional breathing in improved health?
This is a huge topic in itself. I can do a very long, elaborate explanation or condense it down but I try and make it as simple as possible. If you think about this, how long can you go without food?
How long can you go without water?
A few days.
It could be days or a week. How long can you go without breathing? Minutes. Some people have hacked it to go several minutes. It’s the most important thing for us to live, survive, and exist. However, it’s probably the least looked at until recently. Now everyone is worried about their breathing because of this Coronavirus situation for the first time. It’s something that we didn’t pay much attention to.
It’s interesting. I wonder why, because I believe in, and it has worked for me, that by understanding the breath and how breathing affects our physiology, we can improve every aspect of our life. If you are suffering from a disease, you can use breath control techniques to solve that. You can also use it to elevate your life, amplify, create more energy, more productivity, have more fun, improve your mood, and all of these things.
That’s not hyperbole. It sounds so amazing. It almost sounds like it defies belief.
Let me try and make it as easy to understand as possible. I’m going to try and paint a few analogies. Somehow, ancient yogis figured out that the rate of your breath, how fast you breathe, and how long you can hold your breath correlate to longevity. The ancient school of breathing practices, and energy movement practice, to be more specific, is Pranayama, which comes from the yogi tradition. It’s one of the most important parts of the yogic practice but one of the least understood. They somehow knew.
I don’t know how but they understood that breathing is the way we produce energy in the body and that everything that exists is energy. You are just a matrix of different forms of energy. Through breath, we produce energy in the mitochondria. They are like the battery packs of the cells. That is what drives the function of life. What they realize is that the rates of breath and your ability to hold your breath relate to longevity by studying animals. If you look at animals in nature, animals that live a very long time like elephants and turtles are very slow breathing patterns. They breathe 1 to 2 breaths per minute.
If you look at the bowhead whale can hold its breath for 2 hours at a time and lives 200 years plus. It’s got this incredible ability to retain its breath. If you look at the opposite end of the spectrum, the animals that don’t live a long time like rats and mice, live 1 or 2 years max. They breathe at 150 to 200 breaths a minute. It’s fast. There’s a weird, strange anomaly to this. That is the naked mole-rat. Naked mole rats are rats but what makes them different is that they live up to 30 years, pretty much free of disease.
The unique thing about them is that they live primarily underground in a hypoxic, which is a low oxygen environment. They can hold their breath up for eighteen minutes at a time. There is a relationship here in the animal world between breath retention, times, and breath rates. The slowly you breathe and the longer you can hold your breath, the longer you live. As humans, we have conscious control of our breath. We can either be like rats and mice, naked mole rats or whales. We can choose how we breathe.
It’s fascinating. One way to look at it is our lives are measured by how many breaths we take. If we use them all up, then our lives are going to be shorter.
Swami Sivananda talks about this. He says, “We measure our age by the number of breaths we take.” If you want to live less than 70 years, breathe faster than 15 to 20 breaths a minute. If you want to live 80 years, breathe less than 15 or around 10 breaths per minute. If you want to live to the peak of your optimum age, breathe less than ten breaths a minute.
As you said, we are hardly paying any attention to our breath at all, honestly. I know we have steady, slow breathing while we are sleeping. Thank goodness. For 1/3 of our lives, it’s controlled by the autonomic nervous system but the rest of the time, we are breathing regularly and not giving it a second thought.
Breathing is the most important thing for us to live and survive and exist.
Sleep is an interesting thing because we sometimes breathe quite fast. Sometimes we hold our breath and have a little bit of apnea every night. We hold our breath for a certain time. You breathe fast, and then you hold your breath. You do that many times throughout your sleep. Especially during rapid eyeball movement, you breathe much faster. Sleep is a very interesting situation but you’re right.
Our autonomic nervous system is controlled by the reptilian brain. The reptilian brain is the part of the brainstem that deals with our sense of awareness of survival and what we conceive as a threat to the environment. The reptilian brain can make us breathe faster than we need to and slow our breathing down. It tends to get triggered by fear and therefore makes us hyperventilate and prepare for battle. That means that we over breathe and hyperventilate. Hyperventilation is shown by studies and clinical practice to be harmful to health. We all know that.
