benefits of hyperventilation?

End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
I recently discovered that about 5 minutes of hyperventilation (on the order of 30 breaths / min) will cause some kind of indistinct change in consciousness along with a sense of choking while hyperventilating, and then a significant relaxation that lasts for at least an hour once normal breathing restarts. The relaxation is significant enough that, while sitting still, I catch myself simply not needing to breath for an interval here or there---presumably this is from relaxation leading to a hypometabolic state and not from a lack of CO2 because it happens long after normal breathing has restarted (say, after 20 minutes or more). This relaxation seems very useful for meditation.

Am I rediscovering some kind of pranayama technique? Are there more nuanced approaches to this that have been studied in the worlds of yoga or Tibetan Buddhism or wherever? Anyone tried this?
Adam . ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Omega point mentioned this in his thread http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4200127

Example(kundalini fire-breathing): Rapidly breathe in and out in an extremely shallow manner. Bellowing the belly with each breath. Occasionally bring your focus to the sensory related to the breath going in and out of the nostrils. (Fabricating the sensory as if the breath were going in and out of the nostrils manipulates the flow of the breath.) There are many minor, unique, and irrelevant aspects to this specific posture.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Interesting, thanks. When I tried hyperventilation, it was with deep inhales & exhales; I'll try Omega Point's shallow way and see what the difference is.

I couldn't find any explanation of what that technique is for, except perhaps as something to alternate with breath-holding. Did I miss something? Is it supposed to stand alone? I have questions like: what would happen if I did it for 30 minutes?

BTW, I read that hyperventilation may cause panic attacks in some people. So it might not be a benign technique for everyone.

http://www.psy-journal.com/article/S0165-1781%2801%2900335-3/abstract:
Our aim was to determine whether panic disorder (PD) patients, major depressive patients without panic attacks (MD) and major depressive patients with panic attacks (MDP) respond similarly to hyperventilation challenge tests. We randomly selected 35 PD patients, 33 MDP patients, 27 MD patients and 30 normal volunteers with no family history of anxiety or mood disorder. The patients had not been treated with psychotropic drugs for at least 1 week. They were induced to hyperventilate (30 breaths/min) for 4 min, and anxiety was assessed before and after the test. A total of 16 (45.7%) PD patients, 12 (36.4%) MDP patients, four (11.1%) MD patients, and two (6.7%) normal volunteers had a panic attack after hyperventilating.
Adam . ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Well, Omega Point has written alot about these things. If you trust me to summarize without providing quotes I will do that to save myself some time... the quotes which i am pretty sure would back up my summary are spread out and hidden in a lot of wordy writing.

Heat yoga (of which kundalini fire breathing is a variety) develops one's mastery over "fabrications." Which seems to refer to both willed experiences, and interpretational overlays on top of reality (though maybe these are the same thing according to some of his writings). He has also suggested that heat yoga is of a different category of practice than non-meditation which he says is the way to the end of suffering. Heat yoga and other practices which develop mastery over fabrication can go above and beyond the personal end of suffering...

So i guess kundalini fire breathing will help you develop your capacity to interpret/will experiences into being however you see fit, and will contribute to the end of your personal suffering by helping you develop a capacity not to interpret reality as suffering.

As for standing alone he suggests one practice non-meditation when not formally doing this practice, and that either you can just do this formally or do other yogas as well. As for what will happen if you do it for 30 minutes i dont know. He did talk about practicing heat yoga for long periods in some places so I think it is intended that you do it for more than 5 minutes.
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Pablo . P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 379 Join Date: 3/21/12 Recent Posts
This isn't actually hyperventilation, but a related practice, where for example you inhale 100% then exhale 50%, inhale 100% exhale 30%, inhale 100% exhale 10%, inhale 100% exhale 100%. Its a taoist soft version of tummo, called Flying Phoenix Qigong. In the link (post # 138) you'll see the description of the inhale/exhale patterns but not the body movements. I can lend you the DVDs if you want to try it out. I no longer practice this qigong.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Pablo, why don't you practice it anymore, and what did you get out of it when you did?
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Pablo . P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 379 Join Date: 3/21/12 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Pablo, why don't you practice it anymore, and what did you get out of it when you did?


