Movement Podcast

Start With Breathing

October 22, 2020 Gray Cook and Dr. Lee Burton Season 2 Episode 18
Movement Podcast
Start With Breathing
Chapters
0:00
Bears, breathing & anxiety
9:10
How breathing changes depending on your activity
14:26
Shallow breathing can turn your body toxic and PH levels
20:30
The corrective exercise trend
28:00
Coaching posture, breathing and movement
34:10
What Gray would do for the bad knee?
36:05
36:05 - Posing a problem and solution and just coaching one simple thing
37:15
Will masks affect breathing? 
Movement Podcast
Start With Breathing
Oct 22, 2020 Season 2 Episode 18
Gray Cook and Dr. Lee Burton

Every day, you take around 20,000 breaths, whether you notice it or not. It affects all parts of the human experience, from our physical to our mental state.

On today’s episode, we explore breathing and its connection to health and movement.

The guys discuss breathing dysfunction, syncing your breath, posture, and coaching. We dive into breathing techniques and fixes, breathing screens, and close this episode with thoughts about potential effects on breathing while wearing your mask.

So take a deep breath and get ready for today’s Movement Podcast-- powered by FMS.

Episode Notes & Links:

 "Take A Deep Breath"
 "How Your Breathing Relates to Your Movement"
 "Screening & Assessing Breathing: A Multidimensional Approach"
 Wim Hof Method
 Phil Maffetone Method
 "Indian Clubs: History and Application"
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Every day, you take around 20,000 breaths, whether you notice it or not. It affects all parts of the human experience, from our physical to our mental state.

On today’s episode, we explore breathing and its connection to health and movement.

The guys discuss breathing dysfunction, syncing your breath, posture, and coaching. We dive into breathing techniques and fixes, breathing screens, and close this episode with thoughts about potential effects on breathing while wearing your mask.

So take a deep breath and get ready for today’s Movement Podcast-- powered by FMS.

Episode Notes & Links:

 "Take A Deep Breath"
 "How Your Breathing Relates to Your Movement"
 "Screening & Assessing Breathing: A Multidimensional Approach"
 Wim Hof Method
 Phil Maffetone Method
 "Indian Clubs: History and Application"
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen


[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to the "Movement Podcast". This show is all about movement. We tackle it from different angles, bring on guest, answer questions, go on a few tangents, and give practical advice. Giving you guys a better idea of how you can optimize the human body to be the best it can be. Let's preview what's coming up in this episode. Every day, we take around 20,000 breaths, whether we notice it or not. It affects all parts of the human experience from our physical to our mental. On today's episode, we explore breathing and its connection to health and movement. The guys discussed breathing dysfunction, sinking your breath, posture, and coaching. We dive into breathing techniques and fixes, breathing screens, and close this episode with thoughts about potential effects on breathing while wearing your mask. So take a deep breath and get ready for today's "Movement Podcast" powered by FMS. [MUSIC PLAYING] So I was coming into work the other day, Gray, and I got a text from one of our employees saying she's going to be a little late. With everything going on, Mondays is the day we work from the office. I mean, you probably don't know that because you don't work from the office at all.

GRAY COOK:

I call in. Yeah. When you come into the office, it's usually chaos. So I try to keep you away from the office. She called in and she said she made a late because she hit a bear. And I'm just wondering, you think that impacted her breathing at all when she was-- right before she hit that bear? Well, I'm pretty sure it impacted both their breathing. She probably started breathing in an anxious and very excited way. And unfortunately, I think the bear stopped breathing soon after that.

LEE BURTON:

It probably took all the breath out of the bear.

GRAY COOK:

Yeah. Yeah, well, we live in the exact same zip code where they started the show "Moonshiners" on Discovery. So bears and pickup trucks and wide open spaces are not hard to come by around.

LEE BURTON:

It's part of the reason that the moon shining is popular around here, because the federal offers don't want to go search for the stills because of the bears.

GRAY COOK:

We'll just get them when they're on the highway. We're not going to go down there. But believe it or not, a lot of bear sightings have been seen around the area. And I found out something I never knew before. Up at our cabin--

LEE BURTON:

