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breathing techniques

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Schnappr

New Member
Jun 25, 2001
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I've tried yoga and tried to stick with it, but the positions were kind of tough. Also, I could not concentrate on my breathing while doing the poses. My breathing never seemed to get any lighter. I have a heart rate monitor and I have been trying to learn how to lower my heart rate. Yoga has not done it yet. So I have tried just to sit and do some breathing exercises; the only problem is that I don't know any. My heart rate never seems to drop below 53 bpm. If anyone could help me out on some non-yoga related breathing exercises I would greatly appreciate it.

Eric :D
 

Cliff Etzel

Photographer & Visual Storyteller
Jul 7, 2000
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Maybe an issue of Cardio workout?

Well, you pulse is better than mine at the moment, so I wouldn't complain :D

But seriously, you may be predisposed to not being able to get any lower - not sure though. Tanya Streeter told me that she doesn't practice yoga at all, instead opting for massive amounts of Cardio Aerobic and Anaerobic workouts.

I am focusing on that aspect at the moment and I seem to be seeing some results. I do cardio weight lifting and swimming, both regular and with my gear. Also do mainly dynamic apnea as well.

Each person is unique in their physiology and it may take some time for you to find the right formula for attaining your goals.

I encourage you - don't give up trying.
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
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One yoga thing that I used to do was called "sand bag breathing".
It involved lying flat on the floor at rest with a sand-bag on your stomach. The resistance breathing in and out would reduce my breathing rate to under four breaths a minute. As the breathing rate went down, so did the heart rate. All of the other yoga breathing exercises I tired also involved this position. I believe it is called shavasana (sp?)- corpse pose. Trying to hold your breath while standing on your head sounds too tough for a wimp like me. I used a shot bag out of an old BC that I no longer used for the sand-bag.
I have since gone on to try other things. I bought a power-lung, but have seen absolutely NO improvement with it. I have heard others say that it actually decreases their static time.
I am now trying some co2/ 02 tables that I got from Kirk during our clinic. I guess that they were originally designed by Pellazari. They work on progressive breath-holding with very specific recovery periods between attempts. I am still on the first weeks 02 schedule and the second weeks co2 program. I try to do them in the morning before I bike- so my heart rate is still low. I have also started to forgo my morning coffee while I try this for the summer.
This winter I may try and get back into yoga- you have to do something when it's 20 below out. :)
You can also try apnea walks or apnea push-ups. Basically hold your breath for a minute at rest and the either do as many push-ups as you can, or walk as far as you can, berfore you have to breath.
Hope this helps.

Jon
 

Erik

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
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Heart rate

Hi Eric, I must tell you that my heart rate does not drop significantly during static training. My resting rate is around 50, and naturally speeds up at the beginning of the hold. I do 4 breath holds in a row. Here is what it looks like...Breathe up for 2min...hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 2 min....hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 3 minutes...hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 5 min....hold for as many as possible. My best is 50 contractions at 6:03. My heart rate doesn't change much, except to go up near the end of the attempt.
However, when diving, after doing 2 negative dives, my heart rate increases during inhale to around 100bpm, then drops to below 50 as soon as I hold my breath. During the dive, my heart rate will drop to around 20bpm at -25metres. Bpm during the negative dives to -8metres is also around 20.
I think the only way to drop your resting heart rate is through regular exercise where the heart rate is increased.
One note; last year I switched to decaf and my heart rate dropped almost 10 bpm, to what it is now.
Cheers,
Erik
 

Thom

New Member
Jul 8, 2001
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I do 4 breath holds in a row. Here is what it looks like...Breathe up for 2min...hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 2 min....hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 3 minutes...hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 5 min....hold for as many as possible.
Is holding your breath by contractions considered better than using a stopwatch each time? I ask because I tend to go for as long as I can on my first attempt, look at the watch after the first strong contraction comes, and then hold until the next 'even' time comes up, e.g. if it says 3:02 I hold until 3:30. This works, to an extent, and the times before contractions start increase gradually between breathholds, but I tend to be distracted by the watch. Is counting contractions a better way of maintaining a relaxed state and ensuring you don't push yourself too hard?
 

