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Today’s guest is Johnny Oduya.

We go deep talking about:

  • Playing hockey in Thailand
  • Allowing our kids to face challenges so that it pushes them to work harder
  • Teaching our kids to strive for victory, but be prepared for the inevitability of defeat
  • How to thrive in high-performance environments
  • Why you should want to be the worst player on a good team, not the best player on a bad team
  • The balance between using ego for motivation and getting lost in it
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness practices for performance

As a former professional athlete who played at the highest level, Johnny has explored and tested numerous mindful techniques to gain a competitive advantage.

Ten years in the NHL resulted in two Stanley Cups, both times with the Chicago Blackhawks. After his retirement, he focused on his passion for philosophy and mindful practices. Curious and investigative at heart, he stumbled upon breathwork and immediately realized its enormous potential for transforming and elevating the human experience.

Mentioned on this episode:

Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork for Success in Life, Love

Find Johnny online at:

Hale – Center and Community for Breathwork:

Atunya – Utility Performance Gear for Athletes:

Personal Instagram:

Hale Instagram:

Atunya Instagram:

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. Today is episode number 50. High Performance breathwork for physical and emotional excellence with Johnny Oduya. Guys, this is really an episode that I wanted to do just for myself. And I really, really hope that it would turn out to be something amazing. And thank goodness it is because really all I wanted to do is talk to Johnny because I'm a huge hockey fan. And I realized he's been doing breath work. So hockey breathwork like these are these make up so much of my own personality that like obviously, he and I would get along, I thought so it was just a joy to be able to chat with him. And thankfully, for you and for me and everyone involved, it actually ended up being an awesome episode. So we go deep talking about playing hockey and Thailand, which is totally crazy. And one of the things that Johnny and I have in common, allowing our kids to face challenges so that it pushes them to work harder, teaching our kids to strive for victory, while at the same time preparing them for the inevitability of defeat, how to thrive in high performance environments. Why you should want to be the worst player on a good team, not the best player on a bad team. The balance between using ego for motivation and getting lost in it, emotional regulation, and breath work meditation and mindfulness practices for performance. As a former professional athlete who played at the highest level, Johnny has explored and tested numerous mindful techniques to gain a competitive advantage. 10 years the NHL resulted in two Stanley Cups both times with the Chicago Blackhawks. After his retirement he focused on his passion for philosophy and mindful practices. Curious and investigative at heart he stumbled upon breathwork and immediately realized its enormous potential for transforming and elevating the human experience. There's a few places you can find Johnny online The first is Hale which is his center and community for breath work. You can find that that's HALE.CENTER you can find his Atunya brand utility performance gear for athletes at ATUNYA.COM ATUNYA.COM You can find him on Instagram. His personal account is Johnny Oduya. That's JOHNNY ODUYA can also find the Hale Center and ATUNYA, on Instagram, HALE.CENTER and Atunya Performance are the Instagram handles. All of these links will be in the show notes at you can find everything there. I hope you enjoy this podcast episode. Like I said it was really done for my own benefit because I just love talking to you and HL players and athletes and hearing what makes them tick and what lessons we can learn from them operating at this high level. And of course, the crazy bizarre fact that both of us played hockey in Thailand is something that not many people shared were to go deeper on. Why the hell he did that in the first place, which we talked about at the beginning of this episode. So with all that being said, I hope you learned something particularly as relates to emotional regulation and breath work and mindful practices for performance specifically, which Johnny dives into quite significantly in this episode. So enjoy episode number 50 with Johnny Oduya. Here we go.

I'm here with Johnny Oduya. And I am super pumped to talk to you man because like I said before, huge hockey fan. I'm a breath worker myself. And the thing that we share in common, which probably like fewer than 100 people share that I find that I've ever talked to so we both played ice hockey and Thailand. And this is one of the most shocking things when people hear that there's even ice hockey in Thailand. And so my first question is, why the hell did you do that? And what happened? What was it fun?

Johnny Oduya 3:34

Yeah, okay, I'm gonna throw the question back to you. Why did you do that? How often?

Curt Storring 3:39

I thought it was my best shot to make the NHL at age 30. So I just, I need to start somewhere. I moved to Thailand with my parents with my wife and kids for two years. And I hadn't played hockey for probably 10 years at that point. I started playing ball hockey with Canadians, Finn's Americans, some Thai guys, and they're like, Yeah, we play hockey at the ice at this mall. So I shipped all my gear over and started playing ice hockey playing a tournament there. It was amazing.

Johnny Oduya 4:07

What What year was that?

Curt Storring 4:10

This would have been 2017 I think 2018 Yeah. 16 through 18. Yeah.