Going back to slow breathing and holding breath, that seems counterintuitive because we are told over and over again that, “All you need is to deep breathe. You are not breathing enough. You should breathe more and breathe harder.” It’s all a myth. It is not true. This correlation argument, which I’m talking about, which is that you live longer if you breathe less and can hold your breath for longer, is not good enough if there’s no mechanism to explain why that works. I’m now going to attempt to explain why slow breathing, breath retention, and the ability to hold your breath correspond to a longer and healthier life.
Unless you understand the mechanism, you are not going to believe what I say. You want to understand why and how it works. When we breathe, we breathe in oxygen. That oxygen comes into our red blood cells through our lungs, and we get oxygenated. The red blood cells transport that oxygen to where it’s needed in the body. Imagine that every single cell in our body is breathing in oxygen with carbon dioxide.
Our body has this amazing mechanism of knowing where to drop off oxygen. Otherwise, if it doesn’t have this mechanism, it will be very inefficient. It will drop off oxygen everywhere, and we would have to breathe hard. It’s very clever because it knows not to drop off oxygen in certain areas but it knows exactly where to drop off the oxygen. Let’s say you are doing dumbbells exercises. Your cells that are producing more carbon dioxide in that area need higher demand for oxygen, and it’s the carbon dioxide that tells your blood cells where to drop off the oxygen.
The higher the carbon dioxide levels in those areas, that’s where your blood drops off the oxygen. This is the mechanism of getting oxygen from red blood cells into tissue cells, which are your muscle cells, organs cells, and basically tissue cells. It’s everything that’s not your blood cells. This is super important because disease, poor health, and life itself won’t exist if you don’t get the oxygen off your red blood cells and into the tissue cells. Diseases are caused by poor, low body oxygenation. We have an abundance of oxygen.
When we breathe in a little bit like that, like a little sniff, our blood is fully saturated with oxygen. Getting the oxygen into your blood is not a problem at all. That’s not the issue. The issue that people have is getting it from the red blood cells into the body tissue cells. The reason why is because people quite often hyperventilate unconsciously. The reason why is because they are not consciously breathing and taking control of the breath because the reptilian brain is the unconscious part of the brain. It’s what runs on autopilot.
It operates in the background and allows us to have a conscious experience of life because it does all of the complicated tasks like your heart rate, digestion, immune system, and breathing. It does it on all parts but the breath is one thing that we can consciously control from the autonomic nervous system. It’s because of that we can control the autonomic nervous system through breath. That’s the magic.
I’m going back to what you said that we hyperventilate without even being aware of it like when we are anxious. What would be the situations that would cause us to hyperventilate?
When we perceive a threat in our environment, we go into fight or flight mode. That fight or flight mode makes us have a bigger demand for oxygen or feel like we need more oxygen unconsciously. We start to breathe faster. If you see somebody who’s panicking, they tend to hyperventilate. We generally have this underlying anxiety. Everybody was born with a literal sense of anxiety. We are in this panic, and everything is a little bit crazy and chaotic. We were looking for safety. If you don’t find that safety, you panic more unconsciously and breathe faster than you need to.
There are other things that influence our breath rate, which are your food and diet. If you eat heavy meals and overeat, your digestion takes a big toll and needs more oxygen. You tend to breathe faster when you consume too much food. If you eat smaller portions, hyperventilation isn’t such an issue. If you eat very processed, heavy foods that aren’t easy to digest, you hyperventilate more because your oxygen demand goes up. If you are not exercising and are in poor fitness, your demand for oxygen goes up because you are not efficiently using the oxygen.
There are all these other things. Prescriptions, medications, recreational drugs, coffees, and stimulants, all of this stuff can make you breathe faster than you need to. Here’s the thing. I like to use this analogy. It’s easy as it sounds. What we are a lot like are like cars. We are super efficient, powerful combustion engines. If you imagine inside every single one of yourselves, there is this battery pack called the mitochondria. There are 1,000 plus of them in every cell, which is what drives our life. They are like little mini combustion engines.
They are constantly creating this inner fire and producing byproducts of combustion of this respiration process, which is turning oxygen into burning it with our fuel of glucose, which is our fuel source, into carbon dioxide and ATP energy. That’s the function of life. Like a normal car, if you use that car and drive it hard and that car isn’t efficient at using the gas, you are going to guzzle the gas and also cause wear and tear on the engine. That’s the free, radical damage that you get from burning oxygen. It’s like a real fire as well.
