We do it every day, involuntarily, freely. Breathing is one of the simplest things we can do to dramatically influence our health. In this episode, we talk to one of the most sought after Celebrity Trainers and Sober Coaches in the country, Jon Paul Crimi. He talks about his first breathwork experience and how it changed him to be a better trainer and led him to teach others about this technique. Jon Paul opens up on the emotional and spiritual effect of breathwork which varies for every individual. He also touches on emotions and how repressing one’s trauma can affect health. Discover how breathwork could be transformational for you.
Listen to the podcast here:
Emotional Healing Through Breathwork Techniques With Jon Paul Crimi
Did you know that the longest record for a human being holding their breath is 22 minutes and 22 seconds? The person who held their breath for 22 minutes and 22 seconds was allowed to breathe pure oxygen for 30 minutes before attempting their breath-hold. Without pure oxygen, the longest breath-hold is still astonishing at eleven minutes and 35 seconds. Either way, you can pause for the next minute. If you’re driving, don’t do this. Hold your breath for the next minute. For most of us, it starts to get uncomfortable at around a minute. Imagine going ten more minutes without breathing. It’s amazing to witness what is possible when people set their minds to it, but I don’t understand what are we trying to prove by holding our breath?
We’re talking about breath because our guest is a breathwork instructor. He’s not asking you to hold your breath for eleven minutes, so don’t worry. What he is asking you to do is to breathe in a specific way for about 25 minutes. I remember, when I first went to his class in Santa Monica, he has you lay down on the ground and breathe a big breath in your belly and in your chest, and then you have let go. You’re not supposed to exhale too much. He’ll explain it a little bit more, but you keep going relentlessly for about 25 minutes. Usually, at about five minutes, you’re like, “I’m tired of this. I’m tired of breathing. I want to stop.” If you keep going, if you push through the barrier, if you push through the wall, you end up at this interesting place.
This is my experience, I ended up in this interesting place. My toes and my hands were all buzzing and vibrating with energy. In the room, you hear people crying or laughing hysterically. I had this one experience of alternating between crying and laughing, then trying to breathe through it all. What it’s getting at is there’s this simple thing we can do as human beings to dramatically influence our health. It’s breathing. It’s free. You can go to a class and you can pay for someone to teach you how to breathe in this specific way.
What he’s pointing at is increasing awareness around breath in general. Whether you’re spending 30 minutes doing a specific technique or not becoming more aware of your breath throughout the day, will have significant benefits in your health and wellbeing. The simplest practice, I generally tell people and do myself is trying to take deeper breaths throughout the day consistently. Deep breaths, especially elongated exhales are correlated with calming and relaxing the nervous system. If you are the type of person who gets anxious or stressed or wound up on time, simply getting in the habit of consciously breathing deeper. Whether you have to start by doing it just seated in meditation for 30 minutes. Trying to be more aware of this simple thing we can do for our health. That’s why I put it in my list of foundational health resources because it has such a vital impact on our day-to-day wellbeing.
Our guest, Jon Paul Crimi is a world-renowned Breathwork Coach. What I love about Jon is that he has this very down to earth, practical speaking from experience vibe. He has a very much funny tone while saying this. He’s not trying to convince you to wear white robes and dance or sing and do all this woo-woo stuff. He’s just trying to relate this powerful life, a life-transforming experience he had through breathwork. I will let Jon Paul explain it to all of you in his own words.
Jon Paul, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
I’m great. Thanks for having me on.
For those who are not familiar with you and your work, in your own words about who you are and what you’re up to?
My name is Jon Paul Crimi. I’m a breathwork teacher and trainer. I teach breathwork and I teach people how to teach it. I do teacher training. I’m also a former sober coach. I have a company that I do that with, where I used to go out with celebrities, rock stars and all these different people trying to get sober. I’m helping them on the road or the movie set or different lifestyle issues. I have a company that does that. I put other people out for doing that. My main focus is the breathwork, teaching people changing as many lives as I can to the power of breath. That’s my mission, my goal and my purpose.
You were my first experience with breathwork, beyond just the breathwork, I do fit yoga practice. The more focused breathwork was with you in a church in Santa Monica.