What a minute. You're going to admit that? Gray doesn't know something. Yeah, but it took me 'till 54 years to admit that. So I was pretty good right up until then. No. Usually-- and somebody is probably going to correct me, but this is what I heard from two different resources. The first time a female bear has an offspring, there's usually a single cub. Many times, if they're in their second pregnancy, they will have twins. And if they're mature and healthy and in a good environment, they will have triplets. And I've seen two different sow bears-- female bears with triplets at our cabin and gotten probably within 50 yards of them just turning over logs and showing their cubs how to eat grubs. And these cubs are the size of a black lab puppy. It's just mostly amazing-- Just get that on video. I did get it on video. But I did it with my iPhone, so it's very hard to zoom in. But, yeah, I'll show it to you after the podcast. It's pretty cool. I was talking to him the whole time. I'm like, hey, bear. Hey, bear. What are you doing there? [LAUGHTER] I'm sure you were. And sure enough, it's just like a mother with three kids. You got two kids paying attention doing what you're supposed to do. And then you got the other kid that's 100 yards away getting into trouble. Of course. Of course. Bears are very much like humans being that they're an omnivore. They are in constant search and they can eat pretty much anything. I mean, they always eat the right thing. But it's really cool to study bear behavior, because they're not like any other animals. So you're saying you're studying bear behavior. Well, I've gone bear hunting a little bit. So it's better to know what you're doing when you do. Well, part of what I had mentioned and part of what I wanted to get into today with you, Gray, is breathing and how when she hit the bear, I'm sure that between anxiety and it took her probably a while for that breathing to calm-- to get her to calm herself down to the point where her breathing became normal again. And all the stressors and all the things that probably went along with that, something is as traumatic as pretty much wrecking your car for the most part, how that impacted her, probably went on for several hours after that.

GRAY COOK:

It's amazing. Because when something like that happens, we immediately want to contact somebody, verbally articulate what we have to. So in the situation where you have somebody who's a student of yoga or like some of the tactical guys we've gotten to work with they know how to regulate their state with their breath immediately so. After something traumatic or that whole count to 10 or give it 10 breaths thing, there is a lot of wisdom in saying, OK, let's reset your breath before you get into some deep cognitive processing or a conversation. Because what's going to happen is if you start talking or you start thinking, you will probably take that shallow breathing, that anxious breathing that you-- is easily justified into a place where you'll actually have poor decision making. And if you're hypoxic, if you have a low enough oxygen level because you're breathing too fast and not really getting that good gas exchange, it's like trying to make a decision with about six beers in you. That's the problem. You're making bad decisions and a lot of times, that little bit of time, those deep cleansing breaths just slowing everything down gives you two more perspectives you wouldn't have had at this anxious level. Well, that anxious level, really what happens if you think about it, your whole body tenses up and you get really tense. And that's normal. I mean, that's what-- I mean, if you're really anticipating something going on, you want to tense up almost as a protective way of your body just tensing up so if you've got to take a blow you gotta take anything. In that instance, where she's getting ready to hit that thing, tensing up at to protect yourself. Yeah. And too often, that dysfunction-- or in that instance, being functional, being normal too often in normal people, it carries over and that becomes normal. It does. And the breathing we see is this anxious profile of somebody shallow breathing. Imagine somebody angry or in distress, but within a few seconds, your entire body pH changes. You go a little bit acidic. And if you stay in that state a little bit longer, you can have a multitude of problems between insomnia, joint pain. The over breathing that occurs like when you do something active, now it sends you into almost what a lot of people describe is like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia. And if we look at all these people, we start seeing a multitude of things playing off of each other. So I think more than 60% of people with COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also have anxiety or depression. Now, if you get into the debate, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Then all I can say is, well, is it easier to change anxiety and depression or find homeostasis with your breathing, find balance with your breathing? So the one thing that I do think is important is a lot of fitness professionals, even some clinicians, are recognizing breathing now. But the way you fix it is not telling people how to breathe. Just like we learned the way to fix movement isn't telling people how to move. It's meeting them where they're at. And I use this term in the movement book, taking you to the edge of ability in a sensory rich environment. That works for breathing, too. So there's a lot of things we can do to get feedback on our breathing, like, how long can you hold your breath at rest? Because if you can't, that probably means that everything you were doing before that breath hold didn't really even set you up for a breath hold. So there's a lot of simple and quick ways to find out, am I breathing at a normal level or is this the first place I should work?

LEE BURTON:

Right. I mean, the research is pretty clear that-- one of our colleagues Dr. Kyle Kiesel has done it-- that more than half the population is going to have a breathing dysfunction. And that is, we all agree, the most fundamental thing that we do. And if it's dysfunctional, and you don't do it properly-- and you touched on it-- it's not that you just gotta take in more air in, it's about getting the air out. And that oxygen carbon dioxide exchange-- that gas exchange in homeostasis is really what we're trying for. And that's the biggest thing that needs to be focused on if there's a problem. But it may not be just do an exercise or do this. It could be that you're stressed. It could be a lot of different factors leading to that problem. It is. And just to give you a quick natural cycle. Trees and living plants breathe in CO2-- carbon dioxide, and breathe out oxygen. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. But believe it or not, from a lot of my study, the CO2 that you're putting out tells us more about how you are than the oxygen you're taking in because it sets off some triggers. And so what we see is exactly what you said, people actually have stagnant air in their lungs and they never fully empty their lungs. And when I was training as a young physical therapist, when we've had somebody like a kid with cystic fibrosis or we've had somebody that's been in bed, we have to drain every lobe of lung. And when you have the upper lobes, lower lobes, there's a lot of different positions you've got to get in and just to get those lungs moving. And it's really easy and convenient to just find this little breathing package and sort of stay right in there. And then anything that bumps you out of that, you start saying, well, that's bad. No, you didn't change the way you breathe in that. And that's what we run into an exercise. There is a different breathing signature that you do in a yoga move than you do in a kettlebell swing or a martial arts punch. But each is directly connected. All right, let's dive into that, Gray. Because that's a very important point. I think that creates a lot of confusion, especially when you start talking to different professionals about breathing, they immediately gravitate, well, that's not how I breathe when I do 400-pound squats. Well, no, it's not. That's not what you're supposed to be doing. But how often throughout the day are you 400-pound squatting?