Johnny Oduya 4:16

Yeah, I was there in 2012. I think it was a lockout year. So I went there. It was one of my friends I had I had no team obviously at the time, and just sitting at home and starting to get you know, November ish. In Sweden. It's pretty dark. And I was working out and trading and everything was on the ice with a couple of teams here. And then I was like, I need to do something and then I was waiting until kind of November and then I heard that wall. Maybe not it's not going to be anything so I'm like okay, I'm just going to go somewhere else and I love Thailand in there a lot before. Love the culture, the food tradition, Buddhism, of course, and I'm like, Oh, the see if they got hockey. So I looked it up and found that they actually We have hockey and hockey for quite a long time. So there's a lot of expats have been playing there for a long time. And I just wrote them. There's two Swedish guys, and I wrote them. And I think, No, I actually wrote one or the other guys there was a Scott Murray maybe that I wrote whatever. But he's, he's the the legend and the godfather of hockey. They're been doing a lot of work for a long time. So I wrote them. I don't know who answered, but he, anyways, they were kind of like, Is this a joke, basically? And I'm like, No, I'm serious. So they came to the airport, and they met me and my friend were there for vacation and then brought our gear. And they weren't sure if somebody was gonna show up, or if it was if it was real, but but it was, and it was, it was fantastic. It was really an eye opener in a lot of ways. And, you know, being part of the hockey community, which is quite small there, but very dedicated. And it's so cool. Like, whenever you meet hockey players, you know, if you're in I mean, they're both good and bad cultures around hockey. But one of the good things that that you always feel like you're at home, and you have this connection immediately. And it doesn't matter where you are, what level it is. And yeah, just kind of like a second family wherever you go. And I think that's so cool. And it was the same thing here. So yeah, we played for that one. And then I think we went back home and then came back and stayed for like, a month. And we yeah, we did play the tournament. And we did a bunch of things there. Now, it was cool. It was it was it was fantastic. And I think now hockey is actually growing quite a lot. Now I I speak with one. One guy, I think he's, oh, I don't want to say anything stupid. Now. I think he's American right now might be Canadian. And he's now building rinks actually. So that's what he does. He builds drinks in Asia, and now the building to new rinks in downtown Bangkok. So yeah, my goal here is once this pandemic maybe slows down a little bit, that would be lovely to go there. And, you know, I had one camp with one of my coaching friends, hockey camp, you know, for kids, we had that one of those. And it's just, yeah, it's nice. It's super, super nice. And I want to keep doing that. And then, you know, the last time to build the rink in Stockholm, I don't know, I don't know when that was. And now they're building moorings in Thailand. So it's cool how you kind of, you go there, and maybe bring some attention to the sport, and some more kids start to play. And now it's like it's moving, there's more and more kids start to play, and they become better and better. And, you know, they come to Europe, some of them in play, and some go to Canada and play junior hockey, and the only thing they need in Thailand now is for one of them to actually, you know, take the bigger step and succeed. And that's going to drag all the attention and really expand the sport even more. And of course, you know, it's a very expensive sport. So it's not the bottom layers in Thailand, they play the they usually have some good, you know, solid, the background and income. So that's might be the only only other thing. But I mean, that's true for Sweden now to actually so

Curt Storring 8:02

yeah, and you have also played hockey in Africa. And I don't want to get into like the necessarily the why behind all that. But a question I do have is regarding the kids and the young people who start playing. And this can be applicable for the dads listening is what do you see in these places where you know, the kids might not have had a sport before you come? There's a bunch of fanfare, you start playing hockey with these kids, and they keep going, they keep playing hockey? Have you checked in on any of the kids who you started playing with in Africa or in Thailand, and have seen how they progressed? Like, is there something from nothing going to this team sport that you know, dad should pay attention to? Like, should we should everyone get their kid in team sports? What is your experience been with that?

Johnny Oduya 8:48

Well, there's kind of like I said, it's two different scenarios. I think in Thailand, it's they're quite well off, you know? And do you still see the passion? I think the the Thai culture is also a little bit. And we'll say more Asian in that way. But it's high performing culture when you're in the upper layers. So you're supposed to perform and you know, be good. And I assume that's actually true for a lot of other cultures as well. It's not just in Thailand, I think of it's the same in Sweden, actually. But of course, some of the kids I met now, like when I go back now I meet them and now they're big and tall and the skating faster than me, but it's good. It's fun to see the progression. Like I said, some some of them stay around longer, and others might do something else, you know, if they have good education, stuff like that, but it seems like most of them keep track of hockey and kind of keep in there. And then in Nairobi, obviously it's quite different because of the social, social economic standard or what you say I would say this middle class kids there too, and then you have some that are from quite difficult circumstances. And one thing that was quite eye opening for me there was the dedication and the drive, even though that there's no opportunity maybe no option tunity at all to play in the NHL. And that's still something they dream about and keeps them up and they go there to the rink and they play hard. And it's just, you know, I think if I said this, I think on Swedish TV as well, we see some, some Swedish kids that maybe have it a little bit too good, almost. It's a Yeah, they do some some things. And they, of course, come from some circumstances where it's tougher. So, you know, we had these, these, hide these plastic biscuits, you know, you seen those you can play on the ground with, and I brought them I didn't initially think we're going to use them because they use the ball when they play. And we start to use them and they go down, and they block shots, and they get no equipment on. Like, if you get that on your knee, you break your knee, and they don't even think about that. I don't think sweetest kid would do that. Like, I never see that. So it's just completely I'm like, What is going on, and they playing hard and like hitting each other. And I'm like, Jesus, I'm like, You guys get to take it easy here. Like I haven't skated in a long time. And, and we were a rollerblades too, or like on inline. So I'm like, This is gonna be bad. But yeah, they play super hard. They're dedicated. And yeah, they just love the sport. So I don't know what the advice is. I mean, don't hurt your kids too much. I don't know if that's the advice. But yeah,

Curt Storring 11:16

no, that's exactly what I was thinking. There's like, yeah, meta idea of when you have it too easy, you stopped doing hard things. And when you stop doing hard things, I think life gets harder, to be honest. And so when you have less, and you're just like, so pumped up about play hockey in this case, but it could be literally anything in your life, your kids lives, it becomes much better to have that struggle. And I see parents today who are just like, don't get hurt helicopter parents don't let your kid have any struggle. And they wind up not taking not taking the knee, they wind up not blocking shots. And I think it's a metaphor for life. That's kind of dangerous for society.

