326: Breathing As a Movement Skill w/ Julie Angel
When most people think about movement training they don’t necessarily think about training their breath patterns, but my guest on this episode of the Grace & Grit podcast, Julie Angel, will have you convinced that breath is indeed a movement skill that everyone can benefit from.
Julie Angel is a multi-passionate movement, breathwork and parkour coach, artist, award winning filmmaker and author. In this episode we explore:
- The benefits of restoring functional breathing patterns,
- Why you want light, slow and deep breath,
- Why starting and finishing any movement training with breath is so beneficial,
- The connection of breathwork to stress and resilience,
…and so much more!
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- BOLT Score – A score of 25 is functional, 40 is optimal, below 10 is an area where someone’s life can experience massive change from restoring functional breathing patterns.
- Maximum Breathlessness Test – A score of 60 is functional – 80 is optimal if you’re athletic.
- Exercise 1 Warm up small breath holds (2.5 mins).
- Exercise 2a Breathe light to breathe right (4 mins).
- MOVE MORE – Free Intro Mini Course
Julie Angel is a multi-passionate movement, breathwork and parkour coach, artist, award winning filmmaker and author.
After completing the world’s first parkour themed Ph.D. she continued to move and learn from some of the best teachers and coaches with different approaches to how we move through the world.
She created the M.A.P.S system that uses Movement Snacks, Age Positive mindset, Parkour & Play and Strong Resting to help people connect to and create a strong body and strong mind. Finding and creating your own fun, sustainable movement culture should be a fun practice that feels good.
Are you ready?
Welcome to Grace & Grit.
The Grace & Grit podcast is your go-to resource for reclaiming, generating, protecting and expressing your power as a woman in midlife.
This show will completely change the way you think about health & well-being and help you make your second act the best one yet!
- 348: Boundaries for Breakthroughs: The Upside of Self-Imposed Limits
- 347: Breaking the Mold: Reconsidering Holiday Norms to Protect Your Health
- 346: Navigating the Ecosystem of Midlife Well-Being
- 345: Behind the Scenes: Insights from the Inaugural Grace & Grit Retreat
- 344: Proactive Living: Strategies to Tame Emotional Reactivity
Transcripts are auto-generated.
Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.
Courtney Townley 0:28
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always I’m delighted that you’re here. And before we dive into today’s episode, which I’m really excited about, I want to remind you that on May 22, I am hosting The Consistency Code Crash Course. This is a course that I’ve been running for years. It’s a five day little mini course, where I will teach you how to really dig your heels into behavior change, not just for five days, but for the rest of your life. Specifically, I teach a four part framework in this course, that you can come back to time and time again, when you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed or if just really feeling like you’re not getting any traction.
Courtney Townley 1:09
So if you are someone who loves the Podcast, and you’re looking to join a community of women who are also committed to improving their relationship with behavior change, and learning how to become more consistent, do not miss this opportunity. It is only 29 bucks. And I promise you the value is far beyond that. I offer coaching, I give you an amazing companion guide. Just the daily lessons alone are jam packed with so much information and value. So you can register by going to graceandgrit.com/crashcourse. Once again, that’s graceandgrit.com/crashcourse.
Courtney Townley 1:48
Now for today’s episode, I am really excited to tell you that Julie Angel is back on the show. Julie Angel has been on the show many times because she is just a remarkable human. And I never get tired of having conversations with her. I was first introduced to Julie through our common our shared passion for movement. Julie discovered parkour in her late 30s. And really is an incredible movement teacher. And I can’t even remember how exactly we met I think I might have reached out to her many years ago to actually come on this show. And anyway, we became fast friends, and we’ve had a lot of really amazing conversations over the years.
Courtney Townley 2:30
And what I love about Julie is she is a student of life, she is always pushing herself to learn new things, to better herself to become a better coach and teacher for her own clients. And I know over the past few years, she has really been diving into the study of breath work. And you may have seen there are now a lot of books on breath work. And there is a lot of talk about breath work and how it relates to the health of the human body. And Julie really pushes this idea which I love so much that breath work is a movement skill.
Courtney Townley 3:03
And in today’s episode, we are going to explore breath work and really talk about how to get started. And I’ve got to tell you that after this interview, I was really just consistently astounded by some of the things that Julie said about breath work. And she really does a brilliant job of breaking this down into some really tangible steps that listeners can take to start improving their own breath work and really developing this movement skill.
Courtney Townley 3:33
So if you have been interested in learning more about breath work, and you are ready to start your own practice, do not miss this episode. It is such a good one. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Courtney Townley 3:50
All right, Julie Angel. Hello, my friend.
