Episode 100 – Angie and Shane Saunders | Breath work Experts

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In this episode I speak with breathwork experts Shane and Angie Saunders of Breathe Me. It is jam-packed full of insight and practical tips to help leaders and their teams become more energised.

​Shane and Angie are award winning authors, professional coaches, professional speakers, and hosts of The Breathing Edge Podcast. Their common interest in the art (practice) and science (research) of mind-body psychology and the development of optimal self-regulation during performance under pressure led them to weave together an integrated collection of high-performance learning techniques for reducing stress, working in demanding environments. improving sleep, and stabilizing personal energy.

These techniques include the union of ancient wisdom of the breath with breathing science to lower reactivity, improve focus, and bring the mind and body into balance.

To read more about Shane & Angie...

Shane served for 13 years in the Australian Defense Force where he trained military divers, tactical assault experts, and top military performers in mind-body self-regulation science while also assisting them to successfully complete the SAS selection course, which he also completed himself.

Angie is from a high-powered background in the entertainment industry in Hollywood where she worked both in front of the camera (singing, dancing, acting and stunts) and behind the scenes in production, coordinating films where personal high performance was central to her profession.

Shane and Angie joined forces in Australia, not only in marriage but in their professional work where together they built a business, Breathe Me, that helps people experience and implement multi-disciplinary techniques for improving health and performance.

We speak about the physiological effects that breathwork has on the body and mind, some practical techniques that you can implement right now that will help shift your internal state, as well as how something as simple as your breath can affect the energy you bring to meetings and conversations with people. Recently Angie and Shane have been working with the Graduate School of Breathing and Behavioural Science and we talk about this fascinating work too!

Key episode highlights include:

  • If your breathing is fragmented and out of rhythm, so will you be in your life.
  • It’s not just about having a breathwork practice, it’s also learning how to have your nervous system regulate itself in the face of changing environments.
  • Yes you require oxygen. The other part of the equation is that you also require co2 in order for that oxygen to be transported around the body. And if we have those gases out of balance, that affects the blood pH, which affects neurotransmitters that affects hormone release it affects micro tension in the body.
  • The way you breathe will entrain the way other people breathe, and will affect how they’re feeling around you.
 

You can find out about Shane and Angie’s work and The Energised Leader program over at Breathe Me, or connect with Shane and Angie on LinkedIn.

Also check out our previous chat onepisode 13 of the Inspired Energy Podcast.

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Transcript

Murray Guest  

So I was just having a great laugh with Shane and Angie from Breathe Me, and this is the second time they’re on the podcast, and they are wonderful, wonderful people. It’s great to see you guys, how are you?

 

Angie Saunders  

Good. Living by the moment.

 

Murray Guest  

Yeah, yeah. And you Shane?

 

Shane Saunders  

Well, yeah these are trying times and you know, we’re keeping our sanity up with our, you know habits and, you know keeping, keeping it together like we were talking about before we got on here.

 

Angie Saunders  

I was talking with someone the other day and they’re an NLP master trainer, and she said to me, she goes I think I’m running out of reframes, you know, after 18 months of having to reframe everything to look at the positive side.

 

Murray Guest  

I totally get that. And I feel like, for me, and the people I work with, there’s been a constant resetting of, you know, what’s important and what’s going on and things in our life and, and that’s when I thought, hang on, I need to reach out to you guys again and have you on the podcast to chat to help share what you do. And obviously some, some new things that you guys have been up to. And I just want to acknowledge too, I know the impact that knowing or having a greater awareness of my own breathing has brought into my life. I’m far from a practiced person at it and a regular habit, but for me in managing my stress and getting to sleep and different patterns. It’s been fantastic. So thank you.