I think to start off, we should clarify what breathwork is. People hear breathwork and they go, “I’ve done Breathwork.” They’re talking about Kundalini yoga or Pranayama. It’s very different than the method and the style that I teach. Breathwork is an umbrella term. It’s like saying, “I do fitness.” You’d be like, “You do fitness. What do you do?” The style of breathwork that I teach is circular breathing or conscious connected breathing. You’re doing two breaths in and one breath out through the mouth, deep down into the belly, into the diaphragm, and then repeating that without pausing in between the breaths. It’s intense practice and intense technique that is very transformative. It changes people’s lives. It clears trauma, stress, anxiety and depression out of the body.
People have these profound life-changing experiences within it. That’s why I do it. The most common thing I hear after our classes, “That was like twenty years of therapy in one class.” If I can have that effect on somebody. I hear a lot like, “That was the most profound thing I’ve ever done.” People are hugging me with tears in their eyes. If I can express it and have that effect on people, why wouldn’t I want to do that? It’s amazing. It changed my life. I’ve watched it change other people’s lives. I feel blessed and lucky that I get to teach it all the time and create people who are teaching it to pass that on to other teachers.
To paint the picture a little bit further, is it 25 minutes?
It depends, it can be anywhere from 25 to 30 minutes of active breathing of the technique.You are not going to fix yourself from the outside in. It’s always an inside job. Click To Tweet
Having experienced it myself, I can say that it can be exhausting. There’s going to be those moments during the 30 minutes. At least a few of them were telling themselves, “I can’t do this. I need to stop breathing because this hurts.” You were such a great facilitator in telling people, “You got to push past that and keep going.” On the other side, there’s usually a breakthrough. That’s what I experienced going through this. It’s like, “There’s this tightness in my abdomen from doing this.” Where I start to associate that in the experience I had, it’s this way of creating or inducing an emotional release.
There’s a couple of pieces, one of them is when I found out that I was a personal trainer. I’m very successful. I had a celebrity personal training business and my abs were tight as probably yours were from building a six-pack. It’s hard to fully inhale into your diaphragm when you have a six-pack. It’ a lot more challenging. My back would arch twice as much. It takes a while to learn to release that, open that up, and open the diaphragm up a little bit. It’s funny to think that you can be in phenomenal shape. I was in good shape when I found breathwork, to lay on the floor and breathe for 25 minutes or 30 minutes and be like, “I’m exhausted.” You’re not even moving your body. You’re just moving your breath into your diaphragm and be physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted afterwards. I was like, “What happened?” It’s a different thing. It’s a different exercise. When I found it, people weren’t saying much during the class. They would show the technique quick. They wouldn’t tell you what was going to happen. Some of the weird things can happen during breathwork and they wouldn’t say anything in class. Coming from a personal trainer background, I thought, “If somebody was pushing me during this class, I could have a bigger experience. If somebody told me what was going to happen ahead of time, I could let go a little more.”
I started teaching in that way where I found, “I’m going to tell everybody all the weird, crazy stuff that’s going to happen to you during this breathwork so you can relax and go even deeper. I’m going to push you because we all need somebody to push us, no matter how hard you work.” It’s like a workout. I did it from a trainer’s perspective. People started having huge experiences in my classes and my classes got big. They’re huge. They’re almost 200 people. I changed the way breathwork was taught. I changed the music, I changed what happens after the breathwork. I added some pieces to that. I took the technique itself and created a whole new platform and style around that. I took out all the woo-woo new-agey stuff because that’s not me. I’m from Boston. There’s no Mercury in retrograde. Your life is a mess. I took out all the woo-woo because I want to do this for guys like me who would never do this work, trainers, and guys, I was one of the top five angriest guys in Los Angeles when I found breathwork. It cleared out all that anger. There are so many men out here that would benefit from this.
That’s the perfect point because I come from that same perspective. I’m not all the new age BS. Honestly, it triggers me because it’s not taking ownership. It’s trying to put your baggage on some external force rather than, “This is coming from inside of me. This is my responsibility. I need to take the time to deal with this.” I think, what you’re facilitating is an environment of leave all the BS behind, come into this world and go into your stuff. That’s where the transformation happens.
There is a cool spiritual component to what happens to you during the work. I never talk about it. I usually wouldn’t even say it. I don’t talk about it because it’s very personal to every person. If I was to come in and say, “This is a real spiritual, things going to happen to you.” Now, you’ve set this expectation up for people and if it doesn’t happen, then what? What does that mean to you is going to mean something different to me? You’re going to find it within your session, your Breathwork, your own thing, or maybe not. I don’t know. I don’t need to put that out there and put that on there. I don’t need to come in with mala beads around my neck in a white flowy robe. I see all these other teachers. You’re not going to see a profile picture of me meditating on the side of a cliff wearing a white glowy shirt and holding some mala beads with my eyes closed. You don’t need to show me how spiritual you are. I make fun of all that stuff and I have a good time with it. I think it’s a little silly.