You need the oxygen to make the fire burn but too much oxygen makes the fire burns you bright. If you are not efficient in using oxygen, then that fire burns way too bright and too much. You get more wear and tear going on, the free radical damage. Oxidation is the issue of oxygen. Germain Hess is the father of redox chemistry. This is the science of the role of oxygen and how oxygen reacts with things in the body. He said, “All those very difficult to live without oxygen. It’s also very difficult to live with oxygen because of oxygen stress.”
It’s why we need antioxidants in our diet. If you look at ancient yogi existence, it’s a complete science and methodology. If you do it the real way, the traditional yoga, not this mainstream yoga, which is completely different, which is all about holding each pose for maximum effort using breath control techniques, the entire system is designed to make you very efficient in using oxygen. You need the least amount of oxygen for quite the same amount of energy.
I’m connecting the dots. The idea is when we get the right amount of oxygen, our mitochondria can function better. That means everything in our body is going to function better, from improved cognitive function to an improved mood, and more strength because you are like a race car burning just the right amount of fuel. Is that right?
Yes, because we haven’t had a manual on how to breathe. We have become one of those old models of cars that has this old engine that isn’t efficient, guzzles loads of gas, causes a lot of wear and tear, and breaks down all the time. You have to keep going to the mechanic. Often, we are also putting the wrong fuel into the engine. We are using the wrong fuel. We are probably be putting diesel into a petrol engine and things like that. It’s messing up the engine.
What we want to be is a finely tuned, super-efficient engine that needs the least amount of gas and can drive and get from A to B efficiently. That means you have less wear and tear, and the engine runs forever and ever without breaking down. That’s what we want to train ourselves to be. The least amount of oxygen we need to produce the same amount of energy is what we want. That way, we have less wear and tear on the system.
It is resonating with me because I interviewed James Nestor, the author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. He was talking about something very akin to what you are talking about. I have tried to run doing nasal breathing. If, in effect, taking in less oxygen and trying to operate on less oxygen, it’s hard.
It is difficult because we have to repattern our entire physiology. If we were taught this from a young age, we wouldn’t be worrying about it so much now. It wouldn’t be such a stress and struggle but it takes a little bit of effort. There is a system from yoga, which I have now put together with SOMA Breath, which can be fun, accessible, and makes the whole process easier.
Breathing is the way we produce energy in the body.
It revolves around certain special breathing practices from Pranayama, which means you train the mitochondrion became very efficient in using oxygen. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes a day of practice to get some results. The more and the deeper practice you do, the more profound the results are going to be. In twenty minutes, you can make some big changes.
Maybe the reason I have been struggling is because I haven’t been training. I just expect my body to respond to this new approach.
If you can train yourself, you will find that nasal breathing isn’t a problem. You will be able to run breathing through your nose. With your nose, you have a much smaller volume of air going in and out. Also, with your nose, you produce nitric oxide. The nitric oxide and carbon dioxide work together to get oxygen from your red blood cells into your body tissue cells. Nitric oxide also acts as anti-viral and anti-microbial. Nasal breathing also filters the air and allows better oxygenation for your lungs and stuff.
I know you can’t take us through the whole SOMA breathing technique. It’s quite a process. Can you give us some ideas on how we can train so that we can run more efficiently?
One of the easiest things to do is just go on YouTube, type in SOMA Breath Daily Dose, and try out one of our breath-based meditations. This is a 2 in 1 technique because it can help with your mental health, well-being, mood, and physical health. It’s a 3 in 1 because it helps with your mental health and physical. Also, you can use it as a way to reprogram the mind to go after your goals. You can use it to get rid of habits that you don’t want or manifest things better. It’s an amazing experience.
I noticed that some of your meditations include music. How does that enhance healing?
We have many of them, but one of the techniques, which is our Daily Dose. You breathe rhythmically in a perfect harmonic breathing pattern. When you breathe in a harmonic breathing pattern where your breathing rate and breath time on your inhale and exhale are congruent, what happens is you create this harmonic coherence in your physiology. Your breath is intimately linked to your autonomic nervous system. When you breathe in, your sympathetic nervous system goes up, and you breathe out parasympathetic, switch is on.
We are constantly stimulating the sympathetic and stimulant parasympathetic when we breathe in and out. When you breathe in a perfect rhythm, it brings balance to that nervous system. You can also breathe out twice the length of time as you breathe in. When you double your exhale time, you switch on the parasympathetic. We have breathing patterns where you have double the exhale time. You are breathing out for 8 seconds and in for 4 seconds. What that does is it creates this harmony in your physiology. It also switches on the parasympathetic.
