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Podcast Episode 074: Unlock the ancient secrets between listening and breathing with James Nestor

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We breathe 25,000 times a day, but we’ve lost the ability to breathe correctly. Learn what went wrong, how we fix it, and the enormous difference it makes.

James Nestor is an award-winning author, who has written for The New York Times, NPR, Scientific American and many more. James has spent the last few years exploring and performing studies on breathing: it’s million-year-old history and how it affects our lives today.

You may have heard Oscar Trimboli say, “the deeper you breathe, the deeper you listen.” Hear their conversation and discover how breathing and listening are inextricably linked.

Learn the difference between mouth breathing and nose breathing. Find out what the deal is with ‘focussing on your breath’, and how it’s the key to listening to yourself.

Transcript

Podcast Episode 74: Unlock the ancient secrets between listening and breathing with James Nestor

James Nestor:
We know that certain forms of breathing, specifically mouth breathing can upset that balance of oxygen in the prefrontal cortex. So mouth breathing has been associated with ADHD. You’re breathing in your fuel and your energy, and if you’re doing it incorrectly and you don’t have energy to really feed all these different neuronal pathways and to feed your body in the proper way, things are going to malfunction. When you’re really focusing on your breath, that’s what you’re doing. You’re listening to your body. I don’t see a huge disconnect between listening and breathing because you are very closely tuning in to exactly how you’re feeling.

Oscar Trimboli:
Deep Listening, Impact Beyond Words. [inaudible 00:00:58]. I’m Oscar Trimboli and this is the Apple award-winning podcast, Deep Listening, designed to move you from a distracted listener to a deep and impactful leader. Did you know you spend 55% of your day listening, yet only 2% of people have ever been taught how. In each episode, we explore the five levels of listening. Communication is 50% speaking and 50% listening, yet as a leader you’re taught only the importance of communication from the perspective of how to speak. It’s critical you start to build some muscles for the next phase in how to listen. The cost of not listening. It’s confusion, it’s conflict, it’s projects running over schedule. It’s lost customers. It’s great employees that leave before they want to. When you implement the strategies, the tips and tactics that you’ll hear, you’ll get four hours a week back in your schedule. I wonder what you could do with an extra four hours a week.

Oscar Trimboli:
“The deeper you breathe, the deeper you listen.” How many times have you heard me say that? Well, today we’re going to find out why. James Nestor is the author of the book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. No matter what you eat, or how much you exercise or how skinny, young, or wise you are, none of that matters, if you’re not breathing properly. There’s nothing more essential to your health and wellbeing than breathing, taking in air, letting it out and repeat that 25,000 times a day, every day for the rest of your life. Yet as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, and it has grave consequences. James travels the wall to figure out what went wrong and more importantly, how to fix it. The answers aren’t found in the labs, but they’re found in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, in secret soviet facilities, in a New Jersey choir school or the smoggy streets of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Oscar Trimboli:
Modern research is now showing us that even making a slight adjustment in the way we inhale and the way we exhale can jumpstart athletic performance. It can rejuvenate body organs. It can stop snoring. It can help with asthma and autoimmune disease. Now, none of that should be possible yet it is. And it’s the act of breathing as well as the act of listening that share quite a lot in common. Both can be done without paying attention to the mechanics of the process. Yet when done with focus, breathing and listening can transform your mind, your body, your relationships, and your work place. Let’s listen to James.

James Nestor:
I think that not listening is not learning. I think that those two things are very closely connected. And whenever I’m conducting an interview, I’m listening very closely to those little cracks in between what people are saying in between their stories, because I find that those cracks are where the real truth and where the real story is. So the only way to really tune into those, is by listening very carefully, not only to the words people are saying, but how they’re saying it and their movements. And I think that that’s really the role of a reporter is to be able to read into that and then to pick the right questions, to get that fuller story.

James Nestor:
I was talking to these orthodontists who were discussing the role that modern orthodontics braces and headgear have played in our breathing. And they got very nervous and they all seemed to get nervous right around the same point where they wouldn’t exactly say that modern braces and extractions were implicated directly in breathing problems. But that’s exactly what their research was saying. So they couldn’t say this because they would get kicked out of the ADA. They would get sued for saying this. So to me, that was this opening into this whole world of research that has been around for 50, 60 years. And so much of it has been supported by scientists nowadays. And just to see this whole new area starting to really blossom and open. So I guess it was how tentative people were and how they got a little nervous about that one point

Oscar Trimboli:
You talked about the last 50 to 60 years because in humanity, the way humans have breathed over the centuries has actually changed quite dramatically.

