Meet EVRYMAN’s very own Wim Hoff. Justin Ternes is EVRYMAN’s awesome breathwork facilitator who runs a Drop in Group every Sunday at 4pm est. You will also find him pumping up the energy in our online courses through breathwork and mid-course yoga and stretching.
His energy is boundless and his dedication to the practice runs deep. Besides his Breathwork facilitating, Ternes is also a licensed Physical Therapist and Men’s Mental & Emotional Health Coach. We connected with him on a sunny morning in San Diego to hear about his journey from the Ozarks to EVRYMAN.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Ozarks in Arkansas, with an underdog mentality. It’s an under the radar, not seen state. I always had a chip on my shoulder and a drive to move forward.
What took you to California?
Fish tacos! Also, a professor once said, “ideas start on the coasts and work their way into the middle of the country,” so when I was exploring my next stage of my physical therapy schooling, I started looking at the coasts. My sister lived in San Francisco, so I moved there first. I saw an opportunity to learn about the human mind and body and how they coexist. I had an intuition that San Diego was a place I could cultivate that, so I moved here four years ago. The culture here is very health focused too and it’s a great place to grow.
What drew you to physical therapy and then to breathwork?
I wanted to go to medical school, and I was in pre-med and accidentally placed in a Physical Therapy internship. Once I saw what it was, I knew that is what I wanted to do. It’s problem solving focused, and you see people healing and getting better in real time instead of writing a prescription and sending them on their way. There is a real sense of community.
As for breathwork, I saw a research study about the affects of meditation. On that article there was an MRI image of brains of a people who did and did not meditate. The way the brain was lighting up with meditation really intrigued me. There is some major activity going on in the brain when you meditate that’s beneficial. I started practicing meditation on Head Space and then I discovered Wim Hoff. When I heard him talk in his enthusiastic manner, I was like, what is this crazy man talking about? I want to try it. He was just high on life!
I was in New Hampshire for the winter, and I would wake up and do Wim Hoff, then get in a cold bath and be completely supercharged, no coffee needed. I could feel my brain lighting up and I could meditate so much deeper. I’ve been doing breathwork daily for the past six years.
What are the benefits of breathwork?
- Improved lung health
- Biproduct of that is improved immune health
- Activates the endocrine system and helps with mood regulation
- For me, it helps with my energy, focus and sleep
Any tips for newbies to breathwork?
For those brands new to it, my suggestion would be:
- Take a deep breath out
- Take a deep exhale and hold
- Time yourself and see how long you can hold your breath.
- Notice the inner stress activated and the thoughts that get stirred up as you hold to the edge of your capacity, and then take a breath in and return to normal breathing
A simple exercise like that helps highlight the correlation of breath and stress and breath and anxiety. So, if you can turn on those inner stresses with one breath hold, imagine what you can do to capture and shift that and reduce stress.
I think a lot of people do breathwork and they don’t know why. Understanding the correlation and having a ‘why’ is a big help. Some do it for lung health, others for mental resiliency.
Try a class. Here is a 3-minute video and see how you feel.
How did you get involved with EVRYMAN?
I got an email from a friend of mine introducing me and 10 other men in the community to a man named Dan Doty who had just moved to San Diego. She said- we have a new individual in our community who runs men’s groups and I want to put his workshop out on your radar. I immediately googled Dan and EVRYMAN and knew I couldn’t wait for three months until the next workshop so I emailed him and asked if I could be in a group. I showed up and was drawn in so quickly. It was one of the best experiences I had had. It exposed a big void in my life- a deep, real connection with other men. I’ve been doing this group ever since, and that was three years ago.
We had an amazing group here and it dismantled since Dan moved to Ojai, so I started my own group and I just remember wanting to do more. Then I came across Mike Sagun from EVRYMAN, I hopped on a call with him, and he said I should just offer my help! I did and I have been showing up consistently. I also attended both a MELT and an Open Source retreat. I’m not here to be seen, just to be a part of the mission since it aligns with my personal mission- it’s a platform to help me share my gifts with as many people as possible.
Why should a man join a men’s group?
A men’s group is an instrumental opportunity for a man to just find his optimal growth. It’s an immensely beneficial opportunity to grow, to learn, to face difficult situations with community, support and love. I think it is part of our nature as humans to be in small groups with each other, not just with men, and empowering each other.
If you really knew me, you would know that…
I’m not there yet, and that feels scary, but it’s also met with the thought that that is the work. It keeps going.Justin Ternes