What it does is it helps you relax. It is a perfect state for you to self-heal but also get oxygen flooding into yourself. You do several minutes of this harmonic breathing, in for 4 and out for 8, in for 2 and out for 4 for several minutes. What that does is you start to breathe out all the carbon dioxide out of your system. Carbon dioxide is what tells your blood where to drop off the oxygen. What that means is that carbon dioxide also tells your brain when to inhale. The level of carbon dioxide in your system is what tells your brain that you need to inhale.
The higher carbon dioxide at a certain point will reach, and you will need to inhale. What happens is when you breathe out the carbon dioxide, you can hold your breath much longer than you normally can because you don’t have as much carbon dioxide. You do several minutes of rhythmic breathing, and then you hold your breath after the exhale. When you hold your breath after the exhale, that press a pause on your life.
When you breathe out, you expire. It’s the last thing you do when you die. You press pause on your breath because your thoughts are produced by inspiration. When you inspire, you breathe in. It’s an inhalation. When you hold your breath on the exhale for a long enough period, you shut down the brain activity completely, especially the ego mind, the monkey mind. This allows the full pause that we pattern. It can also allow you to consciously send affirmations to your unconscious mind. This is a great way to form new habits and create better behaviors and patterns. It’s amazing. It’s meditation.
You said that we can tap into our intuition. It opens us up and the new possibilities for our minds and spirits to operate differently.
When you get to around 90 seconds of holding a breath, that’s when you start to release the Soma from within. The Soma from within is like tryptamines, the DMT that we have inside. This is something that brings a lot of good feelings. It makes you feel euphoric and connected to everything. It can be powerful healing in itself. Around that 90-minute mark and beyond, you also wake up with stem cell circulation. Stem cells don’t like oxygen. Stem cells are cells that can turn into any other cell in the body.
They go to areas where there’s inflammation and help healing. What happens is because your carbon dioxide levels rise a lot, you create vasodilation, and all your blood vessels dilate. You get better blood flow within your body, especially in your heart. You get new capillaries being formed in your heart and have better circulation.
You also get better circulation in your brain. You can even wake up the dormant parts of the mind when you do this practice for long enough. When you get to deeper and deeper breath retention times, you get good blood flow in your brain. Your brain strengthens and comes alive. You wake up dormant parts of hearts and minds. You can use this to improve your cognitive function in memory and many other things that you can form your abilities and things of this.
You will read more about the science behind breathwork and the physiological processes in our bodies and minds. Plus, Niraj will give us some practices that we can start at home right away.
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Do people in conventional medicine circles have an understanding of this? There is a growing understanding among the general populace. Do regular doctors see this as a healing therapy of any sort?
You would be amazed how few doctors are trained in respiratory science. I have spoken to directors of hospitals who have no clue about this stuff, and they are learning it for the first time. The best doctor who brought a lot of awareness to this is Dr. Buteyko. He is a Russian doctor from years ago. He went through a lot of controversies. He was shut down. His studies got torn apart. He did a lot of amazing studies, and it made him a household name in Russia. A lot of doctors and clinics in Russia use these techniques. He’s the one who showed a lot of the problems in hyperventilation and why slow breathing is the way forward. It then got forgotten about.
We live in a crazy world now where the powers don’t want us to be healthy. They don’t want us to be our best. They want us to stay submissive slaves. That’s what it feels like. It’s becoming more and more apparent. More people are waking up and realizing the doctors do not have all the answers at all. More people are going into people who are learning and training. We have many instructors training in these techniques and are coming in their droves because they are getting the results. That means more doctors are coming to us and retraining.
There is an awakening going on but all of the studies are already out there. The science is out there. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. All of these studies have been done before. In fact, there’s a whole field of science and a therapy called IHHT, Intermittent Hyperoxic Hypoxic Training or Therapy. They use machines where you breathe in a higher than normal oxygen for a period, while you breathe in very low oxygen. It’s like holding your breath but you are breathing very low oxygen. What it does is it simulates going up to a high altitude.