GRAY COOK:

Exactly. Exactly. And so it's really easy if you're new in exercise or new in health care to grab onto the signature that we've got a lot of sedentary people that don't use their diaphragm or low back correctly. And so they upper chest breathe. But it's not as simple as saying, well, you got to belly breathe. You got to diaphragm breathe. Because in a kettlebell swing, you don't want your belly sticking out. You use that abdominal brace-- that shield to actually protect your low back. So if we go back for 5,000 years, yoga and martial arts have both been instructed forms of movement that never once assumed that breath and movement aren't connected. And so the breath done right, actually makes the discus throw go better, makes the punch go better. And also allows you to get into positions in yoga you couldn't do if you were holding your breath. So there is a place where your natural movement patterns and your breath should line up, both complementing the other. And as things get busy, your breath and your movement address that. So sometimes, you're doing a movement and send a signal to your breath to upgrade. And I think that's a Wim Hof's doing. He's getting people to do some over breathing, and then do something physically they couldn't do before. But there was also a guy named Phil Maffetone that said, listen, lower everything down. Most people are training at a cardio level that will not let them use their best biomechanics. So if you think of a heart rate monitor, and you go down to your lowest level of cardiovascular activity, and let's just say, Lee, I put you-- I said, I want you to stay between 125 and 135 beats per minute. You can easily get your heart rate higher than that. How far can you go in a half hour? And what you're going to find out is you're going to run and walk, because you don't know how to reproduce that steady state at a low level. However, if you were to do that, you could run again tomorrow and the day after that in the day after that, because there's something about that ambitious interval that we all want to do. You ain't ready for it, because you're going to make a biomechanical mistake or a breathing error. But if we can get your movement to at least cover some distance and your breath to stay above 125 and below 135, you're going to get humbled but also immediately efficient. And I think you've said it before. It's about sinking your breath with everything you're doing and trying to create that awareness that if you're just trying to plow through it or a bust through the wall every time-- sometimes it's OK to do that. But if you're trying to do that every time, especially in your exercise, you're going to break down. And breathing sometimes is what can help reset that before you try really anything else. This is sheer magic. I'm going to bring this all the way back around to the beginning.

LEE BURTON:

Oh, God. See, it's going to be elegant, except to you. All right, if you're-- I can't give you any credit. I know. If you're on all fours all your life, you can only take one breath per stride. Whether you're a jack rabbit or a cheetah or a bear, if you're running usually the way your diaphragm and rib cage go, the fact that you're making a stride pumps the air in and out. So you don't have a choice. But in "Born to Run", when Christopher McDougall was talking about how we are all engineered to run in a very efficient way, we can choose the way we breathe because our arms aren't connected to the ground. So you can over breathe before you run up that hill. You can slow down and blow off some CO2 if you're feeling fatigue. You can adjust both your pace and your breath independently. And as far as I know, and I'm not a biologist, but I don't think there are many other species that can do that. And it brings me to one other thing. When the ancient cultures always were talking about breath, they never said it, but I saw, your breath continues to go on when you quit thinking about it. It is both a subconscious rhythm and a conscious override. How many other things in your body default to subconscious and conscious? So with when you do things to manipulate your breathing you actually have one of the best levers to change your subconscious mind, your subconscious state. And what are we talking about here? Sympathetic, parasympathetic, that anxiety that we were just talking about. But what I think is amazing is how many others things-- because, Lee, if you got a bad squat, I can tell-- I don't. All right, let's just say you were not as a-- As a specimen as-- Not as much of a specimen as you are. If you had a bad squad or a bad toe touch-- two moves that everybody should be able to close your eyes and vision. If you can't do it, there's nothing I can tell you to help you. Meaning your conscious mind can't overcome that. But if you're breathing too fast, your conscious mind can overcome that. So really the only thing you got control of in movement is your breath. But once you figure that out, there's some assets you can bring to the movement that's your worst thing. So whether if it's a stability move, you can't plank very long. There's a good chance the way you're breathing compared to somebody who can plank, is different. And if you can't move very well in yoga class, look at the way the other people are breathing not just the way they're moving. And I think you'll find out the trick. You mentioned body pH and kind of your acidity levels. What exactly-- what do you mean, for the person who isn't aware that that's the thing?