 

Shane Saunders  

Thank you. You know I think that it’s as Angie mentioned before, it’s something that you don’t take a lot of notice of because it’s something that you do all the time. So it can be, you know, it’s, it’s everything from keeping you alive, all the way through to things like being a metaphor for control, how much control you have in your life, you know, controlling your breath can cause you to have dysfunctional breathing which can cause you then to have, you know, everything from anxiety to mood disorders, to you name it. So you know I think it’s, it’s one of those things that when you do discover what you can unlock with it, there’s a whole host of benefits that come from it so it’s you know it’s not just about having a breathwork practice, per se, it’s more about learning how to regulate yourself, and learning how to have your nervous system regulate itself in the face of changing environments which we can all attest to that we’re going through right now. And you talk about that awareness of your breathing, and it’s, you know one of those things that, you know, we’re doing unconsciously all the time. But fundamentally, what do you reckon is the, the impact that makes to actually start to focus on your breath. 

 

Angie Saunders  

Well how, you know that’s, that’s like an inch wide, mile long, you know it’s deep and I think you know the reason why it’s difficult to answer specifically is because it’s, it’s, you know, you’ve probably heard us say this before your breathing is like a thumbprint, it’s unique to you. So, you know what works for one person doesn’t work for another so that this is why you know, all the breathing methods that are out there, some will like it, some will not like it, and some are not sure about it.

 

Shane Saunders  

Yeah, I think, also, Murray, how I’d answer that in, in a practical way is that your, your breathing affects your blood pH through affecting the, the carbon dioxide and the oxygen mix in your body and you know most of us would would know from, you know, school science, oxygen, you require oxygen. I think what the other part of the equation is that you also require co2 in order for that oxygen to be transported around the body including, you know right into the brain and into the muscles. And if we have those gases out of balance, especially the co2, you know, that affects the blood pH, which affects neurotransmitters, it affects hormone release, it affects micro tension in the body you know and micro tension can have a whole host of different things from, you know you feeling headaches, you know, some, some of these things that people kind of they suffer from – anxiety, depression, you know, all these different, different things, and there’s this physical component to it, that is directly related to your breathing. So, to, to your point, becoming aware of your breathing can help you become aware of the micro tension in your body, and that build up of micro tension affects sleep and sleep is a huge part of, you know, our overall health. So…

 

Murray Guest  

Can I just say, I want to jump in to the little reframe there around co2. I think there’s a little bit as you said with the balance of, you know, oxygen is good, co2 is bad. That is not true.

 

Angie Saunders  

Not at all, not having enough co2 is like, you know when Shane was talking about micro tension, the technical term, and I love this, it’s called the ischemia. And it’s when everything sort of like tightens up and that’s where like chronic pain comes from. And if we hold, I mean, I think all of us when we’re highly stressed we hold tension or pain somewhere it’s like you go get a massage you don’t know how much pain you’re in until you go get a massage, and go oh my gosh I’m holding on to so much. And and it is like, like a metaphor, when you’re holding your breath you throw your gases out of balance and therefore tension happens and then when you have tension in the body, tension in the mind, tension in emotions, tension in the way we make decisions and it starts affecting everything.

 

Shane Saunders  

Yeah, rigid body rigid mind that, you know that that’s something that, it rings true in this, in this sense that, you know, as Angie mentioned it’s a very simple mechanism, but it has all these profound effects on you, you know, pausing your breath, holding your breath, which we do often day to day you know anyone who’s on their phone or on a computer or sitting on Zoom. For a long time right like you’re you’re performing. I mean, we don’t even really know the long term effects of sitting on Zoom and screens, it’s going to have, you know it has effect on your distance perception and being right up close to people and having their faces around this is you know there’s all these, now these new ways of getting stressed, if we could put it that way there, you know, we’re probably now more than ever, we’re facing the most stress that we’ve probably as a, you know, as a society have faced in a long time, I think, you know a lot of the generations that would have experienced, you know wartime stress or even the Great Depression, you know, those generations haven’t been around for a while and now the, you know, we’re facing, high stress levels and people, you know that we come across their, their coping mechanisms aren’t quite there, the resilience and that’s what we talk about, been taken away a lot. Yes, is just how do you start to regain that resilience, you know, and it’s through the things that we kind of naturally know, you know we naturally know to go and exercise, you know, get outside get connected with nature and all these sorts of things that we talk about, but if we’re inside on Zoom all day, you’re going to forget, your breath is going to get shorter, it’s going to build up tension, it’s going to cause you to have emotional outbursts or even depression and things like that so I think that they’re just that this is why you become aware of your breathing, so that you can detect that those micro differences or the differences of when things are shifting.

