Sometimes, the most powerful tools are those that seem the smallest. I’ve interviewed over a thousand guests on The School of Greatness so far, and there are a handful of principles and recurring themes that come up with the successful people I speak with. One of those lessons is the power of our breath. With it, I’ve discovered we have the ability to calm ourselves in the face of adversity, center ourselves when the world seems to be out of control, and remind ourselves of the most precious gift we have: being alive.
It might sound simple, but let me tell you, having a handle on your breath can truly be a game changer in your life. That’s why I wanted to bring some of my favorite guests on the topic of breathing together for this special mashup episode! You’ll hear from the great, James Nestor, Andrew Huberman, Wendy Suzuki, Nicole LePera, and Wim Hof. They’ll explain how breathing can help with everything from controlling your heart rate to influencing your mind-body connection. I hope you enjoy this one!
James Nestor – James Nestor is an author and journalist who has written for Scientific American, Outside, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and more. His latest book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, was released May 26, 2020 by Riverhead/Penguin Random House. Breath was an instant New York Times and London Sunday Times bestseller and will be translated into more than 30 languages in 2021.
Nestor’s first book, Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves, was published in 2014 and was a finalist for the 2014 PEN/ESPN Award For Literary Sports Writing, an Amazon Best Science Book of 2014, and more. Nestor has presented his work at Stanford Medical School, the United Nations, Global Classroom (World Health Organization+UNICEF), as well as more than 60 radio and television shows, including Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Joe Rogan Show, ABC’s Nightline, CBS Morning News, and dozens of NPR programs. He lives and breathes in San Francisco.
Andrew Huberman – Neuroscientist. Professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford. You run the Huberman Lab studying brain states. Researching how to regenerate the damaged nervous system (connections between eye and brain) to restore vision to the blind and prevent vision loss. Researching stress and other states of mind. Andrew runs Stanford’s lab (the Huberman Lab) primarily studying brain states – such as fear, courage, anxiety, calm – and how we can better move into and out of them through things like visual cues, breathwork, movement, supplementation, and the like. All incredibly interesting research.
Wendy Suzuki – Dr. Wendy Suzuki is an award-winning Professor of Neural Science and Psychology at New York University where she studies the effects of physical activity and meditation on the brain. She is also a TED speaker and best-selling author of the book Healthy Brain Happy Life that was recently made into a PBS special. Her second book Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion will be published in September of 2021. Suzuki is a passionate thought leader, spreading the understanding of how we can use the principles of brain plasticity to maximize our brain’s performance and transform our lives for the better.
Nicole LePera – Dr. Nicole LePera is a Holistic Psychologist from Philadelphia who believes that mental wellness is for everyone. She evolved her more traditional training from Cornell University and The New School to one that acknowledges the connection between the mind and body. Dr. LePera views mental and physical struggles from a whole person perspective and works to identify the underlying physical and emotional causes.
She understands that balance is an integral part of wellness and empowers individuals to heal themselves, supporting them on their wellness journeys. Dr. LePera founded the Mindful Healing Center in Center City Philadelphia where she works with individuals, couples, and families taking gut health, sleep, movement, cellular health, belief, and mindfulness into treatment.
Wim Hof – Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof got his nickname “The Iceman” by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure including: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. Using “cold, hard nature” as his teacher, his extensive training has enabled him to learn to control his breathing, heart rate, and blood circulation and to withstand extreme temperatures.
Armed with his motto “what I am capable of, everybody can learn”, Wim Hof is convinced that everyone can tap into their inner potential without having to invest the same decades worth of study, travel and daring. Wim has made it his mission to share what he’s learned with the rest of the world. And so he developed the Wim Hof Method: a combination of breathing, cold therapy and commitment that offers a range of benefits. With his Wim Hof Method, he teaches people from all over the world, from celebrities and professional athletes, to people of all ages, to control their body & mind and achieve extraordinary things.
We all have breath, but how do we harness it to help us live a more fulfilled, balanced life? In this episode, you’ll learn how! If you’re ready to be more present, grateful, and at peace, then I encourage you to join me on Episode 1,176 of The School of Greatness!