James Nestor:
Yeah. And it has. And it’s one thing to ask someone, anecdotally subjectively, how they’re breathing, they could give you an answer. It’s another thing to actually look at skulls. So this is what I started doing. When I first started writing a book about breathing, the last thing I thought I would be spending my time with biological anthropologists in these big dungeons, looking at human skulls from 2000 years ago. But that’s where this book took me. And if you look at a skull from 2000 years ago, 20,000 years ago, 200,000 years ago, whatever on back, they’re going to have this very powerful jaw, their teeth more often than not almost all the time are going to be perfectly straight. They had no extractions or anything that these very forward growing faces. So they had larger sinuses than we do, and they have larger mouths and they had larger airways because of that.

James Nestor:
And today, if you take a modern skull, its mouth is so small that it’s teeth no longer fit. So it’s teeth growing crooked. And when you have a mouth that’s too small for its teeth, that mouth is more likely going to be too small to have an adequate airway. So, so many breathing problems are attached to this. These morphological changes that have occurred in our faces over the past 500 years. And I had never learned this in school, right? I’d never read this in any book, but the science is there and it’s so obvious, anyone can see this in the skeletal record. And I just thought that that was such a fascinating thing to see how our breathing has actually changed for the worst through our evolution.

Oscar Trimboli:
And there was a tipping point in the way humanity evolved.

James Nestor:
I think that mostly it was, a lot of us are taught that evolution’s always mean to progress, right? We’re getting better and faster and leaner and meaner, but that’s not true. Evolution means change. And so humans have been changing and in a lot of ways that has no benefit to us. And breathing’s a perfect example of that. So when industrialised food really started flooding into Western cultures about 400 years ago or so, this food was extremely soft. You’re talking about rice that had no brand or germinate, wheat that had no brand or germinate was extremely processed. And it was because of that food and the lack of chewing involved in that food that really made humans, some of the worst breathers in the animal kingdom. And most of the time, people attribute lack of vitamins and minerals and that’s part of it. But most of it has to do with chewing stress. If you don’t chew, especially when you’re young, your mouth is not going to grow properly. If your mouth doesn’t grow properly, there’s a good chance you’re going to have respiratory problems later on in life.

James Nestor:
This is really a fascinating process that a lot of us take for granted, but we breathe about 20 to 25,000 times a day. And in each of those breaths, we are taking in more molecules than there are grains of sand on all the world’s beaches. So 250 with 20 zeros behind it, that’s how many molecules in each breath. So as that breath goes down, our trachea, as it goes into our lungs, it’s absorbed through the alvioli, pushes it out into our bloodstream. It then gets absorbed into haemoglobin where it is taken… An analogy I use is like a cruise ship. You can think of haemoglobin as this cruise ship that picks up these passengers, which are oxygen and drops them off at these different ports, which are our hungry cells. So as oxygen is offloaded and disembarks into these hungry cells, carbon dioxide gets a board that cruise ship and the red blood cell, which is filled with, I believe it’s 270 haemoglobin per red blood cell will then make its passage back through our bloodstream and out through our lungs. And this is happening at such baffling numbers all the time. And it’s an absolute miracle to me that all of evolution has transpired and collected to create our bodies and this process, which is so incredibly sophisticated that we still only have really a rudimentary idea of all the subtleties of how it works.

Oscar Trimboli:
And yet, for all of our modern science, the ancients have taught us many great things. And one of the things we kind of jumped over is the starting point, which is the nose. And many of us aren’t even conscious of the difference between breathing through our nose or breathing through our mouth. The ancients were already aware of this. What happens when we start off at the nose, James?

James Nestor:
Yeah, you’re exactly right. The ancients have been hip to this stuff for thousands and thousands of years. There’s seven books in the Chinese Dao dedicated to breathing entirely to breathing, all the problems of breathing improperly and all the benefits of breathing well. And one passage, I’m paraphrasing this right now, but it says, “Any breath inhaled through the mouth is considered adverse breath. Never inhale through the mouth.” And that’s from 1500 years ago, and more recently we’ve discovered how dangerous and deleterious mouth breathing really is. So when we inhale through the mouth, we’re taking an air that is unheated on humidified it’s unconditioned, and we’re exposing our lungs directly to that. In some ways the lungs are an external because they’re constantly exposed to the environment around us.