I agree with you. Where you’re coming from, to me, it is this place of authenticity. I went through yoga teacher training. I started teaching yoga. When I started teaching yoga, I was playing the character of what I thought a yoga teacher was supposed to be. I would come in with the Tao Te Ching and reading a quote. I went through this process over two years of learning to find my authentic voice and recognizing that I don’t have to be this. I can show up dressed. However, I want to and talk about whatever I want to talk about. If it’s honest and true, people are going to respect that more than you coming in and white robes and with mala beads. They’d be like, “Who’s this Jon Paul?”
It’s uniform. That’s all it is. Everybody’s got their uniform on of the character that they’re trying to present to the world. I’m just making fun of one particular uniform. It’s fine, I’m being silly. I taught at this studio for a while and all these other teachers would come in and they would have this modulated voice of like, “Everybody has everybody doing. Mercury’s in retrograde.” They are trying to put on this thing like they’ve got it all figured out. I would walk in the room like, “I almost choked somebody out over a parking space. I’m the angriest teacher on this schedule, but now I’m going to put gratitude and love in your heart. Lay down and let’s do this.”
Breathwork: Breathwork is an intense practice and technique that is very transformative, changes people’s lives, and clears trauma, stress, anxiety, and depression out of the body.
People were like, “He’s so real.” I’m like, “I don’t want to pretend to be somebody else and then be jerk out in the world.” I’m much less of a jerk now that I found this technique. I’m a pretty good guy. It doesn’t mean I’m never going to be a jerk. I’m human. That’s the best I can do. I think that people can recognize and see through it. I think to own that about myself. My faults and my character defects and owning those parts of me and being, “I’m still struggling in this way, in this area, yet this breathwork technique has helped me.” I share this story all the time where there was someone who screwed me over out of a bunch of money. I wanted to kill the guy.
I was like, “This guy screwed me over for $10,000. I’m going to go kill him.” I was angry and as homicidal as you can be. I went, “Let me try something different.” I lay down. I did breathwork for 30 minutes. I came up filled with gratitude and love. If you know anything out there that takes you from homicidal to gratitude and love in 30 minutes, it turned me on to it because I want to add that into my life. We all have those moments. All things that happen in the lives that trigger us and send us off the deep end or put us in sadness and depression. The question is, “Do you have a tool to deal with it that can shake you out of it and transform you back into your best self?” This breathwork tool has done that for me. If you do that consistently enough, it starts to transform your life.
Where had you first experienced this practice?
It is a crazy story. I got to meet Tony Robbins through a series of circumstances. I was at the LA Kings game. I was with Matthew Perry from Friends. He is a good friend of mine. We were down on the VIP room and Tony Robbins came in. He is amazing. I turned to Matthew Perry and I was like, “It’s Tony Robbins. He goes, “You’re excited about this gigantic man in the room? Every celebrity in Los Angeles is in here right now and you’re excited about this gigantic man.” I’m like, “He’s amazing. He’s changed so many lives.” He said, “Go tell him.” I said, “I don’t want to bother him. I don’t want to be that guy.” I’m walking back through the tunnel and Tony was on his phone. He looked up and he said, “How’s it going?” I think he knew and I said, “Hey,” I never do this. I introduced myself and he shook my hand. He said, “What’s your name?” We started talking. He invited me to his seminar. It was life-changing for me. It cracked me open. I realized that my real gift, my strength is helping people. I didn’t want to help people. I wanted a TV show. I just decided at that moment that I was going to help people in every way and that I could at the end of my life, my life would be worthwhile because I had helped a ton of people.