Johnny Oduya 11:52

Yeah. I think especially in our suite, and we have this idea that, that losing is bad. And I don't understand, I never understood that. Like in my, if I look at my career, I've said this a lot before, I've lost everything you can imagine. Basically, as a player, especially growing up in Sweden, I lost not were juniors, I wasn't even in but I lost Swedish championship both in juniors and seniors, I lost the Olympic finals, and never played the World Championship Finals, we lost in the semi finals, I've lost more way, way much more than I won. And winning is like this thing that kind of happens at times, you know, you can be on a winning team for a longer amount of time, which I was in Chicago, for example, but also had, you know, a lot of the other years, it wasn't like that. And there's some like idea about winning and knocking, getting picked for a certain team or not playing the position that you want to, like, this is something bad, but it's not really bad. It's only bad at the moment. But in the long run, it's actually not bad for you. So how to overcome that becomes what actually is interesting. And that struggle, or it's not even a struggle, it's just a development phase of you need to kind of pass through. And I've struggled a lot with that myself. So it's not an easy thing. Because when you're in it, it's like it's your life. But I think if we have, if we, you know, look at as you said, and more meta perspective than trying to get that away, and always take that away from people. And kids, it's not going to be a good idea, because that's gonna make them think that losing is is bad, you know, in that way for development, at least. But of course, you want to, you want to win, otherwise, you don't have to play. So you want to, you want to win. And that's what you strive for. But you also understand that most of the time, you're not going to win, you're going to lose a lot. And if you can't handle that, then that's going to be a problem. That's going to be quite difficult. Yeah,

Curt Storring 13:53

that's a great way to sort of segue into what I want to talk about next. And I don't want to belabor the point of professional hockey, because obviously, that's what you get asked all the time. But I have questions about operating within professional hockey, particularly as it relates to like high performance teams, habits and things like that, because I want this conversation to go in the direction of performance. So when I see professional athletes, I had professional baseball player a couple of weeks ago, and we talked about all this kind of stuff and transition from pro sports into non pro sports into whatever comes after. So I'd like to get there. But in this frame of performance, I'm wondering, the sort of the first thing that comes to mind is like, what do you tell guys coming up? Who are in like a newly high performance environment? And this could be something that the men listening are like, okay, I can prepare my kids for this. Or maybe the dads listening are getting a new job and they just want to crush it. And so like I know, I think I know that, you know, hang out with Oliver Shillington once in a while, have my Calgary Flames. He's doing amazing. By the way. What do you tell him as part of like this working as a high octane team. Do you have anything to come? Like you were on to Stanley Cup winners, and there must be something about those teams, it's different. How do you find your place in that without stepping on toes, but also making sure like you are performing your best

Johnny Oduya 15:12

team dynamics and environment, this is a difficult thing. If anybody can have a recipe how that works and figure that out, they'll be quite rich. But I mean, on the individual level, I think when when anytime I kind of talk to younger players, and they say the same thing is like, you kind of have to find a way I feel. And how do you Yeah, I don't know. Like how do you develop a good mentality to win, then of course you want to and you want to have to win more than the other things. So if you're more interested in, in the girls and the cars and the money and the all the other stuff, then then that becomes what you actually focus on. And I don't mean that you can't focus on that, like enjoy your life. If you play in the NHL, you should enjoy it. But if that's your main focus, then that will not be good in the long run, I believe anyway, if you want to succeed and win and I mean, Chicago, it was a steak when I got there was quite fortunate, I felt I felt at home right away, because I always have the feeling I I love to compete and develop. And that was a quite open space for development, where we had some individuals that both in taste and Duncan Keith, for example, but even you know, caner, now and Marian Hossa or Patrick sharp like all these those individuals, they wanted to be better than, like, looked at everything they could do to become better. And that environment for me was was quite, it was lifting me to another level also. So it was like, the more the more crazier thing you can come up with to make team better. That was that was good. And there's some other teams was on there was kind of like, why are you doing that? Nobody's doing that. So I'm like, okay, but you want to win or why we're here? So I don't know if the Yeah, the team culture. So of course, it's, it's very important. And it's a difficult thing to find a good match of the earth, and you got to be lucky to at times, you know, you have to get some what was good in Chicago, I think for them that they won in 2010. And they got the experience of winning when they're quite young. And if you get that feeling in your body, I think that's one of the the things that would carry you for quite a long time. And then of course, it's not going to be forever, you're on a lot of teams have their kind of hot period for for 10 years or so. And then it's kind of tough to stay on top, especially now. But that is one of the things that I'm I think I appreciate most from from being on a winning team, I have a sense of what that feels like internally. And when I speak to individuals, then there's a lot of things that are like conflicting, like I said that that comes in when you especially when you when you come to the NHL. And people started viewing you differently. And if you're not prepared and understand where you want to go with this, then you will be dragged in a bunch of different ways. And yeah, just you lose your focus. I mean, I lose, I lost my focus, I think for a couple of years for sure. And I would say it was probably not until I get back to or get back I got to Chicago than that I kind of recuperating that and could use my potential. So getting the feeling feeling of winning and winning together, you know, is worth the sacrifice. But if you don't know that, and you think it's just about scoring goals, then it becomes difficult.

Curt Storring 18:38

Hmm, yeah. And a couple of things that came up there is one, this need for personal honesty that sounded like existed in Chicago and may not have existed elsewhere. Like being able to tell yourself like, yeah, I suck at this, or here's where we could do it better. Rather than just assuming like, Well, yeah, I'm here like, I'm the best already. And I want to ask, like, what was it about being lost for those two years that you mentioned before you got to Chicago? How did you get that back? Was it just that you were pushed again? Or like, did you have this moment where you like found your values? Because it sounds like that's super important. When you get into a place where you're so called winning. You could go for the money and the girls and the cars. But if your values are like, I just want to be excellent. Like, I want to win. I want to do this with other people. What did that look like for you to come back from being lost for a couple years?