IMO, the short answer is that these practices leads to a "fake enlightenment", with a high standard of concentration, health and even siddhis in daily life ***, but that fades gradually once you stop doing the exercises. I read that from at least two long time practitioners. Of course, this might not be the case if you're already enlightened before trying them.

Otherwise, it would be interesting to know how these tummo/kundalini practices could be placed in the insight/samatha map. One wild speculation is that they are a clever method to lengthen and strengthen the A&P peak. Other, that with the energy pipes cleaning up through breath retention, you can skip DN and jump to EQ. As an anecdote, if you're standing up in a fetal position and you inhale expanding your lower-back and hold your breath, all thoughts vanish completely until you exhale.

*** I did that qigong for a few months and so had little results, my experience cannot be taken as relevant
A D R, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 685 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
I have done this quite a bit actually, usually in the context of freaking out about death and my lack of knowledge of the subject. I would just lock into a fast, shallow pant until I felt my body processes slowly down and I could get back into a flow where my breath was really feint. Its not something I would recommend in terms of formal practice, just something I stumbled upon that helped me get through hard times. This may not be what you are talking about though.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Why wouldn't you recommend it in terms of formal practice? Is there some downside that you noticed?
A D R, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 685 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Why wouldn't you recommend it in terms of formal practice? Is there some downside that you noticed?


I guess it doesn't seem ideal? Maybe that is a bad reason. It has always been kind of a last resort type thing for me in my toolbox because I am not sure how healthy it is. Usually when I did it I wouldn't do it for just a few seconds and realize that I was holding on to something, pushing something away, etc.

There have also been times where I did this technique where I feel I was misusing it. So idk. But it has helped, don't get me wrong.
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fivebells ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Am I rediscovering some kind of pranayama technique? Are there more nuanced approaches to this that have been studied in the worlds of yoga or Tibetan Buddhism or wherever? Anyone tried this?


You may be interested in bamboo breathing. It's been almost 25 years since I tried it, and it wasn't very effective for me then, but it seems like a related technique.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
I realized that I was previously doing ~50 breaths / minute, not 30. And by "breaths" I mean full inhale-exhale cycles.

Just now I tried to do kundalini fire-breathing, but my abdomen muscles couldn't keep up the pumping for more than 2 minutes, so I basically did 120 shallow breaths / minute for 15 minutes. After 5 minutes the choking sensation and the desire to stop seemed to go away and I was left in an indistinct altered state, but somewhat relaxed. After the exercise ended (right now), I am really relaxed. No heat effects that I could notice except that now that I've stopped, I'm feeling colder.

I might make up a little morning pranayama routine like this:

n minutes hyperventilation
15 minutes ujjayi breathing

where n is TBD based on further experiments. So far the relaxation after hyperventilation has been really strong and it lasts a long time. I said "at least an hour" but I thought about it further and would have to update that to "at least five hours". Maybe even longer!
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. Jake ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
EIS you might look into holotropic breathwork. The technique is to simply pump as much air through your system as possible as fast as possible. There are other aspects to it having to do with set and setting. Stan Grof, a psychiatrist who studied psychedelics while that was legal, developed holotropic breathwork as a substitue for those substances when they no longer were. In my experience the effect is comparable to psychedelics in many ways.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Jake, in your experiences with HB, for how long did you need to hyperventilate for a significant altered state to ensue?
A D R, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 685 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Jake, in your experiences with HB, for how long did you need to hyperventilate for a significant altered state to ensue?


Why are you trying to get into altered states? Just thought I would ask.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
A D R:
End in Sight:
Jake, in your experiences with HB, for how long did you need to hyperventilate for a significant altered state to ensue?


Why are you trying to get into altered states? Just thought I would ask.


I did hyperventilation for 15 minutes and nothing particularly striking happened mentally, so I wondered if I should expect something different if I extend it to 30 minutes or an hour, or if it would be more of the same. I'm mostly curious about different experiences with hyperventilation, since I just discovered it and don't really know what might be expected to happen if I practice it, or what kinds of experiences other people have with it.