James Nestor:
The benefits of the nose is it heats up air to our body temperature, it humidifies it, it removes pathogens. And it also releases nitric oxide, which is this fantastic molecule that can fight off things like bacteria and viruses. Another benefit of the nose is it also pressurises this air. So breathing in it causes you to breathe much slower and it causes you to exhale much more slowly. So we’ll take in about 20% more oxygen, just breathing through the nose. So that means you can breathe fewer breaths and get more. And this is something that seems almost completely lost on modern civilization considering that 25 to 50% of the population habitually breathes through the mouth and the ancients have known this has been bad for so long. And finally, we’re just starting to now catch up.

Oscar Trimboli:
And then it shows up in the most unusual places, it shows up when you sleep. And I’m sure the ancients would have had a perspective for us about thinking about how we sleep and the relationship between that sleeping position and breathing also.

James Nestor:
Sure, if you look at any statue, at least all the ones that I’ve seen and I’ve looked through dozens and dozens of the Buddha sleeping. He’s going to be on his side. And 2000 years ago, Chinese doctors were prescribing people to sleep on their sides. So because when you sleep on your side, all those soft tissues in the back of your mouth, they will be more open, your airway will be more open that way. Because when you take a breath in, what’s expanding, your chest is expanding a little bit, but most of what’s expanding is your back. And when you’re sleeping on your back, you’re inhibiting that free flow of air. Now for people who are very healthy, have good airways back sleeping is going to be fine. But for those of us who aren’t, which is the majority of us, side sleeping can really have some benefits.

James Nestor:
And you’re seeing this with how they’re treating COVID patients right now. They used to bring them in and lay them down on a gurney on their back. And they’re no longer doing that. They’re doing something called prone sleeping, where they’re laying them on their sides or on their stomachs. And they found that this is incredibly beneficial, but the ancients have been doing this for thousands of years, have been prescribing it. And a cardiologist 70, 80 years ago in Russia was prescribing this to his patients with pneumonia. So it’s just interesting that all of this wisdom, all of these studies, these ancients did for so long are now being reproven in modern science.

Oscar Trimboli:
Have you brought breathing through the nose to life in your own experiments?

James Nestor:
Yeah, so when I was starting this book, I told my editor, I said, “I really don’t want to be in this book. There are so many fascinating characters. I want to step back and let them tell their story.” But it turned out that there were just some grey zones here in which I really wanted more science and I wanted more background, but the studies weren’t available. So I started working with the chief of rhinology research at Stanford, a fascinating guy, very, very smart dude. And I kept asking him, he’s like, “Mouth breathing, it’s the worst thing, it’s so bad. You’ve got to fix that. Always breathe through your nose.” But I asked him how soon the damage of mouth breathing would come on. And he had no answer for it because there were no studies.

James Nestor:
So I’ve volunteered, me and one other guy, a breathing therapist from Sweden volunteered for a 21 day experiment, working with him down at Stanford, where we plugged our noses for 10 days, to see all the effects of mouth breathing, how they might affect the body. And our intention wasn’t to do some supersize me stunt. It was to really see what was happening to such a large swath of the population to see just how bad mouth breathing might be. And it’s bad. And we felt, and we saw it and the data showed it.

Oscar Trimboli:
How bad is bad?

James Nestor:
Bad is really bad, so much worse than… Obviously we thought something was going to happen, right. And going into these things, you’re supposed to be completely objective. But of course there’s enough signs showing that mouth breathing is bad news. But we had no idea it was going to be this bad. We had no idea it was going to come on so suddenly. So the most dramatic thing that happened was with snoring, snoring and sleep apnea. So I am not a snore, haven’t been a snore. And we took baselines to show just if we were snoring, if we had sleep apnea, neither of us were. I think the night before the study was the most I had snored in weeks, which was about four minutes. So still four minutes out of eight hours, not bad, but within a single night of breathing through our mouth, we were snoring about hour and a half. And about four or five days later I was snoring through more than half the night. So an increase of 5000%.

James Nestor:
And no one’s really talking about how, the way in which we inhale and exhale air may be impacting our sleep and our snoring. Along with snoring, we both started getting sleep apnea, which is when you start choking on yourself at night. So severely that your oxygen starts going down. And sleep apnea, there’s a laundry list of problems associated with it, from metabolic disorders, diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, on and on and on. It’s so bad. And to just think the way in which you breathe can turn these things on. And luckily, as we found on the other side, it can also turn these things off if you do it properly.

Oscar Trimboli:
So to prove experiments in science, sometimes you have to do the opposite. What were you stuffing into the nose, you were putting on your mouth or?