GRAY COOK:

The tissues and fluids in our body both fluctuate from what we would call an alkaline or basic low acidity to high acidity. We see that most people who are breathing right and having good diets and also getting good sleep function around a certain pH which we don't call acidic. We sort of call that neutral for the human body. And one of the quickest ways to check pH is like with a urine strip. But there's many other ways to do it. Point being, the shallow breathing isn't just a disadvantage when you're exercising or doing stuff. It actually can turn your body toxic without you even knowing about it, because there's a whole lot of people who actually eat a very good diet. That's another thing that can take your body more acidic. But a lot of health care practitioners are actually realizing the science, most of the disease processes that we have occur at a much more aggressive rate and way more often when we're in this an acidic state compared to an alkaline or basic state. And that's why you see all these bottles of water that are $1 more, but it's an alkaline water. Well, you can adjust your body pH just by I think drinking a bunch of baking soda. But is that solving the problem or solving the symptom? Most of the things you can do to get your body pH where it needs to be are free. Breathing better, sleeping better, drinking more water. And then Xing out those movements that cause you anxiety and stress for now. It doesn't mean you can't get back to runs or kettlebell swings or out of the saddle hill climbing. But right now, it's doing more damage than good.

WOMAN:

Yeah, I had known about nutritional alkaline and affecting your acidity levels. But I had no idea that breathing could also impact that. So you also mentioned static breath, like stale breath that's-- or air that's in your lungs. What might be like the symptoms that someone would have if that's something that they're not breathing at their fullest all the time? How might they feel? Would they be able to know? You would be a little bit tired and a little more irritable than you would want to normally be. I think we all know when we're a little bit irritable. And we usually don't know it till we yell at somebody else or flip somebody off and try and go, wow, where'd that come from? But these are the things that are probably the-- if you're trying to be self-aware, everybody knows when you're having a Monday on a Thursday. And they just do. And they're going to tell you. And some people are aware of it and they apologize of it. But those are some of the first symptoms, because if you-- what is it? Dr. Andrew Weil talks about the-- is it 4-7-8 breath? And I hope I don't get this wrong. But it's an Inhale, it's a hold, and then it's a forced exhale. And that back pressure on the forced exhale actually inflates the alveoli-- the little bitty lungs within the lungs. The little bitty air sacs. That little bit of back pressure with a pursed-lip breathing. So almost think of in through the nose. Hold it a little bit longer than you normally would. And then make the exhale take a long time. And he says, do that once a day or a cycle of four. But don't overdo it. Don't turn it into your exercise. Don't bring it in to the gym or anything. Just cleanse that breath every now and then. And if after doing that, you're like, wow, that made a difference, you were probably in the wrong place. If it didn't make a difference, maybe you're getting more toward the right place. But please, reference that because I think it's probably one of the quickest little self aware tools you can. And it's almost bringing the remedy first. And that's why Lee and I have talked about the breathing screen really helped me become a better clinician, because when I do something in therapy, I can immediately go back and see, this person just held their breath 10 seconds longer and didn't realize it. That means they went into that breath hold with better chemistry because they didn't get the signal to breathe until 10 seconds before the last time.

LEE BURTON:

But most people aren't going to know. Most people are going to know. And I think the average person out there is-- don't make assumptions. Just try the low hanging fruit. Pull the low hanging fruit. And if, as Gray just said, you're a little bit more irritable, you feel like you're a little bit more tense, just relax. Take in a few extra breaths. That's going to help reset the system. But again, it's, what's the underlying issue? If you're waking up and you're being irritable every day, then it could be something else going on that's changing breath. It's the chicken or the egg. But the low hanging fruit, try to reset your breathing.

WOMAN:

Right. It is the 4-7-8 breathing method.

GRAY COOK:

OK, good.

WOMAN:

I checked on that. And then the other day, we were doing some filming of kind of some coursework, and, Lee, you kept going over the breathing exercises before each movement. And I'm behind the camera working. And I was just doing the breathing work at the same time. And I was energized the entire time we were doing it. I mean, we probably did it-- what? 15, 20 times. And so I would immediately always feel better. I wasn't tired from standing there anymore. I was that much more in tune to what we were doing. And so it was really impressive to have actually felt it on a personal level while we were going over kind of some of those exercises. I put a lot of that in our Indian club program. And in the live coaching session, I'm really coaching up Kyle. It's only two one-pound Indian clubs. But if you sink your breath with those ballistic moves, you come out of that you're like, whoa. And it's not the Indian clubs and it's not the breath. It's the combination of the breath actually facilitating the move. Because on an inhale, you stabilize your core. And on an exhale, you really relax your posterior chain and an anterior chain in a way that you can get into movement. But I think the one thing to learn about that self-awareness is, when you come across an asshole, tell them take a breath. And start with yourself. [LAUGHTER] Not bad. I think right now, with the rage of being corrective exercise, everybody is doing their correctives to start. But what they do is they get up to their point of where they feel tightness or they feel something and they just try to hold it. And they try to break through it instead of just breathing. Breathing, help relax, breathe through the motion. That's going to release the tension much more than just banging against the wall, which is really what you're doing. I'll give you one more example. And it's one of my favorite examples. And we teach it when we teach physical therapist in the assessments. When we have somebody just bend over and touch their toes, I've had the question posed me, so how do you look at breathing with movement? And I'm like, I'll give you a quick one that I do. When you go into a toe touch and your fingers are down there touching your toes and you're in a stretch position, and I say, can you cycle a full breath in this position? The people who have to let go of that toe touch and they have to come up about six inches, they take a breath and they go back down. Basically, I make the analogy, so you can't survive in a toe touch. Meaning, if I made you hold a toe touch for three minutes, you'd have some brain damage. Right? Yeah. it But then I have people who were touching their toes and they go, [DEEP BREATH]. And they're fine. They don't change their movement at all. So if there are movement positions like rotation, if there are movement positions like touching your toes that it actually is hard to breathe, you're not going to use those patterns even though you can get in them, because you can't survive there. You're not going to use that as an exercise or athletic move. So a lot of people say, well, I can get to my toes. But you can't live there because you've got to change that position to breathe. So your deadlift is actually compromised. Even though you don't do a toe touch in the deadlift, any time you get about a third into that flexion, you already start negotiating, should I round my back so I can have a deep breath or should I hold good position and shallow breathe? So the movement screen literally says, if you're not breathing the whole time-- and I've seen people go into a lunge and a movement scream and they immediately, [GASP] and hold their breath to pull off a lunge. You going to do that and you're walking lunges? You going to do that when you're playing football? So you don't own this pattern, you're renting it because you can't live here, you can't breathe here. So it's a neat little aha moment for a lot of people. I can cover the movement and I can breathe. But you can't do both at the same time, dude. Yeah, well, I think that's a great analogy. And then talking about yoga and breathing patterns, I've definitely felt that in my yoga practice, my breathing has become so much better. In some of those rotation moves, I stop. And so now I've definitely tried to work on that a little bit more. And I think anxiety plays a role in that. I'm a mom. Things get stressful. Everybody's working from home. And so taking something like that 4-7-8 breathing method and doing it at the desk and feeling better immediately in kind of relieving some of those tensions and anxieties as well.

GRAY COOK:

The only thing I would say to that excellent advice is lot of people will take something that simple and try to pick it apart well before often. We say it here at Movement. And I say it there, too. Instead of trying to do that every 15 minutes and become a breathing guru, do it when you need it and see if it gives you some self-awareness. So I think he's very vigilant saying don't overdo this. Because it's not a crutch. We're hoping to reset something naturally, not practice something that you must always re-upload. So I want to articulate the elegance and simplicity is don't overdo it. But when you do it, do it right or don't do it. We want to take a quick moment to thank you for listening to the "Movement Podcast". And to show our appreciation, we'd like to offer you a special promotion. By using the code POD20, you'll receive 20% off our upcoming FMS 1 and 2 Virtual Course bundle. To be clear, by bundling the FMS 1 and 2 virtual courses, you save $199. But we are giving you an exclusive additional 20% off that total. We're excited about this special event with FMS founder Lee Burton and FMS instructor Eric de Gatti on November 6th and 7th. They will be teaching the FMS 1 and 2 live and taking your questions. So to get started on your FMS journey, register at functionalmovement.com/events and use code POD20 to save that extra 20%. So now, back to the episode. So gray we introduced a Movement screen going on 20 years ago. And immediately following that, we started talking about correcting those movements and corrective exercise. And soon after that, everybody started being corrective exercise specialists and thinking everybody had to do corrective exercise as part of their programming. And it seems right now, breathing is starting to take that same type of path where we're becoming more aware as professionals that breathing-- how important breathing is and how many people have breathing dysfunctions. Now, everybody has breathing as part of what they're doing. And now they're put the microscope on breathing. And that's really not necessary. I mean, it's just part of what should be built into a good workout. You're absolute right. And that's pretty good. I didn't even think about that. But, yeah, we found a problem. And people with a coaching background and a coaching talent immediately try to coach you out of the problem instead of almost making you work through it. And I always have to do this. I go back to it. I mean, whichever version of "Karate Kid" you watched, we got a kid that's getting tired of sanding the floor, painting a fence, and waxing a car. But he's breathing, he's learning, he's getting fatigued. He's getting more efficient. And by the time he finished all his chores, he was way more efficient at doing it. And then all of a sudden, the kid gets upset, I'm not learning martial arts. And Mr. Miyagi tries to hit the kid. And all of a sudden, the hand's there and blocks it and stuff like that. But he's poised. He's breathing. He knows how to sync those things. Going immediately into the person's problem and verbalizing and articulating it is probably the best way to create anxiety. So what you're saying is, I already know you got a movement problem. And we were recognizing the breathing problems in the early days of the movement screen. Because in our correctives, we were telling people how to breathe. But it's really neat to go back and just capture the problem and see if you can change their screen or their test without articulating it or practicing it. That means that we did something to the subconscious mind. Doesn't mean we can't capitalize it and talk about it later. But the minute you verbalize it, you create a bunch of unnecessary thought that's going to hurt things. Well, what you're talking about, Gray-- and I think especially for the client coming in off the street to get a workout, they're already coming in aware that they need to be better at whatever they're better at. And as soon as you tell them, you've got a problem this or that, they're going to go home and look it up on the internet and start thinking about it. It's like if I've got a problem-- if I get a headache, well, then everybody starts-- a lot of people start searching for what the problem is and you immediately create your own anxiety. And that's going to create bigger issues. So then it's a snowball effect. So if you know what's going on with the person, you're just trying to give them the best way to help them. And breathing should just be part of that. James Nestor just did a great book. And I think the name of the book is "Breath". And even though it was written at a consumer level, I would encourage pro's in the movement field, rehabilitation, strength conditioning, personal fitness, wellness to at least understand how Mr. Nestor is talking to the consumer about breath. He talks about our development, how our diet is changed, how our whole facial structure has changed. How we actually have smaller airways than our ancestors, which mechanically is part of the problem. I mean, breathe through a drinking straw for about 10 minutes and you'll see how a lot of people feel. And one of the things that hit me like a ton of bricks as a young physical therapist is somebody asked me one day-- we're working on somebody's typhoidic spine and anterior head posture. We're like, stand up straight. Stand up straight. And then somebody finally showed me on an MRI, all right, let's look at their airway when they're standing up straight. Let's look at their airway when they're flexed over with horrible posture. If you're airways bigger when you're in a bad position, airway wins. And so there's an organization thing that can change. But you don't change it by putting somebody's head back on their shoulders. You actually go all the way down to the pelvis and all the way down to the balance-- and Vladimir Janda, one of the guys I learned from a long, long time ago from the Prague school in Czech Republic was talking about posture. Now, I was coming out of physical therapy school where everybody was going up against the posture grid, right? And my favorite thing there is, well, I think the right shoulders a little bit low. I'm like, how do you know the left shoulder isn't high? You're always going to be right on the posture grid if you don't know what you're looking for. However, Janda said something amazingly elegant. He said, if you truly want to evaluate posture, look what somebody does in single leg stance. Because now, you truly know how to use your postural stabilizers. And so we have so many tests that look at balance and people think it's a balanced test. It's not. It's to see how much of your posture and breath and awareness you're going to give up to try to stay on that. And when we watch-- you and I train people on balance beam, it's like they're flap and wings. Their arms are all out there. And I'm like you don't walk on a balance beam flapping your arms. And we say relax and bend your knees. And then all that unnecessary motion goes away. And so the unnecessary breathing cadence the unnecessary motion, all these lead into inefficiency. And there are a lot of fatigued people out there that have way more work capacity, they're just doing it all wrong.

LEE BURTON:

Well, one thing you touched on that I want you to talk a little bit more is-- you glossed over it, but I think it's very important right now. I mean, everybody's trying to solve this postural problem people have. From the things that people are sticking on the bags to all these-- [CLEARS THROAT] excuse me. -- little straps or whatever to get them stand up straight. Well, if you're sitting at your desk and you breathe better in a poor posture, you're going to be in that posture. So you can get them to do thoracic mobility exercises all day. If you don't attack the underlying issues, they're going to be in that poor posture throughout the day. it doesn't matter what exercise you give them. What we learn from a few conversations with NASA was that when astronauts come back from outer space, they have a little bit osteoporosis. Their bone density has suffered because they've been living without gravity for a while. They were asking us what do we do. Because if we jump back into exercise, tendonitis, stress fracture, a lot of different things are going to happen. The standing desk was one of the things they did for these guys. Because he got about two weeks to sort of get their equilibrium back before they can start working out. And you got to realize, most of our astronauts are test pilots. I mean, they're bad ass people who want to get after it and probably really use their workout to dump stress and optimize system. So telling those people they got a slowdown is hard. What they realize though is it's not the standing desk. It's frequent postural and positional changes. So standing desk, one foot, standing desk, two foot. But we've been doing this at FMS way before you got a standing desk. How do Lee and I do our phone calls? We're walking around the parking lot, right? So when we've got to be tied to the desk, we're tied to the desk. But the minute I know I'm we'll be on a phone call more than five minutes, we go mobile. And our parking lot has-- you probably log about a mile and half in hour parking lot every day talking the phone. I do the same thing. And we just-- we go outside, we walk around talking on the phone. Not only am I able to focus on the conversation better, it's the exact opposite of what I was doing five minutes before. So I don't necessarily think standing, sitting is the argument. It's frequent changes in posture. And there's a few other postures like you can go-- you can have kneel in a cubicle and it's really different from the left or right side. So just getting in some of these postures and learning to relax and breathe, it's a two-minute exploration of something different. And that seemed to be, according to NASA, way more robust than just making you stand [INAUDIBLE].. It's the variety. I mean, is the variety.