Julie Angel 3:53
Hello, Courtney. Nice to be back.
Courtney Townley 3:55
Oh, it’s always good to have you here. And you’ve been here a handful of times now. And we’ve talked about all kinds of things. We have talked about movement, and parkour. And we’ve talked about positive aging and strong resting. And today, I’m sure we’re going to bake in all of those themes once again, because it’s just who you are. We can’t not talk about those things. But we’re going to focus on breathwork. And I would love to start by having you just tell listeners, maybe a little bit about your own journey into breathwork. And kind of your excitement around it and why you’re such a proponent of it, just to get us rolling.
Julie Angel 4:35
Yes. So I think I’ve always been aware of breathwork a little bit. And I did many years of Tai Chi when I was back in the UK and that was very kind of breath focused. And I’m aware people always said that I had a somewhat kind of relaxed demeanor. And I was just like, Oh, thanks that’s very nice and thought it was just kind of being like, you know, a little bit maybe on the hippie side of things. Even if I didn’t wear the clothes.
Julie Angel 5:03
And then it was actually when I was in the natural movement world to training with move net. And we were doing aquatics training. And this involved lots of breath holding. And I’m claustrophobic. And it was really interesting doing breathwork drills like standing on land, you don’t learn how to hold your breath in the water in the water, you start on land where it’s safe, safer.
Julie Angel 5:30
And it was incredible that I was at a really high level of fitness. And I could only hold my breath for 13 seconds. Because I and then I had this like, panic claustrophobia type feeling. And then with kind of guidance, literally, within one session, I was up to a two minute breath hold, just kind of standing. And this was just me, putting my mind to somewhere not I literally, like I have a very active imagination. And I could just, I just traveled to the most dreamy place with like, you know, people talk about their happy place. So this was like, everything was gorgeous and abundant, soften just like the best feeling ever in the best day ever. In the end, it was just and there was this.
Julie Angel 6:20
So that was a moment where I really felt this deep connection between calm and holding your breath. Yeah. Which went from like, shit, panic, claustrophobia, feeling to calm best ever. Yeah. And then I realized from watching other people, that some people found it really hard to breathe with their mouth closed. And then I started to make these other correlations between all the people that people when they’re learning movement. When they’re really concentrated, they either stop breathing, or they mouth breathe. And then when you start to invite them to close their mouth, really extraordinary things happen.
Julie Angel 7:08
And so at the same time, I’ve got all these friends in the movement world, and they’re doing different things. So the Aquatics was kind of the the first inroad, and actually, like water is my favorite training environment. Like, I’m kind of known for, you know, parkour and movement, snacks, and all of those things and natural movement, but put me I’m a water baby, I am happy I can spend all day long in the water. And so it was really interesting to have all these people from different movement kind of domains who are friends of mine in and they all had this kind of breathwork component.
Julie Angel 7:45
And then, when I started, you know, this accidental journey into becoming a movement coach, there was one day when I was I was teaching a workshop in San Diego, and it was really hot. And I was worried about everyone becoming dehydrated. And I was worried about myself becoming dehydrated. So I was encouraging everyone to sip water all the time. And we were going through some hip mobility drills. And, and I’d always and I, you know, gone through the whole, like, you know, if you can be breathing in and out through your nose, that would be great. And you can’t force someone to breathe in and out through their nose.
Julie Angel 8:24
And also what was interesting is a lot of people think their nose breathing, but the mouth is a little bit open. So I get people and if you’re watching this, I’m doing the look of like this is some people’s version of, of nose breathing. So if the lips aren’t sealed, you’re not getting the benefits of nasal breathing. So here’s the thing, if you’re sipping on water, or if you have a mouthful of water, your lips aren’t open a little bit, your lips are sealed. And what happened was people’s range of motion and bodies transformed. It was like it was it was freakish. So there’s a whole bunch of things. So it was freakish when they did these mobility drills with a mouthful of water. So when you have a mouthful of water, it forces you to notice breathe.
Julie Angel 9:23
And that for a lot of people, it forces people to slow down. So they slow down their breathing, they slow down their movement, they’re more mindful of their movement because they don’t want to swallow this water because the challenge is can you do this thing with water in your mouth? And I was like wow. And people who were like, well, I did and people would literally go from like not being able to like be in a kind of deep knee bend, sit on the floor and then you know kind of these various hip mobility drills where you go from kind of kneeling to this Shin box side sit position and then up onto the knees.
Julie Angel 9:58
And people were doing beautifully and, and then at the same time I had other friends. Good friend of mine made breath can Jimmy she’s in the natural movement world as well. She’s a strong first kettlebell coach. She’s a play therapist, like she’s, you know, we’re all in the same world. And we did a vim Hof workshop. Because like I said, lots of my friends were into breathwork and the complete opposite code.
