Episode 9: It’s all in the breathing with Dr. Brad Lichtenstein

It’s all in the breathing

Dr. Brad Lichtenstein is a naturopathic physician in a private practice, and a professor at Bastyr University. His private practice is focused on Mind&Body Medicine, specialized in Clinical Biofeedback, Psychotherapy, chronic illnesses and end of life bedside care. He is recognized as a industry pioneer, and his perspective is published in several medical journals and publications. Dr. Lichtenstein believes in the power of breath to restore health and balance.

The Podcast Format

I’m sitting down and having a chat with other meditators from around the world to talk about their practice, the lessons they have learned and what they want the world to know. From Zen, Christianity to Secular, all traditions have valuable insights and approaches to awareness, and in this podcast, we explore those with you.

“Mindfulness is a prerequisite to being present.”

How to be resilient?

In this episode, we talk about what methods Dr. Lichtenstein uses in his private practice. About 15 years ago, Dr. Lichtenstein started to study the breath and found that the central theme of breath is a re-occurring theme in many spiritual practices.

“We might be breathing in a way that is dysfunctional for our physical health. So there are certain absolutes in breathing…….. Learning to breathe in a way which is very slow, abdominally. Where the inhale is never longer than the exhale. Where the volume is never really large. These are structural, functional types of breathing practices that can help our overall health and nervous system.”

We talk about essential practices for our health and nervous system. One of currently popular methods comes from Wim Hof and his breathing techniques. Dr. Lichtenstein shares that Wim Hof’s technique is Tumo breathing, which is an old meditation practice. This was used to raise the Kundalini energy up from the base of the spine. Wim Hof combines this with hydrotherapy (cold showers), which is recommended all the time by physicians.

Science and spirituality

We talk about the apparent separation in the West of science and spirituality. Should it really be separated? Ideas like interdependence or purpose are still very important and central to the work of Dr. Lichtenstein. What motivates you to practice? What gives you meaning and purpose? Without these central questions somewhat answered or brought up, there might lack a real purpose behind what we do. He shares about his first work in HIV care, where they constantly talked about “How do you want to live this moment right now?”. These are all spiritual questions. They are central to our existence and our practice. His one focus is teaching people to live the way they want to live.

“Feeling a sense of connection regulates the nervous system in a different way.”

Understanding a person’s values and meaning is essential for their healing process. Unfortunately, current health care seems to lack the time to look at these intrinsic values to all of us.

Habits & Routines

We talk about his personal daily practice and routines. What is the magic soup that fuels Dr. Lichtenstein? In my time practicing meditation and discovering the practice of others, I’ve learned that routines and habits are a central aspect of this whole journey. If you look at a monastic setting, there are very strict schedules to all they do. A structured life brings a structured mind. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun, it simply means living effectively.

“The first I do is feed my cats, because they are the most important thing in the world [laughter]”.

I won’t spoil too much, but cats, matcha and mindfulness meditation are certainly part of Dr. Lichtenstein’s morning routines. You will learn a bit about the Dalai Llama’s morning habits too.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to know more about Dr. Brad Lichtenstein take a look at his website: /http://thebreathspace.com

If you’d like to talk about this podcast or have comments and ideas, please let me know by joining our community here https://discord.gg/FKWFeYq
Simply use @christiaan or send me a DM! I would love to hear from you.

With warm regards,

Christiaan Neeteson

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