GRAY COOK:

It;s the variety, yes. And you'd see these standing desks-- and we have standing desk here at FMS. I mean, I think they're great. But just because we say they're great, doesn't mean you need to do it from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. I mean, you have to create some variety. You need to sit some. You need to stand some. You need to walk some. You need to do a little bit of everything or you just going to be in that same cycle that you're going to get good at standing. I mean, that's not what you need to be good at all day. So we arrive at this place, and it's something I tell myself every day so I don't mind sharing it. Don't coach posture. Don't coach breathing. Don't coach movement. Now, what I'm saying is, if you're a baseball pitcher, I'm going to coach everything you do. But what I'm saying is getting back to a human, don't over coach any of these three things. Find out where they work best together. And guess what you and I discovered a bunch of years ago. There's some people that move and breathe so bad and have such bad posture, we put them on their back and say, can you roll to the left and right? And they can't roll to one side. And so we just say, let's play with this. Let's just play here for a few minutes. And play with the way you breathe. Play with way you roll. All of a sudden, they roll. They stand back up and they can balance better. Now, you're affecting our business now here. When you say don't coach it, what do you mean don't coach it? Because we've got to educate people on how to coach it. But what do you mean when you say don't coach it? What I mean is a magician can setup a trick without saying a word. He can walk out on stage and show you an empty hat, and then he can pull a rabbit out of that hat. And so what I'm saying is, you're already putting-- if you screen somebody and you have done a good job of thorough assessment, you already know where they're weakest link is, don't make him feel bad about it. Put him in a position where they can at least workout. At the edge of ability in a sensory rich environment. So when I show you you can roll to the left and you can't roll to the right, we got a little conflict there. But I want to keep it light. I'm not telling them how to do it. But I'm going to be there while they're finding it. And I let them tell me, so what did you do? That was good. What'd you do different?

LEE BURTON:

Well, but one thing you said a second ago, let's take half kneeling, OK? All right? You put somebody in half kneeling, and immediately, you tell somebody to get in half kneeling, what are they going to do? They're to go down to half kneeling on the knee that they're better at. They're going to get on the side of the better at every time.

GRAY COOK:

The other side's not even an option. It's so funny. Right. It's the same way for me, right? You can always get down on the good knee. But as soon as you tell them to switch, the first thing that's happens is their anxiety goes up, their breathing gets dysfunctional. And so walk us through what you would do there. I basically, give him permission to wobble. I give him permission to make a mistake. I tell them it's OK. We've all got a favorite side. And I've actually done this and actually felt bad about it. I had a world class triathlete in front of me one day. Take a knee, took the optimum knee. Go to the other side and just balance here. And we were doing just little perturbation. I'm going to try to push you off balance. Within about, I'm thinking, a minute this person, who could do an Ironman, was completely smoked. And I looked at him and I said, do you think your cardio just failed you? And he goes, I don't know why I'm so tired. I'm like, because we were in fall prevention mode. You thought you were going to fall and so you let go of everything, you braced. You actually tried to brace against a fall instead of swaying in the breeze and not falling over. And so what I'm saying is don't pose your posture. Don't-- But what were you smoking? Huh? What was getting smoked by that person? [INTERPOSING VOICES] He going sympathetic. He was going sympathetic, because he was trying to do something consciously that he should have let his-- your subconscious mind is your balance mechanism. The minute you try to balance, you usually do a worse job of balance. I mean, watch a field sobriety test. There's 100% focus on balance, and they still can't do it. So the conventional thinking, you're putting someone up against that weakness, up against that half kneel where they can't needle. Conventional thinking, you walk into in any gym around the world, the coach is going to be over the corner tell them to tighten their glute, get there get their butt underarm, do this, do that. And that's information overload. They're not going to learn that way. I'm going to throw this out at you because it's going to set-- this is what sometimes coaching sounds like to me. Hey, Lee, what's 2 plus 2? Lee, it's 4. OK, what's 3 plus 3? Lee, it's 6. That's not math, right? I'm posing a problem and a solution. How are you learning? So pose the problem, wait for it, wait for it. But what we've learned with movement screening is we almost arrive right at that scaled thing where if you just follow one simple thing like, hey, when you roll this time, try to exhale when you do it. That's all I'll say. But play with it. You get to choose everything else. And then I walk away. And I let them have three minutes of struggle. And that's where neuroplasticity and learning happened at a field level. And many people-- why do you think you could roll? Everybody will have a different story to tell you. But they're right, because these are just words describing the feeling that let them liberate that side. Now, Gray, did you come up with that methodology or is that something that's been around for a while? I think it's been around for a while. It's been around for a while. It's almost like, let him bang his finger about four more times, he'll figure it out. And I hate to say it, but most everything we know on this planet isn't from research and isn't from data and isn't from education. It's from trial and error. Not doing it that way anymore.