Julie Angel 10:28
So vim Hof has done incredible things to bring so much awareness to breathwork, to cold exposure, all of those things and like he’s, he’s has his own extraordinary character. And he’s an extraordinary character and story. And he’s achieved incredible things. However, however, with a capital H. So I was invited to this Wim Hof workshop. And you do some wonderful, gentle breathing, it’s very Yogi kind of style. And then you have the ice bath thing. I’m a big fan of cold water exposure, this idea of, you know, these kind of intentional stresses that you inviting.
Julie Angel 11:13
And at the time of the workshop, my dad was really ill. So I had this I had a heavy heart. And I was having fun at this workshop. But I had a heavy heart. And we started to do this self induced hyperventilation breathing, which is in and out through the mouth. So it’s like and you do it for a while. And so to begin with, you get high, and then you crash. And then what happens is you’re basically you’re depriving your brain of oxygen, you’re depriving your brain of blood flow. And so all sorts of things happen. So like, Your hands can go kind of stiff, and your extremities, they got this, people get the shakes. Some people may be giggling, some people faint, which is why you should never do these drills in the water.
Julie Angel 12:17
I would always say, if you’re going to do this, be very, very careful where you do them anyway, like, do them like on a bed. So if you do pass out, you can kind of flop down. But what happened, it raises your cortisol. And I didn’t just ball, I didn’t just weep. I howled. Like, the pain. I mean, even though I feel emotional, just remembering I got it was awful. I felt like my dad died in that moment. Like that was the extent of over breathing, and its relationship to cortisol. And if you have any underlying anxiety, it was extreme.
Courtney Townley 13:02
Yeah, it sounds like it. And it’s so interesting, because just in what you’ve explained so far, in multiple different points along what you just explained, it’s so clear to me, the connection between the mind and the body when it comes to breath work, and the integration of the nervous system. And that it certainly plays a role here. So I think I mean, that’s so clearly illustrated in everything you just explained. So tell us more about what functional breathing actually is? And like, how would you define functional breathing?
Julie Angel 13:40
Cool. So just to rewind a little bit to canal, please, are breathing, breathing, breathing is something we’re doing all the time. So we’re effective. If you’re breathing, it’s good. So I don’t want anyone to think like they’re breathing wrong, right? And because it’s, it’s like in our movement, you know, you can run from A to B and be very effective. And it but that the way you’re running may not serve you well. The way you’re running, maybe heel striking. So it causing micro traumas up through the foot and the knee and the hip and the neck. It could be making you breathless, it could be, but you still get from A to B.
Julie Angel 14:22
So we’re all effective, which is wonderful. Keep breathing, people keep refilling. Really, yes, keep breathing. It’s a really good thing to do. And breathing is for me, it’s the original movement skill. Because we’re all born nasal breathers, but something happens and things happen to us in life. You know, if you have a cold if you have a congestion, things like that, then and sometimes people just don’t get back to nasal breathing.
Julie Angel 14:52
If we think about how we breathe when we’re stressed or we’re shocked, like your mouths open if you’re Like, Oh my god, I’m really nervous, and I’m talking a lot and done it like, it speeds up, it speeds up and then like, I feel really good. It there’s just this kind of parallel. And basically, the breathing is very six, this unique gateway between the conscious and the unconscious. Because it’s so it’s the most fundamental important thing, you stop breathing. I mean, even for world record holders after seven, eight minutes, you die. So it’s, we can’t be left consciously in charge of it. Yet we can consciously alter it.
Julie Angel 15:41
So breath work is a really unique gateway between our conscious and our unconscious. It’s a reflection of what is happening, and where we’re at in our nervous system at the present moment, so you get this window and reflection, potentially every second of every waking moment of your day. And then also how we breathe during the day, is going to determine how we breathe at night, how we breathe at night is going to determine whether we sleep or not.
Julie Angel 16:14
And for a lot of midlife women, sleep is a thorn in their side. And everyone knows like you just feel rubbish. If you don’t sleep well, like good night’s sleep. Great day, everything’s possible. Bring on those obstacles, let me overcome them and tackle them and meet them. You know, with my my cup full or more than half full when we’re sleep deprived. And we know all the researchers there now everything from how we processed carbohydrates, our blood sugar, our capacity for memory, learning, attention, focus, anxiety, strength, recovery, like, everything’s connected to everything, and the nervous system and the brain are running the show.