Having said that, if hyperventilation could lead to a significant altered state, it could be useful for something, depending on what kind of altered state it was. So I'd be interested in seeing it.
A D R, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 685 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Saw a clip of this movie once...the guy starting at about 39:45 does some pretty interesting stuff with breathing


The Yogis of Tibet (2002)
C P M, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 219 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
A D R:
Saw a clip of this movie once...the guy starting at about 39:45 does some pretty interesting stuff with breathing


The Yogis of Tibet (2002)


I just watched the whole clip, my idea of hardcore Dharma has been revised. That breathing technique was interesting.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
A D R:
Saw a clip of this movie once...the guy starting at about 39:45 does some pretty interesting stuff with breathing

The Yogis of Tibet (2002)


At the beginning I asked myself, "what are those mats for?" emoticon
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. Jake ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Jake, in your experiences with HB, for how long did you need to hyperventilate for a significant altered state to ensue?

Hmm good question. The first time it took a few minutes. Subsequently it was pretty quick. I h a ve to say though like psychedelics Holotropic can induce an unpredicable variety of experiences fr o m enhanced "normal" clairity to far out stuff. When i'm on a regular computer again i'll give a more detailed account.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
. Jake .:
End in Sight:
Jake, in your experiences with HB, for how long did you need to hyperventilate for a significant altered state to ensue?

Hmm good question. The first time it took a few minutes. Subsequently it was pretty quick. I h a ve to say though like psychedelics Holotropic can induce an unpredicable variety of experiences fr o m enhanced "normal" clairity to far out stuff. When i'm on a regular computer again i'll give a more detailed account.


Looking forward to reading it!
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D Z, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
Seems similar to the technique used to set breath holding records. (look around the 6:50 mark)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFnGhrC_3Gs&feature=youtube_gdata


As for how this relates to enlightenment, breathing is used in tantra practice to manipulate the prana / rlung. Which allows for more subtle forms of mental activity to be dissolved than is possible with Vipassana.

I am not so sure how effective hyper ventilating is for that purpose thought.

Here is a good article contrasting, Vipassana, Mahamudra and Dzogchen...
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/advanced/dzogchen/basic_points/introduction_dzogchen.html

From the article...
Both mahamudra and dzogchen deal with the subtlest level of mental activity, mahamudra accesses it by dissolving the energy-winds and the grosser levels of mental activity, whereas dzogchen accesses it by recognizing it within the grosser levels, namely sem.


An example of rlung problem is the center line chakra disturbances can become very unsubtle after enlightenment for many people. Some very simple breathing exercises can dissolve that quite a bit in my experience..

Also some of the esoteric practices can be quite physically dangerous from what I have heard, and should be conducted with the guidance of qualified master. Then again I am just a novice at this stuff, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
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Pablo . P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 379 Join Date: 3/21/12 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
I recently discovered that about 5 minutes of hyperventilation (on the order of 30 breaths / min) will cause some kind of indistinct change in consciousness along with a sense of choking while hyperventilating, and then a significant relaxation that lasts for at least an hour once normal breathing restarts. The relaxation is significant enough that, while sitting still, I catch myself simply not needing to breath for an interval here or there---presumably this is from relaxation leading to a hypometabolic state and not from a lack of CO2 because it happens long after normal breathing has restarted (say, after 20 minutes or more). This relaxation seems very useful for meditation.

Am I rediscovering some kind of pranayama technique? Are there more nuanced approaches to this that have been studied in the worlds of yoga or Tibetan Buddhism or wherever? Anyone tried this?


I tried the hyperventilation for around 10 minutes at the end of my hour long sit. Did fast and shallow breathings, about 60 per minute. Never felt a sense of choking and the mild discomfort vanished in a couple of minutes. Later on I felt the (paradoxical) relaxation of the diaphragm and upper abs. When I stopped, there was no need of breathing for a long time, and I entered into a kind of jhanic state. The relaxation didn't last long off cushion though.

I'll add this to my practice, as tension in that area has been a major problem for me. I'll post any results.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Pablo . P:
When I stopped, there was no need of breathing for a long time, and I entered into a kind of jhanic state.


How many minutes after stopping did this effect continue for?
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Pablo . P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: benefits of hyperventilation?

Posts: 379 Join Date: 3/21/12 Recent Posts
2 minutes, not more than 3 (I'm just a beginner who has tapped jhanic territory only through energy practices). After that, I tried once again the hyperventilation but for a couple of minutes only, and effect was weaker.

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