James Nestor:
Yeah. Give me a little PTSD here, silicon, these big balls of silicon with tape over it. And if that sounds awful is because it totally was.

Oscar Trimboli:
Let’s do the opposite. How did you false breathing through your nose and not through your mouth, on the other side of the experiment?

James Nestor:
We taped our mouths. And I don’t mean like a hostage situation. I mean, a teeny piece of tape, very small one inch wide piece of tape, just at the centre of our lips and the point of this wasn’t to inhibit air in and out of our mouth. It was just to remind us to keep our mouths closed. So within a single night of doing that, our snoring disappeared or sleep apnea disappeared. I think I had gone from four hours at the worst to about 20 minutes the first night. So big improvement, not totally gone, but within about three or four days, zero snoring, zero sleep apnea and Anders, the other person in the study had the exact same result as I did.

James Nestor:
And subjectively, personally, the feeling the difference of energy and clarity and focus and endurance from just breathing through those different channels was night and day. And I thought this was so interesting because I had been told by a few doctors that how we breathe did not matter. The body will always compensate. It doesn’t matter if you breathing too fast, too slow, through the nose or through the mouth, it doesn’t matter. But that is absolutely wrong, how we breathe is so important. And I’ve really seen the medical community starting to change it’s tune.

Oscar Trimboli:
When we joined the dots between the process of breathing, the ancients and how that can help us in reflection in modern times, I’m not a religious person, but there is a significant learning across all the ancient cultures around the role of prayer and the intersection of prayer and breathing as well.

James Nestor:
So these Italian researchers, about 20 years ago, they looked at the Catholic prayer, the Ave Maria, the traditional prayer of the rosary, where in Latin a priest says a phrase and then the congregation says a phrase. And then they looked at the Om mani padme hum, which is the most famous Buddhist mantra.

James Nestor:
And they found that to recite these prayers and the time it takes to inhale and exhale, because you’re always speaking on the exhale, then you slowly inhale, was about five and a half seconds. So equal on both sides, which works out to about five and a half times a minute. That’s how often you’re breathing. And they hypothesised, or I could even say theorised that one of the reasons why these prayers have become so popular is because of the physiological effects they put on the body. And they also had mentioned that the Ave Maria, it’s origins actually came from prayers in India, thousands of years before Christianity, which I thought was fascinating. So they really found this physiological reason for these prayers, but one of the reasons perhaps that people had glommed onto these prayers and feel such a healing touch was because it forces them to slow down their breathing in the specific way.

Oscar Trimboli:
Would you like to learn a bit more about what gets in your way when it comes to listening? What are the barriers that are stopping you from completely listening to yourself and to the other person. Go and visit listeningquiz.com. That’s listeningquiz.com and take the seven minute assessment and you’ll receive a unique report with three tailored actions to help you move from a distracted listener to a deep and impactful listener.

Speaker 3:
Wow. This quiz is like magic. It takes just a few minutes, but the results make it feel like Oscar’s been listening to me for a lifetime. It’s hard to believe how accurately this quiz highlights the seemingly small things that I do that get in the way of me being a better listener. And already I’m starting to notice when my listening villains begin to creep into my work conversations and I can now recognise when I’m not listening as well, or as deep as I could be. Thanks Oscar.

Oscar Trimboli:
We’ve got five copies of James’ book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art for you, simply tag me Oscar Trimboli on your favourite social media while sharing this podcast episode with people you know, if you’d like a copy of James’s book, we have five to give away. Tag me, Oscar Trimboli and share this episode on social media.

Oscar Trimboli:
What we’re doing is learning the wisdom of the past and trying to unlearn what we’ve developed in industrial times as you’ve mentioned. I’m curious to kind of bring the connection between breathing and listening. Listening takes a deal of effort, it takes a deal of attention. As we explore the body and listening, what’s your reflections on the role of breathing and listening?

James Nestor:
In my opinion, breathing and listening are very closely connected because when you’re focusing on your breath, you’re listening to your body. Maybe you’re not listening in the oral sense, but you’re feeling exactly what is happening and you’re focused on your heartbeat and you’re focused on your internal world. So you’re acutely aware of your health at that time. And that’s one of the real pleasures of stopping throughout the day, taking a few deep breaths, just enjoying those breaths, closing my eyes and focusing because it recenters me into my body, it allows me to listen to what my body needs and listen to how much energy it has. Then I can prescribe whatever task after that. So I really think that those things are very closely connected.