Julie Angel 16:56
And breathwork is our gateway into knowing where we’re at. And maybe a bill to being able to turn that boat in a different direction if we’re not quite happy with the direction we’re heading in. So functional breathing is when we have our respiratory chemistry, in balance. So basically, we breathe in oxygen. But it doesn’t go straight to ourselves.
Julie Angel 17:27
But the more oxygenated we are, the list of benefits is huge. So blood flow to the brain, blood pressure, pressure, focus, and like so anxiety and panic attacks have so anxiety, panic attacks, even in people who have no amygdalas in their brain, so they can’t register fear or or no fear, you can induce a panic attack in someone with no amygdala by increasing their levels of co2. How they breathe. So someone who doesn’t register fear, someone who’s basically fearless, can have a panic attack if they over breathe. So we can’t ignore our respiratory chemistry we can’t ignore on neuro chemistry. So functional breathing is about being in balance. It’s about so to have more oxygenation, we actually need to breathe in less oxygen.
Julie Angel 18:33
And the reason why is so the kind of science is an I remember when I first kind of got back into breathwork. I was like, I remember something in chemistry about gaseous exchange. And I remember having like a very immature like lots of jokes about farting. It was like Oh, gas exchange. So it’s oxygen in. And then if your nose breathing, it’s also nasal nitric oxide in, which is a powerful, powerful gas. And it’s a really, they only discovered it in the 1990s. And it’s phenomenal. So when we breathe in through our nose, the air is filtered. It’s warmed and moistened.
Julie Angel 19:13
So for people who live like who live in Arizona, or the desert areas, or you know, mountain regions or whatever, you know what it feels like when the air is too dry, you’re like and you want that moisture. We actually want that. So we want to be breathing in through the nose and having these these natural filters. So we breathe oxygen in and then that oxygen makes its way down into our lungs. And in our lungs. There are these tiny little sacs called alveoli and then these sacs and they kind of hold the oxygen. But the oxygen doesn’t get freed into the cells. It needs carbon dioxide.
Julie Angel 19:59
So you may hear a lot of people talk about their co2 to resilience. And basically you need the carbon dioxide to be present. And enough of it to be present to them release the oxygen from these little alveoli into the cells, the tissues, the organs everywhere else. So an example of why how like, basically, you know, the presence of oxygen is the absence of disease. So, you know, if you have a brain injury, one of the options is they take you to a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. And what those chambers do is they push oxygen into every cell in your body. So for cellular repair, all like systemic cellular repair, you want more oxygen.
Julie Angel 20:55
Now, hyperbaric oxygen chambers are freely expensive, they’re not readily available. It’s not actually come on. I went to a friend’s house, he was a triathlete. And he actually had this crazy portable one. And going back to this claustrophobia, I was like, I really want to try this. And he was amazing and actually talk me through it. And it had two little windows, it was this kind of crazy cylinder. But my God, if I, if I could afford one, and I had space, I would have an oxygen, I would have a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. It’s just health wise, it’s just phenomenal.
Julie Angel 21:28
And also my home city of Plymouth. Back in the UK, there’s a lot of dive centers there. And I actually have two friends who run nursing homes. And they were talking about the pandemic. And the subject of long COVID came up and like none of these people are into like health world of biohacking or anything like that. And they both went like, Yeah, but you know, people have been going to the hyperbaric and like walking out fine. And it was like, interesting, interesting.
Julie Angel 21:59
So anyway, just to say that, but we can mimic that all day long. If we restore functional breathing patterns. So functional breathing patterns mean that the balance between our oxygen and our carbon dioxide is such that we deliver more oxygen to ourselves. And this kind of three ways that we need to think about restoring our our breathing.
Julie Angel 22:27
So the first is the biochemical. So this is training to breathe in less. So there’s one little drill I’d like to kind of go through that people can do, because people talk about diaphragmatic breathing and stuff like that. And there’s something you need to master before that. So don’t want anyone to be thinking about their belly or their their diaphragm or their ribs or anything like step one, what I want you to do is just sit up straight, because breathing and posture are directly correlated, because like I say, this oxygen has to come down into our lungs. And we, if you’re lucky, if you’re crunched over, then you’re not going to you’re going to be squashing the cone of the shape where this air goes. And we want that shape to be to have maximum potential.
Julie Angel 23:17
So sit up straight, I want you to close your mouth, I want you to swallow. So your tongue is resting on the roof of the mouth. And if if possible, just make sure your jaw is kind of soft. And then I want you to just take your finger and put it underneath your nose as though you’re doing like a very inappropriate moustache type of event. And I want you to just start breathing very gently in through the nose, and out through the nose. So you can feel the air against your finger. And I want you to imagine you have a feather resting on the top of that finger. And you’re breathing so lightly, that you’re not going to blow the finger off.