Right after I got back from that, a couple of people who didn’t know each other said to me, “You need to go try breathwork.” I was like, “What’s breathwork?” They’re like, “It’s this breathing thing that you do.” I found this place in West LA called The Hub. It’s not there anymore. I went into a room. There were six people in a room. There were bearskin rugs, essential oils, and crystals. I was like, “What is this fresh hell?” People were sharing all this hippie, new-agey thing. I laid down and I did the breathing technique. I had this massive, profound life-changing experience the first time. It wasn’t like, “Maybe I feel a little different.” It was undeniable. I had years of bad things leave me at that moment. All my trauma, all my anger just left me. I felt connected to this gratitude and love. I felt connected to other people. I felt this beautiful sense of something I had never felt in my life. I had never experienced it before ever in my life. It was undeniable. I get to do that for other people now. I started doing it every day and my wife was like, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it. You’re present, kind and loving.” This whole different guy. My training clients started noticing a difference. I wasn’t even telling people.
The first couple of months were clearing out all the trauma that had happened to me in my life. After that, I would immediately get to a place of bliss and peace doing it. I kept doing it. I did it for a year, then I started to train with different Breathwork teachers, different Breathwork guru practitioners. I would be in these weird pieces of training and someone would say, “I’m an alien.” No one would even bat an eyelash. I’m like, “That person said they’re an alien and everyone in the room was going along with it.” I suffered through all these weird things. Some of it made no sense to me. We did weird stuff and I went along with it. I got asked to teach and I decided. I was reluctant at first. My friend, Jocelyn, who was a Nike trainer, had a studio sponsored by Nike. She asked me to teach there. I did a class and I invited a bunch of my friends. Matthew Perry, ironically, was one of those people that came and he said to me afterward, “This is incredible. That’s the best version of you. That’s what you’re supposed to be doing. This is your gift. You’re supposed to teach breathwork.”
I said, “The breathwork? I want my TV show. I don’t want to teach breathwork.” He said, “This is your gift.” He came to my class in that church in Santa Monica about five years later when it was packed, it was sold out. There are a hundred people in there. He said, “You’ve become this incredible guy teaching this thing. It’s cool.” It puts me on this beautiful path that I never anticipated. Never in a million years could I have seen it and anticipated it. It took me down a road. Now, I teach people how to teach it, which is something I would have never anticipated. What I’ve done to my classes, I stripped out all the woo-woo. I do the teacher trainings that I wished that I had gotten to do. What’s essential here? What do you need to take somebody through a breathwork session, one-on-one or a couples session or a class? What do you need to do? What’s the practical be like? What do you need to do the moment they come to the door, to the moment they leave? I answer all the questions that everybody has that nobody would answer for me. I discovered a lot of stuff. I’ll give you an example. There’s a thing that happens to people during the Breathwork. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced called tetany, where your hands clamp up like lobster claws. It freaks people out. It’s a weird physical response sometimes.We all need somebody to push us in life. Click To Tweet
It’s not happening to me, but I watched my friend Lane next to me on full clamp up mode. I talked to him afterward. I said, “You were a full clamp up.” He’s like, “I know. I was a little scared, but then Jon Paul’s yelling at me, ‘Just keep going.’ I kept going and kept going. By the end of it, everything released.” It was funny to watch someone you experienced that. I’ve seen it in other settings too of people experiencing this. It’s funny because everybody makes fun of you, “You’re the guy who got clawed.”
A lot of people got clawed in the room. They get tweaked out. I’ve been to breathwork classes where the teacher doesn’t tell them that’s going to happen. Can you imagine if that happened and you had no idea you think you’re having a stroke? That’s why I say that being in class. If this happens, you’re not having a stroke. It’s sometimes part of the process for certain people. The point is, is that I would ask my breathwork teachers and all the people I trained with, “Why does this happen?” In the answers that I got were ludicrous. They were like, “It’s emotional stuff you’re holding onto or it’s the moon cycle or you’re detoxing off the weed.” I heard all this nonsense. My scientific brain couldn’t accept that as an answer there.
What I discovered, I taught at this one place twice a week. I had 60 people in the room. It was sold out every class. I would see that there were certain people in the room who were tweaking out who had tetany. I started to look at them and study them and look for commonalities. That’s what you do in a study. What’s the commonality? The commonality was that they were loud on the exhale. They were breathing fast. They were pushing the exhale. The technique is in and then you let it go. These people weren’t doing that. They were pushing the exhale.
What that created was I brought in science. A health and science researcher, Tanya Bentley, looked into it. What that created was a real CO2-O2 imbalance in the blood. Pushing the exhale, imbalance the CO2-O2 way more. Instead of inhaling, the technique is an inhale and then a release. It’s all about the inhale. When you push the exhale, it creates a big imbalance. That’s what’s going on. You’re causing technique, which is a response. It goes away and everybody’s fine. It’s not a big deal on the body. It’s fine. The other answer is, is that it can be calcium, magnesium, potassium deficiency. It gets affected when you’re breathing.
