Why breathing is such a powerful tool to optimize and enhance your life - Leonardo Pelagotti
August 16th, 2022,
4 min read
In our busy and often hectic world, consciously seeking relaxation is essential for staying healthy and in balance. The question is: how do you do that? We had a great chat with Leonardo Pelagotti, from Inspire Potential. Leonardo is a level 3 Wim Hof Method instructor, and so much more than that. Together with his girlfriend Elise Pieters, a yoga teacher, he helps people become healthier, stronger, and happier by sharing powerful biohacking techniques, such as breathing, cold therapy, mental strength and movement. Together they organize workshops and retreats in France and Italy to allow you to take back control of your mind, strengthen your body, and learn to breathe to live your fullest life, each and every day. Leonardo and Elise also offer tailor-made interventions for high-level athletes and team-building sessions for companies, so that they can discover the power of breathing for better stress management, recovery, and performance. What does Leonardo do himself to stay healthy, strong, and happy in his life, and what role does breathing play in this? Here he shares his knowledge and tips.
Breathing is such a powerful and important tool if you want to optimize and enhance your life.
“Everything I do is focused on improving health, wellbeing, recovery, and performance. I do quite a few different things actually, from coaching and teaching to organizing retreats and writing books. It’s all about lifestyle and good habits. And breathing is at its core. For me, it all started when I discovered the Wim Hof Method. I was instantly intrigued by the power it had on both my energy and my mood. I wanted to learn more and went on to become the first Wim Hof Method instructor in France and Italy, back in 2016.
But it didn’t stop there. I wanted to discover the entire field of breathing. I took courses in all sorts of breathing styles and techniques, such as Oxygen Advantage, Buteyko, pranayama yogic breathing, and the more transformational breathing styles from the USA. I also went back to the university, to learn more about respiratory physiology.
Breathing comes with such a variety of techniques, and you can’t say that one is the best. They can all help you in different ways. I took the path into a complementary approach to improving health, well-being, and performance, by breathing, but also movement and nature. All these tools are very powerful and important if you want to optimize and enhance your life.”
“Back then I was living in Paris, and working as an engineer. I didn’t know anything about breathing as a tool to improve your health and wellbeing. It was actually a colleague from London that knew Wim Hof and gave me his book. I read it, started with the method, and never left it.”
“In the beginning, I was really new to breathing. I started by doing the guided Wim Hof breathing sessions from the fundamental course you can find online. Quickly, it became clear to me that I was really able to influence my inner state. I felt calmness and power at the same time, every time I did the breathing exercise. Next to the great feeling it gave me, I also had a gut feeling this path was going to be good for me, so I kept on going. After a while, I noticed that I began to cycle and run faster, without being out of breath. That was such an improvement! I started feeling healthier, experienced less stress, and was in a better mood. Even the people around me started noticing the difference: “Why are you so happy all the time, what’s wrong with you?!” (*laughs) I didn’t start walking this path with the aim to change my life, in the beginning, I just kept on going because it made me feel better. But yes, first my energy changed, then my mood changed, and then my whole life changed. Because when your energy and mood change, you change as a person. After a few years, I decided to quit as an engineer to start Inspire Potential together with my girlfriend Elise. So it went on from being a personal path to helping others on their way to a happier and healthier life.”
“Yes, I do have a steady morning ritual, although what I do exactly varies from time to time. I travel a lot and I adapt my routines always to my location, timezone, and of course my mood. This is something I learned over the years: to be able to choose techniques and interventions, based on how I feel and what my body needs. In my ritual, there’s always movement, breathing, and cold exposure. I first warm up my body with for example the Five Tibetan Rites (yoga) or an animal flow, a ground-based movement practice. As for breathing, it’s mainly the Wim Hof breathing I do, or my own ‘Catana breathing’, but there are many other techniques that I use as well. I always end with a cold shower. Or - as I did today because I’m staying at the coast - a nice and long swim in the sea.”
“I would say: start with simple techniques and let yourself be guided in the beginning. When you don’t know the power of breathing yet, you might think it’s just a matter of breathing in and out and that it’s not all that special. If you don’t have someone guide you and explain exactly how to breathe, you could be missing out on the real power it holds.
On my Youtube channel, I offer an easy approach to where and how to start. You can simply follow the exercises, and start understanding that there’s something very powerful in the way you breathe. It’s just like with movement: in the beginning, you have to learn the basics from someone, and after a while, you can start practicing and discovering further on your own.”
“Yes indeed. I am happy to be guided through a calm breathing rhythm by moonbird, simply by the gentle touch on my hand. I can just close my eyes and breathe. I like to use it when I am at home, on my sofa for a quick break in the day.
I think it’s a great tool and an added value for lots of people. Every time you need time to rest and recover from stress or fatigue during the day, moonbird can easily guide you. Even two minutes of breathing can make a big difference!”
“I actually have two quotes that inspire me. They both come from the Latin language. The first is Per aspera ad astra. It means something like ‘going through a steep path and you’ll reach the stars’. The second is Vi veri veniversum vivus vici. With willpower in life, I conquer the universe. Both phrases really reflect my way of being. With the right amount of energy and commitment, you can fully transform your reality. It’s all about your intention. You can create the outside world, thanks to focusing on the inside world.”
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