 

Murray Guest  

Gotcha. So, for the leaders that are listening or team members listening to our chat, and they are on Zoom or teams or whatever platform. What’s a tip that you would suggest, so they can start to bring in that shift in their practice. So, they’re not just, as you said, sitting on a screen all day, what could they start to bring in to help build that resilience and change that?

 

Angie Saunders  

I think you’ll get two different answers here. I’d say one of the things for me that I practice is it’s like yes it’s great to have ergonomics, but really the best position to be in is the next position that you’re going to go in, you know, so it’s that movement or, or not being in one place sitting in one place for too long so it’s allowing yourself to have those regular breaks. And the other thing that I think makes a huge difference is bringing awareness to your breathing, I think that we don’t bring enough awareness to it because it’s so automatic. And then this is what causes us to go out of balance with the co2 in the o2 levels and therefore causing tension, and probably frustration, and then emotional and then making irrational decisions and then causing, you know snapping at team members and, you know, causing an uproar. So you know if you can bring attention, if you can start catching yourself before you go into those states then you can change your breathing and not go there. So an example of that is like you know, we work from home. So when we’ve got kids at home, you know, quite often, you know, the tension will build up when I’m working because I’m trying to focus and I can’t focus because they’re making so much noise, or whatever, right, then I start noticing that I’m holding my breath and I’m trying to suppress my emotions and therefore I start getting out of whack. And then it all it takes is for them to run next to me and then I snap at them, you know, and then I become that mom I never wanted to become, you know, it’s the same thing in the workplace, you know when you’re trying to focus and someone comes and interrupts you it’s like get out, you know. Yeah, same thing so it’s to be able to catch yourself and shift the internal awareness by changing your breathing.

 

Shane Saunders  

I mean mine would be very similar to Angie’s I guess on a practical level, and we use this technique all the time, every time we jump on for a meeting, whether it’s with our team, or whether it’s with other teams, is take a moment just to sync your breathing with each other, whether it’s just taking five breaths before you start a meeting, you know, allow people to maybe take all the distractions off, I find that on Zoom meetings, distractions, there could be something else going on on the screen, you know, the phone, because you’re not in the room with people, there’s this missing feeling of the presence that’s there, but it’s also a great time to practice, you know, doubling down on your presence and being present when you are, you know, having the meeting so you know we often will say to people, or to teams and to leaders, you know, just take a moment to set the, like if you go for a workout you do a warm up. If you go to have a meeting, have some kind of warm up that sets the tone for the meeting. It’s only a simple thing, but what it will do is it will bring, it brings everyone’s nervous system into sync, and, and it’s a transferable type of feeling so you know your as you, how you show up as the leader will matter. And if you show up with your nervous system in sync, you’re calm, you’re ready to go, you know, or you’ve prepared yourself, then that transfers across and we find that above all else, just that the simple thing of taking a couple of breaths with each other before you start helps everybody sort of calm, sink in, and then get on with the meeting and getting on with what you have to do.

 

Murray Guest  

And thinking about what both of you just explored then I feel like there’s what you can do for yourself, and there’s what you can do for others. And, and also how you show up with respect and professionalism, and that appreciation as you said, get rid of the distractions and be present. I’m a big believer that if you’re going to show up for an online meeting you have your camera on and you’re present, you’re there, show that respect. And I like the analogy too Shane of the warm up, because I think too often in teams and in organizations is like meeting, meeting, meeting, meeting, meeting, and I actually just scheduled a meeting with a client next week and it’s for 25 minutes. And it’s not that hard, schedule for 25 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes but, you know, you can even make it 27 minutes if you want but do some crazy time that’s not half an hour, an hour. Give people that breathing space in between.