Johnny Oduya 19:26

Well, I think I like most of this time I had in Atlanta when I was there, and it was like the no man's land, you would drop them in the middle of nowhere. But it was a fun time. On the personal level. We had a lot of fun on the team and wonderful teammates and everything was fantastic. And I actually I liked it but I always had the sense it was not me. And there were I was kind of lost in that and I think I pushed that actually to the side where if I would have engaged in the way I wanted I would have been so frustrated and disappointed and like all of these things because Things weren't moving the way I wanted them to move. And that's some type of like, perfect communistic, you know, mindset or view. And I think I've always, I mean, I like development and I like winning like you and I won, I rather be a bad player on the good team than the best player on the bad team. And that's just how I am. And for me to be a part of something that's actually bigger than me with better players and better like that, that is like, it's almost like I, I think I should be at the level where I can't be, you know, and that's where my, my limit is. And yeah, if I, if I can't be there, then it's like, it's not worth for me to do it. And that's, that's kind of a different mentality. I don't know. But I think some individuals have that. So there's, there's a part of it, there's a love for the game, but there's also a part of it of, of development and, you know, have the ability to be, you know, on the eyes with the best people and, you know, really challenged myself as much as I can. And that I think was difficult when I was was in Atlanta, and I get lost in that for sure. So, yeah, I think the values are there. But sometimes they're clouded by a bunch of other things. And I'm just happy I got the opportunity there actually, to go back or to go to Chicago, where I just I sensed that right away, like, right away when when I was watching the trade deadline. And as soon as that happened at trade, it was something in me that just said, Okay, this is, you know, this is the chance or whatever you were looking for, and it worked out, it worked out well. And I'm happy for that. So,

Curt Storring 21:42

yeah, worked out pretty well. The thing that I sort of took from that is like, especially the idea of wanting to be where you almost shouldn't be like wanting to be the worst house on a good street, basically, surrounding yourself with the best where everyone else in the room could be smarter than you. I think there's a lot of guys who do have that mentality. But there's a lot who don't they want to be the smartest guy because of this ego. And I wonder like, how did ego play out? In your experience? Because I know some guys are huge egotistical, and some guys are super humble. But did you see or did you experience in yourself? Anything? Where ego sort of got you in trouble?

Johnny Oduya 22:24

Oh, yes, every day, I still do every day. I still do every day? No, I think a little bit more aware of it now. But it's it's difficult, because it's kind of the thing that that gets you there. But then sometimes it's not serving you with the way you want to. So it's difficult. I mean, in hockey in general, you're quite urine individual and the world is like, revolving around you. And that's true for family friends, like everything around you, for every individual that elite player play in the NHL, the world kind of spins around them. I think, actually children might have saved me if I would add that the little bit because then the world is not all about you. So that would have probably been good for me at one point to have that and I hope still that will be the effect when I have children. So yeah, we're, I think as an athlete, you kind of have to have that mentality a little bit. And then, of course, start to look more at the ego. And for me also realizing even though I think I was always kind of a quiet guy and never seen us on humble in a way, I think I've seen as a humble individual. But that doesn't mean that there's, you know, a scheming and planning and driving and all of these things that you kind of do for yourself anyway. And I played with year Hudler when I was in Dallas, and he was actually funny, he's a guy, he talks a lot really interesting character. And he said, you know, Johnny, just just because you quiet doesn't mean that you're nice. And actually, I love that, that saying, because it's so true, because some individuals I think, he can kind of you can hide and you can have your ego and you can be but just because you're sitting there not saying anything, you're gonna have the same thing conversation going on in your head, you know, and be able to look at that and kind of expose that which I tried to do a lot more now actually, you know, in the in the business, I think now, I'm more in the leadership position, and I, I need to expose myself and that brings out some of those thoughts and, and understandings about myself, which is super, super interesting that I now understand how they actually were working for me when I played hockey, and now it becomes, you know, I can see it now. And it's so so interesting, when it's compared to leadership, and I'm sure and that that's why this you know, this part is perfect for that I'm sure like all the fathers can, can attest to that to that. You know, your children are going I challenge you and show you certain things in you that you, you thought that they were hitting somewhere and nobody can see them and they just poke right at them, you know? So, yeah, I'm looking forward to or not looking forward to that. I don't know. But But I hope maybe now I'm a little bit more prepared, it would have been a rude awakening for me, I think having children are 30 or 28 or 25 years old. So but yeah,

Curt Storring 25:24

man, it was for me, I think I was 23, just about 24. And it just shook my world, man, it was exactly what you're saying all the shit that I had buried, just came right back up. And I was like, a really bad dad for probably a first couple years at least. And it actually motivated me to like change my entire life, and to get to the bottom of my ego, and my pain, and like all of these things. And so actually having kids was exactly what you said, which is just like motivated to flip that switch. So I think that's what we're trying to do here with dads is just like, let them know that children while challenging, are actually our greatest teachers, because they uncover all the shit that we actually need to work on. What about like habits and mindset? Like, were you into breath work? When you were in the NHL? Were you like emotionally intelligent? Or are you talking to guys about this sort of thing? Or were you just sort of like you said, quiet ego, all that kind of stuff?