Julie Angel 24:01
So it’s kind of like and what’s amazing is just one minute or 30 seconds of that will induce more calm. Like biochemically bio psycho socially. If, as long as if if someone has very kind of chronic, disordered breathing, then sometimes for some people 10 seconds is all they can manage. If that’s the case, then you just bring the finger down. Go back to your normal breathing, calm and then when you feel good again. Try it again.
Julie Angel 24:40
And I’ve done this at workshops and with so many people who have had years of meditation, years of yoga, years of this idea of take a take a deep breath. So there’s nothing wrong with deep breathing. However, somebody however has when it comes to breathing in This biochemistry relates to a thing in breathwork, where they call our tidal volume. So that’s where the amount you’re breathing in, and the amount you’re breathing out, really matters because this biochemistry is is going to get out of out of balance.
Julie Angel 25:16
So you can be a nose breather and a diaphragmatic breathing air and still be over breathing. Because if you’re going or if you’re going if you’re exhaling too long, you’ll get really, you’re getting rid of too much carbon dioxide. So it sounds weird. But if you want to have more oxygen in your body, you need to breathe in less, because, and it also the other thing that for people to get their head around is your cardiovascular fitness does not determine whether you have functional breathing or not.
Julie Angel 25:58
And the reason is, there’s a thing called so the nervous system and the brain are running the show. And the phrenic nerve is the thing that makes us breathe. And the thing that makes us breathe, is our tolerance to the level of co2 in our body at the time. So one thing we can do to restart restoring this balance is to start becoming more comfortable and resilient to the buildup of carbon dioxide in our body. And we do that with small breath holds. So you can do it. So you warm up.
Julie Angel 26:35
And here’s the thing, the diaphragm is involved here and the diaphragm is a muscle. So it’s like any muscle you don’t want to cold start, you don’t want to just sit down and go, right, I’m going to do as many breath holds as I can, it’s like easy, let’s just kind of warm up. So you start warming up with these, this feather breathing very gently in and out through the nose for maybe two minutes, if possible.
Julie Angel 27:02
And then the next step is to do some really small breath holds. So, um, what’s in so I learned from the oxygen advantage and this is there’s a wonderful man called Patrick McKeown. And he basically he was a mouth breather. He was asthmatic. And there’s actually a wonderful TED talk about it and even the there’s a lot of there’s a craze called mewing on different social media for for young people who are basically doing changing from being mouth breathers to nose breathers. for aesthetic reasons, you will change the shape of your jaw and your teeth.
Julie Angel 27:47
If you become a nose breather versus a mouth breather, you will change as I can kind of send on some supporting materials as to go alongside this that will really list the the effects of what you can gain from restoring functional breathing. So you do your further breathing. And then you can train some small breath holds. And we do the breath holds after the exhale. So it’s not a breathing. Oh, and then hold. Okay, it’s not about that. It’s about you inhale through the nose, exhale through the nose. And then you pinch the nose. without pinching the nose, the air sneaks in, it’s kind of like the Oh, I’m not mouth breathing, but your your lips are open.
Julie Angel 28:35
So you want to you inhale through the nose, you exhale through the nose, you pinch the nose. And then to begin with, start for two to five seconds. And then you go back to nose breathing for 10 seconds, and then you repeat it again. So it would be inhale. So in out, pinch 54321 Release the nose pinch. recover your breathing. So it’s very, very gentle to begin with.
Julie Angel 29:12
And the thing with breathing is that so it affects your blood pH it does. There’s a lot of very complicated chemistry with what’s going on there. Literally. Oh, God. I know it’s like I don’t think it’s one of those like, just trust me on this like, just think about oh to in, go through the nose voice and Filtek get the nasal oxide, nitric oxide, and then so even your name, so a sign of someone who over breeds which is hyperventilation. So, hyperventilation isn’t just the Wim Hof level of like hyperventilation is just literally going through your day mouth breathing or nose breathing very heavily.
Julie Angel 29:57
So I’ve always been a nose breather. And then I went on a trip to Zion National Park with Mary Beth my friend Beth coach and her husband and we all shared a room. And we would hike in the morning and then come back and nap in the afternoon or like have an early afternoon nap. And that, you know, as with good friends, they kind of like take the mickey out of you and Steve would go like, Oh my God, you’re such a mouth breather. And I was like, I’m not ready. Beth was like, she’s not a mouth breather. And he was like, I can hear you breathing from over to here. And it’s like, oh.