What they found was that people go to high altitudes and come back down and feel benefits. They feel better. It’s holding their breath for a short time. It’s learning the oxygen for a period. What that does is climatization, which we can invoke with our breath but they do it through machines. The mountaineers do it by climbing mountains. What it does is it makes your body go, “I’m running out of oxygen. I need to prepare.” It produces more red blood cells. It produces better capillarization and blood circulation.
What it also does is it increases red blood cells in organs that need more oxygen like the brain and the heart. It’s because of that, you become more adapted to oxygen, so you need less oxygen. That means the less you need to breathe, the longer you live, and the better your health. The other thing is that carbon dioxide is such an important gas.
This is something that we need to understand. There’s a paradox with oxygen. We think oxygen is this thing that we must need. We need it, but we need it in the body tissue, not stuck to our red blood cells. We need it in the actual cells of our body. Carbon dioxide is not toxic waste gas. It’s essential for getting oxygen into ourselves.
As you said earlier, because of the high concentration of carbon dioxide in certain parts of our body that the blood cells know where to drop off the oxygen. If it weren’t for that signal, they wouldn’t know.
Carbon dioxide tolerance is what we need to train for. Carbon dioxide is what tells your brain that you need to breathe again. The more you can train for carbon dioxide tolerance. It means you can handle larger amounts of carbon dioxide in the body. Carbon dioxide is a vasodilator or a bronchodilator. You get less inflammation, get the expansion, you are more relaxed, and your blood vessels stay dilated rather than constricting. That means your blood pressure is better. Oxygen causes vasoconstriction. It makes your blood vessels narrow. Carbon dioxide makes it dilate. What’s the number one killer in the world nowadays?
What causes heart disease is the wear and tear of your arteries because of basic constriction and high blood pressure. That’s the main cause of heart disease.
What if someone said, “I don’t want to train with all this. I want to take my blood pressure meds. This training sounds too hard. I would rather just stick with pharmaceuticals.” You, as a former pharmacist, what would you tell them?
Firstly, I’m not going to slam medications and people that are on them and want to take them. I have nothing against them because there’s a time and place, and they can help in emergency situations. You can always say help people who can’t do these techniques. Some people can’t do them. They may be in a wheelchair, disabled, have issues, and others issues. Some people have breathing issues, which are so severe. They might need some medications.
Medicines are there for emergency situations. They save lives. They can be great but when they are over-prescribed, we got a problem. Here’s the problem. The problem with drugs is that they are based on reductionist science, which means you alter one thing in your body. The idea is that by altering that one thing, you cure the issue. That’s not how the body works.
The body got so many different factors going on and components. We aren’t linear. You can’t alter one thing here and change a complete person’s state. We are very un-linear. We are emotional, irrational, and have all these different issues going on. The problem with the medication is it’s based on a linear reductionist model of reality, which is not what humans fit into at all. This is the problem with the whole world now because this is the old model, which needs to be changed to the new model.
The old ancient model was that we are a holistic system. You are called Holistic Hilda, and you understand that we are in a holistic being that has many different components. Reductionist science says that we are all averages. When you go and get your blood pressure checked, they will tell you your average should be 120/80. If you are a little bit high, they try and bring you to be average. If you are a bit low, they try and bring you to average.
Here’s the problem with this. If you were to take everybody’s blood pressure on the planet, you would find that it’s a bell-shaped curve where you get a bit of blood pressure coming towards 120/80 but you get 25% of people on either side who are either high blood pressure or low blood pressure. Their high blood pressure is their normal, and their low blood pressure is their normal. When you try and correct them to the average, they get all these side effects and issues. Let me give you an example. Guess what Gandhi’s blood pressure was?
I’m guessing it was really low.
You’d be amazed how little doctors are trained in respiratory science.
Most people say that. It was 200/100. How did Gandhi die?
I don’t recall. Did somebody kill him?
He got shot in the head when he was 80 years old. When they did the post-mortem on his body, there was no sign of disease. His organs were functioning very perfectly. He lived very healthily with very high blood pressure. The problem with modern medicine is that it puts everybody on average. Humans are not like that. That’s why you must have a holistic approach. That’s why when you were training on these techniques that we teach, they are customized to the individual because we give you the right practice for you based on your energy type.
The Ayurvedic system is a holistic science. Ayurveda, which is what our foundation is based on, shows that we are all individual because we all have a unique, energetic matrix. We are an energetic constituent. This gives us different characteristics from each other. With a series of different questions, you can find out what your predominant energy type is. Through that, you can create a lifestyle plan for yourself. Our instructors, what they are designed to do is to create customized lifestyle programs based on the individual, not on the whole or a group.
