Ouch that smack across the face hurt and the words “of course, don’t be stupid” were none too pleasant either.
I am not suggesting that we don’t need to breathe indefinitely. Just asking a question. As freedivers we do stop breathing for an unusual period of time when compared to non freedivers.
If you averaged it out over a lifetime it would probably add up to quite a lot. One exercise or training tool is the CO2 table which essentially has you decreasing your rest period between breath holds. One great experience I had involved an extreme version of that, for me at least. I remember calculating afterwards at some stage that over the last 15 minutes of time I had really only been breathing for two minutes when you add it all up, all the recovery breaks, or something like that. It wasn’t a proper table but still a bit of a mind job.
Breath holding is weird, I’ll be the first to admit it but it’s also amazing how the same people who call it weird continue to ask other questions about it, so it’s also curious to many. All I can say is it’s good. It feels good, it seems good. It relaxes me, makes me feel at peace, one with the Universe and the Ocean. All tranquil and hippy. A lot of people need to smoke stuff to get that feeling.
It does kill some brain cells, let’s be clear. DAN has done some fantastic research on it. Now brain cells die all the time and I usually mange to cause a massacre via my old friend whiskey at weekends in “Shoot the Crows” an infamous spot in Sligo town if you ever visit. So I am not overly concerned by that but it’s good to be aware of it.
When you do stop breathing the initial response is panic, but that goes away and after a while a really deep mellow buzz comes along. Breathing and not breathing (apnea) is used in meditation and Yoga so there has to be something in it. I think when we stop or arrest that primordial urge we take control of our lives, even if only for a few seconds or a few minutes. Literally take control of our life.
Or so we think, because eventually the superior intelligence that is the great unknown and at the same time the super familiar will take over. The body kicks in, the subconscious takes control, our diaphragm contracts like a hiccup and we lose that intense relaxation. We are brought back to earth, back to ordinary life, our body makes us breathe. If we still struggle and resist for too long it says fine, watch this and you black out. A bit extreme but you didn’t do what your body was telling you to do so what were you expecting? You need to listen more man. After a short period it forgives you, you breathe again and it gives you back your consciousness.
For me the benefits have far outweighed any possible/potential side effects.
But you can always stop breathing again, rinse and repeat.