Julie Angel 30:38
So another measure of if you’re over breathing at rest, is you can hear yourself breathe. So when you’re calm when you’re resting, and when I’m working, if I’m concentrating, I actually sound like a train. If I’m in a really high intellectual, cognitive flow state, I, I breathe heavily.
Courtney Townley 31:02
Yeah. Interestingly, I’ll have it pop in there really quick, because I just did an interview with Dr. Kristy Goodwin, who she does all the neuroscience behind our tech use and why nice, all the ways that tech disrupts our physiology. And one of the things that she spoke really clearly to was how much tech use affects our breath pattern. And we start holding our breath. Rather than actually breathing, which, of course, then has a lot of negative consequences. And she talked a lot about the physiological side, how usually we we do a physiological side every few minutes. But when we’re on technology, we completely omit that, which is then jacking up the nervous system and causing a whole host of problems.
Julie Angel 31:46
Yeah, so basically, when we inhale, we kind of invite our sympathetic nervous system. So our fight flight freeze form. So it’s an alert, one, you know, it’s really useful, it’s really good. So the inhale is the like, the readiness, yeah, the ready. And then the exhale, is that calm and the melt. And what we really want to strive for, and this is why box breathing is such a nice way for people to start training this as well is box breathing, invites this idea of the pause after the exhale.
Julie Angel 32:24
So that empty after The exhale is for me with so much magic happens that relates to strong resting, that relates to movement snacks, that relates to your capacity to regulate your nervous system come back into balance, whether it’s like, God, I wasn’t expecting that email, or like, wow, I just had this call, or, you know, you see two people in a car park having an altercation, they will be most, they will be mouth breathing. And there’s even this thing of our ability to listen to others. If your mouth is closed, there’s less of that, like, like, I want to be heard, like you’re trying to button you’re like,
Courtney Townley 33:04
You’re waiting to speak, rather than listening.
Julie Angel 33:10
Exactly. And so inviting that in, and then being able to, you know, most people don’t have an issue with getting into a state of alertness. Like, they’re, they’re, you know, they’re operating from this high level, this high stress inoculation, which they’ve normalized as an everyday way of being, rather than like, oh, and even like this plays into food. So, you know, when you’re over breathing, when you’re in that fight or flight, you’re only going to produce 50% of the digestive enzymes you need to break down and absorb the nutrients from your food. So when your nose breathing, you should start to feel this watery saliva in your mouth. And, you know, rest and digest.
Julie Angel 33:59
So if you’re even if you’re like, you know, you’re on the girl, you’re in the car, your uncle’s, you haven’t had time for lunch, yet. There’s a bar there. You’re not absorbing the nutrients from that. All the calories? Yeah, the nutrients, probably not probably about half of them. So it’s also even a really good thing just to do like before you eat to just like, check in like, you know, again, going back, is my mouth dry? Do you wake up with a dry mouth? These are all indicators of Do you yearn and sigh during the day and not the physiological side.
Julie Angel 34:35
But like, people with anxiety, you know, if you spend time with them, they walk around the house going. And then they yawn a lot. cold hands and feet. These are all signs and symptoms of a disordered breathing pattern. So there’s everything to gain and the amazing thing with this Is that the first step towards changes awareness.
Julie Angel 35:03
So, just to basically say, you know, what’s the kind of step one of how to restore this, I’ll share, there’s a couple of assessments that self assessments that people can do. So there’s one called the bolt score. And again, this is from the oxygen advantage. And what you do is, make sure you know, you’re you do this at rest, so you want to wait at least 10 minutes after you’ve eaten, you don’t want to do it straight after training, what you can do actually is do it before training, and then do it 30 minutes after training. And then you get to see if your breathing was efficient, and kind of boosting you during your training or not, which is kind of interesting, but the resting bolt score, again, sit upright, you inhale, your normal inhale through the nose, a normal exhale through the nose, then you pinch your nose, and then you count and you time, how many seconds is it until I feel the need or want to breathe?
Julie Angel 36:07
And it’s not about how long you can hold your breath for, there’s a second test, which is going to allow you that kind of display of fortitude and mental resilience of holding your breath. But the bulk score, so a lot of people they’re like, I don’t know, if I’m doing it right, or how is it? So as I said that it’s the phrenic nerve and the brain that gets this like message of like, Hey, where are we at with our co2, this has been a while like, Excuse me, excuse me, like, it’s time, time to breathe again. So it can be a feeling in like the the throat or the top of the diaphragm or, or the belly or, like I said, like I was 13 seconds to begin with, like it was like, a kind of panic, or some people feel they’re really suffocating. And then there’s a score of how many seconds that relates to so again, to repeat the test, you normally inhale, normal out Hill through the nose, pinch the nose and count.
