On episode 114 of the Joe Rogan Experience, Joe Rogan and BJJ and MMA legend Rickson Gracie of the famous Gracie family discussed the importance of breathwork. Below are some highlights of their conversation.
Rickson Gracie on How Breathwork Changed His Life
“The big change in my life was when I learned how to breathe. I started bringing more spiritual possibilities, more mental possibilities. Because what is interesting about the breathing aspect is the brain and the heart are the only organs that can give and receive information. The organs, liver, kidney, they don’t cannot do that. But when you get upset with something mentally, you bring information to yourself, immediately your brain is responding. Your heart too when you get depressed, immediately you feel in your heart, and your heart shows you. When you’re sad it’s an immediate connection. And what is amazing about that is the lung is the practical aspect within you, who are able to control or help your brain and also help your heart.
“So, through the proper breathing you can control your heartbeats. Through the proper breathing you can control your mindset and get calmer, control your panic, control your courage, control everything you need in the mental aspect and also spiritual—hope, faith, visualizations. So, all the elements in your brain, all the elements in your heart, can be much better guided, much better helped through the lungs. If you don’t know how to involve your lungs in your brain, in your breathing, you’re not able to favor your brain and your heart the way it’s supposed to be.”
Rickson Gracie on Learning to Breathe Properly
“The first [thing] you learn about breathing is to move the upper body, the upper part of your lung. If you don’t learn, if you don’t practice, you’re never going to use the diaphragmatic breathing which involves the full capacity of your lungs. So, the diaphragm, when you learn how to move your diaphragm efficiently, you fill up your lungs in a different way. So, if I breathe right or wrong, either more or less oxygen. [It’s] up to me [whether] I use the diaphragm or not. So, when i learn how to use that I’m able to help my body with whatever it needs—mental spiritual, or physical.”
Rickson Gracie on the Difficulty of Learning Breathwork
“It’s not [too] difficult…you just have to put some attention [on it]. Because when you learn how to breathe, you start adding oxygen to your life.”
Rickson Gracie on Controlled Hyperventilation
“If I want to go diving, I need to hyperventilate…because I increase the circulation of oxygen in my body, and I increase the oxygen [in] the cells. So, I do hyperventilation for a little while, and I triple the amount of time I’m going to be under the water.”
Who is Rickson Gracie?
Rickson Gracie is a Brazilian 9th-degree red belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and a retired mixed martial artist with an official record of 11-0. He is a member of the famous Gracie family.