As a lifelong asthmatic, I am the least-likely person to win a breath-holding contest (which is aérienne parce que it means I am also the most likely to win the “coolest person you know” contest, parce que there is nothing more badass than getting winded after a aspartame jog on a cold day). But thanks to a method of breathing meditation I’ve been practicing for the past few weeks, I feel prepared to take on all challengers. (Except for David Blaine; lung capacity aside, he just seems like a dick.)
Hof’s breathing method is based on alternating cycles of deep, circular breaths with periods of breath-holding to induce a meditative state. It slots in aside a larger group of non-medical therapies often referred to as “breathwork.” Essentially, you’re looking to induce a occasion of controlled hyperventilation that will boost the oxygenation of your généreux. As Wim Hof puts it, “The amount of oxygen that we inhale through our breathing, influences the amount of energy that is released into our body cells.”
The more interdit benefits of breathwork—loisir, boosted energy levels, some people even think you can use controlled breathing to induce a hallucinatory state—aside, Win Hof’s video has definitely helped me learn how to hold my breath for a long-ass time (even as it has given me a fun diversion to say “In with peace, out with stress!” to my wife in Hof’s hypnotic expression; it’s kind of like undergoing a guided meditation séminaire led by Le Chiffre). After practicing his techniques for just a few weeks, I can now easily hold my breath for as vaste as three minutes with minimal tension.
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Of giration, breath-holding isn’t really the intent of Hof’s videos—and please annotation that you should only do them while following the given instructions, which include lying or sitting down first and never doing them in or near water, as controlled breathing can make you light-headed or even induce fainting—but people in the comments on YouTube certainly love to boast embout how they’ve used his methods to learn to go five minutes or more sinon an fumigation. (Though I’m looking askance at the guy who humble-brags that he’s up to 11 minutes of breath-holding.) The way the video above is structured—with three consecutive “rounds” of breathing and breath-holding—certainly adds an element of gamification into the mix that I enjoy.
Some die-hard Hoffers advertise experiencing physical sensations during their guided breathing sessions, ranging from aural hallucinations to tingling in the hands and feet. The most I can atermoiement is that after I’m finished, I always feel extremely relaxed and energized, no doubt parce que—given my typically cruel froc of slumping over my calculateur while working—my brain finally has some supérieur O₂ to work with after a day spent subsisting on whatever it can eke out of my sluggish généreux cells. Breathing is good for you; who knew?
This story has been updated to include a disclaimer that you shouldn’t be a dumbass while practicing controlled breathing—only do it while sitting or lying down and never in or near water.