Through that, you can tell somebody what diet they should have, what exercise they should follow, and what breathing techniques will work for them. We have one thing that is a metric that everybody should look into as a health goal or a way to measure their health, which is unique. This is relevant too because, as I said before, your breath retention time is a measurement of your longevity. It’s your ability to hold your breath. There’s a test called the Morning BHT, Morning Breath, Hold, Time that you should do when you wake up.
You breathe in and out through your nose. You don’t do any techniques. You do it within the first ten minutes of waking up. In through your nose, out through your nose, normal inhale and exhale, hold your nose and your breath until you get that first big gasp to breathe but you shouldn’t be gasping for air at the end of it. It means you’ve done it too long. That time is your breath hold time. Here’s a gauge for your health based on that when it comes to breathing. If you can hold your breath for 30 seconds and longer, that means that you have good health. If you go beyond 40 to 60 seconds above, you have extraordinary health. You are like a super yogi.
If you can’t hold it for less than 20 seconds, the 20 to 30 is the average, less than 20 seconds is a sign that may be a disease that you are trying to fight or you have very bad breathing habits that need to be fixed, or it could be a lifestyle thing. It could be a dietary thing. It could be one of the things you need to fix. It means your carbon dioxide tolerance isn’t high. Less than ten seconds means there’s a disease. If five seconds, you are probably going to die. It’s like near death. It means your body has no oxygen efficiency at all.
With that, you can diagnose using that test what somebody’s health issues are. You can then do Ayurvedic profiling. You can then find out yourself and see which areas of your lifestyle need to rebalance. We are all about bringing balance. A drug can only bring balance to one metric in the body, like blood pressure, serotonin levels, or cholesterol. The problem with that is that if you want to try and be intelligent with the drugs, you are going to need to take 50 of them plus to be able to correct all of the different, crazy things that are going on in the body at any one time to bring it to an average, which is not even truly your average.
Your average might be something different. Therefore, you end up rattling full of pills, and then eventually doesn’t work anyway. You are not taking more drugs for those side effects of those drugs. That’s the problem with medication. They are okay for acute issues. Let’s say you get a bacterial infection. You can use some hardcore antibiotic or anti-viral to cure it, especially if that infection has been manufactured by a human in a lab and has been leaked, then we need something else to solve it. Most viruses, bacterial infections, and things like that we can solve through natural means, through antiviral that exist in nature like ginger, turmeric or hot water in itself.
You sip hot water with lemon, which is both antiviral in its nature, all day long. That raises the temperature of the back of your throat. Raising the temperature in the throat kills viruses. Viruses hate heat, alkalinity, and acid. They like a nice neutral pH level we have. They don’t like excess acid and alkalinity. Also, nitric oxide is a powerful antiviral itself. I will give you another great testimonial. There was a guy who ended up in ICU with COVID. He had blood clots and all this stuff. The doctors told him, “You are going to die if you don’t take all these meds.”
This guy runs a big media company. He was like, “No way am I going to take all that crap. I’m going to do it myself.” He called me up. I was like, “Are you sure?” I refused and said, “I can’t guarantee it but just try it.” I taught him to hum all the time. Chant AUM like long aums as many times as you can throughout the day. When you hum, you stimulate the paranasal cavities. This is where we produce nitric oxide. By humming AUM, and the emphasis on uhm, we produce fifteen times the amount of nitric oxide that we normally would.
As I said, it’s an anti-viral, antibacterial, vasodilator, and bronchodilator. He did that non-stop for three days. He had a little bit of steroids. The doctors said, “If you don’t take all these meds, you are going to die in two days.” That’s what they say. He freaked them all out. He baffled them all. He was out of the hospital for three days, and he’s fit and in perfect health now. He says, “It’s because I hummed like a madman. They all thought I had gone crazy.”
Don’t take this as medical advice but the study is all out there. You can check this out for yourself. Back up what I’m saying by doing your own research. This is why AUM is a sacred chant. All of the sacred chants and the yoga practices and these things have been mixed up with religion were just things that helped people to have a better experience of life. Their religion going away, all of it and made them mysterious and mystical. People got confused and went down rabbit holes and stuff.
