Simple U.S. Navy SEALs Breath Technique (Even if you’re a civilian)

Estimated read time: 7 minutes

I hope you voted (if you’re in the U.S.). I did.

But I don’t care if you voted Trump or Biden or other.

I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat or neither.

What matters is we’re in this together and we all want a brighter future.

Better than yesterday. Bickering won’t get us there.

Watching the news won’t get you there.

Let’s all take a collective exhale.

Let’s vote for an epic today and an amazing tomorrow.

Not by what we say, but by what we do and how we live.

That was then. This is now. Uncertainty will pass when you focus on what is certain.

What is certain is you have a purpose to fulfill today.

Good work to do. A family to lead. Problems to solve. Wounds to heal.

Let’s go.


  • A Secret Path to Your Heart
  • Simple U.S. Navy SEALs Breath Technique
  • What (Not) to Do When Flying Upside Down
  • Origin Story. HONNR -> VALOR -> SCOUT -> ENDUR -> COURG/2c

A Secret Path to Your Heart

Waypoint 1: Ancient Wisdom + Breathing


“Breathing is a natural way to the heart.

And so, having collected your mind within you, lead it into the channel of breathing through which air reaches the heart and, together with this inhaled air, force your mind to descend into the heart and to remain there.”

Nikephorus the Hesychast, monk and writer, circa 13th-century

You Don’t Know How to Breathe

Waypoint 2: Science + Breathing

Chances are you don’t really know how to breathe. (I didn’t.)

And yes, today you’ll take ~20,000 breaths without a second thought. But what if you could do better?

You can.

The advice we hear ad nauseam as an antidote to stress is ‘Take a deep breath.” We likely open our mouths, puff our chests a bit and suck in a fast breath.

Wrong. That’s called hyperventilating (not good, and the exact opposite result we’re going for).

When you breathe incorrectly, your heart has to work harder to circulate blood through your body (i.e. high blood pressure etc.)


“The nose is the silent warrior: the gatekeeper of our bodies, pharmacist to our minds, and weather vane to our emotions.”

James Nestor, science journalist, circa 2019

Two quick ways to retrain your breath:

1. Shut Yo’ Mouth.

When you breathe through your nose, your body pressurizes, filters, warms, and moisturizes the air so your lungs can absorb oxygen more effectively.

A breath through your mouth skips all that and gets you a lot of air fast, but it’s less efficient and also dehydrates your body.

The secret is to only breathe through your nose (even when you’re exercising and even when you’re sleeping — especially those two).

Keep your mouth closed during runs (or really any exercise) to improve performance and reduce fatigue. Avoid the temptation to huff and puff and chest breathe. Take deep slow breathes through your nose.

Mouth breathing during sleep wreaks all kinds of havoc on your body (i.e. snoring, sleep apnea, cavities, asthma, cognitive dysfunction, etc).

So, shut that down.

Studies have shown a little piece of mild surgical/athletic tape (postage size) or Somnifix can train your body over a matter of several nights to nose breathe.

2. Use A Muscle You Never Knew You Had (Or Didn’t Know What To Do With)

Use your diaphragm muscle. On average we only use it to 10% capacity.

And you know how that goes. Use it or lose it.

If you had to guess an indicator of longevity what might you say? Genetics, food, or exercise?

Research studies across 6,200 people spanning 70 years linked longevity to lung capacity.

Let’s live healthier right now — and beyond. Training that diaphragm can increase your lung capacity.

Meet your diaphragm (aka “second heart” because it’s that important to your health):

Diaphragm Muscle

You’ll know you’re breathing correctly when you feel your belly rise instead of puffing up your chest.

Let me just say I wish my high school had taught me how to breathe instead of trigonometry.

Try this experiment: U.S. Navy SEALs Box Breathing

Navy SEALs learn optimized breath skills. They deploy this technique to stay calm and focused during their missions. You should too.

4 Simple Steps x 4 Seconds

  1. Inhale with diaphragm breath — 4 seconds
  2. Hold — 4 seconds
  3. Exhale — 4-8 seconds (making a soft whooshing sound like you’re blowing out a candle)
  4. Hold — 4 seconds

Repeat 5x (or more depending on how stressed you are!)

Longer exhales then inhales calm your heart and nervous system. To prep your body and mind for sleep go for 8 seconds on the exhale.

If that’s too complicated, try this:

  • Inhale through your nose and use your diaphragm.
  • Exhale your entire breath steadily through your mouth — like blowing gently through a straw

Learn a lot more from a pulmo-naut, James Nestor’s book, published just in time for a respiratory pandemic — Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art.

So, exhale.

Push out all the air from your belly like you’re tensing your six pack.

Overwhelmed? Deep exhale.

Flush out the toxins — from your body, from your mind.

Release tension in your body.

Worried about something coming up? Caught up in regret?


Drop it. Come back to right now.

Moving too fast, in a rush?

Exhale. Remember to slow down, and look around. Really look.

Soak. In. The good.

Breathe right, and savor this moment.

Prototype Names

Waypoint 3: Redux + Breathing

What’s in a name? Here’s how we named our new designs.

You can’t very well name something without thinking through what you mean to say.

