A week or so ago a friend, who knows I do a particular breath exercise, sent me an article from Discover Magazine titled Can Breathing Like Wim Hof Make Us Superhuman? The Holy Verses of the Rigveda say that it will, but I, using the method the school has rediscovered, have not achieved any superhuman abilities. However, it appears that Wim Hof proves the point. Hof is about 60 years old and can spend an hour and a half in an ice bath. He swam under the ice at the North Pole, run a half marathon barefoot and shirtless above the Arctic Circle. He can partially control his autonomic nervous system, and he says that by following his breathing method you will experience greater energy, lower stress levels and an improved immune system. He says that the physiological changes the breathing techniques impart have enabled him to achieve seemingly superhuman feats of endurance.
The basic technique is to sit in a chair or lie down, take 30 quick deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Next, take a deep breath, exhale, and hold until you need to breathe. Inhale as deep as you can, and hold for 10 seconds. Exhale and inhale 30 deep breaths, and so on – repeat the whole sequence three or more times.
To find out more about Wim Hof and his technique, please visit his website. I do not know any more than the most basic of basics and even that is questionable. There is no doubt that Wim Hof has come upon something amazing, but how does the Vedic system differ. The Vedic system is identical in quick deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, but different in that the Sacred Syllable of AH is produced on exhalation. I might do 12, 24, or 36 breaths and a deep inhalation and hold. I hold for as long as I can, exhale and repeat repeatedly. Although I have not perfected the technique, the procedure is to produce an identical sound to and from. When that happens I will have a better idea of what one can expect, but until then, it is a guessing game.
Here is a verse from the Veda about deep breathing.
It is wonderful with a continuous flow of AH for the light and knowledge of profound depth, to be as vast as the expanse of the whole universe to be powerful with speed, and to be deep in the belly with the air to satisfy with a nectar to love.