Johnny Oduya 26:18

Yeah, I think I was quite bad is one of the things actually now that I realize now that if I would have had this tool, and this understanding, it would have been quite different for me. And that's probably why I attached so much to it now also, that I can see the value, I see the value for it for me now. And going through the things I'm going through now, I don't think I would have been able to do what I do if I if I don't, if I didn't do breath work in the way I do and, and look at myself in this different aspects in ways. And so I bumped into it, you know, seven years ago, or something like that I stopped playing three years ago. So the last couple of years of my career, but I never, I never really understand how I understood how to use it. Like I did the Wim Hof breathing and like holding my breath, and I thought it was just, yeah, I did it, because I wanted to see how long you can hold my breath, you know. So it's like that, that is just so far away from anything with breath work is kind of, some of it is but it's there's a lot more than that. So and then also, when it came to performance, it was not a lot of talk at all at that time like that, that talk is starting now the last couple of three years, I would say regarding performance and how to optimize it and use your breath during and after. And it's just it's different playing field now I feel. And of course, now I'm into this. So now I see it everywhere. But I sense that it's it's reaching into professional sports weigh more than, than before. And I think in general, players are becoming more conscious also, about all these aspects. I mean, when we started in, in Chicago, like thinking about food and worrying about food, nobody else was doing that basically, I felt and and then a couple years later, you know, now I think it's quite different. Where nutrition and recovery and all of these things are just different level. And I think the the mindful part, and emotional regulation, if you have the capacity to do that don't learn how to do that some individuals can do it by themselves, like they're like anything, you know, but somebody have a mind is the same thing, like somebody has to drive into mindset. And some other ones might have to work on that and create certain containers for it. And emotional stability is. I mean, for me, it drove a lot of I think emotionally was quite, you know, up and down. I feel I'm way more stable now even though I have reactions. But at that point, I didn't understand the reaction actually what was happening, and I was trying to escape from feelings, which is as you know, it's the worst thing you can do. So that never escaped from a feeling you have to be with the feeling otherwise, that's useless. So just understand these couple of steps I think would help tremendously for use me for my well being during during my playing time, instead of being, you know, frustrated or angry or like all of these things that just eating energy for no reason. And I might might actually would have played longer if I would have done that. I think I would have enjoyed playing more Now was it was all competition and you know, winning basically, which I love also. So it's like it's both but but there's a yeah, there's there's some type of immaturity that I probably would have been able to reach before. I think so. Yeah.

Curt Storring 29:47

Yeah, no, there's there are some points I want to ask a friend of mine, Jason Gattis. Like how do I be mindfully ambitious? Because it's what you're talking about, right? It's like you just want to win all the time. I always want to win, and I want to be okay. We're like not winning. Sometimes we're like what I am like in this moment. And he's like, well just be mindfully ambitious. And that's like, shit. That's way too easy. It's not the answer I was hoping for. I thought there's like a practice. But what you said about this coming into professional sports now with nutrition, and breath work, and all that kind of stuff. There's a saying that a lot of guys in the tech space, say, which is like, whatever the guys in Silicon Valley are doing right now. That's what everyone's gonna be doing 10 years from now. So if you want to get a head start on business or investing, just look at what like the, you know, the guy who came up with Aetherium? What is he doing right now, and do that and get the head start. And it sounds like professional sports is the place to go for performance, longevity, you know, high octane movement and stuff like that. So we're talking about breath work, we're talking about now like, like, cryo, freezing and stuff like that. What else have you seen that's on like the cutting edge that pretty well, only professional athletes are doing? Is there anything else like that?

Johnny Oduya 30:56

Hmm, there's a long list. I mean, some of them do, I wouldn't say that all of them do this. Like, there's a mix here, which is interesting. So it's like a mix of some individuals that are highly driven like that. And then in general, in this sport, I think the sports will move slowly, you know, so there's some individuals that are more driven and push these more than others, but I mean, everything, the coal bathing, there's infrasonic there's, you know, these electromagnetic trainings, and there's vibration mattresses, there's, yeah, all the aspects of nutrition. Of course, now measuring, you know, measuring sleep is a big thing. Now, I think I see. Now I even see regular people at the store here in Sweden with the aura ring, which is crazy. I don't know what's happening. And so like, it's eating itself into society, a lot of different places to but yeah, I've seen a lot of things. But I see also, the curve of that, like I said, initially was kind of food and like the functional movement ish, kind of, and then it moved into more of the recovery stuff. So more of like, how can you actually get back and recover. And a lot of these modalities are still in place, like the biohacking things are some of them stick and some of them kind of pass away, but most of them kind of stick and, and then now I feel this next level. And that's kind of what I say to players to and younger players that everybody else is already doing all this stuff, like it's very tough now to outwork or out, be smarter when you work out and other individuals, some coaches have the ability to do it, but mostly, it's it's quite dialed in, mostly, I would say, especially in, you know, personal training for athletes, I would say. So there's a bunch of bunch of different styles, of course, but if you're a high performance coach, and you get a high performing player, the only thing you have to do is not destroy them. But but other than that is like you already have the gold box or whatever, you have the golden egg, you know, so, so they're probably going to develop in a certain amount anyways, it's not so much you actually maybe have to do I don't know. And then of course, getting them to not get injured, you know, and sustained for a long amount of time. That's, that's probably a good idea. But where was I going with that? I think the next step is for you. Also, like we talked about here, if you can regulate emotions, if you can prepare yourself and get out of, of emotions that are stuck with you. And if you have, you don't have that capability and capacity, and you didn't, you can train it. And if you can do that you will have, you know, we will be way better off. So why not train that. And that would sustain you for a longer amount of time. I'm, I wouldn't say 100% Sure. But as close to 100%, I can be that that will be useful. And it's not like you have to dedicate your whole life, it's part of warmups are part of, you know, winding down or, you know, it's quite, it's quite easy to do and I love, you know, mindfulness in many aspects. And even if you do, and if you if you if you'd like meditation, you can do that and do that. But I know it's quite difficult for a lot of individuals to do. So focusing on your breathing pattern is a lot of times easier.

Curt Storring 34:04

Yeah, that's, we're gonna segue into breath in like, just a minute, but I'm curious what role your father had on all of this growing up, was he there in your life? Was he supportive? Did he push you? Was he more in the background? Like What Did his relationship with you look like? As you were sort of coming up and, and maybe even to this day?