Julie Angel 37:08
And what I encourage people to do is to monitor your bolt score. And so it’s good to do it first thing in the morning, because there’s a standardization standardization there of Well, I’ve been asleep, sure beforehand, whereas during our day, it’s like, well, was that a busy day? Was it a quiet about like, could be all over the shop. But there’s, there’s a nice standard baseline of like, I’ve been lying down for X number of hours. So it’s kind of a true reflection, to be able to judge. And so 25 seconds, is the point of functional breathing. The majority of the population are around probably 10 to 15. And 85% of people who suffer from anxiety, have dysfunctional breathing patterns. 87% of elite athletes have dysfunctional breathing patterns. It’s a really small percentage who are going through their day with functional breathing.
Julie Angel 38:19
And I believe and this is maybe contentious for a lot of people. But if breathwork is equally, if not more powerful than food. So every cell in our body needs glucose and oxygen. If there was many people, sharing the messages of how to get more oxygen into your cells, as they are about balancing your blood sugar and your glucose and the quality of your food and all of those things. We will be walking around in a very different world. And you will be walking around in a different body. And with a different mindset.
Julie Angel 38:54
It’s and I wanted to make the point about the athletes because again, it’s not about a dysfunction, like your cardiovascular fitness. So it’s not like well, this this person is really fit and strong like they you know, they’ve got the picture, they present really well. They’re equally prone to these disordered breathing patterns, and poor sleep, anxiety, depression, nervous system out of whack, because they’re not strong resting.
Julie Angel 39:24
This is why every movement snack session starts with one minute of breathing. Because it’s the way for you to be present in your mind and body. For you to see where you are and to choose what direction you want to take that in. So you can breathe, to become more alert, like before a presentation. There’s very specific breathing training you can do for that. If you need to calm down. There’s very specific breathwork training you can do for that. If you want to improve your athletic performance. There’s very specific training you can do for that.
Julie Angel 39:56
And the main thing I just think like if everyone does one thing And it’s start to become aware of how you’re breathing. So we have the biochemistry. And then we have the biomechanical. And then we have the psychosocial. So the biomechanical is, yes, we want our diaphragm to be expanding, and we want it to actually move more like an accordion, than a belly pushing up, there’s no pushing. Just as it moves down, and it expands, and we need our ribs and our intercostal muscles to be moving, our ribs need that to have space, so that they can move.
Julie Angel 40:36
So this is why breathing relates to posture in many different ways. Breathing relates to cognitive performance, breathing relates to metabolism, briefly, it’s, it’s such a, everything’s happening downstream. And you get the most bang for your buck, like you fix this. And the most beautiful thing, so if anyone’s listening, and they’re like, Oh, my God, my bulk score was six. Or my, there’s people coming out of COVID, who’ve bought scores three, or four. And what’s really beautiful with Breathworks, like training balance, you can turn it ran really fast in the first couple of weeks. So the training I do and what oxygen advantage does. Basically, within three weeks, if someone does the practice, you can improve, you can increase your bolt score by three to four points every week. It’s phenomenal. And the drills are that, you know, it’s this simple kind of stuff.
Courtney Townley 41:34
You can do it anywhere. And it’s free. I mean, I love the idea that you’re always with your breath. And you can always breathe, you learn patterns that are available.
Julie Angel 41:45
Yeah. And I think there is this something that, you know, if, and this is, this is kind of maybe contentious for some people, but I think I’m probably preaching to the choir here as well, that, you know, if Big Pharma could make a lot of money out of breathing, they would have, and this is one of the reasons why it’s not so broadly shared, it’s not so broadly researched. There’s a lot in the Elite Performance world that are researching it. And there’s more and more messages coming out now about this is the most potent, free, available to you. thing you can do, and you can always do it, you can do it every day. So, I love it.
Courtney Townley 42:30
I love that you came in share this. So interesting, we were just kind of dissecting the sort of the most basic building block of human life, right, like your cells, your your mass of cells, everything in your body is made of cells. And we all learned in like eighth grade biology, about the power of the mitochondria, right? Like literally the powerhouses of the cells. And I love what you introduced here is that we spend so much time talking about the fuel that the cell needs to convert to energy, but without oxygen, right, without the proper amount of oxygen, that it’s not really going to produce energy in the way that we think it will, which then affects every organ, every system, every tissue in the human body. So such profound work.
Courtney Townley 43:13
So where can people find out more information, Julie, about your programs, and sort of about this training and the things that you have to share?
