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What do you want to know about breathing? Answered in our newsletter


Stress management is mostly how you handle it and partly how you make it go away.
Max Lafser, a popular Unity Center Minister, tells a story about a woman in Galveston, Texas who uses a canister vacuum cleaner to clean out her parakeet cage and accidentally sucks the always cheerfully singing bird up the hose. She retrieved it and found that it’s still alive but very dirty so she takes it to the sink and runs ice cold tap water over it to wash all the dust off. The bird is “soaked through” so she gets a hair drier and with VERY “warm” air, blow dries it until it is already very dry. A newspaper reporter heard of the incident and located the woman to ask about the story. He asked her how the bird is doing. She replied that “He’s doing ‘fine’ but he never moves or sings anymore; he just sits and stares at the wall.” “FINE,” for some stands for Frozen, Irritable, Numb, and Empty. The poor bird was just "fine".

Actually the bird story is not really funny. It is tragic. But it is so tragic that we laugh at the ridiculousness of the way the situation was handled and the laughter helps release the anguish or sadness the situation has instilled in us. Laughter is breathing more but in a balanced way. So is crying. It often releases tensions that invite an easier more natural deeper balanced breathing.

Poorly managed stress is called distress. PTSD is excessive stress that takes a long time to go away or it often never does unless very specific therapy and/or lifestyle change approaches are taken. I have heard many times that if you can slowly breathe through a negative incident long enough and properly it will eventually lose its grip on you. I repeat the emphasis on PROPERLY. There may well be many unspeakable HORRORS to slowly and safely breathe through. MANY.
For some it may be that “I now understand that in times of extreme stress and confusion, I can always go back to my breath.”

– Lee Glickstein, Public Speaking Coach   (I worked on Lee in the mid 1990s)

But if in any part of your life, you may have experienced anything like that poor canary which scared you of being conditioned out of breathing properly, and just experience the memories as fear or even terror then Stress Management might be hard to come by. But it is FOR SURE worth the try. Sometimes a little bit goes a long way toward resolution or reduction of negative reactions. Breathe low and slow and take your time.


A famous personal growth leader named Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now, shares how he had spent 10 years in psychoanalysis concerning his anxiety. During those 10 years Ram Dass grew to understand his condition; but he still had it.
It wasn’t significantly reduced until he practiced simple breathing exercises.

Grade school children are often stressed out and it seems they are seen as evil, uncontrollable, neurotic, abused, or called by whatever names the society and medical establishment decides to label them just because they cannot be understood or wisely managed. A first grade teacher and I joined forces to teach 16 frenetic, energetic, as well as sick with colds Oakland California 6- and 7-year-olds “how to breathe better.” We made a game of it. After the teacher was able to handle teaching on his own, he continued the practice. Here, we will see that breathing exercise works a lot like meditation but without the dogma, jargon and new age “fluff” often (not always) associated with “meditation”.

Many breathing blocks become permanent unless you remove them.  I was privileged to assist several members of the Inmate Services staff at a local county jail and I taught my Learn How To Breathe Better for a stress management approach which was used as the procedure for ways to help control anger as well as drug and alcohol cravings. Both maximum and minimum security inmate groups were very receptive and were willing to do the ongoing breathing exercises. The Inmate Services personnel were  delighted with the results.

Some believe prison and jail should be for education. Some see it as a form of punishment. I, on the other hand looked forward to a positive response to my proposal to any jail facility to be able to train inmates and Services Staff alike  in my approach to one’s internal “energy control and management”. I want to train other prison staff members as well as public school teachers, and I am looking for contacts that understand and appreciate the power of the breath.

I give you a word of caution, though. There are many breathing exercises that can calm. There are even some that can actually level-out one person and over-amp another. But in the long run many will suppress the effortless in-breaths that are the gateway to the deepest peace within. 