Johnny Oduya 34:23

Yeah, I had no relationship at all. My father. He moved back to Canada when I was one, I think, and then he actually passed away in 93, or something like that. So no grown up conversation really either. So I'd say I'm one of those unfortunate not to have the father figure and I'm fortunate not to have a bad one. That's usually that's usually how I see it. And I had a grandfather that I had a close relationship with, and I kind of saw as my father I think so. Maybe that's why I act like an old man because I was having that That's my I never thought about that as he came up with that, no, that's actually maybe true. That's interesting. Never thought about error pricing. Yeah. That's actually funny. But yeah, so yeah, I think I think for a long time, of course, I had my older brother who passed away also, but I think I looked up to him a lot and like, followed him. And he's the one who got me into playing hockey. And he always had that driving force of, of just brute practicing all the time. And, yeah, I think he instilled a lot of that in me as well. But, but there was a long time it was was for some time, I was kind of feeling. It's always the the thinking of what if that would have been the way you know, and I think when you grow up, it's, if you don't have if you don't have that father figure or that individual, there's like a half of me, which I'm kind of discovering now, which actually has a lot to do with my, with my Kenyan heritage as well, that is now coming into my life more and more. And now I understand that part of me more and more. So it's taken me longer, you know, because otherwise, you might have that individual. And you have certain traits and things that happen you think a certain way? And you're like, Where's this coming from? Like, nobody around me is thinking like that? What? Like, why? And then you hear Yeah, you you like, you can put the things together when you have an easier way. I think when when you have that person because yeah, does look at all my friends. And I look at the dad and look at them. And I'm like, You're like the same person, but you're older. So I think that connection takes a little bit longer. If you're the ad, the dad is absent, even though there's no trauma related to it, which is not really in my case. So the self discovery or whatever you development or whatever you would call my might be a little bit different. But I also in some ways, I, I see a lot of, you know, people around me, they're also restricted by by the parents and a lot of different ways. And they're trying to break out of that, you know, even try to succeed their parents to be better, you know, that can be tough sometimes or live up to the parents standards, or, or anything. And for me, I always had like the there's nothing above me, it was always like this guy is or is there, you know, there's not there's nobody to tell me anything, basically. And I always had the sense of that acampo Not accomplishment, but there was never anything to it was like open open field open paid. And sometimes I think I think that would be interesting. Also for some other individuals that actually see around me that I feel they're they're kind of stuck because they can't surpass their parents, which is that could be difficult, but I don't know. That's, that's my situation anyway. So I don't know about others.

Curt Storring 37:40

Yeah, no, thank you for going there, man. And I know, especially when you haven't grown up with a father being asked that question is sometimes like, Oh, shit. And so I really appreciate that you shared. And I think that, like you said, we all have father wounds, whether they were here or not. And I would like just personally, I do think that it's like quite traumatic to be left to be abandoned, to be neglected. And so yeah, man, I am glad that you seem at peace with it. And like you said, there's continually more work to be done, you know, what was your relationship with your grandfather? Like? And that does bring me now to breathwork? Finally, have you this is sort of like the first question, we'll get into all the stuff you're doing these days. But have you experienced things related to your father or related to your childhood in breathwork? Because depending on the style you do, and maybe I should have asked that first, but I'm not going to I have experienced, psychedelic like situations in breathwork, doing conscious connected breathing, you know, Holotropic style breathing? Is that something that's come up? Have you done any sort of inner work? Or is it all focused on performance for

Johnny Oduya 38:46

you? No, I've done I've done both, that's, that's kind of when I started to deep dive in this after my career, that's kind of where I started. And that's why I felt also the the biggest upside for me was, I mean, the performance side is interesting, but it kind of comes with both sides. It's like if you don't understand yourself and what's going on and where you come from, and the some of the behaviors, maybe that's connected to the things you do, then I think performance is like kind of not secondary, but you can throw all the tools you want in on the on the table, but they're not going to be useful in the same way. So I think breathwork has the ability to kind of expose them a little bit more and like I said just we can then on the other hand just be just because you expose them doesn't mean that they're gone it's just that you know that there may be there and then you're you know, then the ego comes back and like oh okay, that's okay. And you're supposed to be like this and blah blah blah all these things so constantly have to work with that but at least now I I haven't really in the way you describe it like meeting my parents or meeting my father whenever I haven't had that. But for sure some type of connection I can ancestral connection, I can feel that way more. And like I said, more like developing who I am more. Yeah, I had one of my friends are like, Oh, yeah. So are you? I don't know. He said, he's like, are you sold? Yeah, you'd like you searching or soul searching or like you're searching for something. And for me, it's actually the opposite. It's actually taking away the blockades and becoming who you are. It's not that I'm looking for anything. And I realized that a lot in meditations, retreats as well. But that was when it comes down to the, you know, the center, the core, that there's nothing really to look for. It's just, there's nothing there to look for. And I think that was quite a quite regulating and freeing for me that, you know, there's nothing really that's wrong. It's just, this is how life is in a way. And then you you kind of you look at things as they come to you. And the way you look at them is the way they're gonna impact you. So, yeah, breathwork has the ability to do that as well. But I would say I think actually, because I started to do more of the the meditation work before actually did the breath work work, so are kind of in combination, but I had some of the longer Vipassana retreats before I started to go deeper into breathwork. So I think I, I opened up the space already. And then when I started to do more breath work, I could connect more of the pieces, if that makes sense. Yeah, it totally does.

Curt Storring 41:29

And that's, that's such a good way to put them in, I'm so glad you went there. It's almost like coming home to yourself. And that's what like all of this. You can call it spiritual, you can call it emotional, you can call it growth work, like whatever you want. But everything that I've done has been like continually stripping layers of the onion away, the social constructs, the wounding the stories of my parents, all this kind of stuff has been like, Oh, who am I really? And like you said, it's not like searching for something. It's just like taking all the shit away, and then finding who you truly are. And did this help in your transition from hockey? Or like, were you doing this? Because when I talk to other professional athletes, it's like, Oh, my God, once I stopped being that, who was I? Like, I had no idea. Was this a problem for you?

