#1228 The Perfect Breath

5.5 + 5.5 + 5.5

In our last +1, we spent some time breathing with James Nestor.

His book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art is now tied for first as my go-to rec on the subject. The other #1? Patrick McKeown’s The Oxygen Advantage.

(Fun fact1: James tells us it will take about 10,000 breaths to read his book.)
(Fun fact2: He tells us that by the law of averages, we will take about 670 million breaths.)
(Fun fact3: Want to increase the chances you’ll take millions of more breaths than those averages? OPTIMIZE YOUR BREATHING!!! 🤓)


Today we’re going to take a perfect breath.

If you feel so inspired, bust out your stopwatch.

But, first, before we start…

Get this.

James tells us: “Mammals with the lowest resting heart rates live the longest. And it’s no coincidence that these are consistently the same mammals that breathe the slowest. The only way to retain slow resting heart rate is slow breaths. This is as true for baboons and bison as it for blue whales and us.”

Then he continues by telling us: “‘The yogi’s life is not measured by the number of his days, but the number of his breaths,’ wrote B. K. S. Iyengar, an Indian yoga teacher who had spent years in bed as a sickly child until he learned yoga and breathed himself back to health. He died in 2014, at age 95.”

Then, James gets us one step closer to our perfect breath: “I’d hear this repeated over and over again by Olsson during our early Skype chats and again throughout the Stanford expriment. I’d read about it in Stough’s research. Buteyko and the Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, and 9/11 survivors were aware of it as well. By various means, in various ways, in various eras of human history, all these pulmonauts discovered the same thing.”

All of which leads us to the perfect breath…

What did they discover? “They discovered that the optimum amount of air we should take in at rest per minute is 5.5 liters. The optimum breathing rate is about 5.5 breaths per minute. That’s 5.5-second inhales and 5.5-second exhales. This is the perfect breath.”

There ya go.

Today’s +1.

Get yourself comfortable.

Start your stopwatch.

Let’s get our perfect breathing on.

Inhale to a count of 5.5.

Exhale for a count of 5.5.


5.5 times.


+5.5 +5.5 +5.5 for the Oxygenated win!

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