Author’s note: For this Q & A blog, I am trying to come up with a great interviewer. Rachel Maddow comes right to mind. So, below I am imagining what it would be like to be interviewed by Rachel Maddow. Enjoy.
Rachel Maddow: Danny Boy, welcome to the Rachel Maddow Show. First off, what gives! You seem like a new man. I’ve known you for years. You look different.
Danny Boy: Damn, after six weeks so glad that you can see it, too! Sweet! And it was all so simple. It was literally right there in front of my face. My beautiful nose! Rachel, I am now a nose-breathing fool, and I mean that in a good way!
RM: Right away, I notice your posture is better. You were definitely slouching more of late. You and I know that unwanted advice is seen as criticism and since you never asked me to comment about your posture, I never brought up your slouching. Anyway, less slouching is not usually what happens in one’s mid-70s. Whatsup?
DB: To get a full breath into my lungs through my nose, I have to stand up straighter. Whenever I think of nasal breathing throughout the day, I breathe with the 4-4-6-2 technique. Four seconds inhaling, then four seconds holding my breath, followed by six seconds exhaling, then a final two seconds holding my breath. I then rinse and repeat, or really just repeat. The more I do it, the more I think to do it. I just have to stand up straighter to fill my lungs. Rachel, it’s so damn calming, too. You probably noticed that Zen-like quality I now embody.
RM: Zen master, I’m much more interested in your nasal breathing and what it holds for my audience. Is it true that slow, deep breaths are a game changer?
DB: That’s the beauty of 4-4-6-2 that it slows my breathing down as I briefly hold my breath. Let me repeat, I am becoming the Zen Man!
RM: The word on the street is that when you breathe through your nose, the air is purified, heated, and moistened which increases your ability to use oxygen.
DB: Technically that’s what happens. Rachel, as you know as a graduate of a Pac-12 University, that results in increased blood flow and gives me more energy, as you can plainly see! You should see me at the Portsmouth Y or on the pickleball court!
RM: You are quite the scientist with all this talk of oxygen intake and blood flow.
DB: Ah shucks, but that’s not exactly the full story. I did marry someone who got an A in Organic Chemistry at the Harvard of the West – Arizona State University, clearly a notch, we can both agree, above your alma mater – Stanford University. I, on the other hand, just passed Geology 101 with no glory. Hey, we each play to our strengths.
RM: What’s this I hear that you taping your mouth each night?
DB: Bingo! Hannah and I get eight to nine “free” hours of nasal breathing to build up our lung capacity. I use a ½ inch wide piece of white gauzy tape over my lips. Our daughter Molly uses simply Scotch Tape, similar to what Hannah uses. Our friend Karen sleeps through the night when she didn’t previously now that she tapes her mouth.
RM: You don’t choke or gag?
DB: No, ma’am. Not once! Six weeks in and it’s peaceful slumber. Hannah doesn’t hear my loud night breathing (i.e. snoring) any more nor I hear hers. Though the sample size is small, I don’t appear to be waking up as much at night. Tuesday past, I slept seven straight hours, got up, and slept for two more. I never did that before.
RM: Since we have established that you are no scientist, how did you learn all this?
DB: Podcast, my esteemed friend. Here’s my gift to you and your audience. Our son Will sent us a link to the 10% Happier with Dan Harris podcast where James Nestor, the author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art eloquently spoke of the health benefits of nasal breathing (see below for the link). From there, I borrowed Breath from the York (Maine) Public Library and read more, which deepened my commitment to a daily nasal breathing practice.
RM: Well, I wouldn’t have believed the change if I hadn’t seen you with my own two eyes. You are stunning, I must say.
DB: Why thanks.
RM: I’m kidding. You are fine, just don’t get too full of yourself, big boy.
Nota Bene: If what I say intrigues you, get some really solid information more than my anecdotal musings by checking out these resources:
Ten Percent Happier podcast with James Nestor. Click here for that link.
Head to your library or to Amazon for Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art for his in-depth scientific look at breathing correctly.
On YouTube – 5 Ways to Improve Your Breathing with James Nestor (12 minutes). Click here for that link.
One final thank you to Denny McLoughlin of High Trust Thinking/Leadership for being the source of the quote “Unasked for advice is seen as criticism.”