Oscar Trimboli:
And one of the things we consistently talk about is, “The deeper you breath, the deeper you listen.” And one of the things you talk about is breathing less or breathing more effectively. When we get into a conversation, there are many distractions for us. There’s our own distractions. There’s internal distractions, there’s external distractions. There’s the distraction of the story that the other person’s telling us. How does breathing help? I’m particularly curious about its impact on the nervous system and the body and how that sends signals both to the gut and also to the brain. What chemicals are released in the process of breathing a little bit more deeply.

James Nestor:
I think that what’s so interesting about modern science is that we’re able to measure what these ancients have been saying, right? We don’t just take what they’re saying and consider it the truth. We can measure it and really see what’s happening. So deep breaths and slower breaths can affect you on a physiological level profoundly. So Richard Brown and Patricia GerBarg two psychiatrists in New York City have found that there is huge benefits for people with anxiety, with depression, even they’ve used this technique with 9/11 survivors who had this awful condition called ground-glass lungs, nothing else worked for this condition, breathing very slowly and deeply did.

James Nestor:
We have this ability to breathe unconsciously, which is great. We don’t have to think about it all the time, but when we take over breathing and we start to do it consciously, we allow ourselves these different levers. We can create a lot of energy in our bodies, we can put ourselves to sleep, we can calm ourselves, we can focus. And that’s what I think is so great about this. Just having more tools in the toolbox to do different things.

James Nestor:
So to just take a breath in for about six seconds through the nose, always through the nose, everybody. And then to take a breath out for about five seconds, six seconds. Just by doing that, it’s so simple, you can increase circulation to the brain. You decrease the burden on the heart. You’re increasing circulation throughout the rest of the body. And very importantly, when you take in those slow, deep breaths, your diaphragm, which is the thing that sits below the lungs and goes up and down 50,000 times a day, you’re allowing it to sink down further. And when you do that, it pushes a bunch of blood into the thoracic cavity. When you exhale, that diaphragm goes up and it pushes that blood, it helps the heart out. It’s like a sump pump for the heart. So this is one of the reasons why just breathing this way for a few minutes. If anyone out there has a blood pressure monitor, try this little experiment, take your blood pressure before doing this, and then breathe this way for about three or four minutes, about six seconds in, six seconds out. There’s a good chance your blood pressure is going to go down because you’re allowing your heart to function in a more natural state to function more efficiently.

James Nestor:
And I think it’s, it’s fascinating that we always have our breath with us so we can turn on these levers, turn them off whenever we want to address a situation and what a wonderful toolkit to have.

Oscar Trimboli:
When we take those breaths, what signals is it sending to our nervous system?

James Nestor:
So when we breathe in, that’s associated with a sympathetic nervous response, which is the fight or flight response. Don’t get worried and you need to keep breathing. We want balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic, but when we breathe out, that’s stimulating a parasympathetic response, which is the rest and relax response. Doing this one exercise, you can breathe into a count of about three and breathe out to the count of about eight. By doing that, you are shifting the balance of that sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system to be more parasympathetic, to be more restful and relaxing. And so that’s a great trick to do before going to sleep, on a flight, before you really want to be relaxed and you can do the opposite thing when you want some energy, you increase those the amount of time inhaling and decrease the amount of time exhaling, you’re going to get a bump of energy. And if you have sensors, if you have a heart rate, variability monitor, I know that these are popular now, you can just see how your body responds to these different ways of just tweaking the amount of time you inhale and exhale.

Oscar Trimboli:
Now listening takes place in the modern part of the brain of those two differing breathing styles, which one do you think will support the preparation? So before you go in to listen to somebody, which one of those two approaches would you recommend?

James Nestor:
The Navy Seals use this box breathing, which I think gets you completely balanced. And they use this before they’re going into some hardcore missions. So this is inhaling to a count of four, holding for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, holding for a count of four, just like a box. So that is going to put you in a state where you’re neither going to be amped up or too relaxed. But I’ve found personally that that gets me in a very focused state, it balances the CO2 and the oxygen in your body. And that allows you to, to function with less stress. So that’s one I like a lot.

James Nestor:
I know that different breathing patterns will work for different people. If you’re extremely nervous before going into a meeting, I would extend that exhale. You can try four, seven, eight breathing as well, but this makes you… I found that this breathing technique makes me really sleepy. So be careful, but it would be a good way to calm your nerves down where you inhale to a count of four, hold for seven, exhale for eight, and just keep doing that. Inhale for four, hold for seven, exhale eight, and the longer you exhale, you’re going to feel your heart rate lowering that’s that parasympathetic rest and relax response. Sometimes you don’t want to be too mellow before a meeting. So it really depends on the person, but box breathing to me works for almost any situation.