I’ve chosen to speak through aviation waypoints to build on.

  • COURG.2c

More below if you’re interested in the origin stories.

… And a little something extra:

From that time I flew a plane upside down.

The first time I flew upside down in a plane, also happened to be the first time I piloted a plane.

It was a dogfight and the other pilot was gunning on my tail. I knew he’d be lining me up in his gun sights.

So, I pulled back on my stick and pointed the nose of the plane SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 up into the sky. I was told to punch the plane to full power as we went vertical.

The G-forces mashed me into my seat. My stomach lurched.

Brain Blood

I strained my leg muscles, abs, everything I could. This forced my blood up into my brain so I didn’t pass out.

My instructor, a former U.S. Navy pilot said we probably pushed 4.0 g-force, so I was suddenly ~600 lbs.

All I saw was sky all around. And then the sky below. The ground above.

Anytime you’re upside down, you feel disoriented. Everything seems wrong — especially while hurtling through the air.

Flying Upside Down

Floating Through “Wrong”

Halfway into the maneuver something felt wrong. The plane felt like it was going to fall apart.

The cockpit rattled, the wheel shook in my hand.

I felt like I should try to push the plane through the top of the loop faster. So, I yanked back on the yoke.

But that’s the exact opposite thing I was supposed to do.

It’s a common gut reaction. And something that kills thousands of pilots a year because of a sudden airspeed drop induced stall.

Thankfully, my instructor (the real pilot) took over with his controls.

When flying upside down at the top of the loop, you need to float over the top.

Otherwise, excess pressure on the wings can cause the plane at a critically low air speed to stall — never good, definitely not upside down.

Plans Blown To Bits

Sometimes when everything in the world seems (or actually is) upside down, it’s tempting to punch the gas pedal and try muscling through to where you wanted to go faster.

For me, our 2020 plans are blown up. Still, I’m reminded to stay the course.

To breathe, exhale, and look around.

I could yell and scream at our manufacturers. After all, others seem to be getting their projects with seeming ease.

I have no idea whether writing to you more often will actually have wings. Or maybe it will get grounded. But I’m glad I started.

This certainly never would have happened if our planned itinerary worked out and our prototypes arrived in December/January as planned.

Squeezed the Trigger

And for those of you wondering — we came out of the arc, came up behind the bogey, lined up the targeting pips, and squeezed the trigger.

BOOM. Telltale smoke trails erupted from the enemy aircraft.

Dogfight Bogey in the Crosshairs

This was with Air Combat USA, a flight adventure outfit (sadly they’re shutdown during pandemic). My nephew flew the other plane with his instructor. We flew 4 sorties and in the end came out tied.

Deep Dive: What’s in a Name?

Watch Prototypes Intel

Yes, I’ve been keeping our industrial designer and 3D printer busy.

3D Printed Case Prototypes

Newly Enlisted

I picked an aviation waypoint name for our first design. And after thinking it over, I have decided to stay the course with these next designs. Here’s the itinerary in my nav at the moment:


39-14-46.590N / 079-14-08.910W

because HONOR is a core character trait we stand on.

Hold fast with integrity in the onslaught of cutting corners and “good enough.”

Hoist a standard on the narrow path for those who seek.

Inspired by mission critical World War 2 (and beyond) cockpit instruments and gauges. There might be some tritium in the mix. Just saying …


46-3-35.00N / 6-58-26.00E

because VALOR is courage in action.

This is the powerful force and purpose-driven leadership for mighty work.

Even in the grime-filled trenches of day-to-day slog when it feels easier to hide and shrink.

Defy apathy and mediocrity.

Inspired by my favorite World War 1 trench watch.


43-18-52.320N / 075-31-16.870W

because we’re pathfinders.

We must go first, and forge ahead, for those who come after us.

It’s easier to stay in the back, complain and cower.

We choose to chart the course and walk in front.

A modular design. In part for my son, and compelled by my saddest day as a watch collector.


46-5-10.12S / 170-12-44.44E

because when we ENDURE dangers, obstacles, and enemies, we everlast on the road of life worth living.

With grit, perseverance, and tenacity.

To breakthrough entanglements and traps.

To be the last one standing. Together. On the other side.

Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.

Inspired my favorite World War 2 chronograph.


39-12-01.140N / 078-43-44.520W

because COURAGE pushes us out into the deep, where our truest, most powerful journeys begin.

Now, more than ever we must choose the right and often difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions.

Even when we know the going will get tough and fear conspires to paralyze.

Inspired by many who asked for a 42mm version of the original design. Not size for the sake of size, but for added function.

Continuing with the legacy of World War 2 pilot watches fused with diver tools, this time with a second crown to control a rotating internal bezel.

I would appreciate any ideas on different COURG naming conventions. 2C for the second crown. I dismissed COURG.42 because I don’t want to name it by size … but I might be convinced otherwise if you feel strongly enough about it.

/ End

P.S. Just for “fun” this is what low airspeed stall feels like. And be thankful this won’t happen to your life now that you know how to exhale and breathe like a Navy SEAL.

Don’t watch this if …

  • you don’t like rollercoasters
  • you don’t want your life to flash before your eyes
  • plane turbulence makes you lose your lunch

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