 

Shane Saunders  

Yeah. There’s, I agree with you, Murray. There’s something really psychological to being under 30 minutes for something, right, like if you’re going to go, if you’re going to go for a workout, if someone knows it’s a 20 minute workout that is way more attractive than say, a 30 or 45 minute because time is a valuable commodity, right now for people because things seem to be moving so quick so I definitely agree with the whole, you know, making sure that there’s something novel about when you show up and our brains love things that are novel, and you know this again falls back into the idea about using breathing as a technique, it can create a novel shift for people. Even just doing five breaths, allowing you to slow down your breathing, allow your mind to process, can often clear the mind enough for you to then have a very different meeting, you show up in a very different way. I mean, you know, these techniques are ancient, they’ve been spoken about, you know, you think of the, think of the conversations that people have around a campfire for example and you know a lot of the ancient wisdom comes from people starting to breathe with each other first, because it’s the oldest communication system that we have. And believe it or not, the way you breathe will entrain the way other people breathe and will affect how they’re feeling around you. So yeah, I think it’s yeah it’s just one of those things that you can fall back to things that nature hasn’t selected out of us. Yeah, it hasn’t selected these things out, hasn’t selected sleep out, it hasn’t selected there’s a lot of things that you can put your finger on and say, these things will move the needle the most when it comes to wellness or well being, right? And that’s that’s you know that’s why we have such a passion around, around this and this is why we have such a passion around bringing this into the role of leadership, because for us, or, you know for me personally, leadership is about service. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s, there are times where it’s about hierarchy and it’s about top down, it’s about, you know you’ve got it you got to, you know, show your authority and do things but really it’s about service and being of service to people, shows respect, and people will appreciate you if you’re a service based leader in what you do.

 

Murray Guest  

Yeah, and to be of service and to be able to show up your best, you need to be looking after yourself. Hmm, yeah. Yes, there’s a bit of a link back there too, and I think we might not have covered it enough, around, if you are in control of your breathing, and then how that helps that mindset about, well then, am I, how can I be more in control of my life, what am I focusing on, so I feel like there’s a good link there that that with that connection. So if I started to focus more on my breathing, and that mindset I’m training myself, that will, what can I focus on, what’s in my control right now.

 

Angie Saunders  

Yeah it is, like breathing is like a metaphor. If your breathing is fragmented and out of rhythm, so will you. And and you know just have a look at how how parents regulate children. Children don’t learn to self regulate until they get older when they can start you know practicing, you know, a self control for themselves. Until then, they learn self regulation from their parents. That’s why babies are put on their chest and then the mothers are encouraged to breathe slowly and rhythmically and connecting with the babies to help teach them, it’s the same thing. I mean, yeah, we’re just we’re older now, you know, but you’re still helping other people to regulate themselves and I feel that you know all the greatest leaders that I’ve been around, have all been very charismatic and they’re very charismatic because they know when to let go, and they know when to take control, you know, know when to follow, know when to get out of the way, know when to lead and and following that sliding scale.

 

Shane Saunders  

Yeah and I think the, the other thing about that metaphor, Murray, is there’s a, there’s a dysfunction that happens in a lot of people’s breathing and it has to do with the co2 but it also has to do with what we call the natural breathing instinct. And what I think that what most people will find that in a stressed environment, they’re actually taking control of their breathing a lot more than they need to. And there’s, there’s a need for the body to be able to just breathe on its own without you interfering in it. And if you if you look at this as a metaphor. It’s about control. It’s about trying to control everything around you, everything in your environment. And let’s face it, we all we all do that because there’s that inherent fear of, you know, I mean if we take it all the way all the way all the way down to them to this morbid part of it, your breathing is related to your fear of death, right, because that cycle has to continue your whole life. And if you’re trying to control that cycle. And we don’t know that we’re doing it and we see this a lot if people present with nervous issues, if they present with, you know, brain fog, there’s this whole list of symptoms that they can present with. They might go to a doctor and they might say, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. The doctor checks them and says, I don’t know either. Go and do some yoga or go, go for a walk, right? But but inherently they they’re thinking to themselves, I know this something that’s not quite right. And a lot of the time, you know we’ll have clients where if you get them to practice this, noticing the natural breathing instinct learning to let go and let let your breathing happen. This whole thing unfolds around this, I didn’t know that I was trying to control my breath. Right, and to that point it’ll put your co2 out of balance which puts the oxygen out of balance which then drives, you know, I mean, if you even look at it from a medical point of view, low oxygen in the cells is how we get things, you name it, like how we get cancers, how we get all sorts of things, is a lowering of oxygen in the cell, you know, the feeling of being suffocated, the feeling of not being able to move, you know, all those things can be related back to this, to these very, very small micro shifts in the breathing, and that’s you know that’s why it’s, it’s been something that’s involved in everything you do. And you know, if you’re concentrating on something it doesn’t matter if you’re, you know, if you’re operating weapon systems. I’ve always have said this to rooms full of dentists, you know, having a career in the military. It’s been like, it doesn’t matter if you’re on a battlefield or you’re in the, you got someone in the dentist chair, the concentration that you have in using the tools, the concentration that you have driving your computer during a meeting or presenting, there’s no difference in it. So your breath is is ever present in all of those things that you’re doing. So you know like a coach will always, you know you’ll always hear a coach say to someone, breathe, you know, it doesn’t matter, that they might get to that point where they stop breathing. So it’s a it’s a very sensitive instrument in that way.

 

Murray Guest  

And the thing that I think about, and I’ve learned from you guys in our conversations, is it doesn’t matter if you’re you, I’m going to quote you I think Shane if I get this right. Is it something like, you don’t have to believe me, but just give it a try, because like, just you know start breathing and you’ll see the difference.

 

Angie Saunders  

Trust me now, believe me later. 

 

Murray Guest  

Well, there’s that and the other part for me is, if you think about in so many areas where you hear people talk about breathing. So, when someone’s giving birth, or if you know as you said a coach will say to a sports person, or if a sports person is about to take that winning shot or kick the winning goal, what do they do they focus on their breath. Or if someone’s panicking, breathe, so it’s in all parts of our life, and then in yoga and other areas, it’s like so how do we bring that focus to us as humans, more and more in real life, because there’s going to be a benefit.

 

Shane Saunders  

Yeah and not, like, I don’t. I think the benefit, goes beyond just the physical benefits as we said before, because yeah, it totally intersects your mental and your emotional state. So it totally it has so much to do with your cognition, it has to do with your ability to focus. It has, it has to do with your ability to mentally recharge. You know all these things that I think we never used to really think about that you know if someone, if someone felt lethargic, it used to be that they would go well, have I drank enough water, have I got enough sleep and all of these things are super important, but it goes to that next layer down it’s like, how has your breathing been, yeah, you know, how have you, how do you mentally recharge. Do you give yourself time to kind of process. We hear this, this thing where everyone says, I know I should meditate, right, like, I know I should meditate. But how the hell do you sit still for like 20 minutes, 30 minutes, even an hour. And, you know, how we kind of like have dealt with this with our clients is that being able to focus on your breathing is really at the base of meditation, but it also gives your mind that time to process, that time to just go into stillness, let everything let everything go through and file through, there’s, there’s a natural inbuilt mechanism where you get that processing time and often, you know, you’ll often hear people who go I went into the shower and I had that idea or things changed or I had a shift in my mood. Because you were taking yourself out of whatever mental framework you’re in, and allowing yourself to have some silence or do something different, go for a walk.

 

Angie Saunders  

For those that are like highly stressed, it’s like mindfulness doesn’t work for those who need it the most. Because like from personal experience before I found how to use a breathing practice to like direct my focus I’d go into a meditation and come out more angry than I went going in, going what a waste of time that was, and feeling more stressed out because the slowing down I think is is what brings anxiety and panic for some people, especially those that are high performers or highly adrenalized or get it done, there’s so much to do so much to manage it’s all overwhelming so when you stop it’s like wait, everything’s gonna, everything’s gonna fall off if I stop so you know for me it was, what’s key I’m going to repeat this again because it’s so important, processing time. Processing stress, it’s like you have to complete a stress cycle, otherwise your body or your mind will force you to complete distress. So this is like recovery on the run.

 

Shane Saunders  

Yeah what’s important about that too Murray, is being committed to completing that cycle too. You know, I think that, what we can often forget some time, is you have to be committed to those things, you have to be committed in completing the cycle, you know, and we often hear about commitment but we don’t hear about being committed to, you know, seeing, say for example if you have a difficult relationship at work. If you if you’re if you’re in charge of people and you have a difficult relationship it pays to be committed to making that relationship complete or improving it, right, and what I mean by complete is if you don’t see eye to eye with someone at least you’re committed to actually making things right, you know you’re committed to taking responsibility for yourself and that’s the, that’s the same metaphor about completing the stress cycles that go on. So yeah, there’s plenty of metaphors in that, but when it comes to this idea of how it’s related to leadership, I just find that there’s, you know, we, I mean of course we’re in breathing so we see, we you know, most problems that present, we’re like, oh, like they’ll be, they’ll be a breathing habit or breathing behavior attached to that and that’s, you know, we’ve studied now with the School of Behavioral Health Sciences, and we’re in the first ever program where they’re looking at the link between people’s respiration and behavior and it’s a hugely exciting field, and it goes all the way up to a master’s degree, and it’s just so interesting to see how our breathing habits are habits, but they reflect your, your habits basically they affect all your behavioral habits as well.

 

Murray Guest  

Yeah. And to quote, Tammy, my wife, who I love to quote on my podcast, never listens. The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. Yeah. Which and and so tell us a bit more about this research, so that this link that they’re identifying with your breathing patterns, habits, and your behaviors.

 

Angie Saunders  

Well there’s a physiological component and then there’s a psychological component. Physiological component is, you know, the mechanical side of things, you know, do you breathe in your chest, do you breathe in your belly, does it work for you to breathe in your chest, if it doesn’t then change it you know, that there’s the mechanical side. But then there’s the respiration side which, this is what blew my mind, is how powerful our thoughts impact the co2 levels. And that this like blew me away and I actually had, like I’ve been having mentorship sessions with with Dr. Peter Litchfield, who’s one of one of, who’s our educator in the breathing sciences department. And, and I said to him the other day I was like, I started feeling these tension headaches and you know I feel like my breathing is really good because I practice all the time, you know I’m very mindful of it. And, and, and it was like, and I said, I’ve just been at my computer more, that’s it. So it’s like my mindset has not been on my body as much as it’s to be, and also the stress of making some big changes in our business, you know, a big move we just bought a house, we moved everything, you know whatever issues come along with that and dealing with, you know, school holidays, girls home, trying to run business, you know, all these sorts of things and it’s just how powerful just a simple thought can throw everything out of whack.

 

Murray Guest  

Gotcha. And can I just ask, is there another element there too, around what breathing practices you have at different times might need to change depending on what’s going on in your life.

 

Shane Saunders  

Yeah, yes, absolutely. This, the energy to effort ratio. In doing this in doing this research to what became really apparent too Murray about this was that it’s, it’s not so much about the breathing practices that you do as it is about how your body regulates the co2. 

 

Angie Saunders  

Unconscious regulation. 

 

Shane Saunders  

So what we, what we’ve really learned is there’s two, there’s two parts to breathing, there’s the mechanical part to breathing, you know the lungs move, the muscles move, they get innovated by nerves, but the reason they get innovated by the nerves is because they’re doing this fine balance in your blood pH. Breathing solely serves to keep your blood pH in balance and this is really important because what often happens is we have triggers that trigger habits that put the chemical axis, out of balance. Right so so so it’s kind of like this three pronged attack you can have a physical dysfunction, so you have a fall or even pregnancy. That can cause a physical dysfunction in breathing, you know, mothers can often have breathing dysfunctions that they carry on from having the baby in the belly, even from birth, you know, as an example. And what happens is that can be a physical, a physical dysfunction that they have where the muscle memory, as Angie mentioned before, the physiology, the muscle memory kind of stays in this pattern, but overlay that then with a psychological, you know, so for example, fear of, you know fear of suffocation or claustrophobia, and, you know, people start to get anxiety if they’re getting into a, you know, a room. So you have these different, these different triggers and they’re different types of habits, and they can all be interlinked. So you can go and start a breathing practice, for example, but that breathing practice could drive you further into feeling panic because you’re unaware, that you’re putting this chemical balance in your body out of balance. So the really interesting thing that we learned is that just going and starting a breathing practice may not solve it may not, it may not solve your problems, it might even exacerbate or drive you further into problems. And so,

 

Angie Saunders  

Well, let me, hang on let me add a layer on top of that, because that’s a mechanical aspect, so just suppose you’d go into a breathing practice, something that’s intense or rigorous, you know, there’s lots of them out there right now these days that are quite popular. And if you and a lot of the times it becomes like we’ve had clients come to us going up and practicing this method and I’m now getting headaches and I never had headaches before. And so, there’s also the part, the psychological response to what’s happening to the physiology, that’s equally important, So, if you’re having this experience in a breathing practice and you’re stressing out about it, it’s going to make it worse.

 

Shane Saunders  

Yeah it’s a simple it’s like trying to simplify a complex, it’s a complex system. So, you know, coming with a simple thing like saying, Just breathe deep. That won’t work for everybody if you’re in a panic attack taking a deep breath, which is what you would not you know, most people would say, hey, take a deep breath, and it’s like that for a lot of people will drive them further into the panic attack, not for everybody, though, because everybody’s different, it may not.

 

Angie Saunders  

Well sometimes the panic attack has to complete its cycle and we try to control it and stop it. Yeah, that’s where you’re getting in the way of the body naturally trying to regulate itself, if you just back off and let the panic attack complete the cycle relax into it and let the breath do whatever it needs to do, you’ll complete that and then you can move on.

 

Shane Saunders  

Which is, which is easy said, it’s easy said but not easy for someone who’s in the middle of that. 

 

Murray Guest  

That’s right. The thing that’s jumping out here for me too is that breathing and let me articulate this and help me with it. I should say. So breathing is a tool that can help, but there’s always a lot of other things going on in someone’s life and in their body and the the journey is not just go and use the tool blindly but understand that and how it fits in with what else is going on.

 

Angie Saunders  

Yeah, yeah, that’s why we teach more of the fundamentals of how to self regulate. We’ll give you all the tools, you try them all and see which one works for you in that moment. 

 

Shane Saunders  

So the analogy would be Murray that you train your nervous system to automatically respond to the demands of the environment, rather than trying to, trying to do something to respond to your nervous system already responding, and then you get it, you kind of get it out of time. Or you or you choose the wrong tool at the wrong time and it drives you further into whatever undesired state you have. So it’s, it’s you know it’s analogous to doing weights for your nervous system, really like practicing the breathing in this way, there’s, there’s, putting pressure on your nervous system through the breathing. So I look at breathwork now as putting pressure on the nervous system so it responds in a certain way, and responds by balancing the gases, by becoming stronger. But if you are not training it in that way or you’re not aware of the pre existing dysfunctions that you already had in your breathing, then it’s like anything, if you’re doing, you know, if you’re doing lots of reps on your arms and not doing reps anywhere else you can create an imbalance in the body. 

 

Angie Saunders  

I think there’s a little secret weapon here. And I think the secret to a good wellness practice or good, even a breathing practice is, is the magic is in the letting go. It is if you can teach your nervous system to let go, it will then do what it knows how to do, you know, without you intervening, you know, so let go of the breath, let go of tension, let go of, you know stress, let go of worry, let go of perfection, let go of control, let go of, you know, all these things that we get in the way that causes load on our nervous system. Learn to let go into that, even let go the thoughts let go, you know, it’s like I this is the probably the, the easiest way only because it’s my own personal background, right, the easiest way is like when you’re giving birth right, you know, the women out there who have had babies know this, like, the more you can let go and let the natural process and the natural cycling of things to happen, the easier birth is. When you hold on to things or control or stress or worry, it stops the process. Gotcha. Yeah, I have seen three children get born. I was there, and I hear you. I hear you on that. Without obviously experiencing it, but I also continue that in other parts of our life and I think, and that that might build on thinking about here is the awareness of when to let go and when to control and and you’ll learn that through practice and through, through trying, and going. So to help us wrap this up tell me about the Energized Leader program.