Oscar Trimboli:
Would you like to learn a bit more about what gets in your way when it comes to listening? What are the barriers that are stopping you from completely listening to yourself and to the other person. Go and visit listeningquiz.com. That’s listeningquiz.com and take the seven minute assessment. And you’ll receive a unique report with three tailored actions to help you move from a distracted listener to a deep and impactful listener.

Speaker 3:
Wow. This quiz is like magic. It takes just a few minutes, but the results make it feel like Oscar’s been listening to me for a lifetime. It’s hard to believe how accurately these quiz highlights the seemingly small things that I do that get in the way of me being a better listener. And already I’m starting to notice when my listening villains begin to creep into my work conversations and I can now recognise when I’m not listening as well, or as deep as I could be. Thanks Oscar.

Oscar Trimboli:
We’ve got five copies of James’ book, Breath: The New Science of The Lost Art for you. Simply tag me Oscar Trimboli on your favourite social media while sharing this podcast episode with people you know, if you’d like a copy of James’ this book, we have five to give away, tag me, Oscar Trimboli and share this episode on social media.

Oscar Trimboli:
What are three tips you’d leave for the audience to improve their listening?

James Nestor:
I think in regards to breathing, because I really believe that if you are in a very stressed state and you’re very anxious, it’s very hard for you or I won’t say very hard. It’s much harder for you to really focus on someone else because you’re just cleaning up your own internal mess. You’re cleaning up, you’re trying to rifle through all of these different thoughts, your heart’s beating fast. So I think that you need to calm yourself down in a certain way to open yourself up. And I’ve found that that breathing is such a powerful tool for that. And so many people, so many people do it wrong by thinking that you’re… To thinking you’re getting more oxygen, you’re feeding more oxygen into your body by breathing more is a hundred percent wrong. You will get more oxygen by breathing more slowly and by breathing less. This seems so counterintuitive, but it’s really true.

James Nestor:
So first thing I would do before listening is listen to yourself and calm yourself down and seeing what’s annoying you. Because if you’re not able to focus on someone else, because you’re taking care of your own business, you’re never going to be able to learn from them or see those cracks had been talking about at the beginning of our conversation. Nasal breathing, that’s been pretty well established. Breathing slowly, I think is very important, especially for centering yourself and breathing less than you think you need to. And again, that seems crazy and so contradictory, but so many of us, most of us are breathing too much and we’re overworking our heart. Imagine if you’re in a car and you’re at a stop sign and you’re just revving your motor without moving. That’s what happens when you breathe too much, you’re just revving your heart, revving your systems without moving.

James Nestor:
So slowly, through the nose, less and with a long exhale, if you want to relax, it’s a really important point to make that if you can’t be able to listen to your own body, you’re not going to be able to truly listen to what someone else is saying. You’re not going to be able to receive all of that information. And breathing is this wonderful anchor this way of quickly listening to your body so that you can be a conduit to other knowledge out there in the world.

Oscar Trimboli:
What a joy it is to listen to a fellow traveller. James and I have dedicated ourselves to the quest to understand breathing and listening at the same level of depth. So the three tips I took away and will apply immediately is noticing the difference between the right of my inhale. This is my exhale on my next phone call, on my next video conference and during the next conversation. The second thing, I’ll make sure I sleep on my side rather than my back. And that might help somebody else, if I don’t know I snore. Finally, the deeper you breathe, the deeper you listen. I think we’ve done a great job today in drawing those two threads together and understanding why those three simple deep breaths will move you from a distracted listener to a deep and impactful one. Thanks for listening.

James Nestor:
Something I do whenever I’m on an interview is I always close my eyes. Because I’ve found that before… Which is what I’ve been doing this entire interview as well. It’s a good thing you don’t have the camera on, you’d see a weird guy with his eyes closed. Because I’ve found that removing that sense, removing vision can allow me to fall so much more easily into what someone’s saying, into what I’m saying, into what I’m feeling. I’ve noticed, I’m very, not a visual person, I’m much more a musical person. I’m much more into sound than I am to into sites. And so I’ve found that I can much more easily process and respond to questions if my eyes are closed and I’m able to sort of roam between that conscious and subconscious place and try to pull out these little factoids I thought I had forgotten. I found that that’s so much easier if you just remove that sense of vision, especially a laptop filled with 20 different browser windows, that would be my nightmare.

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