All these teachers, they didn’t have the answer. What I discovered is when a lot of people, don’t have the answer, they won’t say, “I don’t know.” They’ll throw out all this ridiculous stuff or something that they’ve heard along the way. That somebody gave them the wrong answer along the way. I don’t do that in my training. I tell people this is the answer to that, why this has caused, what causes that or I don’t know. There are some things I don’t know. I’m always scared of people who have the answer to everything because I think nobody does. I have some of the science in there. I have some of the woo-woo, but there is a bit of magical component to what’s happening there.
I have a theory that trauma gets stuck with us. It’s not even a theory that’s scientific fact. That’s in books like The Body Keeps The Score and It Didn’t Start With You. We know that babies that were born at 9/11 or mothers that were pregnant at 9/11, the babies were born with higher cortisol levels. People who come back from war with PTSD, there’s a different trauma response. That is passed down through the DNA. They’ve proven that with studies that they’ve done on mice where they’ve electrocuted the mice. They spray cherry blossom scent. They electrocute the mice. They spray the cherry blossom scent again. They electrocute it. They have babies. They never electrocuted, but they spray the cherry blossoms scent and then they have a response.
Almost our subconscious exposure to trauma is passed down genetically.
Breathwork: Studies show that our bodies record trauma. It gets into the DNA and is passed down at childbirth.
It’s not even subconscious. It’s in the DNA like your eye color. It’s a trip. With that being said, I believe that a lot of that stuff gets stuck in our sympathetic nervous system and that we’re clearing that out when we lay down and do breathwork.
What do you think the mechanism of action is through doing the breathwork? Do you think it has to do with oxygenation mostly? Do you think it had to do with this physical, in and out with the abdomen?
It’s the breath. Oxygenation is a big part of it. I think we’re breathing into our sympathetic nervous system then we switch over to parasympathetic once we stopped breathing through our mouth. Usually, when we do that, we’re doing some intense physical exercise. You’re doing something, but here you’re not, you’re lying down. I think there’s something inherently special and in that process in itself. Breathing itself is an interesting mechanism that the body does. It’s the only thing that we do consciously and unconsciously. We breathe unconsciously. Most people are walking around breathing unconsciously, but we can also control our breathing. We can do it consciously. It’s the dual way to unlock all this amazing stuff.
There are many different techniques out there that do that, whether that’s, calming your nervous system down when you’re nervous before a big event or a big speaking event. There are ways to do that or stimulating your nervous system. Whatever you want to do, you have this thing. It’s your doorway. This capacity to tap into that whenever you want. Now, people are starting to explore it. You’ve got all these people like Laird Hamilton was into breathing. He’s out there teaching breathwork. The Iceman, Wim Hof, is the most popular. I’ll get people that do the Wim Hof Method. His thing is three sets of 30 with breath holds.
Breath holds is a whole other thing. It’s breath retention. You’re bringing up the carbon dioxide in the system and you’re creating this whole other thing. I’ll get people from Wim who have like, “I’ve been doing Wim Hof for the last six months.” I’m like, “Come try this.” They’ll go, “That was different. It’s the next level.” I think most of the techniques out there and they’re all amazing. I like all of them. The reason I teach that specific one is that I haven’t found anything more powerful, more beneficial to people then that technique in itself. It’s the biggest bang for your buck.
It only takes 25 to 30 minutes, to me, having been through this. I’ve probably gone to your class, four or five times, but I’ll do breath work on my own at home. In class, there’s a whole different dynamic. I had this crazy experience one day where I went with an ex-girlfriend who she and I needed to come to terms with healing together. We went to a breathwork class a Monday night. It was this wild experience roller coaster. We would start doing the breathing and then all of a sudden we’d be sobbing, crying and then we’d look at each other because we are sobbing, crying. It looked so ridiculous that we would start hysterically laughing until we ran out of laughter. We’d start breathing again. It was this cycle of sobbing and then hysterically laughing for 25 minutes. I can’t say I succeeded in breathing that much, but it was going with that experience that was happening. You feel like if you surrender to that experience, things are happening to you and you’re not driving the ship.
