I met Beetu a few years ago at a Yoga Festival. Not finding anything interesting for myself at various sections, I noticed a tent which proclaimed “Astrological forecasts by Beetu. Psychic, clairvoyant, …” etc. A cheap ad, which I certainly would not have paid any attention to if I hadn’t had a lot of free time.
Beetu Himself – a swarthy short Indian man – hosted his practice in a tent (he slept in it too, on the ground). He spoke English with a typical Indian accent, so it was not easy to understand him. One of his trainees was with him as an interpreter.
Despite the wretched advertisement, I liked Beetu, and the next morning he prepared an astrological forecast for me. The forecast also interested me, and a week later, in Moscow, I came to his yoga class.
Beetu’s method of yoga incorporated the holding of the breath – mostly after inhaling. He explained that yoga without breath-holding can bring both harm and benefit, but yoga with breath-holding brings only benefit. Under his guidance, we held our breath while performing physical exercises at the same time. These exercises were first dynamic, then static, and many of them were quite demanding from the point of view of the strength needed to carry them out. The inhaling (as is usual in yoga) was done through the nose, but the exhaling – always through the mouth (to compensate for the tension that arose in the nervous system after holding the breath).
In modern schools of yoga, breath-holding during the practice of asanas is a rare occurrence (usually breathing delays are carried out during the practice of pranayama – a separate breathing practice). However, about 10 years ago I practiced something similar in one of the schools of Vietnamese Qigong.
The effect in terms of energy was very good.
It is irresponsible, in my opinion, to proclaim that breath-holding brings only benefit. But I do agree with Beetu on one thing, and that is, based on my own experience, that breath-holding with simultaneous moderate exercise (static or slow-dynamic) is safer than just breath-holding without it.
In my own practice I modified Beetu’s system to include a lesser workload and more safety – in addition to exhaling through the mouth, I added short balancing breathing exercises with a sharp exhalation through the mouth at the end of practice.
But what does breath-holding do – not from the physiological, but from the energy point of view?
I believe that the holding of the breath after inhalation reduces such negative emotions as fear, discouragement, depression, sadness, etc. I would call these states (emotions) states of shortage – meaning a lack of energy.
And holding the breath after exhalation effectively reduces anger and irritation. I would call these states (emotions) states of excess – meaning an excess of energy.
I would like to note that the reverse is also true, i.e. in cases of excessive fear, breath-holding after exhalation should not be applied – as this can worsen the person’s condition and increase the amount of fear being experienced.
In fact, fear and anger are polar conditions, which is why anger can be used to eradicate fear, and fear can extinguish anger.
The balance we need is somewhere in the middle – and one of the ways it can be achieved is through holding our breath.
P.S. Finally, let me remind you of the need to slowly increase the breathing delays both in number and in length. Slow progress is steady progress. Put your stakes on health, not setting records. J