My name is Carl; I’m 55 years old and in relatively good health. I have hypertension and take medication for this condition. Like many others in my age group (I half jokingly call it ” the death zone “). it is of extreme importance for me to maintain or increase fitness, cast off unhealthy habits, and recommit to a purposeful life in hopes of living a long and happy existence. I am a cyclist, a skier, and a surfer and want desperately to continue these activities for a very long time. I have always approached fitness with the idea that if I train hard enough and long enough at a high intensity, I would lower my blood pressure, slow my heart rate, and breath slower and easier. How wrong can one person be?
One day at my gym (Thanksgiving morning to be exact) I met Thomas. He had been observing me from afar for some time and on that day he decided I could use his help. He lovingly explained that I was a chronic hyperventilator. I did it when I walked, when I talked, and when I slept. I hyperventilated when I was angry or upset or when I was excited and of course when I trained. He suggested that I dial back my intensity and focus on my breathing as the prime directive. He told me to breathe only through my nose, always. When cycling or skiing I should use my leg muscles, not my lung muscles. It all sounded good but was against what I thought I knew about exercise. Thomas was not deterred. For over a week, Thomas would meet me every day at the gym on his own personal time and teach me how to breathe when I moved, how to breathe when I talked, how to breathe when I slept, and how to breathe when I trained. His dedication to my wellbeing was quite impressive to say the least. After that I enrolled in a series of courses at the Buteyko Breathing Center during the month of December. My life has never been the same since. I feel my results are nothing short of miraculous. I am writing this in May. I have lost twenty pounds of weight and have added all kinds of muscle and I get stronger every day. My blood pressure is a very acceptable 124/78 and I’ve cut my medication in half since Thanksgiving. And that is not even the best part! Yes I am physically stronger and healthier but more importantly and to my complete surprise, I am mentally much stronger. As I previously stated, I hyperventilated when I was upset or angry and by focusing on my breathing these emotions are not as frequent or as intense. This has made me a much more confident person and literally a much nicer person. This transformation has had an obviously positive effect on people I come in contact with as well as people very close to me, especially my wife. How great is that? Thank you, Thomas and Sasha for all you do to help so many people! Thomas has become a great friend and we still meet at the gym from time to time. He continues to help me in any way he can. Thomas usually has the answer to my questions before I ask them. I recently asked him how he does that. His answer: “Because I’ve got your back, my brother”. Wow, what’s that worth? Answer: IT’S PRICELESS!