If you look at these traditional practices that are thousands of years old, they evolved by humans having to fight microbes, germs, bacteria, other humans and hostile environments like extreme cold and heat. Through that, they intuitively figured out what was the best way to live and survive in these intense environments. That’s how they created yoga. That’s how we got to yoga.
There is ancestral wisdom. As you said in the conversation, you were like, “I don’t know where they got this idea with a Pramayana.” There is something beyond us that has imparted wisdom to traditional peoples that I’m grateful that you are keeping alive. This show is called Wise Traditions. We are all about these techniques that aren’t necessarily against any particular faith. Some people are sometimes afraid to try them because they have been classified a certain way.
The truth is these tools can all be a part of healing and drawing everyone closer to whatever faith they have. Niraj, this has been super fascinating. We are going to wrap up now with a question I often pose at the end. If the reader could just do one thing or take one step to improve their health, where should they begin? What would you recommend?
Aside from checking out our website courses, YouTube channel, Facebook groups, and all that stuff, the first thing that everybody must start doing from the moment they leave is to focus on nasal breathing. As I said, there are all these reasons why nasal breathing is so important. Be mindful of always breathing through your mouth. If you are somebody who already breathes through the nose, the first easy way to start training oxygen efficiency, and this is a great morning exercise because it also gets your bowels movement. It can cure constipation itself and blocks everything if you’ve got congestion when you wake up.
A lot of people get congestion at night because of the air quality or whatever. This is a very simple, easy technique. Stand up and breathe in through your nose. After your nose, hold your nose and walk around the room until your face starts to flush a bit. Breathe in again through your nose, and out through your nose, do it again. Keep doing it for about five minutes, and everything will unblock. You get mental care. You will wake up, and your bowels will want to empty. You go to the toilet, and you will be like, “I’m ready to start the day.”
That’s one very simple method because what that does is it raises carbon dioxide and nitric oxide, and it dilates all your blood vessels. It gets blood flow moving. It clears congestion and mucus. It also improves movement at the bowel. You need to go to the toilet to cleanse your bowels. One of the big issues people have in well-being is the bowel is not being cleansed, and they get constipation. Constipation causes all kinds of issues and anxiety, to depression. This makes people angry and ratty as well. They can’t think straight. Doing this in the morning can solve a lot of these issues.
I can tell you that no one has ever given us that response to that final question. Thank you so much, Niraj. Seriously, this has been a fascinating conversation. I’m sure it’s going to prove to be useful to a lot of our readers. Thanks again.
It helps you really relax and really relaxing and is a perfect state for you to self-heal.
It’s my pleasure. Thank you.
Our guest was Niraj Naik. His website is SomaBreath.com. You can find me at HolisticHilda.com. For a letter to the editor of a journal, “Empowering information, cod liver oil, coconut oil, beef tallow, beef liver, chicken heart, all these and more have been a part of my life over the years. Thanks to WAPF, homeopathy, vaccines, and the Bates method. Thanks to the Foundation. I’ve learned a lot about these in 2021. When I first learned about the foundation in late 2008, it was from a friend I met at work by word of mouth. I do not follow the Weston A Price Foundation via social media. I prefer to read, watch, and listen directly via the website. The Weston A Price Foundation website and the Wise Traditions show are a gold mine of empowering information.
As a member, I appreciate being able to download the journal PDFs when logged in via my account and view journal PDF links instead of having the journal sent via postal mail. Keep up the good work. This is from an anonymous member in Germany.” Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Honestly, this really puts the wind in our sails. We work hard here, and it makes a difference to hear from you. Feel free to write us a letter to the editor as well or to post a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. It does mean a lot. Thank you for reading. Stay well, my friend. All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
About Niraj Naik
Niraj Naik, of the Renegade Pharmacist blog, is a certified UK pharmacist turned holistic wellness, brain-training and breathwork expert. He is one of the world’s most sought-after spiritual ceremony facilitators and leads breathwork workshops around the world.
- The Renegade Pharmacist
- SOMA Breath
- Español Section
- @WestonAPrice_ Espanol – Instagram
- Facebook – La Fundación Weston A. Price
- Tradiciones Sabias
- James Nestor – Past Episode
- WAPF En Español
- Redmond Real Salt
- Earth Runners
- Optimal Carnivore
- James Nestor – Past Episode
- Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
- SOMA Breath Daily Dose – YouTube
- HolisticHilda.comApple Podcasts – Wise Traditions