Julie Angel 43:21
So thank you. Yeah. So if you go to julieangel.com, I have a free movement, snacks guide, and there is some breathwork training within that people can reach out to me individually. I’m on Instagram, I’m on YouTube, I’m on Facebook, I do kind of one or two trainings a month for free. And they have there’s like a kind of breathwork webinar I do and things like that. And if anyone also, you know, if anyone’s kind of looking for help with that, just contact me.
Julie Angel 44:01
And we’ll probably tell where to find you on a page where all this is found for sure. And anyone listening Julie’s an amazing one to follow for not just breathwork purposes. But as an example of someone who in my view, is really rocking midlife and living in such a natural, organic and life affirming way.
Julie Angel 44:22
You as well, my friend.
Courtney Townley 44:25
I just think and everything you share on social media, I think really exemplifies that. So and I also love Julie, that you’re just a forever student. I mean, I have so much respect and appreciation for that, that you’re always learning and we’re always sort of unpacking the things that we thought we knew and now realizing that there’s new information available to us and it changes how we work as coaches. And yeah, I just love that about you.
Julie Angel 44:51
Thank you. We’re living in really exciting times, I think. And what’s interesting, especially around breathwork is there’s is now this meeting of all of these really ancient traditions and practice, like there’s nothing new about breathwork. And the neuroscience and the Dallas are all on the same page now. And one is, you know, kind of verifying through data, what the others have been doing for 1000s and 1000s of years. So we can benefit from all these types of knowledge. And it’s just really exciting that it’s available.
Julie Angel 45:27
And then and also, what’s happening with how women in midlife are breathing. So as our progesterone declined drops, that also affects our breathing, which is why women will start to snore more in midlife, and they will start to have sleep issues. There are many reasons why people have sleep issues, but our respiratory chemistry, you know, is changed as well. So the biggest tool that if you just do one thing, try to breathe lightly, and try to make it nasal.
Courtney Townley 46:04
This is going to be a big challenge for me, because I don’t feel like I do anything like it.
Julie Angel 46:07
It’s really interesting, I’m working with a couple of quite high profile people at the moment in our world, and they are mechanically they are perfect. Yeah, in all of those things. And for them to not over breathe, it’s very, very difficult, like unlearning, is, is very hard. You know, just give yourself a minute or another one is like shallow breathing. And this is actually something they train people to do, who are having panic attacks. And because when you have your hands kind of cast in front, you kind of like make a mask with your your hands on again, but you can just feel the amount of air that’s coming in through the nose and out through the nose. And then you can kind of open up the shell if you need kind of a little bit more. But this air resistance, so we actually get more air into the lungs, when we breathe through the nose than when we breathe through the mouth.
Julie Angel 47:04
So when I see people saying, like, take a deep breath, or take a big breath. I’m always like, you I don’t know about you right now. But what it is good at is that it makes you aware of your breath. Yeah, there’s always value. There’s there’s always value. So I hope this has been helpful. And yeah, please feel free to reach out and consider breathing a movement skill.
Courtney Townley 47:33
Yeah, I love what you said earlier that it’s the original movement skill. And I just thought, Oh, that’s so good. Breathing is the original movement skill. And, and also, it’s just so funny to me how far away we get from basic practices only to return to them. Right that there’s just so much power in the basics. And I know that I’m preaching to the choir when I say that to you, but it truly it’s, it’s the movement, it’s the breath. It’s the rest. It’s these simple things simplicity that don’t cost really, I mean, again, they’re available to us all the time. And we’ve just so overcomplicated them.
Julie Angel 48:11
Yeah, I mean, fancy is fancy, but simple is really effective.
Courtney Townley 48:16
It is. You’re amazing. I so appreciate you. Thank you for making the time.
Julie Angel 48:22
Always a pleasure. Thank you so much.
Courtney Townley 48:30
Thank you for listening to the Grace and Grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible.
Are you loving the Grace & Grit podcast?
Subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode!
Ready to find your midlife magic?
Say it with me “my body is NOT the problem!”
Ahhh…doesn’t it feel great to release the chains you’ve lived with for so long?
It’s true that the wellness and diet industry wants you to believe that your body is broken—that it needs to be fixed, resculpted, and forced into looking a certain way.
The Power Years Coaching is all about ditching that narrative and nourishing your body consistently. This is what provides the jumping off point for a life of self-leadership, trust in your wonderful body, and peace knowing you’re making the most of your second act.
Are you ready to put your best years ahead of you rather than behind you?
Let’s do it!
Your guide to changing the conversation around vitality and start truly showing up for yourself. It’s all inside my FREE Midlife Magic Quickstart Guide.
Ready to make some magic?
Mend the fabric of your health story, one episode at a time.