I think you were very successful in that experience. There’s no one hard and fast like you have to breathe this way for 25 or 30 minutes. You said the word cycles. That’s what happens. You go through these cycles when you’re breathing. That’s why there are people who believe that the classroom isn’t the best environment because everyone’s in a different place in their cycle. There are levels that you go through different things. You got exactly what you were supposed to get out of that class. The amazing thing. Whatever you need, the breathwork is going to provide it and clear it out. Whatever’s most current at that time. It depends too on the environment, the teacher and you came with this ex-girlfriend that played a huge part in it. The music can have a part in it. There are all these different factors that are involved in the experience that make it what it is.Life is worthwhile when you help people. Click To Tweet
If it’s different than doing it at home alone, I’ve done it for years at home alone. I’ve done it in classes. I’ve done in classes with my students, teaching it. I’ve done it in private sessions with amazing breathwork teachers. Every experience is different every time. That’s what I tell people oftentimes in my class I say a lot of the same stuff because I want to prepare people who have never done it. Most of the room is new in my class a lot of the time. I’m saying the same thing over and over, but your experience is going to be different every time you do it, which you could probably attest to.
I’ve had completely different experiences every single time. There have been times where I’ve cried. There have been times where I haven’t. It’s like checking in with yourself and seeing emotionally what’s coming up and where you’re at. I enjoy the group setting just from the simple fact that you’re in the room, you’re doing your breathwork and then you hear someone hysterically crying or someone laughing in the room. To me, it brings this comfort of not being alone and feeling, “Someone else’s going there.” It’s a permission slip to go there as well. It creates this safe space to feel into and allow yourself to experience what you need to experience.
In my experience, I tend to shun or block certain emotional experiences and distract myself from them. It’s beneficial for all of us because we all tend to do that as human beings. We want to stay comfortable and avoid uncomfortable situations. What happens in that group setting is it provides this safe space where everybody’s on the same boat. Everybody’s gone through the same practice and then you hear someone having a breakdown across the room and you’re like, “Someone else is struggling too. It’s all good.”
I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I’ll tell you where I believe my strength is as a Breathwork teacher. The first thing I said was that I have that training background so I push people. What I do halfway through the class is I start to open myself up and get vulnerable myself while I’m teaching. You can hear that in my voice while I’m teaching because the things I say mean a lot to me. I allow that vulnerability to come through while I’m saying it, while I’m teaching. You hear my voice crack or you hear me crying during the classics. I want to be moved to myself and I want to move others. When I allow the vulnerability to come through me while I’m teaching, that gives other people permission in the room.
When that starts to happen, the things that I’m saying and how I’m saying it, you hear people start breaking around the room and they start crying. It’s crazy. We have to permit ourselves to cry because most of us are raised with this idea that, “Don’t cry. You got to be tough. You got to be strong. Walk it off. You don’t let people see your emotions. You don’t let people see you cry,” and it’s BS because we’re emotional creatures. Human beings are emotional creatures. If you stuff that stuff down, which is what most people are doing, that’s where you’re going to get sick. That’s what causes sickness. That’s what causes health issues. That’s what causes depression and anxiety and cancer. Nobody doubts that stuffing all that stress down causes health problems but they still do it.
Part of my journey in the health world and the yoga world and everything I’ve been through as I saw that, most of what people are doing isn’t addressing this foundational aspect of health, which is an emotional resolution. People are showing up in environments where there are all these crazy machines and high tech equipment and X, Y, Z thinks it’s an answer. To me, it’s a distraction and a disservice to someone addressing the underlying emotional patterns that are keeping them where they don’t want to be. Most people, myself included, we get stuck in these emotional patterns of like, “I don’t want to feel this. I don’t want to be here.” We’re not taught as a community. We’re not tied to the society, how to healthily integrate that and move through it.
My frustration, you’ve experienced some of this as yourself, as a trainer, I would help people get into shape and then they would eventually get out of shape because it’s not about being in shape. There’s an underlying symptom there. That is a reason why they’re medicating through certain foods. That’s what we all do. Whether you got sick and mom made your favorite soup and grilled cheese. That provides comfort for you. You sit there in bed with a pint of ice cream every night, not wanting to feel your feelings. You’re disappointed that things didn’t work out the way you thought they were going to work out or there’s no relationship or whatever. Working out of the gym is great. Fitness is great for your health, but it’s not going to fix those things. You’re not going to fix yourself from the outside in. It’s always an inside job. My frustration as a trainer is I’m never getting to the core issue of what’s going on with this person. Once I discovered breathwork, I realized that I had a tool that could transform someone’s life in one session, which is insane when you say that.