Johnny Oduya 42:14

No, I think I have no problem transitioning. I don't know why that is, I think last three years, I don't think I've not one morning, and I've been waking up and I felt I want to go to the rink and play hockey. And that doesn't mean that I don't love hockey. It's just I don't have that feeling. Obviously, I think I was I was done, but also have a feeling that I have more gratitude also, and, and I'm so happy for actually what I got out of my career that I don't want to be greedy. And I, you know, kill all myself in the neck staying around for forever, and the people are like, okay, but it's time to go now. Like, you know, so Right. Yeah, I don't know.

Curt Storring 42:53

It just wasn't a thing for you, then you just sort of like, pick up the pace, you're good to go. And then breathwork was just something after?

Johnny Oduya 42:59

Yeah. No, it was in the transition. So it was in the transition. So I think it helped enormously in the transition. And just to kind of do long career, it's almost like a nervous system is like hyped up and actually starting to feel some of it now actually, when I'm going into business as well. So like, in a year or two, I probably need to take another like longer break to like release some of these things that are building up, even though I'm trying to release them as we go, I think it's quite difficult to do. And there's something about that, it's almost like your body remembers that combat state or whatever you would call it, I'm not going to say to combat because that's way more serious. But the the competition state, I would say where, you know, it's high arousal, and you always like driving yourself in a way. And once you come out of that, and I started to do more of the breathing, I just felt the transition was just a lot of things just opening and becoming clearer. And I just have a fantastic sense of well being for those three, four months that was doing it almost every day. And that's the segue into what I do. Now, it's just apparent to me that if people can do this, and they understand that you can do this, and I'm quite sure, they can have a quite good transition and not being in pain going into career as a player, I think you're actually fortunate in a lot of ways that you in the middle of your life, you have the chance to actually change and do something else. Like not a lot of people have the chance to do that. And you have the money actually to do whatever you want, which for me is like you can't be any better. You know, you got into cake and now you get another cake. It's like it's, it's crazy. So, so viewing it as like, oh my god is that thing that's going to happen and now my life is over and what am I going to do? I'm going to be lost and like, I'm not necessarily sure that's true. You know, if you view it that way, then yes, but if you view it as opportunity and something like whatever you like I don't know Whether it is maybe like fishing or then go fishing, like, here you go, it's fantastic. So, of course, the some of the intensity, and some of the certain situations would never appear again, I'm never going to be in a game seven, you know, Stanley Cup final, whatever that's around that look at that's probably never, it's never gonna happen, I think killers and become a coach. But I think that but also then going into businesses a lot of other situations for me now that in potentially in time could be similar, you know, depending on how much he grows and what happens and like, you know, it could it could be the same thing. So it's not like it's completely off the table. And I don't know, if you if you want that challenge, then then it's fine. And like for me, it's worth going for it gives me a lot of value and I hope bring values to others. So yeah.

Curt Storring 45:56

All right. So let's talk about the type of breath work and like what your hope is for Hale Center and what you're bringing to the world? Like what is the type of breath work that you do? Why do you do it? Is there a regimen that you follow that you're getting guys on? What does the sort of ideal breathwork routine look like for you these days.

Johnny Oduya 46:15

So all my own routine, I tried to mix you know breath holding, I would say try to mix breath holding for some co2 tolerance with some some deeper sessions or some shorter deeper sessions, I would say, I don't do that much rebirthing style breathing sessions anymore, I used to do more now it's maybe every once in a while we have some sessions, we have one session at the recall, Aleksey, that's kind of a mix, that we do some longer breathing session or bouts. And then we do some breath holding, but that one I usually do. And I love that one. And I think the overall philosophy for Halo is is not to be dogmatic about a specific style. What we tried to do is actually the opposite. So we want to be a platform and a space for all major breathing style is basically and we want to be able to deliver that to people and have people pick actually what they want not because we tell them that they should breathe a certain way. And yeah, that's basically what the philosophy we go for. So we have a spectrum of, of different styles and different breathing techniques and variations. And of course, then I do performance training with coaches and players and tried to get them also to understand that it's not just some individuals have an idea that either you're only doing Wim Hof breathing and super hyperventilation you like out in space and whatever. And then some other ones are think it's like meditation, and you just why would I do breathing I breathe every day, you know, so they don't understand the spectrum and how you can implement it and the power the powerful tool, it is that you always have with you. That's what we're trying to educate people and try to do that now in Sweden, this is super, super, super fun to do.

Curt Storring 48:05

Amazing. Is this all in Sweden? Or is it going to be online to you?

Johnny Oduya 48:08

We have online. Yes, we also have online, we're also coming out with the app here and February or something like that. So that will be available as well. So we want to try to hit the online market. Yeah, a little bit more as well.

Curt Storring 48:21

Cool. Oh, I like what you said, by the way about like having this tool with you at all times. What is that performance work that you're doing? Like what are the benefits of you know, you mentioned doing like the rebirth style, which is what I have done. And I've tried, you know, everything Wim Hof and breath hold, and all this kind of stuff. But I love doing a semi regular session, just to like refresh the nervous system, as you said, of the sort of rebirthing style, the conscious connected breathing for like an hour or something. But can you give us like examples of I do this type of breathing for, you know, this amount of time. And then I can either perform better, I can squat more, I can have like calmer negotiations in business. Are there some like clear benefits from individual things? Or is it more of just like this holistic approach, where you just do it regularly, and you become just a better person? That's it's hard to get people motivated about that. But what is your take on it?