THE FALLACY OF MULTITASKING (Good stuff adapted from my friend Steve Sisgold's great new book) my comments in bold)

"We now know it as a major contributor to mental burnout.  We have a limited supply of adaptive energy to deal with stress. It may be that we can't and don't actually multitask, but rather we merely jump back and forth between different subjects so fast that we barely notice it. We have done it so long that we have been used to stop paying well enough attention to each one. This is the reason that I refuse to talk with someone who is doing something other than listening to me. This reasoning is also supported by a recent study that texting and emailing at the same time can knock off 10 points off your IQ. This situation was said to be similar to the head fog caused by losing a night’s sleep." I have also had a similar experience in brain functioning whenever I had too much cooked food in one sitting or over a day or two.


Both Mark Twain and Will Rogers are credited with this saying. So, I will tell you what I remember. “The only problem with what we know is when what we know just ain’t so,” this includes misconceptions, negative beliefs, and prejudices.  Once the breathing blocks have subsided and you've gotten more clarity, you will be better able to recognize patterns and unconscious beliefs that have lived beneath your everyday awareness.  You will learn that your breathing body is quite often ready to give you the most reliable information, indicate the best way to go, and “intuit” the best decision to make.  But we MUST “stay in touch” with our breathing body; moment to moment to be able to have this awareness.


The Japanese now have karishi, or time urgency. They are actually hiring people to act as emotional surrogates for friends and family. How sad. Trust me, robots are next.

We encounter emotional, physical, mental, and environmental stresses daily. They can be exhilarating, strengthening, and clarifying, or damaging and destructive. Burnout, fatigue, shame, guilt, lack of control and helplessness, epidemic-scale autoimmune disease, food allergies, chemical hypersensitivities, mental weakness, and confusion plague our society. How you breathe impacts all of these.

“During a breathing session with Mike, I received more release of tension and a stronger sense of inner peace than I ever dreamed possible.” – Ellen Heathcote, Retired former manager of a California State Agency

Responding, rather than reacting, is a primary goal of Optimal Breathing™. Especially to traumatic memories that we have "breathed" through.

When we over eact our blood vessels tend to constrict. Strategies for handling distress often tempt us to rely on cognitive or thinking processes. Many strategies can be very helpful. But what happens if the very mechanism that drives our nervous system (think breathing) is so out of balance that what could have been an opportunity for meeting a challenge becomes harmful, even deadly. When we try to substitute information for an in the moment experience and intuition? We can become overloaded with choices and become separated from our deepest inner selves.  With this understanding, we can clearly see that breathing is the link to body-mind-spirit integration.


A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it."

"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on." "As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.  When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."  Stress can be a tremendous opportunity for learning as well for accomplishments and exciting challenges. For those that think we should embrace stress, we need to look at it always as if we are  holding a glass or water for a few hours and then do it again and again and again along the way.

She goes on to say "So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can." "Relax. Pick them up later after you've rested.  Life is short. Enjoy it!” I would add "Take lots of mini "breathers". AFTER you make sure your breathing mechanism is as good as it can get, take the glass again and when you feel tired don’t let anyone stop you to take another “breather” as often as you need to. Integrate an O2E2 session.  Add a powernap if you want.


To reduce anxiety or panic, try this exercise: The Squeeze and Breathe.  This is a TEMPORARY approach but it has saved lives and relationships. For a permanent solution for stress relief, one MUST change the way they breathe, even during sleep.

Those with a breathing problem are advised to develop their breathing.  Due to so many hidden dysfunctional breathing factors those without evidence of a breathing problem are as well advised to develop their breathing. Breath IS life.

If you were flying a plane, you probably want to learn how to relocate where the home based landing strip is. With that information you can always find your way, even if you travel into interstellar space, you will still know where to come home to. This is how an optimal breathing foundation helps in supporting you whenever you’re in distress. Your distress will be contained as stress and excitement as well as vitality, these are likened as your home base. The place you longingly refer to when you say "I am not myself today". 

Learn the fundamentals now.

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The breathing improvement techniques, practices and products outlined in this publication are extremely gentle, and should, if carried out as described, be beneficial
to your overall physical and psychological health. If you have any serious medical or psychological problem, however, such as heart disease, high blood pressure,
cancer, mental illness, or recent abdominal or chest surgery, you should consult your health professional before undertaking these practices.