Erik

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
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Hi Thom, I would not say that it's "better", but it's what I prefer. I find it easier to not look at a watch. The first sets of breath holds are there to get your body in 02 starve mode, and CO2 resistance mode (please excuse my unscientific terms). I think it's a good idea to not push these too much, as your just trying to kick in the reflex. Some guys log everything, including when the contractions start, how many, etc.
I will look at the watch on the last attempt, once I hit 40 contractions, then see how far I can take it.
I really think it's what works best for you, Thom
Cheers,
Erik
 

Schnappr

New Member
Jun 25, 2001
2
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contractions

Thanks for all your replies. They're helping me, but there is one thing I am not quite sure about one thing.
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I do 4 breath holds in a row. Here is what it looks like...Breathe up for 2min...hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 2 min....hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 3 minutes...hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 5 min....hold for as many as possible.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

These contractions, what are they? Are they the contractions of your lungs trying to takin in more air? I read a lot of freediving things and there's one thing that confuses me. A lot of freedivers talk about ignoring the need to breathe. They say you just have to fight it. I am not really sure what this means or how to go about trying it and mastering it. I am sorta new to the world of freediving so forgive me for my stupid questions.

Eric
 

amr

New Member
Jul 14, 2001
13
1
0
I do 4 breath holds in a row. Here is what it looks like...Breathe up for 2min...hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 2 min....hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 3 minutes...hold for 20 contractions. Breathe up for 5 min....hold for as many as possible. My best is 50 contractions at 6:03.

Is this "breathing up" just normal breathing to recover from the previous breathhold, or is it some form of extra breathing or hyperventilation used to reduce the C02 levels below normal?
 

freediver48

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Apr 5, 2001
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Hi,

I'm sure Erik will want to respond to this as well, but this is a start. The breath-ups are the core of your O2 build up, they may be done slowly or fairly fast, but not fast and shallow. I my relaxed breath-up that I use for static apnea I do about 4 breaths per minute. When I'm in the water hunting my beath-ups are much faster to a maximum of 30/2 minutes. They are full deep breaths. The rate and the number are up to you, but make them full and complete. A typical breath-up is one minute longer than you want to hold yopur breath. I hope that this helps.

Best wishes,

Freediver48
 

efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
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487
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Why not fast and shallow?

I disagree that a fast and shallow breathing pattern isn't good for static. I don't recommend any kind of hyperventilation for diving, but for static, especially dry static, it seems to work. After connecting myself to an oximeter, capnograph, transcutaneous monitor, metabolic monitor, etc... I found that the way to increase my blood oxygen the most was fast and shallow diaphragm breathing for 4 minutes. So, if I go for a max dry static, I first take two breaths, hold for 3:30, then do very fast very shallow breathing for 4 minutes, then pack my lungs. The only way I can go over 7 minutes is with the fast and shallow breathing. Again, I don't recommend that sort of breathing for diving. My friend Stephanie's pb in dry static was 4:30. She tried the fast and shallow technique and she made 5:31. A few weeks later she made 5:20 in the water, a new german record, breaking the old german women's record of four forty-something.

Eric Fattah
 

Cliff Etzel

Photographer & Visual Storyteller
Jul 7, 2000
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Originally posted by Jon

You can also try apnea walks or apnea push-ups. Basically hold your breath for a minute at rest and the either do as many push-ups as you can, or walk as far as you can, berfore you have to breath.
Hope this helps.

Jon

Jon - what are your rest intervals when doing the pushups or walking? Also - you made mention about the tables - what do they basically help you with?
 

freediver48

Offline
Apr 5, 2001
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Re: contractions

[i

These contractions, what are they? Are they the contractions of your lungs trying to takin in more air? I read a lot of freediving things and there's one thing that confuses me. A lot of freedivers talk about ignoring the need to breathe. They say you just have to fight it. I am not really sure what this means or how to go about trying it and mastering it. I am sorta new to the world of freediving so forgive me for my stupid questions.

Eric [/B]

Hi, Erik writing from fd48's computor.

I think that the contractions are your body telling you to breathe, but the contractions also help to force O2 into your bloodstream under the extra pressure
Try holding your breath until you get the involuntary contractions, and try for a number, like 10 contractions for example. Do your breathe up, then try to go for more contractions.
As for fighting the urge, I have found that with practice, the feeling is not one of fighting anymore. Instead, it has become pleasurable.
No questions are stupid, I think. The great thing about this forum is that we can share ideas to benefit all of us.
Cheers,
Erik;)
 

freediver48

Offline
Apr 5, 2001
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Breathe up

Originally posted by amr


Is this "breathing up" just normal breathing to recover from the previous breathhold, or is it some form of extra breathing or hyperventilation used to reduce the C02 levels below normal?