Breathwork: Suppressing emotions causes sickness and other health issues such as depression, anxiety, and cancer.
If you were to tell me if we met in an elevator and you’re like, “I can show you this thing in one session in an hour that will change your life and you can go away and do it on your own. You never have to see me again.” If you did it, it would change every single area of your life. It would change your relationships. It would change your work ethic. It would change how you interact with people in the world. It would change your self-esteem and self-worth. You change everything about your life. You’d be like, “There’s no way that me lying on the floor breathing is going to change every aspect of my life.” It does. It’s true. I always tell people, “Don’t take my word for it. Just do it and find out for yourself. Come to a class and tell me that I’m wrong afterwards.” Not one person in seven years has ever walked up to me and be like, “You’re wrong. It didn’t do anything.”
They’re always walking up and say, “I thought you were joking. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced.” A lot of people don’t grab hold of it because they want to stay stuck in their patterns because even uncomfortableness or being familiarity. People stay stuck in depression and crappy patterns because it’s familiar to them. It’s comfortable. We get comfortable in this life we’re unhappy with. There are other people who go, “I deserve more. I want more out of my life and I’m going to do something different.” If you want something different, you’ve got to do something different. That breathwork tool is that something different that transforms lives.
I don’t know why I wake up with a negative head. Not every day, but a lot of days and I wake up with resentment and just all kinds of things in my head. I lay on the floor and I breathe and I clear all that out and I go, “Now I’m going to go love my kids and my wife and I’m going to get to work on my ideas.” Doing that for the last bunch of years has transformed my life. A lot of those ideas have worked out. Some of them haven’t, but a lot of them have. I’ve created a bunch of different companies and businesses that I love doing, that I’m proud of and that help people. As a byproduct are very financially successful. My life is completely different.
I think you touched on something very poignant. It’s a couple of things that I want to point out. One was, being skeptical but trying anyway. I’ve got a good friend of mine. He’s a yoga teacher and this stuck with me. I heard him say it one day, “Be as skeptical as you want but don’t let that stop you from going 110% in any pursuit in life.” I love that because like you, I’m the biggest skeptic. I need to experience it. I need to feel something, but I’m always willing to go into that. The other thing and I think this is probably more important than a lot of what we’ve talked about. It’s like, “You still wake up with resentment. You still wake up in a negative mind, but you’re doing the work.” There’s this idea in the world, “If I do the work, I’m going to get to a place where I can stop and I can put it all in cruise control.” The reality of the situation is the second you press that cruise control button, life is going to throw your curveball. You have to be proactive. You have to keep showing up. You have to keep pushing and getting uncomfortable because that’s the only way to make progress.
Tony Robbins is a big proponent of that where he says, “All you need is a little bit of growth every day to feel good about yourself and good about your life. You need a little bit of growth every day to feel good about it.” For me, it’s like working on all the things that inspire me, that motivates me, that I’m proud of. I don’t always wake up with a negative head. It’s mostly gone. I’ll give you an example, I got sick. I got bronchitis and a sinus infection. My kids bring this stuff home from schools. I couldn’t do any Breathwork because I was so sick. I couldn’t go to work out. I couldn’t go bike riding. I couldn’t do any of the things that make me feel good about myself. Self-care.
It’s all about self-care and it only takes a couple of weeks of that no self-care for my head to start creeping back and be like, “This person screwing you over. This sucks. What did your wife say?” All the little things and everything starts bothering me. I started turning into that guy again where everybody’s out to get me. Everybody’s trying to screw me. It’s not the reality I want to live in. It goes to show that it’s all about self-care. My first job is to take care of myself and then I can take care of everybody else around me. I have a bunch of different businesses, but my main business is me, taking care of me. I can only grow as much as I’m pushing myself and learning and growing. If I wanted to go to the next level or I want my businesses to go to the next level, then I have to continue to work on myself. They can’t go to the next level without me going to the next level. It’s all about me. I’m the business within myself.