 

Shane Saunders  

The program is centered around three, three steps really, we’re learning to stabilize the nervous system. Then build resilience in the body through movement, through flexibility. And then the third step is cultivating a resourceful mindset. And, you know, this is this includes focus. It includes improving your sense-making capacity, you know to make sense of what’s going on around you, and things like that so it’s it’s focused in these three areas and breathing is really at the at the base of all of this as we’ve, we’ve kind of explained throughout here and, and it’s, it’s really for, you know it’s for anybody who’s in a leadership position and we consider anybody who’s in, we consider you’re in a leadership position if you’ve got kids. There’s self leadership, right as we all know you know so we should start with self leadership before we start leading other people, it’s a really good idea, and setting the example, having integrity, having honor in what you do. And the, the process that we use in going through that is what we’ve what we’ve learned ourselves and practice but also a lot of what I learned in the military training Special Forces teams, being part of small operational teams as well. The leadership style is slightly different from a hierarchial of leadership, right hierarchy leadership top down, has its place. But when you’re, when you’re in a small team there’s more of the no one to lead, no one to follow, no one to get out of the way. And no one to understand when someone else has, has the lead and you can actually allow them to to take over and, you know, more, more of a like a meritocracy, everyone has their merit, you understand that and you can work as a as a small team. We’ve just seen that, the, the clearing up communication, clearing up things like withholds that people have, start with people gaining confidence in themselves, and having and feeling good and feeling energized, so that they, you know, so that they turn up and they can, they can take on things so they’re courageous enough to take on things that they need to, they need to take on. 

 

Angie Saunders  

Well when you’re an energized leader yourself you’ve then become a grounding force for others.

 

Murray Guest  

And I think when you were talking about, that we are all leaders in our own capacity of self and others, no matter what we’re doing and how we show up, and that influences that ripple effect, or casts a shadow on others, imagine if, when people do that they bring energy and not drain energy. And that’s what I think about with energized leaders, that’s what they’re doing, they’re bringing that.

 

Angie Saunders  

Self regulated nation.

 

Shane Saunders  

You know, you would know yourself, Murray, you know, if you’re having a conversation with someone and you’re feeling filled up, you’re feeling heard, understood, connected, even if you’re not speaking a lot, both people will agree you had you had a great conversation, you had a very positive conversation. You feel good if you’re doing a deal with someone, when there’s when that energy is flowing, rather than going there and feeling drained and and you know some of the responsibility is on you as well for that. However, you know, when you both show up, feeling responsible like that and I think that there’s no way of getting around that. I don’t think, you can’t cheat that, yeah, you know you know what I mean like you can, people can act a certain way, they can say certain things but you can’t cheat that underlying energy that comes with, you know, with the confidence.

 

Angie Saunders  

It’s not necessarily what you say, it’s how you say it.

 

Murray Guest  

Yeah.

 

Angie Saunders  

Yeah. That comes back to the breath.

 

Murray Guest  

Yeah and I think it goes back full circle to, you know, so many people right now showing up online for meetings and and all the expectations of connecting and people do need to connect online right now, but how do you do that in a way that you’re looking after yourself, energizing yourself, and bring that energy to others is so important. And the energized leader, I know myself from my own experience working with you, Shane, it was fantastic to help me shift my own energy and I know other people have done the program got a lot out of it so I’m going to make sure there’s links to the Breathe Me website in the show notes to go and check that out and check out what Shane and Angie do. So much of that is so empowering honestly to then think about your own body, and I still use it now, myself, day to day in different parts of my life, but talking to you again, you’re reminding me about I can do some more, that’s for sure.

 

Angie Saunders  

You know when it comes to leadership, there’s always room for improvement. No matter how much improvement you do there’s always another layer. Yeah. Well guys, thank you so much, I really really appreciate your time. I hope you’re well and healthy and have a great rest of the year. And thank you for sharing your energy with me today. Thanks Murray. It’s good to see you again.

 

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