SURF - 3-Minute Breathing Exercise To Find Your "Why"

We tend to revere "professionals" and "experts" because of their abilities and skills which exist on a level we feel we can never attain.

As a result, we characterize these individuals as "gods" or "superhuman" while living our own lives in the shadow of mediocrity. While I don't believe living a life obsessed over success, competition, and performance is healthy, I do believe a large part of life should be dedicated to pursuing a balance between ambition and contentment.

In philosophy, an individual who loves wisdom is known as an "amateur" - a "lover" of wisdom, while individuals who professionally preach their knowledge of wisdom are lovers of the things that they receive from preaching, i.e. money! First, let me be clear, this is not a strike on professional athletes or any professionals, but rather a reminder of the importance to hold on closely to the love we all experienced when first discovering the outdoors and reflecting on the "why" that keeps pulling us back to the forest, mountains, lakes, and oceans.

Great fitness professionals and coaches have a deep appreciation for the power of a person's "why". This is because the "why" is the skeleton key that unlocks all doors leading to growth, progress, and for the select few - enlightenment. I am admittedly biased in saying I believe the silent sports, what I call unorganized, usually solo powered human-driven outdoor movement, are superior in promoting this search for what drives us and in encouraging a life as an "amateur" - a "lover" of the outdoors, exploration, and discovery.

To help you understand how powerful your "why" is, try this 3-minute exercise adapted from Stig Severinsonn's 10-minute Breathing Meditation Exercise (Danish 4x world freediving champion and breathing guru). This is a great introduction to becoming more aware of your breathing, and learning to control your "monkey mind" which prevents focus and contemplation!

  1. First, only do this during a time and in a place that is quiet and free of distractions. When you find this time/place, get comfortable - lying, sitting, standing, whatever position will promote relaxation (however, try not to get too comfortable, aka fall asleep).
  2. Begin breathing. Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose, and exhale slowly and completely through your mouth.
  3. When breathing in, place one hand over your umbilicus/belly-button. Visualize your abdominal region as a balloon that you fill up as you inhale. When exhaling, create a small opening with your mouth in order to create some resistance and help maintain a 1:2 inhalation/exhalation ratio, i.e. 4-second inhale through the nose followed by an 8-second exhale through the mouth.
  4. Focus on your breathing, try and hear/feel your heart rate, be aware of how your entire body feels. Continue to focus and become more aware of your body for 3-minutes.
  5. At the end of 3-minutes take a few more minutes to reflect on your "why". Your "why" can be related to a health/fitness goal, it can be a reflection on your current job, or it can be something as trivial as deciding how to organize your living room!

After reflecting on your "why", write down physical actions/steps you can take to help align your current life status with the "why" that drives you.

I hope this was all helpful and feel free to contact me anytime via email or instagram!

- Jared