Watch this video to find out how to increase oxygenation and improve the brain function, how to breathe like you are meditating, how chanting improves health, how comfort affects breathing, how to stay calm during stress and remember answers during exams.
Sasha Yakovleva (BreathingCenter.com) has been interviewed by Dave Farrow (Brainhackers.com). Dave Farrow is the two-time Guinness world-record holder for the greatest memory who developed Farrow Memory Program. Read below the beginning of their conversation.
Dave: Please tell us how you got started and what the Breathing Center is all about.
Sasha: What I do is unusual because I teach people how to breathe less.
Dave: Breathe Less?
Sasha: That’s correct. I teach people how to reduce their air consumption.
Dave: And why are we doing that? Is this a longevity thing?
Sasha: Yes, it’s a health and longevity thing. I mostly work with people who are ill with various diseases, especially with breathing difficulties. My clients are all over the world; I work with them through video conferencing. I teach them how to change their lifestyle to support reduced breathing and how to do breathing exercises in order to breathe less.
Dave: This is fascinating. At one time, I was into free diving. Free divers can hold their breath for a long time, and I practiced this technique: you take a really deep breath in, and then you swallow, you hyper-compress your lungs. And then you can go down under water. I was able to hold my breath for two minutes, which was amazingly longer than I could before learning this technique.
So, I understand the idea of breathing exercises for that. But when you start talking about breathing less, it sounds controversial: people think that breath is life and you’re telling them to breathe less.
Sasha: I agree with you that this method is counterintuitive because, normally, people think that breathing more will give you more oxygen making you feel better and more energetic.
Dave: Yes. There are oxygen bars for this very reason.
Sasha: This method is based on a long-term work of Russian medical doctors and scientists who discovered that, no matter how much oxygen we inhale, the amount of oxygen, which the body can utilize is determined by the level of carbon dioxide in our lungs. So, the higher the level of carbon dioxide in the lungs, the more oxygen the body can use. And the way to increase that level is by breathing less. Not by breathing more.
Dave: So, you’re breathing less, but you are getting more oxygen because of it.
Sasha: That’s right.
Dave: How controversial is this argument? Is this something that’s established worldwide or just in Russia?
Sasha: This method was invented by Doctor Buteyko, who was a medical doctor, had a Ph.D. as well. He was a brilliant and a legendary physiologist who worked with many doctors, scientists and fitness instructors. So he made his discovery in 1952, and since then, this work continues. His name is well known in Russia, but also now all over the world. If you type the word Buteyko in Google, you will probably see millions of websites.
Dave: When I first heard of this, my first impression was that it was like meditation. I did meditation for many years, and I was taught to do deep breathing. Buddha said to breathe through your heels. That was the idea: to breathe very deep, to fill your lungs with air, breathe it all out and get rid of all the carbon dioxide. Your approach is different, right?
Sasha: Right. Any genuine type of meditation is based on breathing reduction. If you do any traditional meditation, you will notice that your breathing will become increasingly less pronounced, quieter.
Dave: That’s true!
Sasha: If you spend a relatively long time meditating, you will experience moments when it feels like you’re not breathing at all. Your breathing would stop periodically. And that’s how a calm, tranquil state manifests through breath. What we do is we imitate breathing during meditation within 24 hours. We are trying our best to breathe like we are meditating day and night.
Dave: Old monks used to say that meditation is a 24-hour activity. By the way, I was seriously practicing meditation for ten years. When I lived in Toronto, I regularly visited a Tibetan Center there where I would meditate with the monks. Sometimes, I was meditating for a couple of hours in a row. You are right: there were moments when I hadn’t breathed for a while. The breath was a rare thing that would pop in.
Sasha: I’m also a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism and familiar with what you are saying. Let’s talk about chanting…
Watch the video on the top of this page to learn more.