It’s perfect. I heard this a while back and I’ll share it here because it relates to what you’re saying. The saying is, “Serve from the saucer.” What this means is to imagine a teacup in a saucer. You only want to serve someone else from the saucer, which means your cup has to be full and overflowing. If you’re not filling your cup first and you’re not serving from the saucer, you’re serving from a place of not being stable. A place of not having a foundation, a place of not being your best self. How can you expect anything incredible or amazing to come out of that because you’re working from essentially a place of emptiness?Be as skeptical as you want, but don't let that stop you from going 110% in any pursuit in life. Click To Tweet
It’s as simple as when you’re on the airplane and something goes wrong, you have to put on your oxygen mask first before you can help the person next to you. That’s a great analogy for the breathwork. If I’m not breathing, I have to be doing more breathwork than the people I’m teaching. If you’re a yoga teacher, you need to be doing more yoga than your students. It’s living what you’re sharing.
When I was a personal trainer, you can’t be an out of shape personal trainer.
I’ve seen one. It was unbelievable. He was a con artist, to be honest. Yes, you need to be in better shape than your clients.
What’s your inspiration?
It’s probably been said before and it’s very cliché. There are two sources that I draw from. One is my children. Seeing them and wanting to be the best dad that I could be and being a better human so that I can be that example for them. They’re watching what I’m doing. They’re not going to go by what I say. They’re going to go by what I do. I’m trying to live and become a better human so that my kids are better humans. My other inspiration is when somebody comes to class and they have this life-changing a-ha moment, this profound moment and they grab hold of that, they go out and they changed the direction of their life and I get to be a part of that. I get to be a part of someone’s profound change. What happens in the world from there? Maybe someone gets their kid back in a different way or they have a better relationship with their family. They go out and they start to help other people. I get to be part of the real beautiful change on the planet and share that and do good work in this world.
That’s beautiful. No matter if it’s cliche or not, that’s honest. I can feel the sincerity and authenticity and the emotion that’s coming from you, Jon Paul. Thank you for that. I give you the opportunity to let our community know where they can connect with you, where they can find your work and how they can start accessing these tools of breath right away.
My website is BreatheWithJP.com. All my stuff is there and I have teacher training I do in Los Angeles. I have some guided albums on iTunes if you want to try it out. I have some online courses that are profound. I have teacher training online if you can’t make it to my teacher training in Los Angeles. I have this course that’s people are emailing me and telling me it’s changed their lives. It’s called the Five Day Emotional Detox. It was all the workshops that I was doing in Los Angeles, from the transmission, a letter to affirmations and different things. I combined that into this five-day online course that you can do called the Five Day Emotional Detox. You can find a link to that through my main website. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram under Jon Paul Crimi. Go find me there and I’d love to connect. Thank you so much for having me on the show. I appreciate it.
Our pleasure, Jon. Thank you. To our readers, please be skeptical. We encourage it but don’t let that stop you from going all in and trying this because speaking from my own experience Breathwork does have the power to transform our internal state, which then transforms how we’re showing up in the world.
- Jon Paul Crimi
- The Body Keeps The Score
- It Didn’t Start With You
- iTunes – Breathwork Daily Practice
- Facebook – Jon Paul Crimi’s Facebook page
- Instagram – Jon Paul Crimi’s Facebook page
- Five Day Emotional Detox
About Jon Paul Crimi
Originally from Boston, in his early 20’s, Jon Paul moved to Los Angeles and quickly became one of the most sought after Celebrity Trainers and Sober Coaches in the Country. Unexpectedly, he found himself in a breathwork class and had a massive transformation that first time.
Knowing he had to share this technique, he not only began teaching but developed his own unique style and quickly began selling outclasses all over Los Angeles. Jon Paul currently resides in Bend Oregon with his wife and two children, but returns monthly to Los Angeles to teach his sold-out classes and workshops, as well as, lead his in-demand Breathwork Teacher Trainings.
What makes Jon Paul stand apart is his east coast no-nonsense approach. He has taken the “New Agey” part out of breathwork and both companies and corporations are filling his calendar. CEOs and the Forbes set have found themselves in his classes and have hired him to teach all their employees. Jon Paul has broadened his classes into customized workshops and corporate retreats of all sizes all over the country.
Jon Paul has appeared on Good Morning America and has been featured in The Huffington Post and The Hollywood Reporter. You can find him on countless talk shows and podcasts both domestically and internationally, as he continues his work to make breathwork more accessible and mainstream.
Jon Paul believes there is no one who can’t benefit from this practice and he has the Olympians, Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winners to prove it. Witnessing people visibly transform, often after just one session, is why he greets each day excited to turn people towards their most authentic selves and he has made it his life work to reach as many people as possible.