Johnny Oduya 49:15

Yeah, that's more than one question. I was gonna say, but there's more than one answer. But it kind of depends a little bit what the individuals are looking for. But we talk a lot about the Trojan horse where you kind of you can come in for one thing, and then you will get all these other things, but you have no idea that you're going to get them so like the well being will come with that if you do some breathing sessions, of course, and emotional regulation, all these things. And then when we talk specifically to performance, there's a lot of things in that. But of course, one thing that's a hot topic now it's you know, the co2 tolerance work and different ways of working with breath holding to higher that level. co2 is what kicks us into breathing basically, and a lot of people think oxygen might be the most important thing and our system is Extra overdeveloped for oxygen you take in, you can you don't, you need to take in very little oxygen to keep yourself going. Whereas 80 or 90% of individuals over breathe, there's also a behavior factor into this where you might be, you know, on a stationary bike, for example, and at some point, you might go into over breathing for certain reason, and you don't know why that is. And when you do you lose this carbon dioxide. If you lose carbon dioxide, then you have a tougher time taking up oxygen, this you can test and we can do testing with this, and you can train individuals to do this. This, for me is a superpower. And I think I was actually over breather for a lot of my career, I always had a feeling I was out of breath, but has nothing to do with my training, I trained more than most people. And I still have the sense of that. So I think that's part of performance that is super relevant, super, super relevant, and the works for everybody. As soon as you're going through a stressful state, you know, you're, you're starting to breed heavier, your pulse goes up. And if you can't handle co2 levels, then you get to get a signal to your brain, that is panic. And you might over breathe for a longer amount of time. If you're over beads for a longer amount of time, then you're going to get fatigue and headaches and you get a get all these kind of weird symptoms as well might get panic attacks from that as well. So it's super, super cool when it comes to learning how to use your breath and understanding how powerful it is. And that works for it doesn't matter if you're pro athlete or stay at home dad, or whatever you are, I think it works equally for everybody. So doing that, and then in combination with these breathing, you know, these deeper breathing sessions that are more Yeah, spiritual, or whatever you would call them, you know, the spirits in you basically. So understand that the power is in you and see in that, I think, yeah, I've done a lot of things in performance. And for me, it's a it's an unmatched tool, basically. So

Curt Storring 52:00

yeah, that's saying something that's saying a lot. And I love that you said that it's applicable, not just to like highperformance on the stationary bike, because so many of us, you know, we start to get that heightened breathing, and we become more in our heads, we become unable to stay calm and say the words we want, which is kind of what happens when you say something and then you think after the fact, oh, I wish I said something else. It's typically because you're not in that grounded space of the parasympathetic nervous system. You're like fight or flight, you're just totally out of it. And simply learning how to breathe. Like is that is this tool that we've all got? It's like this sheathed sword that we just like nobody even knows they have. And so I'm just Yeah, man, this is why I do this work. And that's why I want to have you on. Just be like, Look, guys, do something with your breath read. What is it called Just breathe by Dan brew lay, I think it is. It's like the overarching breath workbook that's popular last little while get a session, like this podcast will probably come out in sort of mid to late January. And so you guys will probably have the app out soon. So yeah, check out like the Hale Center app, get something find a breath worker. This is just it's been life changing for me. And it sounds like I mean, it's unmatched for you. Right. So yeah, I mean, is there anything else to close on with breath work? Like I can't give it a higher, go out and do this recommendation for people? But any last thoughts on the breath?

Johnny Oduya 53:20

No, not really, I mean, be be playful and open, I would say and then try it. I think a lot of breathwork is cool. And that way attracts a lot of more men that may be yoga. I think meditation is kind of both ways. Yeah, I think I think it's quite attractive for men actually, which I think it's cool. And we we need something also, you know, it feels like the women have the yoga. Not all of them. But but not all of it, but a lot of it. And this is kind of a good mindfulness practice that is also kind of some activity and you can go into the different states as you say, and but slower and faster. And you get to learn a lot about yourself. And I think it's just a great tool. So anybody that want to join online from you guys, then I would recommend that highly so start start easy. And then progress. I think you're gonna like it.

Curt Storring 54:11

Yeah, I agree with that. Johnny, this has been so much fun. Thank you for taking the time with me. Where can people find more about Hale Center and you if they want to follow you or connect or get a session whether they're in Sweden or waiting for the app?

Johnny Oduya 54:24

Yes, you can go to the website Hale dot center quite easy. So just hailed that center. And there you have all the information about basically everything we do is a very we have a lot of trainings, I do trainings, obviously online now that's possible to follow also. So I do performance training online. For those who are individuals that are interested in there for coaches and players and yeah, all these other jewels. And what else we I have my Instagram as well. We have hails Instagram Hill Center, also my Instagram just by name, John. You do? Yeah. Yeah, talking about the hockey project too. I want to promote that a little bit as well. We're doing with the brand there is called LaTonya. And that's the project we're doing. We have a street hockey tournament we're gonna have in Stockholm, actually, in the summer, and then we do a lot of work with them. So please check out a toonie also Or a junior performance on Instagram. Yeah, just follow us and see what we're up to. We want to take a lot of, you know, help different different types of we have a donation program we're setting up now too. So anybody want to reach out and have some ideas or want to donate something or you know, want to collaborate in any way? We're super open to that. So yeah, that I think sums it up.

Curt Storring 55:39

Amazing. I'll put the show notes in the podcast. You can find it at If you're listening, just go to your URL browser This episode will be on there. And, man, what's the How much would you bet that the flames are gonna win the Cup this year?

Johnny Oduya 55:55

Oh, yeah, I hope for all of her. I would love for him to win when I get the Stanley Cup back in Stockholm again, so Oh, yeah, that'd be nice.

Curt Storring 56:04

Yeah, yeah. Okay, you're not gonna put any money on it then.

Johnny Oduya 56:06

I don't know. They're doing good. I don't want to jinx anything either. So I can get Yeah. So we'll take keep that Yeah.

Curt Storring 56:13

I appreciate that. Well, it's been a long time coming. All right, man. Thank you so much. This has been a pleasure. All right. Thank you

that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to That's DAD.WORK/POD. type that into your browser just like a normal URL, You'll find everything there. You need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening, and we'll see you next time.

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