Erik here, writing from fd48's computor.
Breathing up is a term for whatever technique you use to prepare your mind and body for the dive or breathold.
I use an 8:4:8 or 8:4:4 for diving. That is, inhale for a count of 8, hold for 4, exhale for8 for example. Before the dive, I will take 5 large breaths at a rate of 2 inhale,2 exhale.
Hope that helps a bit, Cheers,
Erik
 

Angus

New Member
Apr 2, 2001
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Breathing up and contractions

Howdy folks, I have just returned from house hunting in Utah :head what a pain. But it was nice to get back and find this great discussion. So to throw in my couple of bits. I am not a yoga practitioner either and at this point I am getting little in the way of regular training - something I plan on changing once this move if over. I am much less precise in my breath-ups than Erik (and I don't dive as deep or long as he does either). Back when I first started freediving we were just messing around in Lake Tahoe to see how deep we could go. By 30f I was on my own as no else would try to go deeper. This was almost 30 years ago. Then we tied rocks in a couple of pillow cases and attached a 165f climbing rope to it which was also attached to and inner tube. And that children is how Uncle Angus went to 180f (climbing ropes have lots of stretch) back before he ever heard of the big blue or the movie for that matter. The really scary thing is that we didn't think anything about it - it was just really fun. I experimented with all sorts of breathing patterns and found the best was long slow breathes followed by several deep fast inhalations and exhalations. I didn't count or time anything - instead I went on how I felt. There is a sense of well-being that comes over me that is mostly a feeling of stillness and calm. As that feeling deepens I would do the fast in/out to clear as much CO2 as possible and dive. I still use this as the base of my breath-up. Octo recently suggested that I add a third step in the middle in which I take long slow belly extending breath, hold briefly, and then slow exhale with my tongue thrust forward to increase the pressure during the exhale without straining. I find that counting and such distracts me from my diving and increases my heartrate. Instead I try to concentrate on the quality of each breathing cycle for each of the three stages. When I feel ready I shift to the next stage and to the dive. If I can relax into this I develop a pattern of breathing and diving that becomes automatic and feels effortless. My up/down pattern just seems to happen and I start having those transcendental moments that only seem to occur below 30f. I love that period of time when I am deep and comfortable - when time elongates - and I am not aware of the water - when I am just flowing along on some dream song.

As for contractions, not everyone experiences them. Some people have very obvious contractions and others very mild to the point that they are not aware of them at all. This has led some people ot think that they are not holding their breath long enough - and then they pass out. I never felt contractions until recently. Back in my misspent youth I used to win bets by holding my breath over 5 minutes and on several occassions for 61/2 minutes. Now when 3 to 4 minutes is a real struggle I occassionally feel contractions yet they are very mild. When I have passed out I have never had contractions prior to fainting or almost fainting. Each of has to find our own path in this.

When we talk about lowering our heartrate we are also talking about the mammalian dive reflex. One thing to try in dry training to decrease heartrate is to place a cold wet washcloth over your face. It is thought (but far from proven) that there are receptors around our lips, nose, and eyes that trigger the dive reflex when they come in contact with cold water. Cold is a relative term meaning that the water is noticably colder than you are. Angus
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
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I usually rest about two to three minutes inbetween sets of push ups or walking. I like to do the walks in the afternoon when I take my lab to the dog park- that way we both get some exercise.

The tables have two different parts. There is an 02 table that you can do one day and a C02 table for the other. They are suppossed to build up your tolerences to the two gasses.
a C02 table might start with a 2 min. breath-up followed by a 2 min. breath-hold. Then 1:30 breath-up followed by another 2 min. breath-hold. This contiunes on down to a :45 breath-up and the same 2 min. hold. I find the C02 tables to be much easier than the 02 tables.
The 02 tables go the other way. They start with a constant 2 min. breath-up and the breath-hold keeps getting longer. They start at 2 min. and keep going up from there. It has helped my static time.
Before Kirk's clinic 2:30 was the longest I had ever held my breath. Yesterday I did 4:30. Not to bad for only working on it a month. I don't know what this means for me in the water because I don't push anything when I am out on the lake. I have no real freediving buddy to train with, although there are scuba divers around, so I keep everything very conservative. I think the real test will be when underwater hockey starts up in the fall.

Jon
 

amr

New Member
Jul 14, 2001
13
1
0
Re: Why not fast and shallow?

... I found that the way to increase my blood oxygen the most was fast and shallow diaphragm breathing for 4 minutes.

I was wondering: how fast and how shallow should this "diaphragm breathing" be for the best results?

Based on this vague description, I recently tried this method and it seems to work surpisingly well (giving perhaps 15 sec better results than other "breath up" methods I have tried for dry static.) It seems to take less effort than doing slow deep breaths.
 

waxlips

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2005
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get some fullface goggles or nose goggles and hold a little flap of them out just enough so that a tiny bit of air comes in not enough to breathe forever but works for a little longer than you can hold your breath. now breathe through that for as long as you can and feel your lungs strengthen and perhaps pulse slow down. i still get every feeling i get when i hold my breath doing this because it isn't much air at all.
 
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