SBO Pranayama

My best meditation ever – Simon Borg-Olivier

SCIENCE EXPERIMENT: My best meditation ever after first holding my breath in for 6 minutes:

My breathing was scientifically tested in a laboratory at RMIT University. I was hooked up to a calorimeter with a gas mask to measure energy use in terms of the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels In my expired air.

1. Breathe more than normal for 5 minutes (hyperventilation)
2. Hold my breath in for 6 minutes (hypoventilation)
3. The best meditation I have ever had with the computer saying I did not breathe for about 8 minutes, but for me I was feeling like I was totally peaceful, calm, energised and clear and just no thought of breathing in my head and no measurable breathing according to the computer.


In this experiment I hyperventilated (breathed more than normal) first using ten full breaths per minute (50 litres of air per minute) as opposed to the normal 5 litres of air per minute. Then I held my breath as long as I comfortably could, which turned out to be just over six full minutes.

That day amazed me. According to the computer I hyperventilated for 5 minutes then did a conscious very easy breath retention for 6 minutes. This was the longest I have ever consciously held my breath, and it was without straining, yet I decided to stop in case I fainted since, hyperventilation can give you a false sense of not having to breathe that can cause blackout. After holding my breath I consciously took two normal breaths. Then according to the computer I didn’t breath for the next 8 minutes. But to me, I was not conscious of my breathing at all as I was having the best, most clear, most grounded, most energised and most blissful meditation of my life. The energy and positive feelings I got from this practice lasted for days. This is what I presume meditation (and yoga) is meant to feel like and the true purpose and method for breathing more than normal (hyperventilating) before holding the breath (hypoventilation) and then meditation.

Thank you so much to Professor Marc Cohen, not only for helping conduct this research, but also for all the dedication and work he has put into the health sciences, especially in creating the RMIT Masters of Wellness program which Bianca Machliss and I have been so honoured to teach in for the last ten years.


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