WOMAN:

So continuing the conversation about breathing. The current climate we're in, we're all going to be wearing masks probably for a year potentially. Do you think it's going to affect maybe the younger person who's wearing a mask-- these children. Do you think it might affect the breathing.

GRAY COOK:

Yes. And then-- It'll make some blind dates interesting. [LAUGHTER]

WOMAN:

And then, I mean, it's one of those-- some people are refusing to wear them because it affects their masks. We're getting medical permission for not wearing them. The average person what is it going to-- what's the long term effects?

GRAY COOK:

Well, if your breathing is good and you don't have any anxiety about things touching your face, you shouldn't have a problem, even though we could all say breathing is way easier without a mask. But a simple piece of cloth in front of your face shouldn't send you into anxiety. So either you don't like something on your face or that little disturbance in your natural breath is just enough to set you off. So, number one, if you're having a hard time breathing with a mask on in public, put one on and walk around the house and just say, what can I do to make this better in case it becomes a law? Because it could. And then all of a sudden-- so I've always said if you argue for your weakness, it's the quickest way to own it. So if you notice this little bit of discomfort, what can you do on your side without breaking the rule to make it easier? And there's a couple of masks that might make it easier. But there's some ways you can hold yourself and breathe and think. And you can always drop the mask somewhere, take a breath, and go back up. But I think that we're so used to comfort in our society that anything that takes us even 2% out of our comfort zone must be evil and we must kill it.

LEE BURTON:

Well, and I think that's the thing that kind of Gray's getting into, that most people need to understand. It's not the mask. The mask is just a symbol of what the issues may be around you. So the mask physically is not doing anything. But mentally, it's creating a lot of anxiety.

WOMAN:

Yeah. I think people that are really struggling with wearing a mask when they need to, whether it be due to the current situation or maybe an unemployment situation is they either really have a little bit of anxiousness about stuff touching their face. And that's OK. I've been there too. I can't stand anybody to put their hands on my face. But more often than not, if it's in a breathing issue, then, number one, make sure you have a good mask that does allow airflow. But number two, this might be the first opportunity you get to question, maybe I do have an airway problem. And here's some things if you snore, if you have seasonal allergies, if you do get short of breath some time, if one nostril is almost always clogged, these are things that would indicate that you may have some airway problems. And it's not an emergency, but I'd get it checked out. There are a lot of different ways you can get it checked out. And for those of you who are in movement stuff, we've got a breathing screen on FMS that's the sort of culmination of an entire breathing course. Some people don't need to know enough to go into a breathing evaluation. But I want everybody working with movement to see the breathing evaluation the way it should be done. So if you do run across the person that needs a deeper dive, you won't just say, well, go see a respiratory therapist. Because it's not like that. We've got to peel it. And there's three different ways you can have a breathing problem. And one of them has really got way more to do with your psychosocial stuff, anxiety and depression, stuff like that. The other is chemical. And the other's mechanical. The pipes getting oxygen to your lungs just are getting kinks and bends and stuff like that. Or you don't exchange gas well. And it's really, really I think not good professional practice to advise people how to breathe when you haven't assessed or screen them. I think it's a slippery slope. That'll do it for this episode of the "Movement Podcast". Thanks for listening. And if you liked what you heard, please take a minute to subscribe, share, and review. If you want to learn more about our system and take the next step in your movement journey, visit us at movementpod.com. Until next time, remember to first move well, then move often. [MUSIC PLAYING]

GRAY COOK:

The trick with a bear is if it's got little ears, it's a big bear. And if it's got big ears, it's a little bear. Seriously. The trick with the bear is not be around long enough to look at the ears.

Bears, breathing & anxiety
How breathing changes depending on your activity
Shallow breathing can turn your body toxic and PH levels
The corrective exercise trend
Coaching posture, breathing and movement
What Gray would do for the bad knee?
36:05 - Posing a problem and solution and just coaching one simple thing
Will masks affect breathing?