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Beachside Qigong & Tai Chi

Lessons Learned from Breath Retreat - Costa Rica March 2023

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

While not everyone will have the opportunity to attend author James Nestor’s week long Breath retreat in Costa Rica, his book is a must-read for anyone who wants to stay healthy or overcome health issues. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky few who got accepted into this year’s exclusive event that sold out in under 24 hours.

And what an event it was! So many breathing techniques and the science behind them that I can only summarize just a little of what took place: Qigong Breathing, Buteyko Method, CO2 Tolerance Training, ladder breathing, Wim Hoff Method, Sleep Taping, Kundalini, Ice Baths in a HOT jungle, chew for better breathing, all organic vegan cuisine, one of the world’s highest reviewed retreat centers, ocean swims, howler monkeys. . .wow! I could go on and on. But instead, here’s some of what I learned that you can benefit from without going all-in in a Costa Rican ice bath.


FACTS ABOUT BREATHING:

  • 50% of the world population is in some form of chronic respiratory-related disease

  • Over 60 million people have respiratory issues

  • 65-80% of the population mouth breathes in their sleep (bad)

  • Sleep tape corrects night-time mouth breathing (Here’s a video on it from 2 of the event presenters: Sleep Tape)

  • Nasal breathing increases oxygenation by 20%

  • Mayo Clinic: sleeping pills cause muscle over-relaxation and lead to sleep-disordered breathing

  • 90-95% of bi-lateral lung transplants now being used to treat long-haul Covid result in death because the person’s diaphragm is so weak it won’t fill those nice new lungs 🙁

  • Humans are the only species with crooked teeth (mostly caused by not chewing a soft diet and poor breathing habits)

  • Homo Sapiens are dys-evolving to have smaller mouths and restricted airways because of our soft diet (think “cut back on those smoothies and chew instead”)


  • Fluoride lowers IQ by 6-9 points

  • Brushing after coffee, starchy & acidic foods strips enamel off teeth

  • Breath holding increases: human growth factor, stem cell production, production of P53 (guardian of the genes)

  • CO2 (carbon dioxide) is needed in the body to dilate blood vessels and release oxygen from red blood cells

  • Too little CO2 leads to blood vessel constriction, high heart rate and loss of pulmonary function

  • CO2 Therapy was used successfully for asthma, gout, skin conditions, anxiety, wound healing and even schizophrenia until it was shut down by the newly formed profession of medical anesthesiologist in the 1950s)

  • Thermal hot springs contain about 75% CO2, which is why they are called “healing waters”

  • Optimal indoor air is below 1000 ppm CO2

  • Airplane cabins, schools and office buildings frequently register at 2000+ppm of CO2-leading to nausea, lack of focus and a 50% decrease in brain function (no wonder kids are testing with lower IQs!)

  • The Aranet4 is the most accurate CO2 measuring device ($250 on Amazon or $60 HERE)

  • Mouth breathing is the #1 cause of cavities (known for over 100 years)

  • The optimal breath rate for humans is 5-6 second inhale, 5-6 second exhale (coherent breathing creates heart/brain coherence)

  • Proper breathing begins by breathing into the belly (think dan tien breathing from qigong)

  • The shoulders should not rise on breathing


FACTS PERTAINING TO OUR FUTURE: KIDS

  • Sleep-disordered breathing is a major CAUSE of ADD/ADHD

  • 50% of kids 2-5 years old are mouth breathers

  • Mouth breathing is the #1 cause of cavities (known for over 100 years)

  • Fluoride in toothpaste, mouthwash and tap water lowers IQ by 6-9 points

  • Sleep taping can be used to help correct night-time mouth breathing

  • Optimal indoor air is below 1000 ppm CO2

  • Airplane cabins, schools and office buildings frequently register at 2000+ppm of CO2-leading to nausea, lack of focus and a 50% decrease in brain function (no wonder kids are testing with lower IQs!)


That’s not even close to the full range of knowledge shared in this book or event, but it’s a good start. Since CO2 often gets a bad rap, I was intrugued enough by the science behind CO2 Tolerance that I wrote a complete summary of it AND some very simple techniques you can use to improve your CO2 Tolerance. Here’s that summary just for you. (keep in mind this is ONLY from the retreat. We also used CO2 Tolerance Training in these techniques that I teach: 5 Beasts Qigong (WuXian) and 9 Breath Method Technique).




Even if you don’t read the book (please read it to learn the facts that pertain specifically to you), this bit of information will jump start your awareness of how important proper breathing is and gives you some simple tools to implement your own breath work training. If you’d like to learn more qigong breathing techniques, check out The Breathwork Collection online course HERE to inspire you even more (it includes training in the powerful 9 Breath Method).


If you think all this is BS and has nothing to do with real health and actual medicine, I’d like to leave you with this quote from the father of Western Medicine and you decide if you’d rather exercise your diaghram with breathing exercises to breath better or take a pill.



 

And just to prove I really was there and not just playing hooky: a few retreat photos from Blue Spirit Resort.



No Costa Rica photo montage would be complete with a video of howler monkeys


If YOU want to attend the next Costa Rica Breath retreat, here’s a link to find out more and get on the waitlist: Mr James Nestor . Com


May you always breathe easy, my friend. 🫁😉



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