"Since childhood I have been suffering from astma with a lot of medicine and attacks included. During the last year I have attended the Breatheology workshops 4 times and I have not taken my medicin since. It's amazing what a strong breath can do."
Jorn Nortoft, yogateacher/owner of Copehagen Yoga Studio
"In Breatheology, Stig Åvall Severinsen brings together medical science and ancient wisdom in a comprehensive study of the intricate art of breath control. Stig is uniquely qualified to write on this subject, as he holds a PhD in medicine, is a life-long student of yoga breathing techniques, and a world record holder in the esoteric sport of static apnea and breath hold diving, having held his breath underwater for more than 20 minutes. But though Breatheology offers the most concise and comprehensive descriptions of breath control and breath-holding exercises ever published, it is not just a text for aspiring free divers. As Stig convincingly demonstrates in his writings, breath awareness and control can have dramatic benefits in everyday life, influencing everything from stress management to weight loss and athletic performance. It is a must-read for anyone with a curiosity for the little-known techniques of human performance enhancement, or anyone who simply wishes to improve their own health and personal well-being."
Pierce Hoover, Co founder of Sport Diver magazine
"I became aware of the power of breathing properly for the first time when I went freediving with Stig in the Red Sea. After performing breathing exercises for a couple of days I could hold my breath for more than 4 minutes in the water. The sensation of surplus mental energy and inner tranquillity was intoxicating."
Bjarne Brynk Jensen, 43 Company coach and consultant for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010
“Your breathing exercises and meditation opened a new world to me. The act of closing out the world, and being in both myself and my breath is completely unique. Never before have I experienced such calmness and balance. I have used this process daily ever since. Both in sports and my training – where I concentrate on getting oxygen to all the muscle fibers – and also when I am under pressure at work and need to make quick decisions which can have big economic consequences. Instead of breathing with the upper part of my lungs, I lean back and breathe way down to my legs – and then I move on. Breathing is a remarkable tool to keep stress at bay.”
Charlotte Eisenhardt, 35 Construction manager at NCC Construction Denmark A/S
“Stig has been helping out coaching my swimmers to optimize their breathing which is crucial to an elite swimmer. He has demonstrated that yoga and breathing exercises can increase lung capacity.”
Bo Jacobsen, 43, head coach of WestSwim Esbjerg 4 times world champion and former world record holder in fin swimming
“Through the last couple of days I have been reminded of the great benefits that relaxation and yoga contain, benefits that can be applied to all the facts of life, and which can make you a better sportsman, businessman, colleague, man, father and human. It sounds great, but if we forget to unwind daily from the rapid pace and stress of reality, we will never reach our full potential. To be able to provide top performances, you have to find the balance between strain and restoration. We are usually good at straining ourselves, but we often forget to relax and recover. We have to learn how we can enter a restful space and accumulate more energy before the next wave hits us.”
Ole Stougaard, 35 European Team Champion Triathlon and owner of Multicoach.dk
“Dear Stig, Being 76 years old, I have to nurse myself a lot. It is often a question about having the right philosophical attitude to maintain a positive mind under these circumstances. Breathing properly really becomes a genuine sport and the last and final activity of old people. All of us should practice our breathing to survive as comfortably as possible. In a way, to everybody life is a competition with yourself to endure difficulties and problems that worsen with every day and every year that passes. The more tired the “machine” is, the more often the “carburetor” has to be adjusted. Let me make a comparison. If you wish to adjust the carburetor in your car, you have to almost “strangle” the engine first, and there upon turn gently in the opposite direction. You may say that we should do the same to our human “breathing engine”. Anytime in life, breath holding is the proper method to accomplish this. Of course, you have to learn to perform deep breaths and breathe properly (with your diaphragm) first to attain the desired level of relaxation. Only then may you visit your “second” breath by performing a prolonged breath hold. The small bobs and contractions in the diaphragm then become controlled reactions, and your anxiety and despair simply vanishes, when you start breathing again.”
Guy Ackermann, journalist and breathing enthusiast Hemance, Switzerland
“I specifically recall a dive in a 50 meter pool. When I emerged be- cause of low oxygen, Stig asked why I emerged so soon. It was merely my brain that wanted to breathe, but my body was capable of swimming much further. After some training I added more meters to the distance. I also began to swim a series of dives, and I actually liked it when I had recovered from the initial fright!”
Mette Jacobsen, 37 Five times Olympic competitor, 36 medals at EC and WC
“Cardiovascular therapy is primarily aimed at the heart. In the case of acute myocardial infarction, the large blood vessels are opened, and operation is conducted if the heart valves function incorrectly. However, it is important to remember that the heart is part of the complex and highly organized system that comprises the human organism. This means that a malfunction in the heart affects the whole system. As proof of this, we can observe that people with heart attacks are more likely to have depression, just as people with depression are more likely to have heart attacks. A holistic approach combined with a conventional treatment may therefore be advantageous to patients with heart diseases. In this respect, relaxation and breathing exercises are particularly obvious choices, because they affect the entire human organism through the central nervous system, endocrine system and immune system. In this respect, the experience of athletes like Stig Åvall Severinsen is valuable, since relaxation and breathing exercises are used to achieve a greater understanding of oneself. In other words, the awareness of capacity and limitations are increased which improves the extreme sports performance. When we regard an illness as an extreme experience, or even better as an experience that lies beyond the normal life, we will also understand the potential benefits that relaxation and breathing exercises from the holistic approach can offer, in addition to the conventional “state of the art” treatment.”
Alessandro Pingitore Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa